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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Immortalized With Bronze Statue In Front Of Staples

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A statue honoring legendary Los Angeles Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was unveiled Friday afternoon in front of hundreds at STAPLES center.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jerry West, James Worthy, Pat Riley, Richard Lapchick, Eddie Doucette and others were among that spoke about the great moments they’ve had with the six-time NBA Champion.

156543105 10 Kareem Abdul Jabbar Immortalized With Bronze Statue In Front Of Staples

Photo Gallery (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“When you start playing, you do it because you love the game,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I did, anyway. To be able to come this far and be recognized this way is really special.”

The ‘Cap’ unveiled the near 16-foot-tall, 1,500-pound bronze statue, in purple and gold, of him in his famous sky-hook form wearing his goggles and the standard 1980’s short-shorts.

The statue, created by renowned sculptors/artists Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany, will join other iconic sculptures of celebrated Los Angeles sports superstars Wayne Gretzky, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jerry West, Chick Hearn and Oscar De La Hoya.

“You really should have had the first statue because you built the Staples Center,” Magic said. “It was on your back that we’re now here at the Staples Center because if the Lakers don’t win, there’s no Staples Center. It’s here because of the tradition.”

The ceremony was highlighted by speeches from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his son, Amir Abdul-Jabbar, and a video message from former President, Bill Clinton.

Abdul-Jabbar, who won three NCAA titles with John Wooden at UCLA, is still the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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