LA Lakers Unveil Statue of NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Outside Staples Center

On Friday, November 16, 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers honored Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by unveiling a bronze statue of the six-time NBA champion center outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The towering 16-foot bald-headed likeness of Big 33 displayed his iconic sky hook and sported his signature goggles and the double wristbands he always wore. The Lakers also prominently positioned Kareem's bronze likeness outside the team's home court for future generations of Purple and Gold fans to admire.

The replica of Kareem honors the Hall of Fame center's incredible NBA accomplishments and post-career contributions as special assistant to the Laker organization.

Kareem's 7'2" sculpture rises proudly next to statues honoring two other Laker basketball-playing greats, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Jerry West, whose smiling likenesses flank the more serious, purposed look on Abdul-Jabbar's face.

Ironically, the Lakers organization graciously commissioned the Kareem statue and generously approved its final look. However, the Lakers could have responded far differently to Kareem's selfish, awkward, and at times, bitter rants against his former team for what he claimed was their failing to unveil a statue of him sooner.

In May 2001, Abdul-Jabbar jabbered to the Sporting News that the Lakers didn't care about him, and the NBA's all-time leading scorer even tweeted that he felt disrespected for not having a bronze replica of his own after leading the Lakers to five NBA titles.

Because of Abdul-Jabbar's well-documented, acrimonious relationship with the Lakers and their fans, Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and his family should have commissioned a backwards facing Kareem alongside Johnson and West. Such a statue would have been both fitting and consistent with the always irritated Abdul-Jabbar's longstanding reputation of turning his back on the media and fans during his 20...

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