Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a rehearsal before a taping of Jeopardy! Power Players Week at DAR Constitution Hall on April 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
by Todd Johnson
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Hall of Fame career and classic sky hook will finally be immortalized in Laker land.
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer will have a 16-foot, 1,500-pound bronze statue unveiled outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles Friday and Abdul-Jabbar couldn’t be happier, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. (The Staples Center is home to both the Clippers and Lakers)
In a May, 2011 interview with the Sporting News’ Steve Greenberg, Abdul-Jabbar said he felt “slighted” because the Lakers hadn’t honored him in statue form. Following the Sporting News interview, he released an additional statement through his business manager:“I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgement of my contribution to Laker success. I guess being the lynchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history.”
Abdul-Jabbar admits to Medina he didn’t handle the statue controversy well.
“I didn’t need to do that,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
In August, the Lakers announced plans to honor Kareem in statue form, joining other Laker greats Magic Johnson and Jerry West. This season the Lakers will retire the jersey of another great Lakers center: Shaquille O’Neal. Other sports figures with statues outside Staples Center include boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, hockey great Wayne Gretzky and long-time Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn.