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Kareem feels “slighted” Lakers haven’t given him statue

May 18, 2011, 4:23 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Magic Johnson has one, a larger-than-life bronze statue of him in front of Staples Center, home of the Lakers.

Jerry West has one. So does legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn. (So do Wayne Gretzky and Oscar de la Hoya.)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — who like Magic and West never played in Staples — feels slighted he is not on that list, he told The Sporting News.

“I don’t understand (it). It’s either an oversight or they’re taking me for granted,” Abdul-Jabbar told The Sporting News in a recent interview. “I’m not going to try to read people’s minds, but it doesn’t make me happy. It’s definitely a slight. I feel slighted….

“I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgement of my contribution to Laker success,” Abdul-Jabbar was quoted as saying. “I guess being the lynchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history.”

Kareem sounds a little petulant, especially considering Lakers spokesman John Black said that Kareem was told he would get the next Lakers statue, although there is no timetable. Whining about not getting it fast enough comes off like a 4-year-old wanting pancakes. And like with the child, complaing only tends to slow the process, not speed it up.

West and Magic both went on to have extensive careers with the Lakers after their playing days. West was general manager for the team through much of the Showtime era, Magic was part owner of the team until recently. Kareem did serve as a special consultant mentoring Andrew Bynum for a while, but it’s not the same.

A statue like this is an honor, not a right. No matter who you are. So be patient.

  1. davidly - May 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Okay, Mr. Helin. Let’s see how you feel if he dies of cancer.

    • davidly - Jun 22, 2011 at 4:31 AM

      For you thumbs-downers, who no doubt think this comment is in poor taste: He has cancer. How silly would the Lakers look if they started scrambling for a statue after he had gone?

      Just like Kucininch said in the debates regarding the impeachment of Dubya: Do it now!

  2. philtration - May 18, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Kareem does not deserve a statue yet?
    Really Kurt?
    Well he only retired 22 years ago so I guess I can see your point about there being no timetable for such an honor.

    On second thought… you really don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about.
    Do you get paid for this?

    • mchris1947 - May 18, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      Philtration, you beat me to it. I suppose “Mr. Helin” is only trying to bait people into filling up his blogs with comments, but I guess I’ll take step in anyway.

      Kareem is an all-time great by any measure.

      Hall of Famer
      6 rings (5 with Lakers 1 with the Bucks)
      All-Time Leading Scorer (FYI Kobe has to play 5-6 more years to even get close)

      Jordan didn’t coach or GM for the Bulls, so when did that become the criteria for a statue in front of the new arena?

      Helin’s claim that complaining about an honor that he SHOULD have received the day they broke ground at Staples Center 13 years ago is “petulant” and “childish” is offensive.

      Helin could have argued that the other statues at Staples went to more popular local sport figures than Kareem, and he might have had a point. Kareem never ingratiated himself to the media, and he hasn’t had a highly visible post-NBA career. However, it’s clear that Helin lacks that kind of thoughtful insight so he decided to stoop to low-brow mud-slinging to get a few extra clicks on his blog.

    • urodaddy07 - May 18, 2011 at 6:27 PM

      I don’t think Mr. He in is saying that the Lakers are right not have erected a statue of Kareem already, the point is that it is childish and classless to complain about it (publicly) and that fact would not change if he dies tomorrow. Having said that; the Lakers should be ashamed of themselves that they have not honored the man in this way yet. That is even more classless.

    • aqzi - May 18, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      Kurt didn’t say Kareem doesn’t deserve one, he just said “be patient.” The fact of the matter is that Magic and West have meant more to the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles than Kareem has outside of their playing careers. Magic has invested heavily in poorer income neighborhoods of LA, eliminating the stigma associated with investing in those neighborhoods. West was an incredible GM who brought Kobe, Shaq, and Phil to LA among other things.
      Kareem has a small history of whining about him not getting his due. I recall a year or two ago him using the same language (“I feel slighted” and “I don’t understand”) about not getting a head coaching position in the NBA.

  3. cosanostra71 - May 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Kareem deserves a statue.

  4. bobfontaine - May 18, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Any idiot whining about not having a statue of himself deserves to be looked at like the complete jackass that he is. If he didn’t bounce a basketball he’d be working a rubish truck. p.s. Tell him to stand in the middle of I95 in the Boston area and start posing for it…

  5. ibejeph - May 18, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Who are all you weirdos who feel the need to call out Kurt on each and every article? Seriously, get a life. Kurt does a fine job.

    And if you think he doesn’t, then start your own blog. Do like Kurt does and scan the internets for interesting news and add your own spin several times a day. Maybe one day you’ll take over his job at NBC.

    I highly doubt it though. It is easier to complain and criticize then it is to actually work at something.

    • davidly - May 19, 2011 at 2:37 AM

      You do realize what a blog is? To paraphrase Bill Maher: It is the bathroom wall of the Internet (his having said that the Internet was the bathroom wall of society; so it’s gotten worse).

      So as far as Kurt doing a fine job, I’ll agree with you insofar as his sports-journalist to sports-urinalist ratio is higher than your typical troll-troller.

      Still, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and blogs being what they are, sometimes those opinions go unchecked.

      As to his “spin” on this “interesting news”: It’s pure troll-dom. It is gossipy and classless to spin Kareem’s expressing his thoughts on this subject — something he almost never does — and accusing him of “whining”.

      So Mr. Helin was asking for it. He can criticize Kareem. But he can be criticized. See how that works, ibejeph?

      I otherwise understand your qualms with general troll-like behavior. Feel free to read my blog.

  6. silk32 - May 18, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    If anybody should feel slighted it’s Pau Gasol. If this were the 90’s Bulls and Shannon Brown had tweeted “I did not sleep with Michael Jordan’s woman” on Saturday night, he would have been frying fish by Sunday morning >>

  7. digitalpoo - May 18, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Kareem’s talents deserve the statue but his ego should shut the hell up.

  8. goforthanddie - May 18, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Fantastic, now everybody’s gonna start wanting their own statue.
    Here’s a clue, free of charge: Statues are meant as an eternal reminder of some great event or person. And while I’m sure Kareem is a sweetheart, NO athlete is “great” enough to deserve a statue. They need to be reserved for people who actually do something worthwhile.

    • davidly - May 19, 2011 at 2:51 AM

      Like invading other countries and killing lots of people? Maybe the Lakers could erect a nine-foot version of Teddy Roosevelt at half-court so that every time the fans in the Philippines watch a game they’ll be reminded just how utterly vicious speaking softly and carrying a big stick can be.

  9. mogogo1 - May 18, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Strange he’s been promised the next statue but there’s no timetable. Wouldn’t that be a part of making the promise?

    Probably the only thing Isiah Thomas has ever said that I agreed with is that Kareem is one of the most overlooked players. The guy was a winner through and through, still holds the scoring record, and even had the signature Sky Hook to remember him by. Yet you rarely see him listed in the first breath of top players of all time. Even if the conversation is confined to centers, it tends to become a debate on Wilt vs. Russell before somebody throws Shaq’s name out there for most dominant ever.

  10. zblott - May 18, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    What’s with every team doing statues now? Didn’t they jump the shark once Alabama put one up for Nick Saban?

  11. e8cardon - May 18, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    This seems petulant to you because you’re a writer, not a player, and a moron to boot. As Bobby Knight was fond of saying, most of us learned to write in school and moved on to other things (or those who can do, those who can’t write). I’m not a Lakers fan, and Kareem is arguably the most dominant center in NBA history (statistically and in terms of laurels/awards), he’s not a 4 year old child whining about not getting his pancakes. It’s a travesty that the anchor of the Lakers team for that long hasn’t had a fitting tribute to his immense contribution. He was asked how he felt about it, he gave an answer. If you put that much of your soul into something for that long, you might feel slighted, too. This writer has no clue what this means and is wasting print here.

  12. muhangis - May 18, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Kareem deserves a statue, plain-and-simple. And Kurt has no standing to comment how Kareem should feel about it. He has been a shy and quiet guy (maybe even a little bit awkward) his entire career/life, and people like you (Kurt) has done nothing but punish him for it!

  13. jeff721 - May 18, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    Some people forget how great he was. Kareem would be on a very short list of the greatest players of all time.

    • wozzmann1955 - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      The “SKYHOOK” was much is that worth??Get the guy the ball in or nesr the paint and ya can count on 2..BANGO!!!!!!!

  14. BraveCape - May 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Kareem Absolutely deserves one. Order of statues should of been Magic, West, Kareem, 99, Hearn, NO Oscar de la Hoya, and in a couple years Kobe!

  15. wozzmann1955 - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    They should have a statue of that man on every side of the building.If Im picking a ALLTIME fantasy team,he’s my first pick,,not Mj,not Majic,not Bird,,Kareem Abdul Jabbar!!!

    • davidly - Jun 22, 2011 at 4:27 AM

      I have an even better idea: A huge statue at the center of the roof of the renamed ‘Abdul-Jabbar Arena’. It would be so big that you could make it out from the blimp; a bronze image of him in the midst of a skyhook.

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