May 19, 2011, 9:51 PM EDT
Let’s get this part out of the way first: Yes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should have a statue out in front of Staples Center. Nobody who knows the game is disputing that or his place in Lakers or NBA history — including the Lakers, who have told Abdul-Jabbar his statue would be next (but there was no timetable).
Did you know his movie — “On the Shoulders of Giants” about the Harlem Renaissance basketball team of the 1930s — that he has been tirelessly promoting the last several months is hitting Netflix this week? If you stream Netflix you can do that on Friday.
I think Abdul-Jabbar is too intelligent for that to be a coincidence.
He has generated a mass of publicity the last couple days because of this stance, had more people googling his name than have in a long time. He never mentioned the movie, this hasn’t been crass, but he knows raising his profile raises the movie’s profile. It’s not an accident.
We can debate the merits of how he feels he was treated by the Lakers and basketball if you want. He’s spent his life proud of being an outsider but now is complaining about being on the outside. But, to be fair, he should have a bronze statue of him releasing his legendary Sky Hook in Star Plaza. Next to Magic and West and Chick (all of whom deserved to be in front of Kareem in the statue line).
So yes, Kareem is frustrated and he does deserve a statue. But know there is other motive for making a public stink about it right now.
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