Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to get statue
LOS ANGELES -- It has been 23 years since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but soon fans headed to Staples Center will see him every day.
The Lakers plan to erect a statue outside the arena to honor The Captain, the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
The Lakers plan to announce the date of the official unveiling of the statue in the near future, according to a league source.
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While Abdul-Jabbar's on-court accomplishments were no-doubt stellar, racking up six championships and six MVPs during his 20-year career, his relationship with the Lakers had become strained in recent years. The team cut ties with Abdul-Jabbar as a special assistant following the 2010-11 season and the former 19-time All-Star also voiced his frustration at Jerry West receiving a statue before he did, after West's statue was unveiled during the 2011 NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.
"I don't understand (it). It's either an oversight or they're taking me for granted," Abdul-Jabbar told The Sporting News at the time. "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."
Shortly after Abdul-Jabbar's remarks to the magazine became public, Lakers spokesman John Black told The Sporting News that Abdul-Jabbar had been informed by the team that he would be the next player to receive a statue in his honor.
Later, in an interview with ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning," Abdul-Jabbar revealed that he had other gripes with the organization.
"When you look at what (owner Jerry Buss) did for Earvin (Johnson) and what he did for me, big disparity there," Abdul-Jabbar said. "I just think that it's a mindset that's taken over in the organization that I'm of minimal value to the organization and they're doing other things. ... They just don't seem to want to include me in the way they have included other people."
There are currently five statues outside of Staples Center, with three of them being Lakers-related in West, Magic Johnson and broadcaster Chick Hearn joining Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya.