Abdul-Jabbar honored with statue at Staples Center
The Staples Center unveiled a new, 16-foot statue honoring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a ceremony in Los Angeles on Friday.
Hoopsvibe’s quick call: Jabar was a pioneer to the game, one of the greatest to ever play, and definitely worthy of his own shrine.
The ceremony, which happened Friday at Staples Center, marked the unveiling of the statue, which is essentially a 16-foot bronzed Kareem doing his famous skyhook shot. Many of the greats were there in attendance, including Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Pat Riley, Julius Irving, Bill Walton, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, AC Green, Bill Sharman, and Jamaal Wilkes, the Associated Press reported.
“Having lived my life and had the experiences I’ve had, I can understand now what a man like Lou Gehrig means when he considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I’m glad we got here before the pigeons got to it,” the legend added with a smile.
Abdul-Jabbar was born Lew Alcinder and he played his college ball at UCLA where he won three titles with Coach John Wooden. He was drafted as the #1 pick in the 1969 NBA draft by the Bucks and was later traded to the Lakers in 1975. In his illustrious NBA career, which spanned two decades, Jabbar racked up six NBA titles and scored 38,387 points, which is the most all time. According to wikipedia.com, when he retired from the league in 1989, Kareem was the all time NBA leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls. He is also the only six time winner of the NBA’s MVP award.
The statue at Staples Center stands next to the statues of former Lakers Hall of Famers, Magic Johnson and Jerry West.
When Johnson took a few minutes to speak at Friday’s ceremony, he made sure to tell Kareem, “You should have had the first statue. It was on your back that you’re here at the Staples.”
There’s no question Kareem liked hearing that.
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Image source: WENN Images