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.