AEG — the entertainment and sports subsidiary of The Anschutz Co., run by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz — is being put up for sale.
AEG has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers as well as being the owner of the building they play in, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. AEG also was involved in discussions about a new arena in Sacramento.
AEG is also the owner of the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer and owns or helps operate a host of other venues around the nation. They also are working on a stadium deal near Staples Center to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles.
Whoever buys AEG would not have a controlling interest in the Lakers — that still belongs to the Buss family — and likely would not want to make changes to a profitable enterprise. But change is always something to watch.
Even before NBA labor negotiations went south yesterday and union president Derek Fisher walked in the room and called the owners liars, there were ominous signs.
The league has started to let NBA areas fill in NBA dates with other events as far out as December. At least they have at the Staples Center in Los Angels, a venue hit doubly hard because it is home to both the Lakers and the Clippers.
Kevin Ding explains at the Orange County Register:
The Lakers’ still-scheduled Dec. 13 home game against the Toronto Raptors will not happen under any circumstances then and there.
That’s because the NBA has already allowed Staples Center to vacate its commitment to the Lakers that day and schedule an extra date of the Jay-Z and Kanye West concert tour….
Actually, it’s two additional NBA games already on the move, because the league did the same thing to accommodate another Jay-Z and Kanye show at Chicago’s United Center on Nov. 30, when the Bulls are currently scheduled to play the San Antonio Spurs.
Whenever the NBA does start up again — if it starts up again this season — it will be with a revised schedule. It’s only fair the league let the arenas start filling dates, especially since you can expect the games through the end of November to be cancelled soon. But that Staples Center was allowed to do it in December (for the Nets minority owner) is another bad sign in a week of bad signs.
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).
So why did his frustration bubble over now, leading him to twitter to say he felt slighted that the Lakers franchise does not care about him?
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.
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.
When a knife-wielding crazy man rushed into Staples Center near the court Saturday afternoon about 90-minutes before the tipoff of the Cavaliers and Clippers, Christian Eyenga was out on the floor putting up some shots.
The man rushed through the security at the media/employee entrance to Staples and down toward the court at Staples, with security and Los Angeles Police in pursuit. The people on the floor — including Eyenga — scattered. The suspect was there for about 20 minutes before police used non-lethal force to subdue the man (who was described as uttering gibberish during the standoff).
Eyenga told the News Herald that it was a frightening experience.
“Of course, it scared me,” he said. “I heard one of the cheerleaders say, ‘The guy has a gun.’ He might have killed everybody. I just started running….
“I don’t know how it could happen,” Eyenga said. “I’ve never seen something like that. I hope I don’t see it again.”
The teams, fans and everyone else was kept off the floor and out of the area until the man was subdued. And having been through that entrance before many times myself, I’m not sure how it happened either because there always seems to be plenty of security there. Although, I suspect there will be more security now.