SBD/November 19, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Lakers Unveil Statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar At Staples Center's Star Plaza

Basketball HOFers Magic Johnson and Jerry West had statues before Abdul-Jabbar
Basketball HOFer KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR was "immortalized with a 16-foot, 1,500-pound bronze statue unveiled in front of Staples Center" before Friday's Suns-Lakers game, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. The statue was "created by sculptors" JULIE ROTBLATT AMRANY and OMRI AMRANY and "joins the statues" of basketball HOFers MAGIC JOHNSON and JERRY WEST, hockey HOFer WAYNE GRETZKY, broadcaster CHICK HEARN and boxer OSCAR DE LA HOYA at Star Plaza in front of Staples Center. Some, including Abdul-Jabbar, felt he "should have had a statue before some of the others who were given the honor during the past decade." During the statue's unveiling, he "singled out" Lakers GM MITCH KUPCHAK, Exec VP/Business Operations JEANNIE BUSS, Owner JERRY BUSS and AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE. Abdul-Jabbar said, "About three or four years ago, Tim made me a promise that this statue would be here and sure enough, he kept his word" (ESPNLA.com, 11/17). The AP's Greg Beacham noted Abdul-Jabbar "pronounced himself humbled and grateful" during the unveiling. Though the Lakers "insist there are no hard feelings with their sometimes-prickly ex-superstar, Abdul-Jabbar ruefully recalled a minor ruckus he started a few years ago by complaining that Johnson and West had been honored with Staples Center statues before him." Abdul-Jabbar said, "I had a little too much to say about it not happening right away. But they were patient with me" (AP, 11/16).
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