8 NBA Greats Who Still Need a Statue
The Los Angeles Lakers recently announced their intent to raise a statue honoring the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The statue, which will be placed outside Staples Center, will be unveiled at some point during the 2012-13 season.
It is undoubtedly a great honor to receive a commemorative statue, but one that is bestowed upon only a select few players. Abdul-Jabbar himself had to endure quite a wait before finally receiving the honor. This article takes a look at a group of eight players who may be next in line to be immortalized in bronze.
Despite his tremendous lack of height for the power forward position, Charles Barkley managed to bully his way through one of the greatest NBA careers ever.
An 11-time All-Star and 1993 MVP, Barkley was a dominant scorer and rebounder throughout his career, and he was recognized for his achievements in 2006 via induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The real question with Charles Barkley is not whether he deserves a statue, but rather where that statue ought to be placed. Barkley spent eight dominant seasons in Philadelphia and another four in Phoenix before finishing off his career in Houston.
Barkley enjoyed his best statistical seasons in Philly, but he won his sole MVP award in Phoenix while also enjoying his greatest amount of postseason success. A reasonable case could be made for either location.
Clyde Drexler was often overshadowed by Michael Jordan throughout his 15-year career, most notably in the 1991-92 season, in which he finished second to Jordan in MVP voting and fell to Jordan’s Bulls in the finals shortly after.
Drexler’s career certainly had its down moments, but there’s no denying his greatness. Drexler was a 10-time NBA All-Star with the Portland Trail Blazers and a member of the 1992 Dream Team. His phenomenal scoring ability and versatility place him amongst the top five shooting guards of all time.
Drexler finally got his ring after being traded to the Houston Rockets in 1995, but if he gets a statue, it should be outside the Rose Garden in Portland.
Widely considered one of the best players to never win an NBA championship (along with Barkley), Ewing had the misfortune of spending most of his career under the shadow of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
Despite his shortcomings in the playoffs, Ewing was nonetheless a dominant force at center during his 15 seasons in New York.
Ewing averaged 21 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks for his career, already tremendous averages that would have been even higher had he chosen to retire earlier.
It’s about time a Knick got a statue, and Ewing is clearly most deserving of that honor.
Although it may be a bit early to consider a statue for Allen Iverson, the possibility should definitely be considered down the road.
Iverson’s career dropped off a cliff in the past few years, but prior to his collapse he was an electrifying scorer who overcome his relatively tiny stature through blinding quickness and aggressive finishing.
Iverson is deserving of a statue in Philadelphia, at the very least to show kids you don’t need to be built like LeBron James to excel in the NBA.
And to think he managed to be so good without even going to practice.
Malone was a force during his incredible 21-year professional career, and that fact is made clear by his seemingly endless list of accolades.
Malone was a three-time NBA MVP, one-time champion and finals MVP and 12-time NBA All-Star. Despite his remarkable success, Malone was somewhat of a journeyman in the NBA, as he played for seven different NBA teams along with two ABA teams, prior to the merger.
Like Barkley, Malone’s biggest obstacle in earning a statue would be its questionable location. Malone enjoyed great success with both the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, but he never played for one team for more than six seasons.
The only point guard to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year Award, Gary Payton’s skill was exceeded only by his tenacity.
Payton was a force on both ends of the floor, harassing opposing offenses with his aggressive hands and superior quickness and striking fear in opposing defenses through his versatile scoring and outstanding court vision.
Payton is easily the greatest Sonic of all time, and it would be fitting to raise a statue of "The Glove" in front of the planned arena that will house the future Sonics.
David Robinson, nicknamed "The Admiral," carried plenty of hype into the NBA after being selected with the first overall pick out of the U.S. Naval Academy. And he lived up to all of it during his 14-year NBA career, all of which he spent with the San Antonio Spurs.
Robinson devastated his opponents by combining his 7’1” frame with phenomenal scoring instincts and remarkable versatility. Robinson absolutely stuffed the stat sheet and enjoyed a lot of success while doing it, winning two championships, one MVP award and a Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Robinson never quite managed to best Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, as was made all too clear in their 1995 playoff matchup, but he should follow in Olajuwon’s footsteps in receiving a statue in Texas.
Isiah Thomas will never win an award for being the most likeable player in the NBA, and his legacy has been tarnished as of late due to his terrible decision-making as a basketball executive.
Nonetheless, even Thomas’ haters must admit that the guy could play.
A prodigious scorer and playmaker, Thomas is arguably the greatest "little guy" to ever set foot on the basketball court.
Pistons fans don’t have much to get excited about in the present, so Detroit should consider providing its supporters with a little hope from the past. Thomas is the best player to ever put on a Pistons uniform, and therefore the obvious choice.
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