Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Statue Is Perfect Tribute for Deserving Laker

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor INovember 16, 2012

LOS ANGELES - 1987:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #33 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the sky hook during an NBA game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1987. (Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images)
Mike Powell/Getty Images

For most NBA fans, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a symbol of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the perfect choice to be the next person added to the statues outside the Staples Center.

Abdul-Jabbar will join his former teammate, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, in a ceremony to be held Friday night at 4:30 p.m. PT. Chick Hearn (announcer) and Jerry West have also been honored with statues in the last two years.

While there was originally an effort to keep the pose of the 16-foot statue a secret until it was unveiled, Abdul-Jabbar hasn't been shy in talking about it.

"It's me in a classic sky-hook pose," Abdul-Jabbar told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News in a phone interview. "It looks good."

The all-time NBA scoring leader retired in 1989, having scored 38,387 points in his career. He also led the NBA for career blocked shots (a record since broken) and won five NBA Championships with the Lakers.

Behind Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list are greats Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

The former Lakers star was asked if he thought his record was vulnerable.

Sure, but somebody is going to have to play pretty close to 20 years and be the offensive focus and be someone the coach wants him to take a lot of shots. Who knows who is going to last that long.

LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) can certainly score and might do it. But most people tell me they're making too much money and won't want to play that long.

Bryant will likely be bronzed at some point after his retirement. He is the scoring leader among active players with 29,695 points.

Creating a list of players more deserving of a statue would be a short endeavor. Narrowing it down to former Lakers would be impossible.

Elgin Baylor was perhaps the greatest power forward the team has ever seen and his jersey hangs from the rafters. James Worthy was a critical part of the dominant teams led by Magic and Abdul-Jabbar. But neither player is close to matching the importance of the former center.

It is impossible to forget about Wilt Chamberlain leading the Lakers to a championship, but his tenure in Los Angeles was too short to make him a consideration.

The Lakers organization certainly got it right with honoring one of the greatest to ever play the game.

The only potential criticism is it certainly took them long enough. But we won't revisit that issue.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.