Just days after Bill Russell was told that he would be receiving a statue of his likeness in Boston, commemorating his basketball and civil rights accomplishments, another star center from years goneby is crying out that he deserves the same honor. And wouldn't you know, it's a Laker.
Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won five world championships as a Los Angeles Laker and remains the NBA's all-time leading scorer, believes the franchise owes him a statue outside Staples Center and feels "slighted" that it hasn't already happened.
"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."
You'd think Kareem would read the news. Russell gets his, responds by being uneasy about the accolade, and the world applauds. Humility — especially coming from someone who was disrespected personally for much of his life (and then professionally when LeBron switched from MJ's 23 to Russell's 6 this year because he felt MJ deserved respect and no one should wear the number) — is generally rewarded by the public.
Crying that you deserve accolades — personal accolades — the best way to come off like, as Bill Simmons loves to say, a ninny. There's no question that Kareem was one of the greats, and he probably does deserve a statue around the arena (at least more so than Wayne Gretzky, who only played 6.5 years in Los Angeles and never won a cup). But asking for it is not the way to get it. And ultimately, shouldn't those five titles be enough? Get a life, Kareem.