At long last Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will have the honor he feels is so long overdue. Today at 4:30pm, before the Lakers and Suns tip it off, Cap will see a statue of his likeness unveiled outside of Staples Center.
Normally this would be a moment to celebrate and remember all of the great things Abdul-Jabbar has accomplished in his storied career. People forget how much Kareem revolutionized the game of hoops. Unfortunately most people these days only know Kareem the curmudgeon who once sued fellow former UCLA alumnus Karim Abdul-Jabbar for infringement. More recently we’ll recall Kareem openly bitching about the lack of a statue in his honor.
For tonight I’m guessing there won’t be much talk of the surly Kareem most know. Instead the occasion will focus on his massive importance to not only hoops but the city of L.A. as well.
However it is impossible to ignore much of what has shaped Kareem into the unlikeable figure he is. Bemoaning his lack of a statue was beyond classless. But I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised. Cap came up in a much different era. The things he’s endured makes the LeBron hate fest look like nothing more than an argument amongst toddlers.
Still, there is no excuse for a lack of decency and for the most part Abdul-Jabbar has certainly lacked the tact necessary to be truly beloved.
Tonight Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the player will be honored for his accomplishments on the court. We’re all waiting for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the man to merit praise for his deeds and actions.