Kareem Abdul-Jabbar elaborates about frustration with the Lakers via Twitter
Various postings on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Twitter account reveal that his frustration over the fact the Lakers haven't honored him with a statue outside Staples Center reflects a larger picture in his fragmented relationship with the organization.
"It's not about a getting a statue, because I'm over it. It's about RESPECT! Lakers have given me the absolute minimum of respect."
Abdul-Jabbar first shared his misgivings about feeling "slighted" because the Lakers have honored Magic Johnson, Chick Hearn and Jerry West with statues outside Staples Center but haven't done the same for him with the Sporting News' Steve Greenberg, who interviewed him about a wide range of topics. They discussed Abdul-Jabbar's recent documentary work with "On the Shoulders of Giants" and his storied NBA career, in which he became the league's all-time leading scorer (38,387), won six NBA titles (five of them with the Lakers), made history with his legendary sky hook and established himself, in the opinion of many, as the best center of all time.
Another grievance Abdul-Jabbar shared included his disappointment that Lakers General Mitch Kupchak refused to provide him a playoff share in the team's last two championships for working as a special assistant coach in instructing center Andrew Bynum. Lakers spokesman John Black explained to Greenberg that Abdul-Jabbar was considered a part-time coach for the last six seasons and that all the compensation arrangements were specified in his contract. Still, Abdul-Jabbar's interview with the Sporting News was just the beginning of Abdul-Jabbar's account of his frustrations with the Lakers. In addition to planning to appear on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning and Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" on Thursday, Abdul-Jabbar shared his grievances about the Lakers via Twitter.
The most pointed exchange came in a reply to follower who tweeted, "Cap I don't know where the breakdown is. But YOU will get your statue! That's unthinkable! Buss is not Sterling!" Abdul Jabbar replied, "Re the Buss Family, I don't [know] if you can be sure about that!"
Among the his other tweets:
-- "Bill Russell is getting his statue after 40 years. Laker immortal Jerry West waited 37 years for his statue. My wait has only been 22 yrs."
--"Rumor has it that I will be getting a statue. A caveat for all my fans-don't hold your breath. Lakers don't care about me."
-- "The only reason I endure is because of all the support I get from Laker fans everywhere I go. Thanks to all for your appreciation."
-- "Magic waited 8 years to be honored in that way. So maybe I am chopped liver?"
-- A fan tweeted, "You are a legend. Why does it bother u so much? Ur accomplishments on court mean a lot more then a statue."
Abdul-Jabar responded, "Your right but there is principal involved so I can't ignore the situation any longer.""
After the various postings, a fan asked Abdul-Jabbar on Twitter, "what kind of actions should the Lakers take that can translate into respect, in your opinion?" Abdul Jabbar replied, "I don't think at this point this can be rectified as this is the first time I have ever made my feelings public. Moving on."
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told the Sporting News that he felt "slighted" that the Lakers haven't honored him with a statue outside Staples Center. Credit: Reed Saxon /Associated Press