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Lakers Q&A: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 'I don't expect my relationship with the team to continue beyond this point'

59194035-1Below is a Q&A with former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who in an interview with the Sporting News expressed feeling "slighted" and "highly offended" over not having a statue honoring him outside Staples Center. Abdul-Jabbar finished as the NBA's all-time leading scorer, 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. Abdul-Jabbar addresses that issue with the L.A. Times' Lakers blog and why there are other reasons he feels the Lakers' organization has disrespected him.

Since your interview with the Sporting News was published highlighting the fact that you felt slighted about not having a statue, what has been the reaction?

Most people have been surprised in their reaction to how I have been treated. It’s gone on for so long, I couldn’t really continue not to address the issue. I was interviewed by the Sporting News and they mentioned it in passing that they had seen me at the unveiling of Jerry West’s statue and they asked, “Where’s your statue?” I said, I don’t know. I’ve been told that I was going to get one by Mr. [Tim] Leiweke, but that was a couple of years ago. Nothing more had been said about it. He could tell I was annoyed by it and that’s how it got out there in the Sporting News. Once people started to know about it, I had to address the issue.

You tweeted last night, “It’s not about a getting a statue because I'm over it - its about RESPECT! Lakers have given me the absolute minimum of respect.” In what ways have you felt that?

When I decided I wanted to try coaching, the Lakers were one of the first people I contacted, and they had no interest in me as a coach. The reason I got the shot with coaching the Lakers is because Andrew Bynum said he thought he could learn from me. [Lakers General Manager] Mitch Kupchak mentioned it to Phil [Jackson]. Phil said, ‘That’s probably a good idea.’ That’s how it came around. If Andrew hadn’t said what he said, I wouldn’t have gotten a shot at it.

Have you talked with the Lakers since the interview was published?

I got a call last night from Linda Rambis. She called [my publicist] and told her my statue will be the next statue. That’s what she said. They’re trying to deal with this and put it behind us.

Did they specify a date?


Why have you sounded fairly skeptical about it?

The reason I felt skeptical about it is I heard this before from Tim Leiweke. The next statue was Chick Hearn and then Jerry West. It gives me pause there.

Lakers spokesman John Black told the Sporting News that any delay in your statue just pointed to the overall logistical nature of it. When the team announced Jerry West would get the statue, Lakers Executive Vice President Jeanie Buss told me you'd be the "natural fit" to be the next Laker with a statue. The way they explain this is, it’s more of a logistical issue than any slighting of you.

I don’t know enough of that from the inside. I’m on the outside. I can’t address that because I have no real accurate knowledge, and I don’t want to speculate on that.

Back to your views about feeling disrespected, besides the coaching opportunity, how else do you feel the Lakers have disrespected you?

A couple years ago, they told me they had to drastically reduce my salary. They told me I had to take a pay cut at a time they’re paying Phil $12 million a year. To me, paying Phil really well and they can’t afford to pay me, I wasn’t anything close to that. It’s hard to believe."

When was this?

Two years ago.

When you were a special assistant coach for Andrew?


Did they indicate any reason for that?

They just said they couldn’t pay me. I had to take a pay cut. I had just discovered leukemia at that point [in 2009]. The whole issue of my health insurance was very much on my mind, so I stuck around that point just for that reason.

How did your terms change?

There’s certain terms in my contract that I can’t discuss specifics of it. I don’t want to impeach that. The general outline of it was I had to take a drastic cut in pay. At the same time, that’s about the time they signed their ESPN Radio deal for $9 million, and they’re paying Phil $10 million to $12 million. I had to take a drastic cut in my pay. It was a bit disappointing to me. But I dealt with it because I needed my insurance at that point.

Was your role reduced as a special assistant or was the amount of time the same?

The amount of time was the same, but at that point, Andrew was coming into his own. He really was doing better and they felt they got everything they needed from me and I was expendable.

You tweeted to a fan, “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.” Why can’t it be rectified?

The relationship is fractured. I said I got a call from Linda Rambis saying I will definitely have a statue out there. But there’s going to be a strike or a lockout, so the Lakers are clearing the deck. I don’t expect my relationship with the team to continue beyond this point. They don’t really value my presence there like they value other people. That’s fairly obvious. I can only speculate to what that’s about, but if you look at how they’ve dealt with Magic over the years and how they’ve dealt with me, there’s a big disparity.

53965254-2How was it a big disparity?

During my playing career, I was essential to their success on the court so it was a different set of circumstances. They paid me well, and I thought I was valuable to them. When it got to the point where I was not a factor with what happened on the court, their need to be close to me or have me involved drastically changed. I kept to myself. I didn’t hang out with Dr. Buss. I didn’t have any animosity toward him, and I respected his space, and he more or less respected my space. But my lifestyle was my lifestyle. I focused on different things. Maybe that had affected how they dealt with me.

How would you characterize how fans have reacted toward you about this?

The fan support has been awesome. Overwhelmingly, they were on my side in terms of what I deserve. I remember when I announced I had leukemia, all the fans I’d see out on the street when I was out shopping or I was running errands, they all came up to me and said they were praying for me. It was tremendous support. The Lakers have felt different about it. Mitch absolutely expressed his concerns [about my disease]. He wanted to know specifically what I was going through, and I told him, and he said, I hope you beat it, and he was very supportive. But it seems like I’m on the outside. It really bothers me. The fans have been awesome. That’s why I say the statue doesn’t matter because I know in the minds and hearts of Laker fans, they appreciate me and think there’s no need for a statue as far as they’re concerned. They all know what I meant to the team, and I appreciate it.

But you have said the statue matters to you, and there is some sentiment from fans who  think you’re overreacting to all of this, stating that having to wait to have a statue after Chick Hearn, Magic Johnson and Jerry West isn't a slight. Some have also said the nature in which you expressed your frustration over not having a statue sounded like sour grapes.

I understand that. But they had no idea on the background of my relationship with the Lakers. I thought I was gaining opportunities to coach Andrew. I did the best job I could. I got Andrew ready. I thought I was absolutely showing my value to the team and that I’d be treated better. Then all of the things I mentioned to you earlier, I didn’t get any of the perks or any of the playoff shares. They made me feel totally on the outside there. It’s a shame because those were my best professional years there as a player.

The Sporting News' interview quoted John Black making this statement about your contract regarding playoff shares: “He does have a provision in his contract where he does get a playoff bonus … [and has] for the last six years. But his title is special assistant coach; he’s not a full-time assistant coach and never has been. Brian Shaw, Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen and Chuck Person are assistant coaches. Kareem is not, nor has he ever been, one of those. … I’m not at liberty to discuss the amount, but Kareem’s playoff bonuses are a negotiated part of his contract.” Were you aware of the terms regarding your contract?

I wasn’t aware of that when I signed my contract. When I played, all the coaches on the coaching staff got a playoff share. Two years went by, and I didn’t get a playoff share. So I brought the issue up and then [was told] what you just mentioned that I was a special assistant coach and wasn’t eligible for it. That was news to me. I wasn’t aware of that. They told me I didn’t negotiate for it. I told them, I didn’t know I had to negotiate for it. I thought they would look out for me in that way, but they didn’t. It underlines the fact that they really didn’t care. That’s something that didn’t concern them at all.

Moving forward, do you have any interest in holding any position with the Lakers?

I don’t think that is a possibility at all. It’s not an issue I want to pursue. I want to move on. My movie ["On the Shoulders of Giants"] is doing very well. It’s going to be infinitely streamed into Netflix tomorrow. Everybody who has seen the movie had a good review of it. It’s something I hope to pursue.

Lastly, you said you made progress with your battle with leukemia. How are you doing right now? 

I’m in total remission. The doctors tell me if I continue to do what they tell me to do, I will stay in remission. That’s a really good thing. They said if I had this 15 years ago, it would’ve been a death sentence. Now I get a chance to hang around for a little bit longer. That’s wonderful. I’m very thankful for the medical profession and all the people who have given their prayers and support.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photos, from top: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Boston Celtics' Robert Parrish in a Dec. 11, 1987, matchup. Credit: Carol Francavilla / Associated Press. Abdul-Jabbar and James Donaldson of the Dallas Mavericks in a 1988 playoff game. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

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I'm sorry but the more he speaks on the subject the more it seems his problems stem from within than actually things the Lakers have done. I guess he forgot about the year long retirement tour all those years ago.

I respect Kareem as a basketball player and Laker. He was and is one of the all time greats. But this seems so petty? Playoff bonuses and a statue? Didn't he make enough money over his 21 year career? The Lakers have taken care of him and the reason he is not a full time coach is because of his irascible personality. What was that famous Jim Murray line about Kareem? "No man is an island, but Kareem gave it a shot." Kareem has never been NBA full time coach material. His personality is amenable. I wish the best for his health and his future but he needs to let this go and stop grumbling in public. Magic is treated differently because he has an actual personality and people like him.Right or wrong, that is the reason. Have you ever heard a TV interview with Kareem? It is too awkward. Magic has many issues and problems but he has charisma- and that has sustained his business and broadcasting career after his playing days are over. He has amassed a huge private wealth after basketball and Kareem does not have that option. He is simply too antisocial and awkward for those opportunities. He needs to let it go.

I respect Kareem as a basketball player and Laker. He was and is one of the all time greats. But this seems so petty? Playoff bonuses and a statue? Didn't he make enough money over his 21 year career? The Lakers have taken care of him and the reason he is not a full time coach is because of his irascible personality. What was that famous Jim Murray line about Kareem? "No man is an island, but Kareem gave it a shot." Kareem has never been NBA full time coach material. His personality is amenable. I wish the best for his health and his future but he needs to let this go and stop grumbling in public. Magic is treated differently because he has an actual personality and people like him.Right or wrong, that is the reason. Have you ever heard a TV interview with Kareem? It is too awkward. Magic has many issues and problems but he has charisma- and that has sustained his business and broadcasting career after his playing days are over. He has amassed a huge private wealth after basketball and Kareem does not have that option. He is simply too antisocial and awkward for those opportunities. He needs to let it go.

Just wanted to pass this along. Magic Johnson via Twitter expressed his support: "@kaj33 deserves and has earned a statue, even before me."

Talk about classic case of 'Much Ado about Nothing'. Relax cap, its nothing more than a statue; for someone who has gone through a life threatening ailment, the PSP would think you would understand that this is only a trivial issue at worst (best?).

The PSP has heard a lot of unflattering stories told about Kareem over the years; this just goes further to confirm that he is not the best 'people person' and just comes across as rude and off putting. The PSP will be slapping him with a ticket for incessant whining.

Paging KobeMVP888, paging KobeMVP888 ...

PSP Officer

Note to Kareem: You're no Magic Johnson. You were reclusive as a player and showed contempt for the fans. I recall seeing you standing in the tunnel at the forum during warm ups before a game against Chicago while your broken hand was healing from punching another player in a fight. A fan with a camera, a kid, leaned over to take a picture of you and I watched as you backed into the tunnel to avoid the picture. The thought that came to my mind was "what low class". The kid just wanted a picture and that was clearly in imposition on you.

Mark Medina,

OF COURSE that's the kind of thing Magic would Tweet.

And it is the exact reason why he deserved the first statue.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


First of all, I don't know what great accomplishments Oscar De La Hoya accomplished that merits his statue at Staples as most if not all of his big money fights were abject failures.

I know that Kareem had problems with respect to being people friendly, but we all have our faults and his are not so grievous as to be undeserving of this honor.

Like I said if anyone deserves a statue, it is Kareem and not someone like Oscar De La Hoya that has moral faults all the way down to the time he was an amateur, professional career, etc., especially Oscar's rape or history of rape.

Jon K pulling no punches and telling it like it is every single day of the week

The Lakers forgot to show Kareem some love. Unfortunately, the Laker's organization is run like a big business where the rainmakers get the big contracts and somehow, the financial and legal people forgot about Kareem. Buss hangs at Hollywood Park Casino and is a "Hollywood" type of guy. Kareem should not be penalized for not wanting to be part of that crowd. We all know Kareem is an intellectual rather than a partier etc. Come on show Kareem some love.

It's also time for Magic to grow a pair of balls and speak up for Kareem.

100% behind the Cap on this one. The Lakers have clearly disrespected and shown as little affection as possible towards Kareem. As a fan who grew up watching the Showtime Lakers, I clearly remember just how valuable he was to their success. I love Magic and West, but Kareem has won as many titles and MVPs as those two combined.
Shame on the Buss' for skimping on playoff shares and pay to the guy.

I really can't stand when people I look up to that have an inspirational and legendary legacy tarnish it with their ego's self-importance/self-pity

It's not like we gave anyone undeserving a statue before Kareem

Magic - had f@#%@ing aids and only wore a Laker uniform
West - ultimate Laker legend & JUST got his statue put up
Hearn - deceased & beyond legendary
De La Hoya - not a statue put up by Lakers
Gretzky - also not a Laker statue

It feels like Kareem took a page out of Bynum's book in that he went public with his personal frustrations with the Laker organization instead of keeping it direct with those he's frustrated with.

All of you fake Laker fans who can't understand Kareem's hurt, don't understand Laker history and his role in it. He needs a statue immediately!

This is just another example of a team refusing to be honest with their former superstar in favor of coddling them. If the Lakers had an impression that Kareem would not be a good fit as an official assistant coach, they had to tell him that in no uncertain terms. It appears he was led on by the organization and as such feels slighted in comparison to the other former players currently employed by the organization. I can't say I can completely blame him for his take on the situation, but it does come across as sour grapes. It's sad that it seems to have gotten to the point that a professional relationship between the two sides won't continue.

Hey Kareem the lakers dont own staples. If Tim Liweke told you that you were getting a statue and you havent how can you hold that against the lakers. Lieweke runs AEG which owns staples. They also just got around to putting up The Logos statue and I'm pretty sure he played quite some time before you. Quit whining.

I know that there are other people as deserving of an Statue at Stapeles besides Kareem, and as an acknowledgement of this fact, I would as a design artist would perhaps add one or perhaps two other Laker players to share the limelight with Kareem, most specifically I want Jamaal Wilkes to share the spotlight.

Kareem's statue is already a foregone conclusion.

It is just a matter of time.

I completely agree that Kareem should have had a statue long fact had the Lakers done it properly, they would have dedicated it at the same time as Magic's statue...a classy thing to do...

Where, if I am Kareem, I am buttered is the fact the DelaHoya got a statue there LONG before Kareem...and so did Gretzky might be the Great one..but he never brough LA any championships and Kareem brought us FIVE!!!!! De La Hoya is someone who should have had his statue there....oh...sometime after Mike Smrek....

So I get Kareem being buttered. However, I think he could have handled it with the dignity with which he has handled it up to this point.


Stop the whinning already!

Does Kareem deserve a statue? Yes.

Do we as fans need to listen to him whine like a four year old who just had his toy truck ripped from his clutches? NOOOOOOOOO!

We are still trying to come to terms with one of the worst beatdowns in recent Laker playoff history. We do not need to listen to this garbage.

The more he talks, the more it tarnishes his great years as a player.

Has Kareem quit the weed?
It seems like he needs to start it up again because he could use an extra dose.

They told you that you will be getting a statue in the near future, so shut up and be patient!

KAJ need's to fall in line, Kobe Bryant need's to get a statue outside Staples Center and then KAJ can have one.

what a baby

Kareem for his contribution to the city of Los angeles.He contributed to the winning culture of this city as much as anyone. UCLA Basketball, three time champion, would have four if freshman allowed to play,not to mention 5 times champion with lakers. All time leading scorer, 19time allstar, hit two big free throws in game 6 against detroit to force a game seven, Kareem is right. He deserves a statue and hasnt been shown much love for his contribution. He not only deserves a status at Staples center but also at pauley pavillion. He's a LA basketball legend on all levels

Well, I grew up with Lew (now Kareem), figuratively. We're the same age.

He's the Greatest Basketball Player , ever! (They changed the rules of the collegiate game because of him.)

This PR spectacle, however, makes me think: WWWD? (What would Wooden do?)


Wayne Gretzky, Ted Williams and Bill Russell were all mediocre coaches despite being the best players. Even Magic Johnson was only 6-11 as Laker coach.

We all love Kareem and hope he gets his status soon! Kareem is thoughtful, insightful and actually writes his own books which I enjoy, but his cerebral, thoughtful demeanor has never struck me as appropriate for championship coaching, sorry number 33!

Negotiating for a playoff bonus?

Having to ask for a statue?

Kareem is the reason we have five of those banners flying in Staples. I'm sure he never had to deal with anything like this when he was playing. It may have been naive on his part, but come on. How does a franchise that is the class of the NBA screw with one of its LEGENDS like that? I understand that Dr. Buss is a pretty good poker player and likes to use leverage to his advantage every chance he gets(see Shaq,Ariza,etc), but this was a hand he should have folded a long time ago.

Champions aren't just measured by the titles they win, but also the manner in which they treat the people that made those titles possible.

Get "Cap" a damn statue already.

Players also play for respect from peers, from fans, and from organizations who have benefited from their skill sets and loyalty!

Kareem has always been cerebral, always. He's lifestyle was different based on the times, his race, his early years, John Wooden's influence, the radical philosophy of the 60's, his belief in Islam outside the Nation of Islam, the attempts at his life, many factors that force him to become a recluse ...

He's always be different, but not indifferent ... . Kareem speaks in truths, he knows no other way!

I totally agree that Kareem should get a statue but now he just sounds like he's a whining ungrateful retired athlete. And from what I've seen in interviews (before this one), he would not make a good coach, no matter how much he wants to. Can you imagine him trying to motivate players? I don't get what Kareem hopes to accomplish w/ what's he said - are teams gonna want him to coach and/or is he gonna get his statue any sooner? For someone who I perceived to be introverted but classy, this gripe about his perception that he's been "disrespected" by the Laker organization makes him look tacky and petty.

His act is getting old.

We're not saying he doesn't deserve a statue, of course he does, that's why he's next on the list -- I mean, who else would be next?

Complaining about money is ridiculous though. He had more than enough opportunity to turn his legendary status into revenue over the past decades, but just didn't have the intention or motivation to do it.

So this is all essentially about money and public recognition. He deserves the recognition, but it's not like the Lakers ever told him to F off or were actually disrespecting him.

Although, I'm guessing his introverted personality plays a role in how much love they show him compared to other Laker legends.

By the way, thanks MM for giving me again the Friedman Award.

I think I'm an ingrate awardee because someone might think it's all favoritism. Similar to this complaint of Kareem not getting a statue when he is the No. 1 record holder of most points scored in NBA. He excelled College and professional basketball but there is no lasting honor for him. To me, to hell with all statues they don't deserve to have one. Let the future generation make that decision. Like for example a statue of Naismith for his discovery of basketball a hundred years ago, nobody knows him from this generation but we all benefited from his invention. If we put a statue of Naismith, I'm sure everybody would be interested of his accomplishment. John Wayne has a statue at the international airport in Orange County, I don't hear complains from liberals why is he getting a statue in that airport? Similar to former Mayor Bradley, he has a bust at a terminal named after him at LAX, now that he is dead, is there anyone from conservatives complaining about his bust whether political arch rivals or other families of former mayors. My theory is right that living persons have always something to gripe while dead ones are always at peace.

I had some personal dealings with Kareem and he was one of the biggest a-holes I have ever met. If you have to ask for a statue you probably don't deserve one. Kareem continues to care about the only thing that matters to him...himself.

A truly great, and feared player..................the second best center of all-time. But, hasn't he always been a whiner?

In his book, "Giant Steps", I lost a lot of respect for him when he refused to acknowledge how Elvin Hayes outplayed him ONE day......he wasn't the best in the world ONE day, and he more than made up for it a couple of months later.

In addition, his book also attributes racist comments about Dave Cowens and Bill Walton - both of whom beat Kareem in the playoffs (2 different years). He deserves a statue, but really needs to shut up and let it happen!!

"It's amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." - somewhere John Wooden is not looking kindly on this selfish act!

1. I don't think Kareem is speaking of being a HEAD coach; although he might be. We've discussed this several years ago about how KAJ probably wouldn't become a head coach anywhere in the NBA due in large part to his age. But being an assistant, like a legitimate assistant IS something he could do and do very very well. Problem is, assistants are usually hired by the head and not by the organization.

2. This is beyond a statue people. This is coming from years of neglect; years might not even describe it... decades of neglect.

3. KAJ creates PR nightmares for himself; this is maybe his worst example of it.

4. Regardless of what an A-hole KAJ has been to the public/fans or even now in the media, Buss ought to have (even if for selfish reasons) figured out where KAJ could benefit the organization and made him part of Laker family.

Instead, he's an outcast.

He might have some of that coming to him, but it's still STUPID business by Buss. Fix the problem, and fix it now.

People person or not, if you add up what he did for the Lakers and Bruins, we're probably talking about the most accomplished athlete in LA sports history here. Kareem statue should've been a slam-dunk, and Chick would be the first to say it.

As a Muslim you are never supposed to worship false idols which a statue would stand for...Kareem you can't have both.

Why is Kareem going around griping against the Lakers?

The fellow is in need of money. When you are broke, little things mean a lot including those playoff bonuses. Well, let's put it this way, the Cap has cancer and bills to pay to go on living. What he's earning now is not enough, so find a way to get more mileage from books advertising, Laker biatching*, interviews and social media network. The more we talk of Kareem, the more funds flowing in. It is all about attention and cashing it in for personal needs.

Will the Lakers give a business for him? I don't think so. They have no more use of Kareem, it's all business, corporations are just interested of their own interests.

Well I suppose that Staple's center is perhaps more willing to put a statue of Mike Tyson even as they have put a statue of another rapists on their grounds, Oscar De La A Hole

Get over yourself, Lew.

So you may love Kareem, G. Money, but the feeling is definitely not mutual.

Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | May 19, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Dude...I've met the Cap in his UCLA days at a mutal friends home, down to earth and friendly. Can't speak for the Cap today, but still my favorite GREAT.

Hey Jerry Buss!!! HELLO!!! Can you please lift your white powder laced face off that 18 year old's chest for a second and take care of the Laker family here?

We obviously have a member of the family that doesn't feel like he's a member of the family.

Please fix this, right now, before you go back to entertaining yourself.


Give him a statue, we need him to continue to develop Andrew.

"the second best center of all-time"

You mean, behind Wilt?

Or did you mean that rings = quality of player?

In that case, Robert Horry > Larry Bird
and D Fish = Magic Johnson

Yeah. Nice metric there.

This question of "disrespect" seems to have affected Mr. Jabbar in many ways. He is in his '60s and is presumably seasoned enough in life to understand that everything has its place and its season. In terms of getting a statue, I would argue that he should have gotten his concurrently with Magic Johnson (since the two of them together encapsulated the "Showtime" era) and before that of Chick Hearn.

Speaking of Mr. Hearn, the way this whole statuary issue has been handled by AEG and Mr. Lieweke suggests that "the mustard has fallen off the hot dog...."

When I first heard Kareem was upset he hadn't gotten a statue yet, I thought to myself, patience, Kareem. It will happen. Why bring this up publicly? But then, I read the Sporting News interview.

The statue is just one of the problems Kareem is upset about. What really is the problem is when the Lakers cut his salary and then also did not give Kareem a playoff share. And for that the Lakers organization should be blasted, for that is a slight not to mention bush league. The Lakers have always seemed to have taken care of their own, but not in this situation.

Here's hoping Dr. Buss rectifies this situation and assures Kareem and all his fans with actions and not just words. Kareem Abdul Jabbar is every bit as important as ANY Laker that has ever been associated with this organization. As a lifelong Lakers fan, I am very disappointed that they have treated him in this manner. And right when he needed the Laker family more than ever when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. You just don't do that to family. Period. Make it right, Lakers.


Oscar De La Hoya received a statue for three reasons:

1. He was an amazing boxer.

2. He's from Los Angeles.

3. He's Hispanic and the present local political/business leadership is obsessed with appealing to Hispanic pride at this time.

You take away any of these three, he doesn't get a statue.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


I think to make a point, we should aggressively begin the "GET ELGIN BAYLOR A STATUE NOW!!!!" Campaign.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Posted by: Crenshaw '85 | May 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Dude...Agree 100%, most of theses transplants on this blog don't really no the lakers true HEROES.

Crenshaw '71

let's just throw him a couple mil for shitsngigs and a tentative statue installation date & let Kareem choose where the statue goes

does that work for you Kareem? just say you're still a Laker, PLEASE!!!!!

this is National Enquirer material, not news.

Amen, JP. Cap had something on his heart and he let it go at a time -- in the offseason ahead of a challenging transitional period --- that was as appropriate as any. This is not the first time a member of the Lakers family has felt ostracized. He has every right to speak on it.

To those who complain about Kareem's "ego": even assuming you're correct, what exactly have you done for the Lakers organization to criticize him? He worked hard for the Lakers during and after his playing career, he wants recognition and he deserves it.

Jerry West and Magic Johnson remain the definitive Lakers. But Cap was the cornerstone in the greatest run LA has ever had. Call the scupltor and buy the bronze.

Everybody is complaining that Kareem doesn't have people skills, that he doesn't relate, that he can't coach. Well, are we all so sure? One of the greatest basketball players of all time? Are we so certain that he has nothing to give back to the game? Not everyone interrelates with one another in the same way. Would it have been so hard for the league, for the Lakers, to do the reaching out in this case, and find out if Kareem has something to offer the game, the players, the team? Work with him a little bit, find a place for the big fella, figure out where he can contribute. You never know, the Lakers may have missed something there. The man has a sharp intellect. Figure out how to tap into it. Maybe it's Cap who comes across as seeming petty, because communication in certain circumstances has always been difficult for him. But in the end, maybe it's the Lakers who are the losers in this relationship.

>>>Just wanted to pass this along. Magic Johnson via Twitter expressed his
>>>support: "@kaj33 deserves and has earned a statue, even before me."

And that's the difference between Magic and Kareem. Magic always defers to his teammates. He'd probably say West and Baylor and Worthy and Wilkes deserve a statue before him if you asked him. And if Kareem had a statue up and Magic didn't, then Magic wouldn't be whining to the press about it.

You can't spell "Kareem" without the letters in "me"

I've said for a couple of years now that we're going to have to build a Lakers museum or Lakers park to accommodate everyone.

The more statues that come up, the more people begin to ask, "Why don't I have a statue?"

Kareem's being a baby right now, but pro athletes and highly competitive people usually have huge egos and the bigger the ego the easier it is to bruise.

That much said, Magic and Jerry exemplify character in ways that many former Lakers do not. Though intangible qualities are why they rightfully were the first two Lakers statues to be unveiled.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


>>>Dude...I've met the Cap in his UCLA days at a mutal friends home, down to
>>>earth and friendly

Different situation. A mutual friends' home implies that he was in a private setting with a friend of his, who was also a friend of yours. I'm sure even Osama Bin Laden was all chummy when he would hang out at his buddies house.

I'm talking about in public, with people they don't know. Magic ALWAYS smiles and says hi to people. Kobe went so far as to discuss the team with fans in front of a restaurant. That backfired, but still shows that he appreciates his fans and acknowledges that WE ARE THE REASON that he's rich and famous. If there were no fans, there would be no NBA and none of us would ever have heard of Lew Alcindor or Kobe Bryant.

Kareem is antagonistic to fans in public. Probably if he was at a book signing or something where he was promoting something, he'd be a little more relaxed. But if you run into him at Pauley Pavillion (where I've encountered Magic and Kareem) or in front of a public building (where I've encountered Shaq) or something like that, he'd either ignore you or have his bodyguard shoo you away.

this is National Enquirer material, not news.

Posted by: mud | May 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM


I feel like EVERY story about the Lakers since they have been kicked out of the playoffs is a National Enquirer story.

I wonder which way the Lakers go from here. Do they stay quiet and let people think they didn't give one of their greatest legends the respect he deserved? Or do they disrespect him even further by clearing their name and telling the real reasons behind their actions? Either way both sides lose.

Guys, John Black made some comments to me, which I'm publishing in its entirety. The post is being edited right now

>>>Or do they disrespect him even further by clearing their name and telling the
>>>real reasons behind their actions?

You make it sound like they have some sinister plot against Kareem or something.

Look, they TOLD Kareem that they'd be building a statue of him. He admitted as much. He's just being a whiny-ass Veruca Salt type. (Don't CARE how, I want it NOW!)

For all those who are asking why Oscar de la Hoya has a statue:

It is NOT due to the reason for his boxing skills alone. It is a business decision.

- He is from LA. He is Hispanic.

We all know the widespread Hispanic population in/around LA and in S--Cal. So, what better way to keep the Hispanic community happy??

Not to sound racist guys, if I sounded like that, please apologize me.

But the bare-bones fact of why Oscar has a statue is that only. Its a 1000% business decision, and nothing to do with "celebration of his greatness"

Another thing you have to understand about Kareem, perhaps you can relate this to your father, uncle or neighbor who is a baby boomer grew up during the sixties. They all have come to an age as misfits to the new generation. The bridge the gap between the ultra conservatives and the generation X hence. This generation rebel against their elders and the establishment for their misdeeds and unfairness. As such rebellious attitude carried over the years now that they are the elders. It shows from Phil Jackson, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Jerry Sloan they are the product of cultural icons Bob Dylan, Beatles and JFK. Whining and complaining is part of their dynamics as assertions of their rights. They think that this generation benefited from their protests years and appears to be ungrateful for the change made. They are taken for granted as aging baby boomers without given any due respect for the cultural and philosophical revolution that they have initiated. This generation are very sensitive to exploitation whether it was done by their elders, the haves and the youth.

This is just sad and totally unbecoming of a legendary player. From Kareem's own words, here what I take away from this:

1. A guy known to be intellectually curious signed a contract whose terms he was unfamiliar with. Not regarding something minor or irrelevant, but something (eligibility for a playoff share) that he deemed very important. That's not on the Lakers, that's on Kareem.

2. Kareem got health insurance benefits as part of a part-time job, which benefits were put to very good use when he developed leukemia. Not such a bad deal considering that most part-time employees get zero benefits. How much money did the health insurance save Kareem by exempting him from liability for leukemia treatment? Probably a lot more than an assistant coach's playoff share....

3. Kareem was told by the guy in charge of statues at Staples Center (Tim Leiweke, a guy NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE LAKERS) that Kareem would be next in line. Kareem's response is to publicly criticize the Lakers. Huh?

This relationship has clearly gone off the tracks, and like any relationship that does, I'm sure the blame goes both ways, but what I am hearing from Kareem himself sure paints the guy in a negative light.

Note to Cap: you did great things on the court for the Lakers, and for those things you were RICHLY compensated. You also were the recipient of the ultimate honor by having your number retired and placed in the rafters where everyone can see it during every Laker game from here on. But you want a statue. Frankly, your attitude makes me sick and I'd be more angry at you if I wasn't so saddened by all of this....

@EDWIN … Congrats on ANOTHER Friedman. An excellent observation as usual. You have your finger on the pulse of Lakers fandom as well as anybody on this blog, my friend. Keep it up

But let me clarify my position.

I think Kareem was either the greatest or second greatest Laker of all time.

I also think he's brilliant - the books he's authored and the research on the Harlem Rens show that he's not just some average joe, or worse yet dumb jock whose scoring average is higher than his IQ.

And I think Kareem DESERVES a statue.

But I have seen him treat fans that try to talk to him like lepers, or worse like they don't even exist. This isn't anecdotal or third party - I was there several times and saw UCLA students begging for an autograph or just to say hi to Kareem during halftime of a game. And if the security guy didn't shoo them off, he just ignored them. Like they're not WORTHY of him turning around and waving or anything so degrading.

I can understand it a little - I don't think I'd want to be a celebrity with people fawning over you all the time - I'm sure it could get annoying. But if you're sitting at the bleachers AT PAULEY PAVILLION, and you're getting some attention, at least you could be a bit gracious about it. John Wooden gracefully spoke to people (including me) at games during the breaks. Perhaps that's a lesson that Kareem failed to learn from the Wizard of Westwood.

The only other person I've ever seen be that disrespectful of other people is Michael Eisner. If you passed him in the hallway and said hi, he'd just ignore you as if you didn't exist (unless you were a VP or higher probably). It's a monumental level of ego and disdain for the people who made you what you are.

And this "I WANT A STATUE, WAAHHHH WAAHHHHH!!!!" makes him sound like a petty egotistical child. A less egotistical man, if asked waht he was asked might have said something like, "They said that I'll eventually be getting a statue, and I'm honored that they would consider me to be among the ranks of Laker greats."

So what you don't all know is that it's actually a conspiracy.

The Lakers organization decided long ago that they can never be completely out of the news. So in seasons when they aren't making it to the finals, they have to start a controversy to keep them in the news.

In 2007, they told Kobe to go make some comments to fans on a cell phone camera about shipping Bynum out, and faked a spat between Kobe and Dr. Buss.

Now they told Kareem to make a fuss about not having a statue. If that doesn't keep them in the news, I'm sure they'll ask Artest to go do something apeshit.

All to keep them in the public eye. ;-)

Both sides are wrong....

Buss family why nickel and dime someone that was an integral part of your business growth for nearly 15 years? You've built a reputation as being the one of the best owners in the world. To quote the Russian gangster in Rounders....Pay the Man his Money.

Kareem - I understand your frustration over the $$$, but its your fault you didn't make sure it was in your contract. As far as the statue goes...No man should worry about his own honor/praise.

"You make it sound like they have some sinister plot against Kareem or something.

Look, they TOLD Kareem that they'd be building a statue of him. He admitted as much. He's just being a whiny-ass Veruca Salt type. (Don't CARE how, I want it NOW!)

Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | May 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM "

No no not at all. I'm sure there's a good explanation for the claims Kareem is making. It's just going to be a tough call that the Lakers are going to have to make here.

Do they say nothing and hope this story dies or do they explain their actions and tear down Kareem by pointing out why he might have deserved some of this? It's a lose/lose for both sides that this came out.

So I don't know if you remember or not, but back when people were saying that the Lakers should pay Lamar 10 million a year when he was holding out, I did some rough calculations (based on Forbes' report of how much the Lakers makes as a business) and estimated how much the Lakers could spend and still make a profit.

I don't remember the exact number, but I know they were pretty close.

And note that those numbers assumed that they went all the way to the finals and played an average extra number of home games.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Lakers lost money this season. Or if they were profitable, it was just barely and only because of dumping Sasha.

Whatever the case, I bet Kobe, Pau, and maybe Drew all made more money off the Lakers than Jerry Buss this season.

This statue issue with Kareem has more to do with business-driven motives than personal, with AEG's having a business stake in showcasing the 3 sporting events at Staples Center, i.e., hockey (Gretzky), boxing (De La Hoya) and basketball (Magic). De La Hoya got the statue because of his Golden Boy Promotion company and its ability to rent Staples Center with high-profile boxing matches.

Give him a statue, we need him to continue to develop Andrew.

Posted by: prommer | May 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM


you mean dwight howard.

kareem is a pretty cool dude. work hooked it up w/ lexus club tickets for a game and kareem was hangin out at the bar. i walked by him and said "what's up kareem!" he acknowledged me and said hi!! i didn't expect a rant about a statue though.. it doesn't really mean anything. i that matters more is the jersey hanging in the rafters. don't know why they created these stupid statues anyway. if statues are mandatory, then i hope shaq, brian shaw, robert horry and rick fox get one each as well. put manny pacquiao there while you're at it. and girls generation.



William Felton Russell - end of discussion!!

Does anyone know what Kareem's actual role with the team has been lately? I've heard some people saying Bynum started refusing his help a couple years ago, some people say Kareem quit on his own because of his health problems, some say Kareem is still working with Andrew regularly..which is it?

Many people dogging Kareem here must not know what Kareem meant to the city of LA back when he was winning championships for UCLA and then the Lakers. Maybe this is part of the reason why we got blown out in the playoffs this season. We cant take care of arguably the greatest basketball player ever?
Andrew Bynum was smart to call for Kareem to teach him. You mean to tell me that the Laker organization did not have the foresight of a teenager that was not even born when Kareem was winning championships!
Its obvious that the Buss family does not like Kareem. Maybe it is because he is a muslim brother and not lax on the moral fortitude like the boss man Jerry Buss and Magic.
Kareem is a stand up guy and i highly respect him for that. I know that many basketball fans in LA love Kareem. We all know that Jerry Buss loves to party with young girls and gamble. We all know about the lifestyle that got Magic HIV. We know that Jerry West had some problems with the Buss family too which is why he left to GM in Memphis. Also Shaq had to go cause of his problems with Buss. The shame hovering over the Lakers is that the good guy great players like Kareem and Shaq and West seem to get disrespected by the Laker organization.

Putting tools like Twitter in the hands of professional athletes and celebrities is like giving children a loaded gun to play with. Every public relations consultant out there should be advising their clients to resist the lure of tweeting with their fans. It can only lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Kareem’s tweets about his dissatisfaction with the Lakers for their failure to erect a statue of him in front of Staples center is a perfect example of it can undermine a celebrity’s public relations image.

I have always loved Kareem as a player and a person. While Magic might have had the million megawatt smile that captured your heart, I always found Kareem to be a more intelligent, serious, and socially aware individual. While I can understand the frustration of fans with whom the Cap might have appeared to have been rude, they need to have some sympathy for what it must have been like for Kareem as the league’s premier superstar, a Goliath for all of the David’s to hate.

Starting with how John Wooden secluded a young Lew Alcindor from the media when he was at UCLA, Kareem struggled to come to grips with his stardom and all the attention it attracted. I think fans need to understand how different his situation was compared to Magic and other more outgoing stars. What Kareem contributed to the legacy that is today’s Los Angeles Lakers cannot be denied or trivialized. As much as Jerry and Magic, he deserves to be respected and loved by all Lakers fans.

Until you’ve walked a few miles in Kareem’s shoes, I suggest that you put aside any bitter memories and give the guy who may well be the GLOAT the break he deserves. I refuse to lower my gratitude or respect for this great Laker player because of a few possibly inappropriate tweets. He was and will always be a heroic figure to me who deserves to be given some slack as he tries to come to grips with his legacy. Don’t let inconsequential incidents like this undermine the greatness that was Kareem.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | May 19, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Brilliant Edwin.

At LongTimeLakerFan:
So what if Kareem does not give autographs or does not want to be bothered. That does to stop me from being a fan of his and appreciative for all that he has brought to this city of LA. If i want an autograph for my kid from Kareem and he says no I am not going to hate the guy. If he does not acknowledge me when i see him walking down the hallway i am not going to hate him for that. I know this man wants his privacy and peace when he is off the court. He is not out partying and acting a fool and he is an intellectual and values that. My Gosh! Those are good things that should be respected in a man. Then there is the greatness that Kareem is on the court. This is the guy that the immortal Bruce Lee choose to act with in his last film! My Gosh! Kareem deserves much respect in LA and should not have to ask for a damn statue before Magic Johnson or Jerry West. He has done more than Magic for the City of LA because he not only brought more championships but he is more of a good character role model that you would want to teach kids in our city.

Giant Green Bald Headed Lunatic,

Point taken. I accept your metric.

PJ >> Red Auerbach

John Salley > Larry Bird

Derek Fisher > Dennis Johnson

Robert Horry > Kevin McHale

John Havlicek > Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor... combined

Sam Jones > Michael Jordan

That's a sick metric there.

Giant Green Bald Headed Lunatic,

I also forgot the most obvious of them all...

Luke Walton > Paul Pierce, KG, Ray Allen, or Rondo straight up.

Actually, I sort of like this metric. It's pretty easy to use.

Tim 4 Show - what on earth are you talking about?

I'd say 11 World Titles (where he was THE key player), 2 as the first Black Head Coach in the game, 2 NCAA titles and 1 Gold Medal in addition to FIVE MVP awards warrant a TOKEN of respect on your part - I "love" lakers fans. You can't give anyone else any respect at all. It's got nothing to do with rings. In the same way Kareem revolutionized the college game, Russell re-invented the pro game with his rebounding, defense and outlet passes. Magic is THE best PG ever, MJ is the best SG ever............and Bill Russell is the best center ever - get over yourself!!

And according to YOUR logic, not mine
Russell = Shaq and Wilt AND Kareem........COMBINED!!

Just wonder where you would place Russ all time? Probably like 8th - love those lakers fans!!

Kareem Abdull jabbar. man he trained with bruce lee. he touched his hands. just a lucky guy to met bruce lee

>>>Give him a statue, we need him to continue to develop Andrew.

And therein lies the best reason for giving him the statue ASAP.

>>>So what if Kareem does not give autographs or does not want to be
>>>bothered. That does to stop me from being a fan of his and appreciative for
>>>all that he has brought to this city of LA.

Nor me. I was merely commenting that it's kind of a dichotomy. He wants us all to worship him abstractly at a statue, but when it comes to actual human contact, most of us are untouchables. And I should point out that I never actually tried to talk to him and got snubbed. I try not to disturb celebs in public for the most part.

But a statue and a wave are both connections between a person and his fans.

>>>If i want an autograph for my kid from Kareem and he says no I am not
>>>going to hate the guy.

So what if he has a bodyguard who shoves your kid away if he tries to walk up to Kareem to ask for the autograph. Still happy?

I don't hate him - I just think there's a weird dichotomy there - he refuses to acknowledge attention when given directly, but he wants attention (via a statue) so badly that he feels slighted that it's not there.

>>>If he does not acknowledge me when i see him walking down the hallway i am
>>>not going to hate him for that.

It's not a matter of hate - it's a matter of respecting him less.

A human being that doesn't acknowledge me as a human being is disrespecting me, and thus he is less deserving of my respect.

>>>Kareem deserves much respect in LA and should not have to ask for a damn
>>>statue before Magic Johnson or Jerry West.

In your opinion. I think Kareem deserves a statue, but I'd place both Magic and West before him as contributors to the Lakers franchise and Los Angeles sports history.

>>>He has done more than Magic for the City of LA because he not only brought
>>>more championships but he is more of a good character role model that you
>>>would want to teach kids in our city.

Well, only if you count college championships. And that is the City of LA.

Magic and Kareem brought the same number of championships TO THE LAKERS.

If Kareem is asking the City of LA to build a statue for him, then he should be in consideration, but the line is much longer. If he's asking the Lakers, then he's probably next in line, but it wasn't disrespectful for Chick, Magic, and West to get build first.


>>>but he is more of a good character role model that you would want to teach
>>>kids in our city.

...unless you're teaching your kids how to get good self PR or teaching your kids how to respectfully interact with people.

>>>Derek Fisher > Dennis Johnson

On what FREAKING planet is that the case?

Dennis Johnson was the FINALS MVP of the 1979 NBA Championships. Fisher's peak was about the level of Johnson's nadir.

Giant Green Bald Headed Lunatic,

>>>He deserves a statue, but really needs to shut up and let it happen!!
>>>"It's amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the
>>>credit." - somewhere John Wooden is not looking kindly on this selfish act!

Perfectly stated.

Kareem is 100% justified in speaking out. He is quite possibly the greatest basketball player ever and a total team player on the court. The reason he hasn't been properly acknowledged by the Lakers or some in the media in a manner consistent with his stature is not because of his allegedly "gruff" interactions. It has more to do with his independent mind and his political consciousness. Kareem was long-ago disliked by media members for his religious conversion, his outspoken criticism of racism (boycott of 1968 Olympics), and his unwillingness to give short, sound-bite answers. The fact is Kareem is simply more intelligent than many media members and they resented him because he wouldn't just be a "dumb jock."

***LakerTom --

I absolutely LOVED your post at 1:06 pm!

**Tim-4-show --

I completely agree with you, the Lakers blew this, in my opinion as well. You take care of your family! Dr. Buss, move on this right quick! Kareem may not be Magic in your eyes, but he was so fundamentally crucial in the success of your brand, your Lakers. Without Kareem, the Lakers today would not be what they are, the most lucrative and successful franchise in the NBA. Dr. Buss, you need to take care of this man, this is not about a bronze statue, it's about having been treated like an outsider for decades now, after being so very responsible for so much of its success on the court! It's a damn shame you have neglected this situation to the point that it had to boil over onto the public arena. And now, your brand has lost some of its luster, and you're solely responsible for this, Dr. Buss, and only you can make it better.

**Edwin --

Great insight into the '60's generation. was always of the opinion that the baby-boomers were a whinning bunch. I mean, they grew up in the '50's, in the great post-war boom, with washing machines, TVs, vaccum cleaners, toasters. They were spoiled children (the very FIRST spoiled generation in America). Then they went to Vietnam and complained about it to no end and smoked pot and did drugs to escape (as if WWI and WWII vets had a picnic in those god-awful trenches -- they were real men). This is not to diminsh the monumental sacrifices of Vietnam vets as a whole, by no means, but there was always an element of "self" and "me" amongst the baby-boomer generation and it continues to this day, this, even though the '60's were sold as the "we" generation.

LongTimeLakerFan --

Once again, you get it wrong... Kareem's complaint is not about getting a statue (he knows he will), it's more about being neglected for 20 years and passed over for coaching positions, real or imagined. TJ Simmers says as much, because Kareem just had his exit interview with Kupchak on Monday, and Mitch probably told him he would not be in the Laker's coaching plans next year, and within hours, this whole thing explodes in the public arena about Kareem being "slighted" over not getting a statue. It's more like getting slighted over not getting a real coaching opportunity in Lakerdom.

In fact, you're the one who seems petty for bringing up how Kareem didn't give you an autograph or had his bodyguard "shoo" you away. Bringing that stuff up from his playing days is pure petty, bro.

Li'l Floydie Jr lost his manhood. He craps in his pants at the mere mention of Pacquiao's name.

Crack Jr witnessed how PacMan destroyed Hatton, demolished Cotto, and re-arranged Margarito's face. Can't blame Floydie Jr for wanting to make babies with 50 Cents

Let's Go Clippers !

@ Edwin...great post...tyrone? You've gotta be kidding me. Let "pacman" fight somebody whom arum doesn't own....

Next:....I hope Kareem gets a statue while his disease is in remission. Some people don't know how to get things without grumbling. I believe the issue is his desire to coach, while watching his contemporaries who weren't "captains", get the opportunities. I don't know the reason, but there must be one. Rick Barry has the same gripe, and it's unfortunate. The owner of Staples and the organization has seemingly agreed to do it. I as a loyal fan and admirer of Alcindor/Jabbar, expect them to follow through.

last time i checked only thing a team was supposed to do for an employee was make sure their pay was right and all that other stuff is up to the discretion of the organization if you ask me the only one who should have a statue at staples center is the late chick herns everyone els is not that important i am a long tome laker fan who thinks kareem should sit down shut up and stop crying about a damn statue we have more important things going on in the world unemployment infact i think the lakers should take any money that would be used to build anymore statues and donate it to the nearest homeless shelter we have young men and women dying in iraq and afganastan we dont have time to worrie about a statue for a man who is still living stop crying big man youll get your statue soon enough.

One of the all-time great talents, at UCLA, and in the NBA. However, he's one of the all-time great sourpusses. Someone forgot to tell him that having a personality is party of self-marketing. He didn't pick that up, somewhere along the way.



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