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.
There are five statues outside the arena recognizing Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Chick Hearn, Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya. Abdul-Jabbar believes it's high time the Lakers do the right thing and make him the sixth athlete so honored.
"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."
The six-time NBA MVP sounded even more offended in a statement released subsequently by his business manager.
"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 linchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history."
Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA titles in all and was part of three NCAA championship teams during his reign of greatness at UCLA. His accomplishments also include selection to a record 19 NBA All-Star teams (he played in 18).
Abdul-Jabbar tweeted Wednesday: "Magic waited 8 years to be honored in that way. So maybe I am chopped liver?"
Lakers spokesman John Black indicated to The Sporting News that Abdul-Jabbar is next in line to get a statue outside Staples Center.
"We've been at Staples Center 11 years and have two ex-players (Johnson and West) who have statues now," Black said, according to TSN. "It's not like we do it every year; we have no timetable. Whenever we do the next statue of the third Los Angeles Lakers player, it (will be) Kareem -- and he has been told that.
"Again, we didn't say when that was going to be. It could be next year, the year after or several years from now."
But Abdul-Jabbar isn't so sure about that.
"Rumor has it that I will be getting a statue," he tweeted Wednesday. "A caveat for all my fans -- don't hold your breath. Lakers don't care about me."
Several weeks ago, the Boston Celtics announced that Hall of Fame center Bill Russell will be honored with a statue in the city of Boston -- more than 40 years after his playing days for the Celtics ended.