Culture of Hoops

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Can Stop Whining Now

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the much-maligned Los Angeles Lakers superstar, will be getting a statue of himself outside of Staples Center. According to the L.A. Times, it will happen sometime during the upcoming season. Finally, Abdul-Jabbar can stop whining about this issue.

Last year, Kareem was confounded as to why he didn’t already have a statue that went along with the current ones of former Lakers stars, Jerry West and Magic Johnson, and felt “slighted.” There’s no question that Kareem is one of the greatest of all-time, in fact, he’s the undeniable total points leader in NBA history. However, both West (who happens to also be the NBA’s logo) and Magic were lifelong Lakers, starting and ending their career with the franchise. Abdul-Jabbar began his with the Milwaukee Bucks.

It’s understandable how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can feel hurt, but whining about not having a statue of yourself is childish and takes away some of the glamour and honesty from the upcoming unveiling of his statue. One has to wonder if the Lakers felt pressured in any way to make this happen sooner than they wanted. I’m sure it was in the planning stages, but because of Kareem’s outburst last year, this seems kind of forced.

Back in the day, Abdul-Jabbar was known for being a silent warrior. He didn’t say much to the media, he didn’t seem to want any attention thrown his way. Kareem just did his job effectively and won titles, both scoring and championships. In a sense, garnering these accomplishments in his quiet way is all poetic considering how he went about his business – the sky hook.

The shot made famous by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar isn’t anything that will get fans out of their seat. It won’t make them say, “Whoa!” In fact, it doesn’t even have that bated breath factor of a fall-away jumper. The sky hook is a fundamental shot that puts the ball as far away from a defender and is shot at the maximal highest point. It basically cannot be blocked. It’s boring, but gets the job done. Well.

By whining last year about not having a statue, Kareem resorted to today’s athlete’s mentality where it’s all about “Me! Me! Me!” Where was the integrity from yesteryear? The seeming indifference to fame and recognition? That cool-breeze attitude? This wasn’t the first instance of Abdul-Jabbar whining about not having something he felt he deserved, as he did ponder why he wasn’t a head coach a few years ago.

However, while he does feel entitled to things, he must know that every single true NBA fan knows he’s earned at least a chance. He doesn’t just deserve it, Kareem has earned it. Understand the difference between the two – no one deserves anything, you have to earn everything. Abdul-Jabbar cannot control what NBA franchises do, so he should take the spiritual route of not worrying about it and that it will happen when it happens. All good things come in due time and longevity is Kareem’s thing as exemplified in his 20-year career.

Patience would have been the best virtue in this case and not the deadly sin of pride. Everybody that follows basketball knew that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earned a statue outside the Staples Center. Everybody, but Kareem, who felt he absolutely deserved it. Well, he’s also earned any dark spot that may linger from last year’s complaining from what would have otherwise been a shining moment.

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