Kareem Abdul-Jabbar statue to be unveiled outside Staples Center
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A statue of former Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, will be unveiled today outside Staples Center.
Abdul-Jabbar’s teammates with the 1980s “Showtime” Lakers Earvin “Magic” Johnson and James Worthy; the team’s coach, Pat Riley; former Laker player, coach and general manager Jerry West; and team executive Jeanie Buss are scheduled to join Abdul-Jabbar in speaking at the ceremony, which is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
The 1,500-pound, nearly 16-foot bronze statue was created by sculptors and artists Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany, who also created the statues of Johnson, West and the late Lakers announcer Chick Hearn which are in Staples Center’s Star Plaza.
The statue will be the sixth in the plaza. The others are of hockey’s all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky and former boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya.
Abdul-Jabbar was acquired by the Lakers in a 1975 trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, who he played with for the first six seasons of his NBA career, being selected as the league’s MVP three times and leading the team to its only championship in 1971.
Abdul-Jabbar played with the Lakers through 1989, was selected as MVP three more times and helped the teamwin five championships. His 38,387 points are the most in league history. He is third in rebounds and third in blocked shots, a statistic not kept his first four seasons in the league.
Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, led UCLA to NCAA championships from 1967-69 and is the only player to be named as the MVP of the NCAA tournament for three consecutive years.
Since retiring as a player in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar has been an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers and Seattle SuperSonics, a special assistant coach with the Lakers, and has authored seven best-selling books intended to popularize the contributions of blacks to American culture and history.
Abdul-Jabbar was named a cultural ambassador for the United States in January. He is the founder of the Skyhook Foundation, named for his signature shot, which seeks to raise the academic aspirations of students by connecting them with mentors and seeking to excite them about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
With the team off to a disappointing 1-4 start, the Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown today.
“This was a difficult and painful decision to make,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike’s efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown will likely be the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA franchise confirmed today.
"In response to rampant speculation and reports about our head coaching position and Mike Brown, we've met with Mike and are very impressed with him,'' according to a statement issued by the Lakers. "In addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days.''
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will launch a fundraising campaign for blood cancer research during halftime tonight, when the Los Angeles Lakers will meet the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center.
Abdul-Jabbar will take to the court to start the countdown clock for the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Skyhook Challenge to raise $38,387, matching the record number of points he scored in his NBA career.
He was diagnosed with the disease in 2008.
Chris Wright was playing professional basketball in Turkey last year, working toward achieving his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA, when something strange happened at the end of practice.
“I’m running sprints, just normal sprints, and I run and touch the baseline, go back and my foot gives out,” said Wright, now 23.
“I just thought I slipped or something like that. But I noticed my foot started getting numb and it just got progressively worse.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Mike D’Antoni to succeed Mike Brown as coach of the team.
D’Antoni, who coached the New York Knicks for the last four seasons and the Phoenix Suns for five seasons before that, agreed to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth season. The Los Angeles Times put the value of the deal at $12 million.