Six-time NBA champion and the NBA’s all time points scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was honored by the Los Angeles Lakers in a moving and often emotional ceremony on Friday when a bronze statue of the Hall of Famer was unveiled outside the Staples Center.
Magic Johnson was among the speakers during a ceremony that featured key figures from Abdul-Jabbar’s childhood, his days in Milwaukee, and his Lakers years. All of them emphasized Abdul-Jabbar’s leadership, great athletic skills and intellectual curiosity.
Abdul-Jabbar, 65, thanked his youth and high school coaches as well as the late UCLA Coach John Wooden. He also said that through his Skyhook Foundation he is working with the California Board of Education to emphasize science, technology, engineering and math in schools, part of his aim to “turn success into significance.”
Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, joins fellow sports greats Wayne Gretzky, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Jerry West and Oscar De La Hoya in a group of iconic sculptures in the Star Plaza at the home of the Lakers.
Many critics believe a tribute to Kareem should have been done along time ago. “I’m glad we got here before the pigeons got to it,” he said, drawing laughter from an array of former NBA players, executives, family and friends.
When he’s not busy with his foundation, Kareem is very active in speaking engagements, corporate appearances and VIP Meet & Greets.