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Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be honored with a statute today at Star Plaza outside of the Los Angeles Staples Center. The 16-foot, 1,500-pound bronze statute will honor the player who is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points.
According to the Daily News, the statute will be presented along with images and Magic Johnson, James Worthy, coach Pat Riley and general manager Jerry West will be key speakers at the unveiling.
Abdul-Jabbar told the Daily News by phone, “It’s me in a classic sky-hook pose. It looks good.” The legendary basketball player won six NBA titles and six league MVP awards, many of which were with the Lakers.
The LA Lakers blog reports that the statute was created by sculptors artists Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omari Amrany and it will join other “iconic sculptures of celebrated Los Angeles sports superstars Wayne Gretzky, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jerry West, Chick Hearn and Oscar De La Hoya”.
The unveiling ceremony, which begins at 4:30 p.m. PST, is open free to the public and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will speak, along with former teammates, colleagues and friends. The statute is then scheduled to be unveiled at approximately 5:15 p.m. PST.
Though delighted to have a honorary statute erected to commemorate his playing legacy, Abdul-Jabbar has been busy in the past year with other endeavors, including serving as a “cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, traveling to Brazil to speak about education issues” and working as “California’s After School STEM ambassador,” where he spoke about “the importance of science and math in education.” Over the next year, the Daily News reports, Abdul-Jabbar will embark upon a nationwide city tour to unveil more than 300 additional pieces of NBA memorabilia, with proceeds from tickets benefiting his foundation and the STEM program.
But today, it’s all about that statute, and Abdul-Jabbar is enjoying every moment. “I’m very thankful and really appreciative,” he said. “It will be a nice thing to share with the fans and have some fun moments with it.”
ESPN writers that Abdul-Jabbar’s famous sky-hook pose is done by putting the “left leg straight, the right knee comes up, the left arm extends out, the right arm rises up with the ball and finally the wrist flicks to add the backspin, the seams rotating as the ball arcs to the hoop and drops through the net.”
Additional speakers at the statute unveiling include: Stu Lantz (emcee), Earvin “Magic” Johnson, James Worthy, Jerry West, Pat Riley, Eddie Doucette, Richard Lapchik, Jeanie Buss, Tim Leiweke. Former teammates, coaches along with friends and family of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will also be in attendance.