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Jabbar’s Legacy Is Taller Than Any Statue
America has a bad habit of distorting and denying history.
For political purposes, it has erased memorable moments, covered up painful events from the past, ripped out pages from the history books, destroyed sacred documents, changed the facts, and exterminated an entire race of people in order to promoted its selfish self-interest.
As a result, Kareem Abdul Jabbar is making sure that his name is not forgotten.
A statue too tall to be built
It all started when the 7-foot baller started campaigning and complaining about not having a statue of himself outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, despite being “questionablely the greatest college basketball ever to play the game”, where he won three NCAA championship at UCLA.
Despite playing 20 years in the NBA, being the All-time leading scorer in the league with 38,387 points, winning six NBA MVPs, along with six NBA Championship rings, five of those for the Los Angeles Lakers, he has been treated like “chopped liver.” (Those are his words not mind.)
Magic has one. West has one. Chick Hearn has one. Even Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya have one.But none for one of the Living Legends of the League, who invented the unblockable shot known as the “Skyhook.”
“I have expected better treatment from them (the Lakers)….” Jabbar said on the Mike and Mike Morning Show.
“I don’t have any problem with the people who got their statues up there. They absolutely earned it…..but me getting put on the back burner….I felt that I deserve better treatment than that.”
Protecting your legacy
Regardless of all of these facts, even I, in the beginning, thought, the one they called Kareem Abdul Jabbar, was being self-centered and a little arrogant in wanting a statue erect to be idolized by future generations of basketball lovers.
But now, I understand why he is doing it and what he is trying to accomplish.
Kareem, is simply, protecting his basketball legacy from being “whited-out” and tainted while he is still alive because dead men tell no tales.
Because if Kareem doesn’t protect his legacy from being forgotten within five years, there may be a program on the History Channel entitled the Real Face of Lew Alcindor”…….
Even though, many people may feel Kareem is overacting and a little paranoid, we must not forget that we live in a world where Wikipedia is the main source of our fact finding missions, and everything on the internet is perceived to be true by our children.
As a result, Kareem is brilliantly challenging our 21st century technology with some good old fashion story telling.
Because shamefully, we have become “prisoners of the moment”…In effect, we are quick to say Derrick Rose is better than Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal is better than Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Lebron James is better than Michael Jordan, and Dirk Nowitzki is better than Larry Bird.
For this very reason, we shouldn’t be shocked when Kareem wrote a letter to NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen after he stated that “Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game. But I may go as far to say Lebron James may be the the greatest player to ever play the game.”
This is how Jabbar addressed Pippen’s ill-advised comments.
A letter from the Legend
I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams. Every team had the opportunity to amass a solid nucleus. Only the cream of the basketball world got to play then. So MJ has to be appraised in perspective. His incredible athletic ability, charisma and leadership on the court helped to make basketball popular around the world – no question about that. But in terms of greatness MJ has to take a backseat to The Stilt.
In terms of winning, Michael excelled as both an emotional and scoring leader but Bill Russell‘s Celtics won 8 consecutive NBA Championships. Bills rebounding average per game is over 22.5 lifetime, MJs best rebounding years was 8 per game (1989). But we will never know exactly how many shots Bill Russell blocked because again, they never kept that statistic while he played. However, if you ask anybody that played against Russell they will just roll their eyes and say he blocked all the shots he wanted to block in the crucial moments of a game.
Bill played on a total of 11 Championship teams and as you very well know, Scottie, the ring is the thing, and everything else is just statistics. So I would advise you to do a little homework before crowning Michael or LeBron with the title of best ever. As dominant as he is, LeBron has yet to win a championship. I must say that it looks like Miami has finally put the team together that will change that circumstance. Its my hope that today’s players get a better perspective on exactly what has been done in this league in the days of yore. The change in style to the game is not any indication as to how many really talented players there are in the game. So the fact that skilled players come from all over the world does not change the quantity of outstanding talent. Simply put the number of players that could have stopped Wilt Chamberlain in his prime has not increased.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer
After reading Jabbar’s letter, we should make it mandatory for all of our children, who desire to play basketball to watch Black Magic produced by Earl the Pearl Monroe and Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s On the Shoulder of Giants:”The Greatest Team Never Heard Of.” before stepping on the court.
Transforming the Mind
Besides, when we, as a people, begin to read and study our glorious past and mediate on the greatness of our ancestors, there is a shift that takes place in our consciousness.
Why? Because metaphysically, the souls of our ancestors, come back and revisit us in our dreams and invoke new thoughts and new ideas. And in some miraculous cases, they even possess our spirits.
As a result, our attitude changes. Our personalities are altered. Our visions are sharpened. And we become transformed.
In my opinion, this is what is happening and has happened to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who confessed that he has been extremely shy his entire life, now has become more vocal after producing his On the Shoulders of Giants.
Why? Because now, he is no longer speaking for himself. He is truly standing on the shoulder of giants.
Speaking to a greater cause
In essence, he is speaking on the behalf of the legends of the league, who were not recognized due to racism. He is speaking for the giants of the game, who didn’t get the praise they deserved due to discrimination.
Jabbar, in fact, is becoming the voice of the voiceless, who did not have their stats recorded, did not have their stories told, did not have their highlights celebrated on ESPN or their games broadcasted for the world to see.
This is one reason why Jabber wants his statue to be build outside the Staples Center.
The statue is less about him and more about the players of the past that history failed to honor.
As a result, Kareem is viewing the game of basketball differently. He, in fact, has become a griot of the game, a historian of hoops, where his knowledge and wisdom will preserve, protect, and promote the past.
And for this reason, whether the Lakers build him a statue or not, we know how great he was and is…..
Thanks, for the memories, Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Your legacy is taller than any statue because you are standing On the Shoulder of Giants.