Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/16/12
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will finally be honored with a statue outside of Staples Center on Friday, before the Lakers host the Phoenix Suns. It's easy to forget just how amazing Abdul-Jabbar was as a player, especially for younger generations who never had a chance to see him in person. His devastating sky hook was one of the most unstoppable moves of all-time. It's a wonder no one else has been able to master it. Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA titles, five with the Lakers and one with the Milwaukee Bucks. Magic Johnson won five titles, none without Abdul-Jabbar. Listed at 7-foot-2, Abdul-Jabbar finished with 38,387 points, still a record. The closest active player is Kobe Bryant, with 29,695, short by 8,692 points. In his 20 seasons, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points on 55.9 shooting, 11.2 boards and 2.6 blocked shots. Unlike many big men to follow, he was a dependable free-throw shooter at 72.1. Shaquille O'Neal might have been the Lakers' most physically imposing center, but Abdul-Jabbar was far more skilled, finishing with six NBA MVP awards and 19 All-Star appearances. He was selected to the All-NBA first team 10 times and was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. Also, Abdul-Jabbar's cameo in "Airplane!" trumps any of O'Neal's forays into cinema. The Showtime Lakers are often remembered for fastbreaks led by Johnson, but Abdul-Jabbar was in the middle of it all, since the half-court game was instrumental in every one of those titles. Subjectively, Abdul-Jabbar is the third-best Laker of all-time behind Johnson and Bryant, ahead of O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain and even Jerry West. His well-deserved statue will be unveiled around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
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