Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar Show Their True Colors

The effort to get Bill Russell a statue in Boston has been going on for years.  This past year, it picked up a lot of steam and, earlier this month, the team announced it was finally going to happen

In true Russell fashion, he wasn’t just going to sit there and put up a statue.  It was tied to a mentoring program to help children.  No tie-in to the program, no statue.

“Well, [the statue] makes me a little uneasy, because it seems almost like a tombstone,” Russell joked. “I don’t want to engrave my tombstone yet, but it’s tied in with the mentoring program and there’s very little that I would not do for the mentoring program.”

Vintage Russell.  Selfless to the end.  He gave in to the honor Boston finally wanted to give him because he saw it as a way to help children.  It’s no wonder Russell was awarded the Medal of Freedom

Meanwhile, on the other coast, another dominant big-man is also talking about a statue in his honor or rather, a lack of one.  And let’s just say it’s not being discussed with as much class.

“I don’t understand (it). It’s either an oversight or they’re taking me for granted,” [Kareem] Abdul-Jabbar told The Sporting News in a recent interview. “I’m not going to try to read people’s minds, but it doesn’t make me happy. It’s definitely a slight. I feel slighted.”

“I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgement of my contribution to Laker success,” Abdul-Jabbar was quoted as saying. “I guess being the lynchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history.”

Kareem’s never been a very personable guy.  It’s part of why he’s never become a coach in the NBA.  To put it bluntly, he’s a whiner.  He’s always a victim. Which is 180 degrees from Russell, who has always refused to be a victim.  

Does Kareem deserve acknowledgment for what he did for the Lakers?  Of course.  Is he being slighted?  Maybe.  But there’s a better way to approach the slight.  There’s a way to discuss it without sounding like the world is out to get you.  

The beauty of humanity is that people are different.  And no one is asking Kareem to act like Russell.  But it would be nice if he stopped crying about it.  

Photo by Deborah Morales – Iconmy via BlingCheese