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Sudden Wave of Statutory Gripe

LOS ANGELES, May 29 - Elgin Baylor declared in a radio interview today that he believed he was being "disrespected" by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have not offered to erect a statue in his honor in front of the Staples Center.

Baylor, who was named to 11 All-Star teams in his first 12 years with the Lakers, noted that he was every bit as much the face of the franchise in his playing days as was Jerry West, whose image appears on a statue at Staples and on the NBA logo.

"We won seven Western Conference titles together, and I set a record with 61 points in a Finals game," Baylor said. "What did West ever win without me, except his only championship as a player and a bunch more in the front office?"

A member of the NBA's 35th and 50th anniversary all-time teams, Baylor also noted that his accomplishments as coach and general manager of the L.A. Clippers "helped keep the city's focus squarely on the Lakers."

 

MIAMI, May 31 - LeBron James told a press conference tonight that he feels "unappreciated" by the city of Miami, which has not yet put a statue of him at the entrance to the MacArthur Causeway.

"It's been nearly a year since I brought my talents here," James said, "and in that time we've won more games than all but two other teams."

James, whose assist total fell by nearly 100 this season compared to his figure with Cleveland - where his passes went to Daniel Gibson and Leon Powe rather than Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade - said he was puzzled by the city's decision.

"Last July we had a big rally and celebration, and I hadn't even signed my contract yet," noted the all-time great, who has yet to win a game in an NBA Finals. "What does it take to get a statue around here - actual accomplishments?"

 

NEW YORK, June 16 - Derek Jeter's agent expressed outrage today that there is no statue of the Yankees captain in the construction site where the real Yankee Stadium once stood.

"Derek's statue belongs where it can stand proudly beside the on-field monuments that honored Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Miller Huggins," he said. "First they disrespected their leader by offering him less than $100 million last winter, and now this. I don't know what they're thinking."

A spokesman for the Yankees apologized and said the team thought it had already had put a statue of Jeter at shortstop, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be Jeter himself.

 

LOS ANGELES, June 23 - Former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo told a luncheon audience today that he feels "hurt, ignored and underappreciated" because there is no statue of him at the peristyle end of the Los Angeles Coliseum.

"When was the last time Los Angeles had a team in the NFL playoffs?" Ferragamo said at the annual gathering of the Remember Football? Me Neither Club in City of Industry. "I gave the Pittsburgh Steelers all they could handle for three quarters or so in the Super Bowl. Surely that's worth a statue, or a plinth, or at least a nice bas-relief somewhere alongside the ticket gate.

"I suppose that statues and honors and compliments are really only meaningful if you don't ask for them, but future generations won't know that, and that's what counts."

Jeff Neuman's columns for RealClearSports appear on Monday and Thursday. Follow him on Twitter @NeumanJeff. His collected golf writing and blogging can be found at www.neumanprose.com.

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