"Before the Lakers (20-51) play the Minnesota Timberwolves (28-42) on Friday at Staples Center, more people will be part of OíNealís big night, beginning at 2 p.m. with a street festival that is free and open to the general public.
Then at 4 p.m., several Lakers guests Ė including a former coach (Phil Jackson), a former executive (Jerry West), a Hall of Fame center (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and former teammates (Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Gary Payton, Devean George, Brian Cook) Ė will witness the unveiling of OíNealís statue, which will be suspended 10 feet above the ground at Star Plaza.
The statue of the towering big man will share the same space with other Lakers luminaries, including a dazzling point guard (Magic Johnson), a late broadcaster (Chick Hearn), an accomplished player and executive known as Mr. Clutch (West) and another dominant center who relied on a skyhook (Abdul-Jabbar)."
Lakers only one-half game ahead of Phoenix in the standings now. Phoenix is in full tank mode, having lost 7 in a row. Phoenix has one more win though, which is significant as wins are hard to come by. Both teams have a tough schedule down the stretch. Phoenix's schedule is probably a little tougher.