The great Jerry West is a Lakers basketball lifer, having spent the bulk of his career as either a player or executive for the legendary franchise. Known as “The Logo,” you can’t tell the history of basketball without including the former Lakers sharpshooter’s journey and exploits.
The NBA’s 75th anniversary season logo for 2021-22 season pic.twitter.com/2IG1IDpP3h
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2021
His contributions to the Lakers are too numerous to fit into this story, but in short he’s responsible for helping to construct the Magic and Kareem dynasty of the 1980s. West followed up that golden era by pushing all of the right buttons to form the Shaq, Kobe and Phil Jackson dynasty of the 1990s and early 2000s. A case can be made that West is the most impactful Laker ever when you take into account his on- and off-court accomplishments.
So to have the team revoke his lifetime season tickets is wrong on so many levels, but to do it via text to his wife is kind of classless. Now he’s regretting ever being associated with the team.
The Lakers revoked Jerry West’s lifetime season tickets promised to him by the late Dr. Buss.
“No one had the nerve to call me… that’s how petty they are… and I love the Lakers… but sometimes, you feel like you’re discarded, like a piece of trash.”
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) February 1, 2022
West says maybe he should’ve played somewhere else other than with the Lakers in an interview with The Athletic NBA.
One could argue that there has never been a more impactful Laker.
But Jerry West wishes he could do it all over again — in a different jersey.
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) February 1, 2022
“It was a cold phone text to my wife, no one had the nerve to call me, but that’s how petty they are, OK? And I love the Lakers OK? I love to see them do well. It’s great for basketball. I’m proud of everything that happened when I was there. I’m proud of everything that happened when I wasn’t there — the positives.”
West felt that he deserved more respect, appreciation for his Lakers legacy and the positive decades he spent elevating the franchise. He was especially disappointed in owner Jeanie Buss.
“But sometimes you feel like you’re discarded, like a piece of trash. And there’s a couple of people over there — not owner Jeanie Buss — but there’s a couple people over there that, uh I don’t get it … I don’t … I always had a great relationship with Jeanie — at least I thought I did. I don’t know where it is now.”
— New York Post (@nypost) February 1, 2022
Relationship Began To Sour In 2017
In 2017, West was working as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors. His hope was to rejoin the Lakers in a front office role, but that never came to fruition, and West instead joined the rival Clippers. This is where the rift began and has since festered.
Things took a turn for the worse in 2021 when team owner Jeanie Buss left him off the top five most influential Lakers list during an appearance on the “All The Smoke” podcast. West called the omission “one of the most offensive things he’s heard in his life.” Buss listed Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson.
West was peeved and issued this statement …. via the Peter Vecsey podcast
Jerry West – the #NBA logo – had so many legendary stories that his pod episode is two parts!
Apple Podcasts: https://t.co/ImYIWPb6di
— NBA Alumni 🏀 (@NBAalumni) May 11, 2021
“I saw the other day Jeanie Buss made a statement, the five most important Lakers, one of the most offensive things I’ve ever heard in my life. I was there a lot of times; he had a lot of success. Be curious to know iF they would have had that success if I hadn’t been there. And I don’t ever take credit for stuff, I don’t. When I was around, maybe I was just a good-luck charm. But I do know that when this thing fell apart there were a lot of years that weren’t very good.”
West says it too late for reconciliation. One can only hope that a relationship that special and important to the history of the NBA can be mended.
In his career West won one ring as a player and six as an executive with the franchise. He averaged 27 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists while scoring over 25,000 points, for second most in Lakers history to Kobe Bryant.
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