Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 12:59 pm  |  29 responses

James Worthy: Lakers Are Team To Beat

SLAM contributor Matthew Ogborn recently spoke with Los Angeles Lakers legend James Worthy, who shared his take on everything from Scottie Pippen to the state of his beloved LA franchise.

On hoops in London:
“This is my fourth time to London. I first came here in college in 1980 and we played in a Christmas tournament against Tel Aviv and I have been here a few times on my own. It is pretty cool to see the growth and hopefully more interest in the game. I think they are getting aware. Football is still extremely strong but I think with the Olympics coming to town, and professional teams coming to help promote the sport and have people understand it better, it will get better and more popular. I think the main objective is to try and engage with the fans and, not only teach them about the sport, but also give something back to the community.”

On his foundation:
“The James Worthy Foundation is good. We are doing a lot to give kids a different alternative. Sometimes there’s just not enough slots on the team to give everybody the chance to make it. We try to tell kids they have a better chance of being an astronaut than an NBA player in situations like that.”

On the Lakers:
“I may sound a little bias, but I still believe the Lakers are in the best position to win a championship because it’s very difficult to build  chemistry and have the nucleus and the Lakers already have that. The additions of [Matt] Barnes, who is a physical player, they need that and [Steve] Blake too who can help Derek Fisher out at the guard position. I still think we are the team to beat, but you know Miami is very talented with Wade, LeBron and Bosh but it takes time for them to build some harmonious chemistry. I still think the Celtic, with some of the additions they have made, could be up there again.”

On the Clippers:
“They always seem to get really good talent and I think [Blake] Griffin is an example of that, but for some reason the organisation doesn’t get it. They didn’t sign [Elton] Brand back and [Baron] Davis only came to the Clippers, because he wanted to play with Brand. It starts from the top and they just don’t seem to build winners over there. I don’t expect too much from them.”

On the new class of rookies:
“There is a lot of pressure on rookies, but I think [John] Wall from the point guard position will shine. It’s 82 games, instead of thirty-something games, so that will be his biggest challenge. His talent is exceptionally good, but there is a learning curve in the NBA that all the rookies will have to go through. I’m from the old school. I don’t give young guys credit until they prove themselves.”

On Scott Pippen’s Hall of Fame recognition:
“Scottie was solid. Michael [Jordan] will be the first to tell you that, without Scottie, it would have been difficult to achieve what he did. Scottie, over the years, was an exceptional defensive player and definitely deserving of the six championships in a pretty heroic career.”

On Kobe:
“I think from my perspective, and from what I hear on a daily basis, he has always gotten the credit. There are Kobe haters, LeBron haters and Worthy haters. There are always going to be haters out there, but from a former player he is second to none right now in the league. He could have played in the 80s with us, he has the same mentality. He is tough, disciplined and committed and I don’t think there is anybody out there that is better than him right now.”

On Pau Gasol’s Importance:
“He is extremely important. I remember when Vlade Divac came and how important he was in the international scope of things. Pau has definitely become, not only extremely popular in America, but in his home country of Spain it will be interesting to watch how Kobe will take a back seat to all that.”

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  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed


  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    Sounding a little biased is, well, a ridiculous understatement.
    He’s right, but it’s a ridiculous understatement

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    There were Worthy haters? For real? I remember everyone liking that dude when I was a kid.

  • karma

    “He could have played in the 80s with us”

    That should shut up any “Kobe can’t play in the 80s!” arguements (which were ridiculous to begin with).

  • tato

    Kobe’s the last of its kind

  • http://sdjflf.com Jukai

    Karma: in fairness, he said Kobe COULD play, not that Kobe would be anything more than a 9th man!!

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Worthy later added, ‘i never would have willingly joined magic and kareem, cuz why would I want great teammates? I wanted to beat everyone all on my own. I wanted to start a new team with ymca guys cuz thats how competitive I was with nba stars. I didnt want to win, just go against every great team by myself, cuz I didnt want to take the easy way out with great teammates. But since lal drafted me, I had to go, I almost pulled a magic, and just held out of the draft. O well, now ive got some rings, but everyone asks why I didnt do it all by myself’.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ


  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    co-sign niQ

  • Remo Williams

    @Tarzan, there’s a HUGE difference between being drafted into a team with talent needing that extra piece AND leaving the team you’ve carried to the best record in the league 2 years in a row to join a “sure thing”

  • Matt

    Worthy went down well with the crowd here in London earlier. Kobe not seeing much court time. Odom and Artest leading the Lakers. Wolves hanging in there. Not many Wolves fans here, but more exposure now

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Shut ur wordhole remo

  • Blackphantom

    I agree with pretty much everything that Big Game James said in this article

  • larrylegend

    that’s tarzan, lol!

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  • ripslam

    Well, the Fakeshow just got whooped by the L-Wolves, sooooo….

  • http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/olybb/news/story?id=5493184 Jackie Moon

    @ripslam LOL yep, the Wolves exposed the Fakers!

  • The Philosopher

    He wonders how Kobe is going to take a “back seat to all of that” with Gasol’s iconic status in the beautiful Spain, and how it is growing in America.
    He knows Kobe. He knows Kobe craves the attention.
    Why would he say that?

  • Blackphantom

    You guys are being excited because the T-Wolves beat the Lakers in a PRESEASON game? C’mon now

  • T-Money

    I’m actually not sure that Pau is more popular than Kobe in Barcelona.

  • ripslam

    I love how people act like preseason games mean nothing. Last year, the Celtics beat Cleveland in the preseason, then they beat them on opening night IN CLEVELAND, then beat them in 6 games in the playoffs. Now, I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon with Minnesota and L.A. but the Lakers are going to have to try a little harder than losing to Siberia by 9 (and in the process letting them score 111 points)if they want to go anywhere this season.

  • allison

    There are Kobe haters, LeBron haters and Worthy haters <– I like how he puts himself on the same level

  • The Philosopher

    Worthy has had his share of quagmires in his day.

  • Michael

    tell us something we dont know James..

  • Double J

    Don’t forget what Beas said after he got trades, “It’s us and the Lakers, I really believe that” bahahhahaha

  • JoeMaMa


  • Matt

    Spoke to Beasley after the game and he really believes the Wolves can do something this year. I mean, even Darko looked good last night. Maybe Rambis has the magic touch? Lakers different proposition with fit Kobe and Bynum naturally. Going to Barcelona, so keep you all posted regarding the Lakers state of mind for that one

  • http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/olybb/news/story?id=5493184 Jackie Moon

    @ripslam, wanna know why no one sweats the preseason results? In 2008, the Lakers lost to the Clips by 14 in the preseason, they also lost to the Nuggets by 14 the next preseason … you know how those seasons ended.

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