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Monday, October 17th, 2011 at 9:30 am  |  9 responses

Jerry West Was Hospitalized After Signing Shaq and Kobe in LA


More details continue to emerge about Jerry West’s fascinating career and life, as the NBA great does press for his book. Here’s the latest, via a Q&A with the LA Times: “A parallel example is that you reveal in the book you were hospitalized for exhaustion after finalizing the acquisition of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in 1996. ‘It got very discouraging — there were so many obstacles along the way, it was a long, drawn-out thing — but [Lakers owner] Jerry Buss said, ‘Let’s keep going.’ It was easier then, because there weren’t a lot of people around [in the front office]. It became a quest. We felt it was important to rejuvenate our franchise.’ Kobe Bryant worked out for you at Inglewood High that year, with the great defender Michael Cooper guarding him. At the end, you said, ‘I’ve seen enough.’ What did you see? ‘Drafting high school players that high back then was not in vogue, but he was such an incredibly talented kid who could not just run fast and jump high . . . it was his joy for the game. He’d die on that court. It was so easy to see that. I felt he’d help us on our quest to get Shaquille, and be a tremendous piece — the prince in waiting. I remember telling Jerry the night of the draft, ‘We might’ve got the No. 1 player in the draft [at No. 13].’ He is a player for the decades.’ (During this interview, West said his team-building strategy was based on ‘looking for good fits . . . it’s about talent, but [also] how that talent fits together, judging how the talent will mature.’ He said he retains ‘a special spot in my heart’ for former coach Pat Riley, who led the team to four titles in the Magic Johnson-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era.)”

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  • Fat Lever

    The quote about Kobe’s love for the game is why West is highly regarded as an executive. You can’t teach passion and determination. West recognized that, and coupled with Kobe’s talent already at 18, you’ve got what Kobe is today, probably the 2nd best SG of all time. Cool stuff.

  • BlackStar

    Makes me wonder why Jordan, possibly the most competitive, determined and passionate player in NBA history, is unable to see talent the way Jerry West does. SMH …

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    No one sees talent with the precision of Alan West.

  • angus

    easy to make a good decision in hindsight

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    I MISS THE M.D.E. I FEAR IN THESE TIMES OF KOBE, BRON, ETC. PEOPLE FORGET WHAT SHAQ WAS.

  • http://offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    @angus – That doesn’t make any sense. He gave up his starting center for a kid out of high school – it was an informed decision based on research and scouting, not a random pick.

  • Jeremy

    Jerry West Knew Kobe was Gonna be great

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    He gave up Vlade Divac, its not like he was trading away Kareem. Kobe had a ton of potential, but no one knew he’d be as great as he is. Other teams saw the potential too and wanted Kobe, but his agent said he wouldn’t play in those other cities.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Jerry West got the number one pick at pick 13 and the player of the last decade, according to ESPN, SI and plenty of NBA Basketball magazines. Kobe is top 7 talent, Will end as top 5. Kobe will have the most points in playoff history, pass MJ on scoring list and will win one more ring before its all said and done. Kobe is the second greatest sg ever and he is passing people right now on all time list. Kobe is SIMPLY THE BEST and I read he killed Cooper in those drills at 18 and he is still consider one of the best players in the NBA after playing over 14 years. BOOK IT!!

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