Say it ain’t so, Logo. Was one of the best minds in the history of hoops forced out of the purple and gold nest? That’s not exactly what Jerry West claims in his new book but it sure sounds like he saw the writing on the wall.
Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News Group got an advanced copy of the book and shared some of the more depressing details of the end of days for West in Los Angeles. Among the many eye opening stories in Jerry’s book, he explains how things changed once Phil Jackson came into the fold. In fact, West states he and PJ were never really on speaking terms.
"”So one of the problems I had with Phil was this. His office was right near mine and when he would arrive in the morning, he would walk right past and never even bother to wave or duck his head in to say hello.”“Phil and I had no relationship. None. He didn’t want me around and had absolutely no respect for me–of that, I have no doubt.”"
But it wasn’t just Phil’s arrival that was the start of West’s ending. Moving from The Forum to Staples seemingly put a strain on his relationship with Dr. Jerry Buss who was slowly taking more of a hands-off approach.
"“The close nature of our relationship began to change, and not only did I feel more and more unappreciated, or under-appreciated, but my own personal demons, rooted in my childhood, were threatening me.”“The Lakers had been home to me, unlike the home I had grown up and felt apart from. But now the home was feeling less and less hospitable, and I was sensing that I didn’t belong, or wasn’t wanted, there any more, that I had stayed too long at the fair and it was time for me to go.”"
With some of these stories surfacing it becomes clear just why West was willing to walk away from such an iconic franchise to take the same position in Memphis. But don’t think for a second Jerry’s book is all finger pointing and accusation. He delves into his own demons and admits plenty of his own character flaws. Like the time his assistants threw him a surprise party in Memphis. Instead of rejoicing in the kind gesture, West simply turned his back and walked out. He would later reimburse his assistants for their efforts but the damage was done.
By the way it looks West’s book should be as compelling a tell-all as you’ll find. What makes him so unique is the ability to bear his soul for the entire world to see in such frank detail.
As a life long Laker fan I can’t tell you how crushing it is to learn of all the drama behind the scene with such amazingly accomplished men. I never thought it was all fun and games. Still it is hard to fathom the way in which the relationships deteriorated after such wild success.
It just goes to show you that despite the constant hyperbole you hear spun by the media all professional sports franchises are dysfunctional in some capacity. When you hold a microscope to the Lakers and Clippers you’ll see that though they may differ on the surface they’re eerily similar upon closer examination.