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Spencer Haywood actually thought about hiring a hitman to assassinate Paul Westhead.

There are many narratives of who players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, LeBron James and many of the upper salaried players of today need to thank for the riches they enjoy today. There are many starting exclusively with Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson. The one player that gets lost on the list affected hundreds of basketball prodigies who are capitalizing on the one and done practices that are popular today.

His name is Spencer Haywood.  He took the National Basketball Association all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and eliminated the rule that banned players from playing until they had been out of high school for at least four years.

In other words, if it wasn’t for Haywood, one of the greatest Lakers ever, Kobe Bryant wouldn’t be eligible.

After his court case, Haywood had a 12-year career with five NBA teams. This dude could play. He won a gold medal in 1968 when many African-American players boycotted (Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was one of them!) trying out for the team.

When he could get on the court in 1970 for the Seattle SuperSonics (The NBA kept giving out court injunctions making him ineligible!) he played great. After his court issues, he averaged 19.2 points a game and actually played on a championship team with the 1980 Los Angeles Lakers. He’s in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Reading this, you are probably thinking…Why doesn’t this guy fit? He won a title!

Okay, here’s the story.

Head Coach Paul Westhead banned him from the team during the NBA Finals after Haywood passed out during practice. The Lakers suspended him after Game 3 which the Lakers won in six games. By the time he got to the Lakers, he was allegedly freebasing cocaine heavily and was known as “Hollywood Haywood”.

Haywood later admitted he was so irrational while free-basing cocaine that he thought about hiring a Detroit hitman to kill Westhead according to the LA Times.

Haywood broke it down courtesy of CBS Sports.

"What happened was this: I had hooked up with people who was spurring on this talk. “They can’t do that s— to you, blah blah blah blah. You’ve got to take charge. You’ve got to do what you need to do.” So, of course, I get the idea that, well, yeah, this is the last guy that pulled the string right here, because I went to the team with three games to go and said, “Look, I’ve got a problem, man. You know, I’ll sit the bench or whatever. I don’t want to be a disturbance or anything, but this is what has happened.” I mean, there was a thought about this. It was not a plot per se that you went and sat outside his house waiting for him to come out. They’re more like, you know, “Spike his drink” or “Spike his car” or something. We did drive down to Palos Verdes and we looked around, and when I came back I got high. My mother called and she said, “Hey boy, what the hell are you up to?” And my paranoia, as I was explaining before about the drug, is that everybody knew what I was doing, including my mother. So what was going in my mind was unholy, ungodly and not clear at all, so I knew my mother was onto it. When I got back, I did some more coke, and that’s when I hit rock bottom, when I realized what the hell I was thinking about. It wasn’t an act. I didn’t attempt to do anything. But it was an evil intent. I know my God is watching me at this time. And I really went off my rocker. I don’t even know where he lived [laughs]. I mean, that’s the drugs. You know, they talk. They had me willing to, you know …"

Luckily, Haywood backed out of his bad intentions. Reportedly he has been clean since 1985. Haywood has made a nice living from real-estate investments and other businesses. He also operates a foundation in the Detroit area to help disadvantaged kids.

Next. 40 Greatest Players In Lakers Franchise History. dark

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