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#pounditThursday, August 13, 2020

Jerry West stopped Kobe Bryant from signing with Clippers

Jerry West

Jerry West shared a story on Tuesday about Kobe Bryant that may leave many people surprised.

West was part of a panel that spoke on TNT Tuesday night for an hour-long special in tribute to Kobe Bryant. West acquired Kobe in a draft-day trade and believed from the start that Bryant was going to become the best player in the NBA. West had an extremely close relationship with Bryant and said he felt like a father to Kobe for a few years.

During the TNT program, West even shared that he actually stopped Kobe from signing with the rival Clippers.

“I’ve never really mentioned this to anyone. He was going to come and sign with the Clippers, who I’m now involved with as a consultant. I told him ‘Kobe, under no circumstances can you do this.’ And he was mad at everyone with the Lakers — the owner, everyone else. I said, ‘Kobe, you can’t go play with the Clippers. You can’t go play for that owner. Period.’

“We had two conversations about it, and he supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers, and after the last one, we talked last time.”

This story occurred during the summer of 2004. West was president of the Memphis Grizzlies at the time, and Bryant’s Lakers had just lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.

Phil Jackson did not return as the team’s coach after that Finals loss, and Shaq demanded a trade and was sent to the Miami Heat.

Bryant, who signed a 7-year deal with the Lakers, acknowledged at the time that he chose the Lakers over the Clippers.

“I could see myself playing for the Clippers. Ultimately, it was in my heart to play for the Lakers,” he said at the time.

An Associated Press article from 2004 also stated that West advised Bryant.

“He tried to help me as best as he could,” Bryant said of West. “He’s always been a great mentor to me. Jerry said it’s his feeling I should be a Laker for life.”

Bryant ended up spending his entire career with the Lakers, which is the only way it should have been. West played a role in that, and fans can thank him for helping to ensure that happened. And how prescient was West for saying Kobe shouldn’t play for Donald Sterling, given what later came out?

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
NBA players changing jersey numbers in honor of Kobe Bryant
Bill Belichick shares touching anecdote in tribute to Kobe Bryant
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
Video: Shaq gets emotional talking about Kobe Bryant on TNT
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Gilbert Arenas vows to begin coaching career like Kobe Bryant urged him to
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Investigators release chilling drone footage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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