Jerry West stopped Kobe Bryant from signing with Clippers
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.
Jerry West reveals how he talked Kobe out of signing with the Clippers pic.twitter.com/6d6ynsbCfO
— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) January 29, 2020
“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:
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
– 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