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Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says it's "about time" Jerry West gets a statue in his honor

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant raised an interesting question: When the Lakers unveil the statue of Jerry West during All-Star weekend, will it feature a replica of himself as a player or as a general manager?

West's resume as a player and a general manager impressed Bryant enough to deem him the all-time greatest  Laker, despite never beating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Even if that fact continues to haunt West, the rest of his accomplishments speak for themselves..

During his playing career with the Lakers from 1960-1974, West led the Lakers to an NBA championship in 1972, became a 14-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA team member and won the 1969 Finals MVP, though the Lakers lost that series to the Celtics. He also retired as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer with 25,192 points before Bryant eclipsed that mark last season. Then as a general manager beginning in the 1982-83 season, West won seven championships, earned NBA executive of the year honors in 1995 and brought in key pieces, such as Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant, laying the foundation for the Lakers' three-peat from 2000-2002.

So if it were up to Bryant, the statue would feature a replica of West as a player and as a general manager. "It's about time, Bryant said.

Naturally, that led to a question regarding a possible statue in Bryant's honor. After all, Magic Johnson told The Times' Mike Bresnahan after the the Lakers won the 2010 NBA championship that Bryant "earned a right to have a statue out front," referring to the Staples Center plaza. Bryant seemed to embrace the question I posed to him, but obviously didn't want to get ahead of himself. The five-time NBA champion is under contract at least through the 2013-2014 season and wants to add more to his legacy.

"Just another place where birds can [relieve themselves]," Bryant deadpanned. "I'm just kidding. Obviously it would be a great honor, to say the least. But I still got a couple more years to go."

So what should West's statue entail -- him as a player, as a general manager or both? Which Laker should be given a statue next? Instead of running a poll, I'll leave this open-ended so I don't leave any names out. I'll then list the best explanations in a Thursday post.

--Mark Medina

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Comments () | Archives (31)

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Yeah Kobe! Tell 'em 'bout the Logo!

With excuses about the "F" word in the opening verse, Aimee Mann's song about one of Jerry West's greatest moments (or, maybe not ABOUT it, but the title says it all, and it's a great song):

@Jamie Sweet - I don't know if Darko is even worth the time we're taking to discuss him, (Especially not on a thread talking about one of the greatest players to ever play),but since you've offered intelligent commentary I'll follow up.

After watching Darko closely 3yrs in Detroit...and occasionally at his other stops I know he has the ability to be a good NBA player. So, you're right he's no Muresean, he’s much more talented. It was a struggle for Big George to just get up and down the court.

Darko is a very good athlete. He’s good enough to be a real defensive force, but why isn’t he? He’s talented enough to avg a double double, but why hasn't he? He's in his 8th year now. And is currently avg 4pts/5reb and shooting 28%. Those are "get your coach fired" type numbers.

Speaking of coaches Darko has a strange way of blaming his coaches for his failures. Here’s an excerpt from his New York days:

D'Antoni pulled the plug on Darko in mid-November and feels Darko shut it down from there instead of fighting to get back in. D'Antoni said Milicic was the one who came to him in December and asked to be deactivated if he was not going to play.

Milicic told The Post he could "practice like bleeping Michael Jordan'' and it wouldn't have mattered. D'Antoni cracked, "Yeah he was. What is Michael? About 59?.

D'Antoni added, "It's an easy concept. You play really well, you play. If you're saying you have a lot practices where you dominate and I don't play you, I find that hard to believe."

Darko also blamed Larry Brown in Detroit...

Milicic is quick to blame his present on a past he feels hurt his game and psyche. “What changed me was Larry Brown,” Milicic said of the former Pistons coach. “He is a guy who doesn’t understand anything, a guy who can’t understand what kind of player you are. Even if I made a shot, he’d tell me it was not a good shot.

“That took my mind off basketball. I got frustrated and wondered, If they weren’t going to put me in the game, why was I [in Detroit]? So I started thinking of stupid stuff and began not caring about the game, not trying to get better.”

So this summer what did Darko say? He was going to take his ball and go home. Okay, well close to it:

“A lot of days I think that because the only way to be me is in Europe,” he told the newspaper. “I don’t want to be a defensive player the rest of my career. It’s not really what I want to do.”

“In Europe, I can be a different player with the ball going through me,” Milicic said. “Here, you take a shot and you just don’t want to miss. You think too much.”

Not exactly tough minded talk. Darko’s work ethic and desire has been questioned many times by brighter basketball minds that mine. So that’s why I advised not to put your trust in him. I’ve seen the movie a few times already and the ending has yet to change.

BTW, I'm with you on Beasley. So much talent, but he doesn't get it yet. However, he's only in his 3rd year so its a different situation than Darko.

Do Derek Fisher's comments make him a troll?

Surely, if a poster were to say the same thing ...

Posted by: jimjoyce | November 10, 2010 at 05:21 PM

Most of us know how the Lakers were last night. Good enough for the win but again being too complacent. As the captain it was Fisher's job to call out his team.

You on the other hand simply disrespect PJ/MJ/KB and yearn for Magic and Lebron for the triangle.. 1st off Magic would be a poor fit for the triangle ironically because while he was a great passer he would have to be ball dominant which is against triangle's principles and same with Lebron who is even more dominant than Magic with the ball.

Yea how is Lebron nowadays jim? He sure looked like a puss not trying to get open for the last shot against Utah and letting Eddie House take it.......

What do you think the Kobe statue should look like? I think it should be the pose where he is in the air getting ready for the reverse dunk with the ball down by his knees.

@LRob - I know we're flogging a dead horse here when we should be serving up glowing praise for a Laker/NBA great...but I just gotta say, I agree with you that Darko doesn't possess a top flight NBA mental make up, seemingly lacks a desire to prove critics wrong and plays in a manner that often defies NBA logic.

That being said, on this T-Wolves team, I think he can be both a defensive stalwart (something they really need) and a force on offensive end. He'll get rebounds, simply because of his height and afore-mentioned athletic prowess. He can hit a spot up shot, which is partially up to the team to help him establish early in games forcing his man out of the paint to come out and guard him. This opens up lanes for penetration and easy looks for the guards or kick outs to shooters. A simple use, but one the Spurs have used for years to open up the middle of the floor. Nothing new there and it's playing to the player's strengths.

Having Darko on that team won't be enough, but he helps someone running the triple post offense because he fits the mold so well: can face up and shoot, able passer, moves well. If anything he's like a Pau Michelob Ultra or something. His lack of drive can be attributed to having coaches un-interested in adapting their schemes to fit his style of play. He's not a banger, will rarely go to the rim with authority and won't be All NBA anything for some time (if ever), but I think that having Kurt as his coach is a good thing and any triangle schemes they run will help him along.

I wrote Darko off prior to his Wolves rebirth, I don't think he's strictly in it for the money, he would definitely be signed overseas so money isn't necessarily the driving issue, if he was a true quitter he'd a walked away with his NBA made millions and laughed at America the rest of his life, if he wanted.

But somewhere in there he wants to prove something to somebody, the Wolves just gave him a shot to do it. I'm giving this team a year and I'm sticking by them pulling together near the end of the season and being rough on teams looking forward to the playoffs.

Kobe should be shooting a fade away.

Jerry West...will it look like the logo, him sitting at a desk with multiple trophies (so you can sit next to him with the Larry O, like you can sit next to Chicky-baby on the mic) or pacing the halls dealing with nerves, I vote the desk.

I vote the desk with him as the logo...about to pace the halls...that's my OFFICIAL vote.

Win or lose, Utah is becoming the cockroach of the NBA: squish 'em, bury 'em, they're going to come back. Sloan has some sorta zombie-player formula... there's just no killin' them.

My vote is for the Jerry statue to be him as the Logo, shooing... Kobe Bryant!

@Jaime/LRob- I tend to side with LRob. Darko really isn't worth discussing. But I hope he gets heavy minutes any time we play the wolves. All his blown layups pretty much made the difference in an off night for us.

They should use the image of Jerry in action as the LOGO, but have him dressed up in a suit and have his profile aged as the GM.

Wow - Sloan goes to the 2-3 zone, and Utah just makes the Magic look silly, coming from behind BIG yet again. Back-to-back, too. Sloan's one glaring weakness: he keeps having to run into Phil Jackson.

After Jerry West, who will be the next statue? We already have Magic, Oscar De La Hoya, Chick, now West. Are we converting Staples into St. Peter's Basilica in Rome where all the saints statue are there? This is another ego trip, I like Jerry West but when is enough, enough? The banners are there in the rafters, logo as NBA trademark, do we still need a statue.

Will Mark Medina ask also for a statue in front of LA Times being the savior of a moribund institution? lol!

@Edwin - Oh man. I'm humbled by the kudos but in no way do I deserve a statue.

I think a good compromise for the Jerry statue is if a replica of the logo because it can mean so many different things to different people. As much as Kobe joked for him to be half (dressed as a player, dressed as a GM), the end result would seem a little incomplete and not real if that makes sense.

Edwin - when I was a kid I used to go to Travel Town near Griffith Park. Used to climb all over the locomotives and train cars. It was totally cool. When my son was that particular age, I took him, too. And he loved climbing around the trains. It was something tangible.

The retired jerseys are awesome, along with the banners, the pinnacle of achievement, and Jerry deserved being the logo for the NBA (and it's a compliment to the Lakers as well). But there's something tangible for kids and adults alike to stand next to a three-dimensional object. I think it SHOULD be a garden of statues... eventually.

It's not an ego trip. It wasn't Jerry West putting his own statue up there (I hear Lebron put up TWO statues of himself in his backyard in Miami). And it's for the fans, the people who go to Staples and wait in lines and come out after the game and hang out. I think the more (deserved) the merrier.

Jerry was an awesome GM but they really need the statue to be of Jerry West the player just to capture the talent he had for the game.

But yeah, the problem is that the Lakers have so many greats, it'll start looking like the Terra-cotta Warriors from Xi'an after a while... If you have Magic and West, you gotta have Kobe. But otherwise I agree with Jon K's solution of having a Lakers Hall of Fame nearby so you can honor all the others who don't have banners at Staples like Cooper, Horry, and Fisher.

63 Footer,

Well when I say ego trip, not directly addressed on Jerry West. However, there are so many great characted in the Laker universe. We start from Mikan, the state of Minnesota and named it after its lakes, Wilt, Elgin, Kareem, James, Coop, Shaq, Kobe etc. I hope it ends with West. What about Phil Jackson as a Coach? Not to be forgotten Jerry Buss who bought this franchise from Mr. Cooke. How about Mr. Leweike of AEG or Mr. Anchultz being the owner of AEG.....when are we going to end in recognizing important people?

I'm a product of Sixties where protests were born out of the abuses of the establishment. I guess you are there too. All these names enumerated above are mere entertainers. They were fully compensated and multi millionaires at their own right. To recognize a few is enough but when you put so many statues there, it becomes a Marketing tool. It cheapens the honor bestowed on these individuals. I agree that West should be honored for his contributions made (including how he worked out Gasol for Kwame through Mr. Hershey j/k!) I just hope it will stop there. IMHO, it takes years after they're retired presumably when they already passed away when they start recognizing by putting up a statue. Today, Kobe can lobby for a statue. I'm sure LakerTom will also lobby for Drew (another joke!)

Edwin - I work in Hollywood; I'm all about cheapening honor. :) Of course, I'm for death masks of the greats all lined up as you enter Staples. Still, I understand your objections. You have to admit that above and beyond Luke needs a statue... chained to his ankle and thrown into the bay.

Hey, I kid! I kid!

@Jamie - So you got me sucked into this Darko discussion. And we both talk about Beasley shortcoming and what happens...he drops 18pts in the first quarter 2nite. I'm leaving the Wolves to Rambis to figure

I do agree that this is a good situation for Darko. Minny has made a substantial investment on him. We'll see if he gives them a good effort in return. I can go along with giving him one more year to prove himself. But if you ever anywhere near Michigan, I'm forewarning that mentioning Darko could be hazardous to your health.

Wow - Sloan goes to the 2-3 zone, and Utah just makes the Magic look silly, coming from behind BIG yet again. Back-to-back, too. Sloan's one glaring weakness: he keeps having to run into Phil Jackson.

Posted by: 63 Footer | November 10, 2010 at 06:43 PM
A 2-3 zone? Say it ain't so Jerry. Wow, never thought I'd see a Sloan coached team resort to that. But kudos on the win. Gimmicks like this can get you a few regular season wins, but those junk zones are folly in the playoffs.

DHoward's 8 shots and only 33 minutes, and just 4-11 from the FT line is not going to get it done!

@Edwin - you are a funny man!

I'm starting a bandwagon.
We need a Lakers Hall Of Fame (as opposed to NBA Hall Of Fame) Museum {or at least a park} to put statues of all the Lakers Greats. If it's a museum, we need installations for those Greats that didn't get their jerseys retired (Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, George Mikan, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, AC Green, Kurt Rambis, Robert Horry, Mike Penberthy (I'm just sayin').
The Lakers can make money out of a huge money out of a gift shop or admission or something. Whatever.
I don't care. This needs to get done.
What do we play for? RINGS!!!
Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

I agree with Mark Medina. They should make a replica of the logo because it means a lot to us Lakers fans but also to the NBA fans.

I agree with Funky Cold Medina and tidalwave, they should make a replica of the logo.

I've been wondering why Kareem doesn't have a statue as well....

who was the last player that jerry west drafted as a gm? Is it devan george?

sorry as lakers gm.

That whole area around Staples is a great place and there is plenty of room for more statues. Jerry West as the logo gets my vote, followed by the "Captain" Kareem. Kobe would be next in line, but he still has a lot to do before he is ready for a statue.

Kareem, of course. He has not received his due lately. No one even talks about him when discussing great players, even though he has the same number of NBA championships as Jordan (6) - oh and his college career wasn't bad either.

they could combine two into one...
coming into Staples, Jerry's front half would be as a player. Leaving Staples, the "back" half as a GM.
Then again, it may look like the sci-fi two headed alien Jerry's defenders felt they were guarding all those years!
Congrats to Jerry West and his Laker AND basketball legacy.

NO Statues at all. It's all about the team. GO LAKERS!



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