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

November 10, 2010 |  5:14 pm

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

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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