Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina with Roland Lazenby on Tex Winter and Jerry West induction to National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has often jokingly remarked to Tex Winter that his chances of getting inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will remain slim because "he's outlived all of his contemporaries."
Longtime Laker author Roland Lazenby, another proponent of the 88-year-old Winter for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, has lamented that Winter's role as a key architect in the triangle offense has been overlooked because Winter mostly has been an assistant coach in the NBA. But Lazenby expressed some optimism that Winter's induction Sunday to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo., would help Winter's cause.
"He's had a profound impact on basketball as we know it," Lazenby said of Winter, whose head coaching stints at Marquette, Kansas State, Washington, Northwestern and Long Beach State led to records with the Wildcats for most league titles (eight), two trips to the Final Four in 1958 and 1964 and UPI coach of the year in 1959. "I don't know if the Hall of Fame can see past its formulas and its snooty attitude to correct it. I hope it does." Lazenby noted that Winter receiving the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award prior to Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals probably gave him another boost toward the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
In his way, Jerry West can relate to the long wait. Though he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1980, it wasn't until Sunday that he was inducted -- alongside Winter -- in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I think they think I'm going to die right away. They always do that before they do these things," West said of his induction which honors his efforts at West Virginia, which includes holding multiple Mountaineer records
Lazenby, who authored a West biography last year titled "Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon," spoke with me in the video below both about West and Winter, whom he's known closely since being an assistant under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls.
Among the highlights:
-- Winter's contributions to the triangle offense and whether the system will live on after Jackson retires.
-- Why Winter has yet to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
-- West's legacy at West Virginia.
-- West's litany of accomplishments this year, including an induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his involvement with the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, the Lakers announcing they'll unveil a statue of him as a player outside Staples Center and his induction Sunday into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
-- Mark Medina
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