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Category: Jerry West

Kobe Bryant deserves better communication from Jim Buss

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In the middle of the night, Kobe Bryant often sees something on film and texts Mike Brown a thought or a question.

The Lakers coach texts right back.

Moments after stewing about the Lakers trading Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, Bryant visited Mitch Kupchak's office. The general manager maintains the meeting remained jovial and involved more than just why the Lakers traded their most valuable reserve.

Soon after the Lakers' 103-92 victory Monday over the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryant spoke at an informal meeting. Just like they do during practice and games, his teammates' ears perked up.

Unfortunately for Bryant, executive Jim Buss hasn't extended the same courtesy. He didn't heed any of Bryant's suggestions during this offseason's coaching search for Phil Jackson's replacement. Buss didn't even alert him ahead of time the Lakers would hire Brown. The same can be said about Odom's departure, the franchise's direction and pretty much any imaginable topic. The silence has remained so rampant, Bryant revealed in an interview with the New York Post's Peter Vescey in December that he couldn't recall the last time he spoke with Buss.

It shouldn't be that way. That's why Magic Johnson suggested in a conference call that Buss should personally meet with Bryant, who "just wants to be informed as a leader and future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five championships to the Lakers."

"He wants more communication, probably like he did when [former coach] Phil Jackson was there and he worked well with Mitch," Johnson said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. "I don't think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship or the communication has been there with Jim. What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. [Jerry] Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team. Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK."

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Jerry West understands Tiger Woods' Northern Trust Open absence

Jerry West says he understands Tiger Woods' absence from Northern Trust Open

There's rarely a time that Jerry West feels fully relaxed.

He carried that mindset as a player, focusing more on his lost NBA Finals efforts against the Boston Celtics than his 1972 title. He remained that way as the Lakers' general manager, the anxiety overwhelming him so much that he rarely enjoyed the seven NBA titles the Lakers won under his watch. And he was no different last week, juggling his roles as an advisor to the Golden State Warriors' executive board and as the executive director of the Northern Trust Open.

So even though West described his three-year stint overseeing the tournament at the Riviera Country Club as "extremely gratifying," there's no question he hardly remains fully satisfied. Part of that may stem from Tiger Woods' absence from this week's event.

"He makes his own schedule," West said. "Certainly we've love to have him, but I would never be one to ever be critical of someone like him who has so many demands on his time. It'd be wonderful for him to play the event. The fans and family in Southern California where he grew up would be delighted if he would play. If it would happen, it would happen. But we don't anticipate that in this point in time."

Even without Woods, West described the participants in this year's tournament as "another great field" that includes 25 of the 40 top golfers from the recent Pebble Beach Pro-Am leaderboard. His hope that the tournament can raise between $5 million and $6 million for charity sounds ambitious compared with the $1.5 million it brought in in 2010 and the $1.6 million it raised last year.

For someone who describes himself as "addicted" to golf, this year's event should go a long way toward satisfying West's thirst for competition. But given The Logo's intense perfectionism, it seems likely he's going to keep looking for Woods to join the field in the future.

"I think he's very aware that we would like for him to play," West said of Woods. "I think being from Southern California, that would be a great impetus. But he has so many demands on his schedule, and I think he's trying to get his game back in order so he can win the things that matter most to him."

As of right now, that apparently doesn't involve the Northern Trust Open.

RELATED:

Jerry West's autobiography focuses on depression

Jerry West continuing work with Northern Trust Open

Jerry West predicts Lakers will be "very dangerous in the playoffs"

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Jerry West speaks during his National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction in November 2010. Credit: Ed Zurga / Associated Press

Shaquille O'Neal still admires Jerry West and Phil Jackson

Shaquille O'Neal and Phil Jackson prepare for the start of Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs in 2002.

The initial excerpts suggest otherwise, but don't think Shaquille O'Neal's book solely casts blame toward everyone but himself. 

O'Neal reopened old wounds detailing his clashes with Kobe Bryant. He criticized the Lakers' decision to pass over Brian Shaw as the head coach. O'Neal wrongfully pinpointed Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak behind trading him to Miami. But Shaq's 281-page book titled "Shaq Uncut: My Story," co-written by Jackie MacMullan, slated for a Nov. 15 release, highly praises both former Coach Phil Jackson and former General Manager Jerry West. 

Jackson and West differ on what mainly constitutes a championship team, with Jackson touting his triangle offense and Zen-like principles and West arguing talent supersedes everything. They may not have a good relationship, as West indicated in his autobiography when he told of Jackson's kicking him out of the locker room. Shaq conceded as much when he alluded to their relationship problems as a "power thing." Nonetheless, Shaq loved both West and Jackson because they showed him respect while holding him accountable, but in different ways. 

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If Jerry West had stayed with Lakers, would Shaq have too? [Video]

Jerry West’s recently released autobiography suggests that if he hadn’t retired as Lakers general manager in 2000, perhaps the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant dynasty would have remained intact.

After West stepped down, the superstars’ feud reached a feverish pitch.

They attacked each other through the media, Bryant calling O’Neal fat and out of shape and O’Neal retaliating with bitter jabs at his teammate. At the end of the 2004 season, O’Neal was traded to Miami.

West watched it all unfold and wondered if things could have played out differently.

“When the tension between Shaquille and Kobe appeared to be at its worst, I recall thinking that this is what I would have done: I would have appealed to both of them and said, 'Hey, this does not make either of you look good,' " West wrote in his autobiography, “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life.”

“I would have spoken with both of them individually and then in a room together. I would have bluntly asked them, ‘What are you trying to accomplish here? Tell me what the hell it is?' "

Before his final season with the team, O’Neal, feeling frustrated and underappreciated, publicly lashed out against Lakers owner Jerry Buss in hopes of getting a lucrative contract extension. It was during an exhibition game in Honolulu. Shaq blocked a shot then screamed at Buss, “Now you gonna pay me?”

West thinks he could have stopped that from happening. O’Neal agrees.

“Had I still been with the Lakers, I would like to believe I could have prevented Shaquille from publicly antagonizing Jerry Buss to the degree that he had. I would have told him that if someone is paying you $120 million, you can’t denigrate him like that in the press. If I could have done that, there is a good chance that Shaquille wouldn’t have left the Lakers after the 2004 season. But I don’t know that for sure, much as Mitch and others, including Shaquille (who continues to insist that if I had still been there, he would have still been there), seem to think otherwise.”

In an interview on Wednesday at ESPN ZONE in downtown Los Angeles, West said he doesn't have any regrets about leaving the Lakers.

"It was really time for me to go," he said. "I had gotten to the point where I couldn't watch a game -- just miserable."

However, it definitely makes you wonder: If West had stayed with the Lakers, would O’Neal have stayed as well? And if so, how many championships could the Lakers have won?

MORE:

A review of "West by West"

Greatest sports figures in L.A. history: Jerry West

Why Jerry West wanted to share his struggles with depression [Video]

--Melissa Rohlin

 

NBA lockout: Everyone's talking about the talks

Billy Hunter--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes that the NBA players union will meet Thursday in New York "to either provide a few details on upcoming negotiation strategy or to bridge a chasm of differences, depending on what you believe."

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick explores the relationship between Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter. 

--NBA.com's Steve Aschburner focuses on the role the courts might play in the NBA lockout. 

 --NBA.com's Fran Blinebury goes through the lockout alphabet. 

--ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that Fisher, during a Tuesday night conference call with the union's executive committee, denied secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner David Stern.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding praises Lamar Odom for becoming more focused and responsible after marrying Khloe Kardashian.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer criticizes Jerry Stackhouse for suggesting that more agents need to be involved in the lockout negotiations. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi talks to Jerry West, who says he wouldn't have been able to ensure that Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant would stay together on the Lakers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Stephen A. Smith argues that it's a good thing that Fisher is considering accepting a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Ben R. looks at some of the players the Lakers could pursue because of the amnesty clause. 

Tweet of the Day: "Once upon a time before 24/7 coverage & social media, NBA locked out its players. They came to a deal in Jan., played 50 games & it was fine" -- FisolaNYDN (New York Daily News' Frank Isola)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "What on earth is with this notion that the Lakers have the wherewithal to pursue Paul or Williams in free agency? How is that remotely possible? The Lakers aren't by any stretch of the imagination going to be major players in the free agent market for a long, long time with lots of money tied down in Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum and they'll almost certainly be capped out and paying the luxury tax for at least the next three or four years." -- Benjamin Rosales

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA Players Assn. Credit: David Karp / Associated Press

Derek Fisher denies side deals with David Stern (Web links)

Derek Fisher

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlights Lakers guard and players union President Derek Fisher disputing a report from Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock that he's making side deals with NBA Commissioner David Stern.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande explores what there is to do without the NBA and riffs on Kim Kardashian's divorce from Kris Humphries. 

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding provides excerpts from Jerry West's recent autobiography, including how he would have ended the dispute between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. 

--Ball Don't Lie's Eric Freeman wonders if anyone actually wants to read Shaq's tales about disliking Kobe Bryant anymore. 

--NBA.com's Shaun Powell believes the season isn't lost. 

--ESPN.com's Marc Stein first obtained Fisher's letter to the players union denying any rift within the players union. 

--Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock stands by his report that players union Executive Director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee confronted Fisher about their belief that Fisher’s push for a 50-50 basketball-related-income split with NBA ownership was part of a deal Fisher had privately cut with Stern and/or Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to deliver the union at 50-50.

--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports Miami Heat owner Micky Arison was fined $500,000 Monday for recent comments he made on Twitter that violated the league’s censure on speaking publicly about the lockout

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano remains conflicted about whether the players should accept a deal or not. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Dexter Fishmore lists 37 things he'll miss about the Lakers' opening night. 

Tweet of the Day: "I wish I could say I was excited for the opening of the NBA season tonight. I wish." -- ArashMarkazi (ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi)

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Derek Fisher addresses the media last week after a round of labor negotiations with NBA leadership. Credit: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images

Lakers' Time Warner Cable deal shouldn't be held against them

LakersWith one pen stroke, the Lakers apparently drew a cloud over the NBA and the players union and their negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

The team's 20-year agreement with Time Warner Cable, starting next year, didn't just anger Lakers fans who only have access to network channels. The deal angered other NBA owners, who believe it gives the Purple & Gold another unfair advantage. The contract, which Times columnist Bill Plaschke reported could be worth as much as $3 billion, won't just enrich the Lakers. It may enrich the small-market owners, who believe that they're entitled to revenue sharing. 

"That Lakers TV deal scared the hell out of everybody," one league official told ESPN's Brian Windhorst. "Everyone thought there is no way to compete with that. Then everyone started thinking that it wasn't fair that they didn’t have to share it with the teams they're playing against."

The tension illustrates the fallacy behind the notion that revenue sharing would ensure competitive balance. TrueHoop's Tom Haberstroh provides an in-depth analysis indicating that smart spending and draft picks ensure a team's success more than competitive balance.

But the jealousy over the Lakers' television deal also points to what should be a misconception among some owners -- that they're entitled to such revenue without making the smart business moves and taking the risks that ultimately ensure such a lucrative deal.

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NBA lockout: Lakers owner Jerry Buss wants to make a deal

Lakers owner Jerry Buss, left, is eager to get the season underway since he has few revenue streams outside of basketball. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, center, and Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen are pushing for changes that they say will help small-market teams.

--The Times' Lance Pugmire, Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner surveyed front office executives, league officials, players, attorneys and others close to the game to get a sense of where the owners stand. Among their findings: Lakers owner Jerry Buss is a dove and that he has little revenue stream outside of basketball.

--The Times' Mike Downey gives a positive review to Jerry West's new autobiography.

--NBA.com's David Aldridge provides a detailed rundown of the NBA lockout, including an awesome Simpsons reference. 

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick criticizes the NBA for how it's handled the lockout. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr talks to Matt Barnes at a charity event Saturday about the NBA lockout. 

--Fox Sports ranks Buss as the NBA's second best owner behind Dallas' Mark Cuban. Apparently winning one title means more than winning 10. 

--CBS Sports' Ben Golliver highlights the mess the NBA has made in trying to refute the notion that Blazers owner Paul Allen played a large role in ruining the momentum in Thursday's labor meeting. 

--Sheridan Hoops' Mark Heisler pokes fun at everything surrounding the NBA lockout and believes the season will still start on Dec. 1. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky travels to St. Louis to visit family and friends and realizes no one cares about the NBA lockout. 

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen reports Mike Brown plans to add at least three more people to his coaching staff, including an assistant coach and two "player-development" guys.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford also details how Brown's kept busy this offseason.

--The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman takes a look at some of the excerpts from West's autobiography. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano found a pretty cool Kobe Bryant montage in the video below:

Tweet of the Day: "Organizers of NBA stars global tour still scrambling this morning to get television distribution deal done, sources say ... Several players, Puerto Rico promoters, waiting for payments to be wired today. Tour may still happen, but typical cluster-you-know-what." -- WojYahooNBA(Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "The players have shown considerable flexibility in agreeing to a 4.5% collective pay cut and working out a number of smaller issues with the owners. By dragging out these negotiations, the owners are allowing their greed to cost them millions and millions of dollars. Somebody needs to save them from themselves." -- Michael Lichter

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers owner Jerry Buss, left, is eager to get the season underway since he has few revenue streams outside of basketball. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, center, and Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen are pushing for changes that they say will help small-market teams. CreditL: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images; Amy Sancetta / Associated Press; Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg.

Jerry West reveals childhood beatings to HBO's Bryant Gumbel

Sitting on a boat fishing in the middle of his native state, West Virginia, it appeared Jerry West seemed at peace while talking with "HBO Real Sports" host Bryant Gumbel.

Viewing West's graceful on-court play that led him to the Lakers' first championship 1972 and becoming the Lakers' second all-time leading scorer, it appeared West simply lived up to his nickname as Mr. Clutch.

Seeing how West constructed the Lakers' Showtime era and another one led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, it appeared the Lakers' general manager felt in total control.

But underneath that calm and cool exterior remained a man unable to escape his personal demons, most notably the physical abuse he endured from his father as a youngster. 

"I know the difference between a spanking and a beating, I know that," West told Gumbel in a segment that will air Tuesday night. "It was brutal."

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Jerry West's autobiography focuses on depression

Below are excerpts from a recent conversation with former Lakers player and General Manager Jerry West, whose autobiography, "West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life," written with Jonathan Coleman, is to be formally released on Wednesday. You can listen to the entire 30-minute interview in the video above.

On his depression: "It's something that's been a problem in my life and still will be until the day I die. Most people will look at that and wonder how someone like that can be depressed. I have lived my childhood and had a career as a player in college to get an education only because I had a skill, and then to become a basketball player here in Los Angeles and watch this franchise grow and the enormous appeal that stands today. But there is more to the person than just an athlete. Sometimes you have to come to grips with who you are. ... I'm not a victim here. I don't want to be seen as a victim at all. But self-esteem is very difficult for me."

On his abusive father: "I know the difference between corporal punishment and abuse. I felt like I was a great kid and didn't do anything wrong, but obviously my father didn't feel that. To this day, it's probably left me wondering if I'm capable of being a father. I'm not comfortable with the word 'love' because I never saw it as a kid."

On having no relationship with former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson: "It didn't feel very good when someone would walk right by me and not even acknowledge you're there. But that's Phil. He did the best job possible, but it was not a good time for me. Frankly, you start to feel under-appreciated and undervalued. It was time for me to go, but it was best for the Lakers and best for me." 

On his complicated feelings toward Lakers owner Jerry Buss: "I probably had worn out my welcome. I overstepped my bounds sometimes. But I will be forever grateful to him for allowing me to be with him as long as I could, but it was time for me to go."

On acquiring Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant: "When the fruition of it came, I was exhausted. I had to go in the hospital. I don't sleep a lot anyway and have a very inquisitive mind. When you're like that, it creates more problems for you. It was a watershed day for the Lakers and Jerry Buss. When it didn't look very promising, he said, 'Let's keep going.' This wasn't about me ever. This was about people working very hard and diligently. People get credit, and I got far too much credit." 

RELATED:

Jerry West on autobiography: "It was painful to write"

Jerry West autobiography reportedly details troubled personality

-- Mark Medina

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

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