Jerry West, so iconic an NBA star that the league’s logo is based on a photograph of him – and many fans even call him "The Logo" – is ripping the
Jerry West, so iconic an NBA star that the league’s logo is based on a photograph of him – and many fans even call him “The Logo” – is ripping the Los Angeles Lakers, the team with which he is most associated.
West, 83, claims the team ended the lifetime season tickets that former team owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who died in 2013, granted him, according to a story published Tuesday in The Athletic.
The worst part, according to West: The Lakers didn’t even call West to say they were doing it.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re discarded, like a piece of trash,” West said, according to the report.
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Instead, he claimed, his wife received a text about the canceled tickets on her cell phone.
West played as a guard for the Lakers from 1960 to 1974, helping them win an NBA title in 1972, having his number 44 retired, and being enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He also coached the team from 1976 to 1979, reaching the playoffs all three seasons, and later led six Lakers championship teams as general manager. He later worked as an executive for the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.
But because of his long ties to the Lakers, losing the tickets was hurtful, West told The Athletic.
“No one had the nerve to call me, but that’s how petty they are, OK?” he said. “And I love the Lakers, OK? I love to see them do well. It’s great for basketball. I’m proud of everything that happened when I was there. I’m proud of everything that happened when I wasn’t there – the positives.”
West said he wasn’t blaming the Lakers’ current owner, Jeanie Buss – daughter of Jerry Buss. He referred only to “a couple of people over there” within the Lakers’ management group.
He also said he wasn’t expecting the bad-blood situation to be rectified.
“No, it’s too late. It’s too late,” West said.
But West has had some previous clashes with the Lakers, according to the New York Post. They include his claim that Jerry Buss was slow to pay him a promised $1 million bonus if the team convinced Shaquille O’Neal to join the Lakers; West’s reference to the Lakers as a “sh—show” during his efforts to woo Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers; and Jeanie Buss declining to name West among the top five most important Lakers in team history.
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The perceived snub was “one of the most offensive things I’ve ever heard in my life,” West said later, according to the Post.
Earlier this month, both West and Alabama football coach Nick Saban were called out by U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, after the two sports figures urged Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to back his fellow Democrats’ election legislation in Congress. (Both West and Saban are natives of West Virginia.)
Roy expressed doubts that West or Saban could have read a 700-page bill, which was then only recently distributed to members of Congress, in time to credibly critique its contents.