Jerry West may be the man whose silhouette adorns the National Basketball Association logo, but he’s also responsible for making Kobe Bryant the Los Angeles Lakers.
The eight-time NBA champion spoke to CNBC’s News with Shepard Smith about his relationship with a former Lakers superstar and his thoughts on his deceased friend who will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
“I will remember [Bryant] As someone I loved like a brother. Some of the interesting things and exchanges we had in a playful moment with him. He was watching him when he first became him, “West told CNBC.
Brian (41), daughter Janna (13) and seven others died on January 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California.
Former player and 14-time NBA All-Star, West continued to coach the Lakers and eventually moved to the team’s front office. He was behind the Lakers dynasty in the 80’s and is the proud owner of eight championship rings throughout his life. He is also the man believed to have brought Bryant to the Lakers after coordinating a draft day trade with the Charlotte Hornets.
West saw Bryant’s basketball talent early on, and despite playing only in high school, he never left the age of 17.
Jerry West and Kobe Bryant will greet before the match between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on December 18, 2017.
Andrew D. Bernstein | NBAE via Getty Images
“We just fell in love with him. Since I worked him in Los Angeles, and especially since I worked him for the second time … I’ve loved this ever since, how did I get this guy? Do you want to put it in? “
The two have deepened their ties over the years. West said his son would drive Bryant and his wife would cook Italian food for dinner.
“He was one of the greatest players we’ve ever seen, but he was also one of the smartest players we’ve ever seen,” West said.
Brian did a lot on the court, but West was also proud of his off-court contribution, especially when it comes to helping women’s basketball.
Brian helped reach out to the Women’s National Basketball Association and its players, often attending matches with her daughter.
“He was a bright light,” West said for a female basketball player. “Everything he did turned into money, and I think it was the one he was with.”
On Saturday, Bryant idol Michael Jordan will bring him to the Hall of Fame. Brian looked up at Jordan from an early age and even tried to model his game.
“This will be a historic night to honor an iconic player who is no longer with us, and to be honest with you, that doesn’t seem right,” West said. “To get his idol to introduce him there … I think we all feel a little robbed for that.”
Jerry West looks back on Kobe Bryant’s life and heritage
Source link Jerry West looks back on Kobe Bryant’s life and heritage