Jerry West has risked the wrath of the Los Angeles Lakers faithful on multiple occasions since joining the L.A. Clippers front office.
The 82-year-old executive reportedly played a significant role in Kawhi Leonard’s move to the Clippers, during which time forcing the Lakers to patiently waiting for the two-time champion’s free agency decision and pass up on multiple available players in 2019.
West, who spent his 14-year NBA career with the Lakers — winning the title in 1972 — and oversaw the rise of the franchise’s 1980s dynasty, then gloated over the superiority of the roster he put together.
And just recently, the eight-time Executive of the Year Award winner was said to have disparaged the Lakers in a voicemail left for Leonard’s friend, Johnny Wilkes. A recording of the voice message leaked in the aftermath of the NBA launching an investigation into the former Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs star’s signing.
But Lakers head coach Frank Vogel played down the West controversy and said he wouldn’t use it to motivate his players when asked about using “bulletin board material.”
“I have used bulletin board material from time to time,” he said. “Typically, I like to keep that stuff in-house. There were a few moments in the playoffs last year where we used some things, that honestly, I’d rather just keep it in-house.
“But this thing with Jerry West is not one of them.”
The Clippers beat the Lakers 116-109 on Opening Night after watching Vogel and his players receive their championship rings for the title they won in the Orlando bubble.
Lakers championship rings feature multiple tributes to 2019-20 success
The rings Lakers players received on Tuesday reportedly feature multiple tributes to the extraordinary 2019-20 season that ended the franchise’s 10-year wait for the next Larry O’Brien trophy.
The “L” on its face consists of 17 purple amethyst stones representing the franchise’s 17th championship. Each ring comprises .95 carats recognizing the 95 days the team spent in the Orlando bubble.
Numerous details commemorate the memory of the late Kobe Bryant who, together with his daughter Gianna and seven other people, died in a helicopter crash in January.
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