Lakers Video: Shaquille O’Neal Pays Homage To Jerry West
Lakers, Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West
Andrew D. Bernstein-NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t be the franchise it is today without the contributions from legend Jerry West, who recently passed away at the age of 86.

West is arguably the most influential individual in Laker history as he led the team to its first title in Los Angeles, led and guided the 1980s “Showtime” group and later lured Shaquille O’Neal away from the Orlando Magic and trade for young phenom Kobe Bryant during the 1996 NBA Draft.

West served as the general manager for Los Angeles from 1982 to 2000, overseeing six championships during that span. Although he left after the first year of the Lakers’ “three-peat” in the early 2000s, he is still largely credited with building the foundation of that dynasty.

After news of West’s death broke, O’Neal paid homage to the Lakers great with a sentimental video montage and caption, via his personal Instagram account:

West managed to sign O’Neal to a seven-year, $121 million deal, which at the time was seen as exorbitant but the former superstar center paid back the team’s faith in him by delivering three titles to the franchise. O’Neal always spoke highly of West and his post illustrates that as he pushed him to be one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Although West’s successes are well-documented, O’Neal seemed to make it a point to also bring up his shortcomings as a way to show how much adversity West had to overcome throughout his life. Although West only won one title during his playing days, he was widely regarded as one of the best players of his era and rightfully deserves to be brought up in more conversations for greatest of all time.

The Lakers and West may not have ended on the best of terms, but the franchise owes a lot of its success to him and what he did as a player, head coach and executive. It’s rare to see someone thrive in every level of basketball, but West did just that and his legacy will never be forgotten.

Pat Riley gives heartfelt message to Lakers legend Jerry West

Like Shaquille O’Neal, Pat Riley was lucky enough to cross paths with Jerry West, who implored him to coach the “Showtime” era Lakers. Riley and West shared a strong relationship over the years and the former penned a heartfelt message to him.

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