Here’s a tidbit or two on Jerry West’s strained relationship with Phil Jackson from West’s new book, courtesy of Tim Kawakami, a columnist for our sister paper, the San Jose Mercury News, and a former Lakers beat reporters for the Los Angeles Times:
–West and Jackson clearly had a distant relationship from the moment the Lakers brought Jackson in to coach Shaquille O’Neal and Bryant, and West confirms it all.
West says he was definitely troubled by Jackson’s relationship with Jeanie Buss and was put off by much of what Jackson was doing (Jackson’s first year was West’s last with the Lakers).
“So one of the problems I had with Phil was this,” West writes. “His office was right near mine and when he would arrive in the morning, he would walk right past and never even bother to wave or duck his head in to say hello.
“He would later say that he felt the need to stake out his territory, that on top of that he was ‘a wack job,’ but I am sure it was more than that.”
West compares Jackson’s attitude to Pat Riley’s reach for more power after winning titles as the Laker coach, but West suggests that Jackson’s display was a colder version to experience.
“Phil and I had no relationship,” West writes. “None. He didn’t want me around and had absolutely no respect for me-of that, I have no doubt.”
–West re-counts and confirms one of the long-rumored tension points-West says Jackson threw him out of the locker room after a game, personally (“Jerry, get the f- out, I’m not finished here yet,” West quotes Jackson as saying, though West adds that Jackson later said he didn’t know it was West.)
West said he quickly left the locker room and didn’t ever respond to Jackson’s action.
“I wasn’t going to lower myself and get into a p- contest with him,” West writes.