Jerry West, The Logo, went on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio program today and called Kobe Bryant the most talented player in the Lakers’ history. West, a former Lakers player, coach and executive, qualified his remarks by saying:
“Well, it is difficult (to judge the greatest Laker ever) when you have probably the greatest center to ever play the game playing for your team in (Kareem) Abdul-Jabbar (and) Magic Johnson, who was an absolutely incredible player. I played with one — Elgin Baylor — incredible player. Wilt Chamberlain (also).
“But if you look at what (Kobe’s) accomplished solely as a Laker, becasue the other players, except for a couple of them, were acquired through trades. He was drafted here and he’s played his whole career here. To me, I don’t see why you couldn’t say he is the greatest Laker player in terms of talent. In terms of the talent, the Lakers have never had a better player than him. Never.”
Of reaching the 30,000-point milestone for his career during the Lakers’ victory Wednesday over the New Orleans Hornets, West said of Bryant:
“Obviously, it speaks to his greatness as a player and also to his longevity as a player. If you play 10 or 12 years, you’re not going to get there. I think this year, just watching him play, to me he looks a lot more efficient than he was a year ago, shooting the ball a lot better. He seems to have geared his game down a little bit and his skill level is just so darn high that regardless of his age — he’s not old in age, but in minutes played and number of games played, he’s played a lot.
“I just think it is a remarkable achieivement. You know something, things with him don’t surprise me — his willingness to compete every night, again, his incredible ability. And you’ve seen him change. He used to be kind of a high-flying act. That’s really not what defines him today. I think finally people, in saying this guy’s a great dunker and a great scorer, they recognize him for what he is. He is not only a great scorer and a great athlete, but there’s someting inside him that sets him apart from most players. It’s just a remarkable achievement. … If he plays at this level, which is amazing to me because of all the minutes he’s played, I just think he can play a lot longer and equally as effective.”