Magic Johnson on Byron Scott: ‘We chose the right coach.’

Magic Johnson (pictured speaking at Cal State Long Beach) said he is thrilled with the hiring of Byron Scott as the Lakers new head coach.  Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Magic Johnson (pictured speaking at Cal State Long Beach) said he is thrilled with the hiring of Byron Scott as the Lakers new head coach.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

When Byron Scott joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983 he was the fourth overall pick in that year’s draft out of Arizona State. After three years with the Sun Devils, he left as the school’s all-time leading scorer and a second-team All-American selection.

That meant nothing to his teammates.

“When we brought him in, we didn’t speak to him,” former teammate and Laker legend Magic Johnson said Tuesday at Scott’s press conference introducing him as the team’s new head coach. “He was a just a college kid. So we wouldn’t speak to him, and we wouldn’t sit with him. He would have to go sit by himself at lunch and dinner. We smacked him and elbowed him because we wanted to understand what we were getting.”

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Byron Scott confident he can coexist with Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, looks to pass around Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in an NBA basketball game in March 2013.  Bryant played only six games last season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, looks to pass around Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in an NBA basketball game in March 2013. Bryant played only six games last season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

In 1996, an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant just starting his NBA career, shared a sideline with Byron Scott, who was ending his own. Faded photos almost two decades old show the pair sitting next to each other on the sideline, dressed in bright yellow warm up suits: the rookie and the veteran.

This season, they will be the aging superstar and the new coach.

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Byron Scott has high praise for Lakers lottery pick Julius Randle

Kentucky forward Julius Randle, right, poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kentucky forward Julius Randle, right, poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

With Byron Scott now the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the former member of the Showtime Lakers gets the chance to coach one of the best players in NBA history in Kobe Bryant.

But he also gets to coach on the most talented young prospects in the league in lottery pick  and power forward Julius Randle. At Scott’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, Scott was asked his thoughts on the promising Randle and gave a flattering review:

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New Lakers head coach Byron Scott thinks current roster can be competitive

Byron Scott said he agreed to coach the Lakers next season. AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Byron Scott said he agreed to coach the Lakers next season. AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t exactly hit the home runs they were hoping for in free agency after going after superstars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and ultimately losing out to Cleveland and New York.

But the roster additions they were able to make, which include Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis, were enough to have new head coach Byron Scott excited. Continue reading

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Magic Johnson on the ruling in Donald Sterling case: (Smiles)

At today’s press conference introducing Byron Scott as head coach of the Lakers, Magic Johnson was asked about his response to the ruling in the Donald Sterling case – allowing the sale to Steve Ballmer to proceed. Here’s what he said:

“What’s my reaction to the Sterling ruling? What do you think my reaction to the Sterling thing is? (Smiles) Do you see this? I don’t think you see this. (Laughs) I don’t have anything bad to say about him right now. I’ve said already that I’m praying for the man. But it’s a great day for Clipper fans, for this city. Ballmer is going to be an exciting owner, and a good owner for the Clippers. You talk about a guy who wants to win, and who loves basketball. He’s going to do everything he can to put them in a championship position because he wants to win so bad. You have to give Shelly a lot of credit. This was tough for her. But I respect what he did. I have no ill-feelings toward Donald. It was too bad what happened. But when you’ve been discriminated against this long, this is what happened. I hoped that this thing would end soon because we need to get back to our lives and you guys need to start cheering for the Dodgers as we approach the playoffs.”

From Jill Painter, Los Angeles News Group

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Lakers coaching search: Byron Scott says Kobe Bryant needs to change his game

Memphis Grizzlies' Tony Allen (9) defends Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Memphis Grizzlies’ Tony Allen (9) defends Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Back when Kobe Bryant entered the NBA as a wide-eyed 18-year-old, he soaked in every word Byron Scott had to say.

Scott served as a mentor for Bryant during his rookie season with the Lakers, encouraging his unmatched work ethic, sharing nuances about game preparation and sharing tales of the “Showtime Era.”

That relationship marks one of the many reasons why Scott considers himself “the perfect fit” to coach the Lakers when he appeared on 710 ESPN’s Max and Marcellus to talk about his recent interview with general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive Jim Buss about the coaching vacancy. Scott’s connection with Bryant also gives him confidence that he will buy into his belief that he will need to change his game.

“He knows that. We have to sit down and talk about the minutes and things like that,” Scott said. “We have to come to an agreement. He knows me. I’;m an old school type guy. I want him to understand that and I think he does understand. We communicate during the summer by text and I’ll run into him somewhere and we’ll talk a little bit more about basketball. The biggest thing is I respect the hell out of Kobe. I think he respects me. That’s the first hurdle you have to get past.”

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