The book on Jerry West: His likes, dislikes, and more dislikes…

i-bfe9aebd2ee99f1c62f8aca5e6422b7d-42435547barnes.jpg

Five quick things you’ll learn after reading the 1-pound “Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon” by Roland Lazenby, which hit bookstores today ($28, ESPN Books, 448 pages, linked here):

== West, on his relationship with Phil Jackson, and how it played in West leaving the organization’s front office: “People think I hate Phil Jackson. I don’t hate him. I really didn’t know Phil. We are so different in terms of how he interacts with people. I was used to kidding around with people . . . Phil was just different.”

== West, on having to fire Pat Riley as coach in the early ’90s: “People think I hated Pat Riley or didn’t like him. That’s not true either. . . There are certain coaches that draw attention and want attention. And there are others that don’t. I think the ones who don’t want it, their natures are different. Pat is a little bit more flamboyant in his approach to things . . .”

== West, on when the Lakers moved from the Forum to Staples Center in 1999: “I’m not sure (owner) Jerry Buss realized how important that was. It was a license to print money. Jerry had been a great operator and a terrific owner. We used to talk almost every day when he was in his office. But then he quit coming to the office.”

== West, hired as the Lakers coach in 1976, tried to talk then-owner Jack Kent Cooke into acquiring Julius Erving, to play alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, when the ABA folded that year. The Philadelphia 76ers made it happen instead. “We could have gotten Julius Erving,” West says. “That’s the only time I ever got involved. I told Mr. Cooke, ‘You should take this guy. . .’ He told me it wasn’t my money; it was his money. So be it. I never talked to him about those things anymore.”
West later admits, even after admitting that he set aside his differences later with Cooke before Cooke’s death: “Nevertheless, I really didn’t like Jack Kent Cooke.”

== A sexy excerpt that has been circulating in pre-book release had to do with Magic Johnson’s sexual escapades with the Lakers, where the team sauna at the Forum was a place for him and other players to entertain women, even right after games, before Johnson would put on a robe and do post-game media interviews. Said West: “I cared. I did things for those guys. It was ridiculous, some of the things I did for those guys. If the public knew, they’d be outraged. It was a pretty crazy period for us.”

Lazenby has since address that excerpt (linked here) on his “Laker Noise” blog to try to give it some context.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email