Jerry West might be the man whose outline graces the National Basketball Association logo, but on the other hand, he’s the man answerable for making Kobe Bryant a Los Angeles Laker.
The eight-time NBA champion addressed CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” about his relationship with the previous Lakers whiz and his musings about his late companion, who will be drafted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
“I’ll remember [Bryant] as someone that I loved like a brother. The playful moments with him, some of the funny things and exchanges we had. Watching him when he first started to what he became,” West told CNBC.
Bryant, 41, his girl Gianna, 13, and seven others kicked the bucket on Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash close to Calabasas, California.
West, a previous player, and 14-time NBA All-Star proceeded to mentor the Lakers and at last moved to the group’s front office. He was behind the Lakers’ line during the ’80s and is the glad proprietor of eight title rings over his lifetime. He is additionally the one who is attributed with carrying Bryant to the Lakers in the wake of organizing a draft-day exchange with the Charlotte Hornets.
West saw Bryant’s ability for the ball right off the bat and didn’t avoid the 17-year-old, notwithstanding his lone playing in secondary school.
“We just began to look all starry-eyed at him. From the time we worked him out in Los Angeles, and especially the second time we worked him out … from that point on resembled, I love this, how would we get this person?”
The two fostered a bond consistently. West said his child would drive Bryant around and his better half would prepare him Italian nourishment for supper.
“He was one of the greatest players we’ve ever seen, but he also was one of the very smartest players we’ve ever seen,” said West.
While Bryant accomplished such a huge amount on the court, West likewise was pleased with his off-court commitments, especially when it came to aiding ladies b-ball.
Bryant helped give a voice to the Women’s National Basketball Association and its players, regularly going to games with his little girl.
“He was a bright light” for women basketball players, West said. “Whatever he did turned to gold, and I think that’s who he was as a person.”
On Saturday, Bryant’s golden calf, Michael Jordan, will enlist him into the Hall of Fame. Since early on, Bryant admired Jordan and surprisingly attempted to demonstrate his game after him.
“This will be a historic night to honor an iconic player who is no longer with us, and it just doesn’t seem right, to be honest with you,” said West. “To have his idol there introducing him … I think we all feel a little bit robbed because of that.”