The Los Angeles Lakers are the winningest franchise in NBA history. With 17 titles, they’re tied with the Boston Celtics at the top of that list, and no other franchise has ever won more than 10 trophies.
And, while it’s obvious that players like Kobe Byrant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Magic Johnson should get most of the credit for that success, you can’t talk about Lakers history without discussing Jerry West’s impact and legacy.
That’s why the legendary shooting guard was so offended when Lakers owner Jeanie Buss left him out of the top-5 best players in franchise history, going as far as to include LeBron James ahead of him:
“You have start with Kareem. And Kobe. And LeBron... Magic might be number one. No, Kareem. I don't know. It's so hard. Does he (Phil Jackson) count as a Laker? Then Phil,” Buss said on All The Smoke.
Jerry West Claps Back At Jeanie Buss Over Top-5 Laker list
West was clearly disgusted by the fact that Buss chose a coach and a player that’s only been around for 3 years before him, who spent his entire playing career with the organization before also serving as an executive:
“I saw the other day Jeanie Buss made a statement, the five most important Lakers, one of the most offensive things I’ve ever heard in my life. I was there a lot of times, had a lot of success,” West told Peter Vescey on the Hoop Du Jour Podcast. “Be curious to know if they would have had that success if I hadn’t been there.”
“And I don’t ever take credit for stuff, I don’t. When I was around, maybe I was just a good luck charm. But I do know, that when this thing fell apart, there was a lot of years where they weren’t very good,” he added.
Jerry West was such a big deal in the NBA that the league – unofficially – made him the logo. He’s the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award despite being on the losing team, and he was the one who pulled the trigger to trade for Kobe Bryant.
So, yeah, even if younger fans may not know much about him, he definitely deserves a privileged spot in Los Angeles Lakers history. Hopefully, Buss will at least give him a call to apologize.