Former NBA star Jerry West has this week rued his relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers as one of the biggest regrets of his career.
The 14-time All-Star played for the Lakers throughout his entire career, before going on to coach the team and then hold a number of other roles including player-scout and general manager. West won one NBA Championship as a player and led the franchise to six more as a GM, but feels he has never been properly appreciated by the franchise and his relationship with the organisation has now broken down to the point that they have stripped him of his honorary season tickets.
“One disappointing thing [about my career] is that my relationship with the Lakers is horrible,” West told The Athletic.
“I still don’t know why. And at the end of the day, when I look back, I say, ‘Well, maybe I should have played somewhere else instead of with the Lakers, where someone would have at least appreciated how much you give, how much you cared.'”
West‘s season tickets for life had been given to him by late owner Dr Jerry Buss, but the current ownership, led by Buss’ daughter Jeannie, who recently omitted West from her list of top-five Lakers of all time, took away the tickets via a text message to West‘s wife.
“It was a cold phone text to my wife. No one had the nerve to call me, but that’s how petty they are, OK?” said West.
“And I love the Lakers, OK? I love to see them do well. It’s great for basketball. I’m proud of everything that happened when I was there. I’m proud of everything that happened when I wasn’t there – the positives.
“But sometimes you feel like you’re discarded, like a piece of trash. And there’s a couple of people over there – not Jeanie – but there’s a couple of people over there that, uh … I don’t get it. I don’t. … I always had a great relationship with Jeanie – at least I thought I did. I don’t know where it is now.”
West, whose silhouette was used to form the NBA logo still in use today, feels it’s too late to make things up.