Jerry West On ‘Podcast P With Paul George’

Jerry West On 'Podcast P With Paul George'

Jerry West reveals that Kobe Bryant wanted to play for the Grizzlies on “Podcast P with Paul George”.

We share highlights from this week’s episode of “Podcast P with Paul George”, presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, featuring an NBA legend both as a player and an executive, the silhouette of the NBA logo, Jerry West.

In this week’s episode, Lakers Legend Jerry West sits down with PG and the guys to share insight on why he chose not to be the first million-dollar player in the NBA.

West later talks about his special relationship with the late Kobe Bryant, including Kobe’s desire to be on the Grizzlies and why Jerry discouraged him.

Later in the episode, the guys give their opinions on Scottie Pippen’s comments about Michael Jordan and who Jerry West shares who he would pick to be on the NBA logo if redesigned.



Um, [the three point line] makes [the game], I think a more difficult game to coach. It emphasizes a different kind of player. I think crowds have to get used to it. There’s some nights I go and it’s hard for me to watch. In this sense, I’d rather see somebody make a beautiful pass, go in and lay it up instead of four on one, some guy runs behind the three point line and shoots a three. The game is soft that way today. I don’t like it. I don’t think it makes for pretty basketball. And I think, unless you have a great, great team late in the game, you’re gonna lose games, you’re taking points off the board.”


I didn’t grow up the way I wanted to grow up. Ok. All of our life, we’re subjected to our parents, they’re subjected to us. And I had a father who was very abusive toward me. Very. I had no inspiration but I was solitary. I was a solitary person. And even when I was in high school, I was receiving offers when I was a senior at East Bank High School, a tiny little school. I was receiving offers from the West Coast team. That never happened to him, Paul, never. I was bashful… I’m still bashful. And a lot of that has to do with what I saw as a kid that shouldn’t happen to any kid. Period. I don’t think my father ever saw me play a game. I didn’t want him to see me play a game. I did not want him to do it. But if I had an inspiration, it probably was my brother David who was killed in Korea in the Korean War when I was what? 13? I was a scrawny little kid and it was a life changing moment for me. Life changing. I got even more quiet. I mean I would hardly speak to anyone, … everything was yes or no, sir. Thank you, please. Pretty much the same today. I love people. I don’t care who the hell you are.”


I went to Korea where my brother was killed, where he actually got killed. He never saw me play, never saw me play. He was deeply religious… The day he got killed, changed my life forever. You thought I was quiet before? I was really quiet afterwards. And to go into– it was like comatose. I said to myself, my God who’s, who’s gonna pay any attention to me… The ironic thing for me and how I changed is that when I was little, no one wanted me. No one, no one. When I was going to high school my first couple of years, no one wanted me. After that, everyone wanted me. And I’m saying to myself, what difference was in me when no one wanted me because I had a skill that people wanted to be around. I was furious. What was my self worth? Did I have any self-worth? And I think if we get judged by what people say about us. And particularly today because of you guys who get so much publicity. I used to love when people were writing nasty things about me and they were very rare. OK, very rare. I used to love it, you know why they identified who they really are regardless of, I would talk to him as a press and you guys, I guess are forced to do that…I actually feel sorry for my kids that they have to put up with Jerry West being the logo. With Jerry West, you know, being [a] fairly big part of the NBA during my career. I feel sorry for them because the expectation level for them is to be like me, you can’t be like me because number one, completely different. I’m completely different than people would ever know. And it’s gonna stay that way.”


JW:So I played the first 28 games [that] season and I tore a groin and it was really difficult then. It was more like a football injury…. And because the owner said I did it on purpose [and that] II didn’t want to play. [He] wouldn’t say it to me. He said to his friends and people, ‘I can’t believe he would do this to me.’ So the next year it’s time for a training camp and he called me in and they made me an offer. I would have been the first million dollar player. The first. What was my response? Hell, no, I’m not playing. I’m not playing.”

PG:So it wasn’t about the money for you?”

JW:No, it was personal. Don’t lie to me. Just tell me the truth.”


JW:The most disappointing thing ever [was] that I didn’t win the most valuable player award we played on the West Coast. No one saw us play. Will Chamberlain, Elton Baylor missed practically the whole season one time. I mean tons of games. And I had the greatest season I’ve ever had, in every aspect, I had the greatest season.”

PG: “Was this 1972?”

JW:[19]69 maybe [19]69. It was like the game was so easy mentally for me to play. I knew whatever you’re gonna do. I’d be waiting on you. But it’s a gift, it’s a gift. And that probably for me was probably one of the most disappointing times. The other one that still bothers me to this day is all the times, in the NBA finals and [I] only win once. That was like, I wanted to quit when I was 28 years old, I didn’t want to play anymore. It was torture. I felt I let the city and people in the city down and yet every time I look, I played better in the playoffs and I did in the regular season.”


He became a free agent. Ok? And he called me and his agent then was Rob Pelinka. And so I met them in Orange County in a hotel room and he said he wanted to come to Memphis and play basketball. And I looked at him, I said, are you kidding me? And he said no, and I said, Kobe, no, no. You know, it’s just you belong somewhere out here. And even though he would have never played there, I just want to reassure him that don’t feel like you have any obligation with me or the Grizzlies to play here and because he would have never played there, it wasn’t gonna happen.”


Well, obviously I know Michael well, but I don’t know Scottie that well, I don’t. But he’s always been very pleasant and very nice to me. And as I say, I admired him tremendously as a player. He got better every year. He wasn’t, somebody that just fell off a cliff. He was a really good player and whatever happens in relationships and when, particularly if you look at a team and you would think that those guys like that would have the most special relationship in the world. I just haven’t understood that.”

PG:Right. I think that’s where the new media, I think, you know, people that hear about what Scottie is saying about Michael. I think that’s probably the most disappointing part about it is, is that team and how special and the bonds. I think it would just be easy for Scottie to give MJ a call and resolve things between each other than to attack him through [the] media.”

JW:Maybe somebody wouldn’t accept the call.”

PG: “But that’s one thing, that’s one thing,the line might not work at this point. But I do agree. I’m a big fan of Scottie Pippen, he paved the way for somebody like me.”


PG:Hypothetically if Adam Silver gave you the opportunity to pick who should be the next logo–

JW:I would never do that. It’s disrespectful to other players. Do you have any idea what the logo was about? It was about marketing. I think the late Walter Kennedy – the league side started to grow and that’s when they decided to start trying to market the league and that thing has been around forever. To me, you wish that no one knew it was. My kids say to me but I don’t want them to change it because they know who it is. Those things don’t mean much to me. Here’s what my response is. If that’s me, I’m flattered. That’s always my response. I never talk about it.”

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