‘Most Offensive Things’: Hall of Famer Jerry West Reacts to Jeanie Buss’ Top Five Lakers List

Published 05/12/2021, 11:21 AM EDT
LO SANGELES, CALIFORNIA FEBRUARY 3, 2010–Lakers Kobe Bryant shakes hands with Jerry West during a ceremony at half court to honor Kobe’s record for most points by a Laker at the Staples Center Wednesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


The Los Angeles Lakers are the most successful franchise in NBA history. Players like Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson grazed the Staples Center for a long time. Of all the players on the list, Jerry West might arguably be the most influential Laker of all time. ‘The Logo,’ as he is affectionally known, changed the entire landscape of the Lakers franchise and even the league.

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However, the president of the franchise had a different opinion. Jeanie Buss named the five most important players to have ever donned the purple jersey, but did not include West amongst her picks.

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The controversy surrounding Jeanie Buss and Jerry West

Despite LeBron bringing a title to the franchise after ten years or Phil Jackson guiding the Lakers to pure dominance in the early 2000s, Buss’ list has made its way into several debates. The exclusion of Jerry West and Shaq has not gone down well with the basketball community.

In a recent podcast with Peter Vecsey, West opened up about what he thought about the list.

“I saw the other day who Jeanie Buss is and made a statement about the five most important Lakers. Hmm, one of the most offensive things I have ever heard in my life.

“I was there [for] a lot time, and a lot of success, and I’d be curious to know if they’d have that success if I hadn’t been there,” said West.

BOSTON – 1968: Jerry West #44 of the Los Angeles Lakers makes a move to the basket against the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1968 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1968 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

Apart from being a player, he led the front office of the Lakers for a long time, and also influenced Shaquille O’Neal to make a switch from the Orlando Magic. This was iconic as Shaq and Kobe won a lot of titles for the franchise.

The 1972 Los Angeles Lakers and their quest for Dominance

Despite having only won the NBA title in 1972, ‘Mr. Clutch’ was a beautiful player on the court. Notably, there was no three-point line back in the 1970s; that speaks volumes of how he averaged over 27 points per game in his entire career.

Moreover, West was a good mid-range shooter, and a free throw specialist. Although he was six feet and three inches tall, Jerry excited the crowd back in the 60s and 70s.

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Wilt Chamberlain and West were steamrolling the Lakers to victory; one was dominant on the inside while the latter being a specialist shooter.

Despite West’s legendary numbers for the franchise, Buss made a glaring error to not involve the guard into her list. West is one of the most influential figures in the game of basketball even today. Do you think he deserved to be included?

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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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