‘Wore Clippers Colors’: Lakers’ President Jeanie Buss Reveals the Time When Kobe Bryant Was Ready to Leave

Published 04/20/2021, 1:21 AM EDT
January 22, 2014 Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant during the first half in a game between the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes and the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Juan Salas/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


To most people, it would sound like a poorly made joke to learn that Kobe Bryant was considering leaving the Lakers. The Black Mamba, when not in Golden and Purple, sported White and Dark Blue only when playing for Team USA. So it’s hard to believe he would’ve ever considered wearing any other jersey.

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However, the talk was real and the Lakers’ franchise’s face was on the brink of signing with the Clippers. One can only imagine what it would have been like if one of the greatest Lakers ever joined the franchise’s biggest rival. 

Lakers president confirmed the possibilities

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The team owner of the 73-YO franchise, Jeanie Buss, recently joined an interview where she confirmed this rumor. Talking to Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, the 59-YO president revealed her side of the tale.

Kobe Bryant, USA, with his Gold Medal during the Men’s Basketball Final between USA and Spain at the North Greenwich Arena. London, UK. 12th August 2012. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Jeanie expressed, “I never had that conversation with Kobe, but there was a game where he wore Clippers colors… Not even the jersey; he wore the colors, like very subtle. I could see that he loves challenges. That would have been a huge thing, right? I do think that that was something very possible.”

Back in 2007, the Lake Show had disappointed the Black Mamba with back-to-back postseason failures. The roster had some journeymen on it and Kobe was missing out on a helping hand like Shaquille O’Neal’s. So yes, the chances of him going towards the Clippers to bring greatness there were real.

Read also – “Got on My F**king Nerves”: Kobe Bryant’s Former Teammate Recalls Dealing with an Angry Phil Jackson

When an emotional Jerry West revealed the same about the Black Mamba

Former Laker, Coby Karl, had only recently detailed how he had also thought that Kobe Bryant wanted out of the Lakers. To add more weight to these claims, an emotional Jerry West had earlier surprised the world with the same narrative. 

Just a couple of days after the Black Mamba lost his life in an unfortunate accident, Jerry West gave an interview to NBA on TNT. With tears in his eyes, the legendary player exclaimed:

“I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers. I’ve never really mentioned this to anyone. He was going to come and sign with the Clippers, who I’m now involved with as a consultant. I told him, ‘Kobe under no circumstances can you do this.’ He was mad at everyone at the Lakers, the owner, and everyone else. I said, ‘Kobe you can’t go play with the Clippers. You can’t play for that owner period.’ We had two conversations about it. And he supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers.”

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Fortunately, the Lakers front office made the best move possible by trading for Pau Gasol in the middle of the 2007-08 season. Although the duo lost their battle against the Celtics in 2008, it gave Kobe hope he could win with the newly established roster. That’s exactly what followed after Kobe’s schooling of Pau Gasol and them seeking revenge in 2010.

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Sourabh Singh

1129 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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