With so many stories about Kobe Bryant coming up since his sad demise in a helicopter crash, one of the more shocking ones came up on Tuesday. Talking on Inside the NBA, former Los Angeles Lakers player and current executive member with the Los Angeles Clippers, Jerry West, revealed that Kobe was close to joining the Clippers.
“I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers, and 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,” West said in NBA on TNT’s show.
However, West also said that it was he who stopped Bryant from making the move which now seems difficult to imagine.
“I told him, ‘Kobe, under no circumstances, can you do this,'” West said. “And he was mad at everyone, the Lakers, the owner, 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.”
Jerry West on Kobe potentially joining the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/3JOhjdaV4n
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020
Kobe Bryant was like a son to Jerry West
Although Bryant joined the Lakers long after Jerry West had retired, the duo had a special relationship between them. On the day of Kobe’s tragic death, West talked about the how much he would miss Bryant.
“I’m trying to put my thoughts together and it’s really difficult,” West told The Athletic. “He’s 17 years old, and my son, Ryan, would be driving him around town to places. “(Bryant) would be at our house, there eating — and the growth of him as a player, the frustrations he had because he was so talented that he wasn’t really ready to play the NBA game because of the nuances of the game, and just trying to keep in touch with him all the time, trying to say hello to him, ask him how he’s doing, trying to find out if there’s anything we could do as a Laker franchise for him to make it easier.
“He was so smart, and so grounded. … He would seek a lot of information. To watch him grow as a player, and to watch the incredible skill, incredible desire that he had to play the game.”