NBA

Kobe Bryant dead: Lakers great made commitment to Clippers, says Jerry West

By Sports Desk January 28, 2020

Jerry West revealed Kobe Bryant had made a commitment to the Los Angeles Clippers during his glittering NBA career with the Lakers.

An all-time NBA great, Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Bryant won five championships and was the 2008 MVP during a 20-year career with the Lakers which ended in 2016.

West, the former Lakers general manager, head coach and player, said Bryant had committed to making a shock move to the Clippers.

"I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers and I've never really mentioned this to anyone," he told NBA on TNT on Tuesday.

"He was going to come and sign with the Clippers, who I'm not involved with as a consultant. And I told him, 'Kobe, under no circumstances can you do this'.

"And he was mad at everyone at the Lakers, the owner, everyone else. I said, 'Kobe, you can't go play with the Clippers, you can't play for that owner [Donald Sterling], period'.

"We had two conversations about it and he had supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers … there's so many things that we talked about as he was just seeking information.

"His parents were with him for a while and honestly I felt like his father for two years. I don't know if I can get over this."

Bryant's former team-mate, Shaquille O'Neal, was still reeling from his friend's death, saying it would be difficult to overcome.

"The fact that we lost probably the world's greatest Laker, the world's greatest basketball player, is just, listen, people are going to say take your time and get better, but this is going to be hard for me," he told NBA on TNT.

"I already don't sleep anyway, but I'll figure it out."

O'Neal added: "I never could have imagined nothing like this. I was thinking the other day I've never seen anything like this.

"All the basketball idols that I grew up [watching], I see them. They're old."

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