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."

Related items

  • Beilein resigns as Cleveland Cavaliers coach Beilein resigns as Cleveland Cavaliers coach

    John Beilein has resigned as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers after a short stint at the helm.

    Beilein joined the Cavaliers from college team Michigan on a multi-year contract in May, but stepped down on Wednesday.

    The 67-year-old – who oversaw an Eastern Conference-worst 14-40 record this season, only behind the Golden State Warriors (12-43) in the entire league – will be reassigned to a different role in Cleveland, where J.B. Bickerstaff will take over from Beilein.

    "Over these last nine months, I have given my all to this organisation, but after much reflection, I have decided that it is best that I step back and resign from my position as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and assist the organisation in a different capacity," said Beilein, who spent the previous 12 seasons as coach of Michigan.

    "I am very grateful to Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman and the entire Cavaliers organisation for the opportunity they have provided me.

    "This was a very difficult decision for me, but I want to be clear – this was my decision to step down and I truly appreciate the understanding and support of the front office during this time. I find losing very challenging and this year has taken a much bigger toll on me than I expected.

    "I grew concerned for the consequences this toll could potentially take on my own health and my family's well-being down the road. I was not certain I could be at my best for the remainder of the season and in the future. That would not be fair to the players, coaches and support staff.

    "I also would not be doing this now, during the season, if J.B. Bickerstaff was not ready and capable to assume the head coaching role immediately and continue the rebuilding process that we have started.

    "For 45 years and more than 1,300 games, my journey as a basketball coach has been a dream come true. I have never been afraid of a challenge and have given each one my all – sometimes to the detriment of my own well-being. I want to thank my wife, Kathleen, for being by my side and I appreciate the outpouring of support from family, friends, and colleagues during this time. I look forward to being able to spend more time with my wife, kids and grandchildren over the coming months."

    Cavs general manager Koby Altman added: "John Beilein is one of the more accomplished basketball coaches in the history of our game and while it's unexpected, we understand and respect his decision to step down as head coach of the Cavaliers.

    "I was excited about the development of our young players, who have all shown growth and maturity under coach Beilein. We are thankful for the time he spent as head coach with the Cavaliers and are looking forward to his continued contribution.

    "The NBA is a unique business that sometimes requires aggressive risk-taking on important long-term decisions to move a franchise forward and ultimately compete for championships. I would like to thank the incredible fans of the Cavaliers for their support in both good and challenging times. Building a strong culture will continue to be the top priority here at the Cavaliers."

  • Stephen Curry returns to practice, Warriors treating him like Tom Brady Stephen Curry returns to practice, Warriors treating him like Tom Brady

    Stephen Curry was back at practice with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, with Steve Kerr admitting the two-time MVP got the Tom Brady treatment from his team-mates.

    Warriors guard Curry has been sidelined since October having twice undergone surgery on a broken hand, but he recently said he remained on course to return next month.

    Golden State were boosted by Curry's involvement in their defensive drills and shooting practice in their first practice since the All-Star break. 

    However, given Curry's status as the team's star and the nature of his injury, Kerr joked he ordered players not to make contact with the 31-year-old as if he were a red-shirted NFL quarterback in practice.

    "We're calling him Tom Brady today. Don't touch Steph," Kerr told reporters, referencing the six-time Super Bowl champion.

    "I think it was more for fun than anything. He took part in everything apart other than our scrimmage. Our scrimmage at the end, he didn't do that.

    "He's looking great. He cannot be touched!"

    Reports suggest Curry's return could come on March 1 against the Washington Wizards, with the Warriors having five games on the schedule before then.

    Kerr insisted there was no definitive timeframe for Curry's comeback but added he was impressed by his conditioning.

    "I don't know when he's going to be allowed to scrimmage. It's not this week or anything," he said.

    "He looks really good. He's gaining strength, gaining confidence.

    "He's been putting himself through some brutal workouts so his conditioning is about as good as it can possibly be because of somebody who hasn't been able to scrimmage because of how he goes about his work."

    The Warriors have made the NBA Finals in each of the previous five years but this season they are bottom of the Western Conference with an NBA-worst 12-43 record.

    As well as Curry's lengthy absence, they have had to content with five-time All-Star Klay Thompson being sidelined by a torn anterior cruciate ligament that is expected to keep him out for the entire campaign.

    "It's easy to look and say, 'In a couple of weeks, Steph's going to be ready to play', but Klay's a long way from that," Kerr added.

    "I don't even entertain any thoughts of Klay playing this year."

  • Irving to see another specialist due to shoulder injury Irving to see another specialist due to shoulder injury

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is set to see another specialist to assess his shoulder injury.

    Irving has only played 20 games for the Nets (25-28) this season, missing a large part of the campaign due to his shoulder.

    Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson revealed on Tuesday that Irving would see another specialist this week.

    "The shoulder is a tough thing," he said, via ESPN.

    "I just think it was an on and off thing where it's bothering you. Some days you feel good, some days you don't feel good.

    "But I think it got to the point it was, 'Hey, let's see another specialist'."

    Irving is averaging 27.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds for the Nets this season.

    Brooklyn are seventh in the Eastern Conference and face the Philadelphia 76ers (34-21) on Thursday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.