January 14, 1964 is the most important day in NBA history.
(Video below courtesy Mike Trudell at Lakers.com)
That day the best players in the game, including Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, barricaded themselves in Boston Garden locker rooms before the NBA’s 14th annual All-Star Game - refusing to play.
Before the season NBA players had demanded to commissioner Walter Kennedy that NBA owners recognize their newly-created players union. As part of that recognition, the owners were to set up a pension plan for the players, who also attempted to direct the league to require each team to staff a medical trainer while also cutting down on unreasonable travel and game schedules.
Kennedy and the owners completely ignored the demands, only to have the players refuse to play in the NBA’s first-ever nationally-televised all-star game a few months later.
And I do mean refuse. They were serious.
So what happened? Let Jerry West tell you: Read more…
Two days before its official unveiling as part of NBA All-Star weekend festivities, Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS snapped a shot of the new Jerry West statue gracing Chick Hearn Court at Staples Center:
West joins a bronze pantheon of L.A. greats outside Staples that include Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Chick Hearn and Oscar de la Hoya.
Hoffarth snapped the spoilerific photo with his cellphone during the few short moments it was visible as workers quickly affixed the 14-foot-tall frozen logo atop a one-and-a-half ton granite pedestal.
Longtime Los Angeles journalist Hoffarth’s reaction to the West statue: Read more…
The logo dissed
on Detroit’s draft pick last night:
First and only time I wish Dick was around to drop a “diaper dandy.“
Last week I published an excerpt from Roland Lazenby’s upcoming biography of Lakers great Jerry West. The snippet detailed sexual activity by the Lakers during the Showtime era - which was headlined by Magic Johnson. Lazenby has a fascinating follow on his blog today that expounds on the sexual proclivities of the Lakers and the NBA at large.
Though you should definitely read the entire blog post, I’ll highlight something I found interesting. In Lazenby’s piece, former longtime LOS ANGELES HERALD-EXAMINER Lakers beat writer Doug Krikorian completely debunks Wilt Chamberlain’s claim that he slept with 20,000 women.
Doug, who is a friend of mine, actually doesn’t just debunk the myth, he obliterates it with “firsthand” knowledge. And Doug is as credible as they get. Read more…
More excerpts are hitting the main press from Roland Lazenby’s highly-anticipated new book on Jerry West, courtesy Bob Wolfley of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL.
(Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon, is out Feb. 23)
Lazenby reported in the book of the Lakers postgame scene in the ’80s - at the aptly-named Forum - that sounds like something out of Roman times:
“The team’s locker room, and its sauna, had been a place where the star and other players had entertained women, even right after games. Johnson would retire to the sauna after a game, have sex, then put on a robe and return to the locker room for his postgame media interviews.”
(Best crosstown Clippers could do was vomitorium installed by Elgin for fans at Staples years later.)
Now for the really crazy part. West, who ran the team in those days, doesn’t admit to Lazenby’s specific claim but essentially confirms it. Read more…
When you think of the name Bob Bass, you probably think of his time leading the Spurs into NBA relevancy from the front office, parachuting in to serve as coach periodically, when needed. Well, the two-time NBA Executive of the Year fulfilled the same role in Charlotte for the Hornets, and now his legacy is slowly but surely being re-cast as a referendum on the one move Bass made that — at least in the long run — never worked out right: Trading away Kobe Bryant.
(A draft hat: The only thing that still connects Bryant with the Hornets.)
Now Bass is weighing in on the subject himself, and he gives Jimmy Smith of the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE some pretty compelling reasons for why the move made a lot of sense, both for the short and long-term future of Charlotte’s franchise. Bass admits that the team put a pre-draft deal in place with the Lakers, saying that if Bryant was somehow still available at the No. 13 slot in the draft, Charlotte would take him and trade him to L.A. for Vlade Divac. When he was, Bass was all too happy to pick the Philadelphia wunderkind, because the Lakers deal represented both an ideal way to land the big man the Hornets desperately needed and equally importantly, set the stage to get Shaquille O’Neal out of the Eastern Conference by helping L.A. clear cap space.
As Kobe Bryant and the Lakers find themselves back in their first NBA Finals since 2002, opinion has circulated over who was most responsible for getting Los Angeles back to basketball’s biggest stage.
That’s easy. It’s Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace. Read more…