Former Los Angeles Lakers’ head athletic trainer Gary Vitti was recently a guest on the Scoop B Radio Podcast with Brandon “Scoop B ” Robinson. Vitti was with the Lakers organization for 32 seasons and before his three decades with the historic franchise, he was an assistant coach of the Utah Jazz for two seasons. After his stint with the Jazz, he transitioned to the collegiate level because he was a college football trainer. The University of Portland came calling and offered him a job.
The Los Angeles Lakers would reach out to Vitti in August of 1984, and he interviewed with the logo Jerry West at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
According to Vitti the logo Jerry West actually picked him up from the airport in a navy blue Mercedes.
Vitti and Scoop B discussed a variety of different topics such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
I believe that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not only the greatest basketball player that ever played the game, but I can also make an argument that he was the greatest athlete to ever walk the planet,” Gary Vitti told Scoop B Radio.
“You really look at what Kareem accomplished in his career there is no one that comes even close to his success that he has had in terms of championships. Whether it be high school, college, pros, MVPs, scoring, he is beyond, and I mean way beyond anybody else that has ever played any sport.”
He would also add:
“They still haven’t broken his record, and I don’t think anybody will because, for one thing, no one will play long enough. It takes a lot of years to score that many points. So anyway that is my opinion.”
He would also share his thoughts on Michael Jordan being the greatest of all-time:
“So when Michael got his first ring in ‘91 and the 5 that came after it, there wasn’t anybody left. The Lakers were done because Kareem had retired and then Magic [Johnson] came up 0 positive for HIV in ‘91. So he wasn’t challenged again by the great Laker team, the ones that because Kareem had already retired before ‘91, so he wasn’t part of that series against I don’t know what they would have done. They had Bill Cartwright; they had Cliff Levingston; I mean what were they going to do with Kareem? So he didn’t play the Lakers, the Celtics got old very very fast. Bird, Parish, and McHale all got old at the same time, so the Celtics were done. There was no challenge there and the Pistons were done, so basically when you really look at the six rings that the Bulls won, they didn’t play anybody, they didn’t play any of the championship caliber teams of the 80s like the Lakers, the Sixers, the Celtics, and the Pistons. All four of those teams had basically had their run and it was over and so it’s not taking anything away from him because he did what he was supposed to do. He dominated, but the game wasn’t the same game, it was different.” Said Vitti.
The full interview can be seen here.