During the early to mid-2000s, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was close to signing with the crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately, it is not something Lakers and other NBA fans tend to forget about when discussing Bryant’s legacy unless you speak to Jerry West.
West said that Kobe planned to join the Los Angeles Clippers, and that he talked about persuading him not to.
West had a couple of conversations with Kobe about it and did not want him to play for Donald Sterling, the Clippers’ owner at the time.
“I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers,” Jerry West said. “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. I told him, ‘Kobe under no circumstances can you do this.’ He was mad at everyone at the lakers, the owner, and 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. He supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers.”
Speaking of the Los Angeles Clippers, their superfan Clipper Darrell was on Twitter Spaces earlier this week in Hoop Spaces. Darrell shared the first time he met Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, during his appearance.
“The first time I have had ever met Kobe Bryant, I was sitting at the Drew League. I normally sit Courtside at the Drew League, but this time Nike said, hey Darrell, we got someone special coming in, so you can’t sit here today. So, I got up and went over to the side, right? Looks who walks in the door, Kobe Bean Bryant. So, Kobe came in, sat in, and waved to everybody. Then, he looked over at me and said, get your a** over here. This is the first time I met him, and this is how he’s saying, get your a** over here. He hugged me, I started talking to him, and then he introduced me to his wife as ‘The World Famous Clipper Darrell, and it was priceless,” said Darrell.
“The respect and know how you listen to the Kobe stories from other people and get to talk to him to see how he treated me, there’s so much respect there, and I was a Kobe fan after that. Every time he did something, I got invited out, like when he got the key to the city. During the last days of his retirement, those situations were priceless, and people are still hurting from him not being here anymore. It hurts everybody and his kids and his wife most of all.”
Bryant was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.
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