Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Plaschke and Simers discuss their recent issues with the Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West are purple and gold lore, they are legends whose impact on the game continues to have profound reverberations today.
Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all-time leading scorer. The league's logo is West's silhouette. Despite their accomplishments, both men have felt like they haven't received their due respect from the Lakers organization after their playing days have ended.
Abdul-Jabbar gripes that he hasn't been immortalized with a bronze statue outside of Staples Center. West feels as though Coach Phil Jackson never truly appreciated him.
In their video series, L.A. Now, moderated by Times sports reporter Melissa Rohlin, Bill Plaschke and T.J. Simers discuss the Lakers legends and what their legacy will be. Here are some highlights.
On Jerry West:
Both columnists said they think Jerry West is a bit "strange." Plaschke recounted how the former Lakers general manager left the gym during Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers to go see a movie.
"Jerry accomplished a lot in his life, but he also did it with some devils in him," Simers said.
Plaschke called him "one of the most fascinating characters ever in L.A. sports." He discussed how even though West helped build the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal dynasty, he felt overshadowed by Jackson.
On Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:
Simers rembembers seeing Pat Riley approach Abdul-Jabbar at an All-Star game in an attempt to introduce him to his friends. The six-time NBA MVP refused to spend any time with them.
"Kareem Abdul-Jabbar feels alienated by everybody and it's basically his own responsibility," Simers said.
Plaschke said Abdul-Jabbar has made himself an unlikable figure in the eyes of Lakers fans.
"James Worthy, Rick Fox get more cheers," Plaschke said.