Lakers News: Shaq Reveals How Jerry West Convinced Him & Kobe Bryant to Coexist

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Former Los Angeles Lakers great Jerry West (L) speaks while former players Shaquille O'Neal (C) and Kobe Bryant look on during unveiling of O'Neal's statue at Staples Center March 24, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

NBA Hall of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal discussed the NBA offseason with Scoop B Radio. Press Play Below To Listen!

On this day 23 years ago, Shaquille O’Neal left the Orlando Magic and joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

In fact, Shaq signed a seven-year, $121 million contract with the Lakers.

The Lakers won 56 games during the 1996–97 season.The Lakers made the playoffs and were eliminated in the by the Utah Jazz in five games in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

Shaq averaged 26.2 points and 12.5 rebounds in his first season in Tinsel Town despite missing over 30 games due to injury.

NBA Hall of Famer, Jerry West, currently in a consultant role with the Los Angeles Clippers was the architect in creating the great 1980s Lakers dynasty which brought five championship rings (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988) to the purple and gold.

In his role as general manager, the NBA Champion and 14-time NBA All Star lured Shaq to LA after having early individual success with the Orlando Magic.

“All Jerry West did was tell the truth,” Shaq told me.

“So when I was leaving Orlando, he brought me here and told me the truth. I would have a young team and a guy named Kobe. That guy’s going to be good but in a couple of years you’re going to have championships. It wasn’t no ‘get you this or get you that.’ Jerry’s not that type of guy.”

For those keeping score at home: Jerry West traded Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets on NBA Draft Day in 1996 in a deal that brought Kobe Bryant to LA LA land.

At 81 years old, Jerry West is still as influential. He’s credited for getting Kawhi Leonard to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

Shaq even laid out how Jerry West probably got Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers:

“Jerry probably said: ‘I’m working on a deal to get you Paul George. You’ve seen what the team did last year. You know what type of guy Doc is. This is your hometown. We would like to have you.’”

That’s likely what got Kawhi Leonard to commit to the Clippers after winning an NBA Championship last month with the Toronto Raptors.

Almost a year ago, the San Antonio Spurs shipped Leonard to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan.

A year later, Leonard has his second NBA Championship and second NBA Finals MVP on his second team.

“Jerry is very honest,” Shaq told me.

“Kawhi seems to be a guy who loves honesty. Gregg Popovich is very honest and very open. So Jerry and Pop are similar. He probably spoke Kawhi’s language. So I found out when everybody else found out. I thought he was going to the Lakers or the Knicks or possibly stay in Toronto but when I saw he was signing with the Clippers all I knew was, good move Jerry West.”


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