The Los Angeles Lakers of the early 2000s were a well-oiled unbeatable machine that terrorized the NBA with their star duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Even though they were some teams that dared to challenge them, like the San Antonio Spurs or Sacramento Kings, the Lakers won not one or two but three consecutive NBA championships.
Besides their legendary duo, they had another tandem that made magic at the office and the court. Phil Jackson and Jerry West seemed to have a great relationship during those times, but things changed for the worse after the team won its first of three straight championships in 2000.
Phil had a clear method to make teams championship contenders, as he showed in Chicago, and he wanted to do the same in Los Angeles. However, things weren't that smooth, and he slowly took control of the team, even pushing Jerry West out of the organization.
Phil Jackson Kicked Jerry West Out Of The Lakers' Locker Room During A Players Meeting
During the most recent episode of Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers, West and Jackson opened up about their relationship back then, remembering certain things that happened and led to the break up between West and the team he gave his everything to.
"He was talking about his heart and the issues he had, the anxiety he was feeling at that time. He could hardly watch games anymore. From my standpoint, you know, Jerry and I had a very workable relationship," Jackson revealed, via Nicole Ganglani of Basketball Network.
Even though things looked fine for Jackson, it wasn't the same for West, especially after the former kicked him out of the locker room during a players' meeting.
"It felt like it just came out of nowhere, but you know, you got the feeling inside like there was something personal between the two of them, you know, Phil and Jerry. Phil said, 'Get the f**k out my locker room' in front of the whole team," Brian Shaw, who was part of the Lakers roster, revealed.
West touched on this and said that he and Jackson are cool, although many people thought they had some type of bad blood. Well, The Logo one day decided to take a different route and leave all that stuff behind, leaving the Lakers to collect more silverware under Jackson.
"You know, people think I don't like Phil Jackson. That's not the truth at all. Great respect for him but he and I are two different people," West revealed. "It got to the point where he basically hardly talked to me, which was fine. Long as you're winning, that's fine with me. But I knew, I knew that I wasn't I was no gonna be there very much longer. I didn't tell anyone, I just left. I took a newspaper ad and I left town. I went up to Alaska fishing," West added.
When it comes to winning, sometimes egos will be crushed, and difficult decisions will be made. That's what happened between these two, who are legends in their respective ways but couldn't enjoy the fruits of their partnership for a long time. Jackson won five championships with the Lakers before taking on new challenges in the league, while West first helped the Golden State Warriors become a dynasty and now is trying to do the same with the Los Angeles Clippers.