While making an appearance on All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Michael Rapaport talked about his experience when he met NBA legend Jerry West. West is a Lakers legend and one of the best shooting guards of all-time who is well respected around the league and built an excellent executive career after his playing days were over.
Rapaport remembers when he interviewed West and, being a New York Knicks fan; he used an opportunity to ask West about the finals series against the Knicks in 1973, which the Knicks won. According to Rapaport, West started tearing up talking about the series, which implied he cared a lot because the Lakers lost that one in five games.
So when I started talking to Jerry West about the losing to the Knicks. This f***ing guy started tearing up. This is forty f***ing years later. It was like he had a post-traumatic stress disorder or some shit. When he started talking about them losing at the garden, and I brought it to earlier when they lost to the Celtics, and they had the f***ing ballons up there. My man was having flashbacks on me to the point where he said, ‘are we done”. That st bugged me out.Michael Rapaport, via All The Smoke
Matt Barnes said West told him about some pretty tough situations that were going on in the league in the ’80s that is so secretive and scary he doesn’t feel like sharing it on the show.
He told me some st, I don’t even know how we got on it, bro, but the shit he told me about the early 80’s when he was coaching the Lakers and the shit that went down. My fing jaw dropped, and I couldn’t believe he was just telling me like it was nothing. We can’t even talk about it on here. It was so ill. I tell you, bro, this s*t blew me away.Matt Barnes, via All The Smoke
Jackson also had an exciting story to share interacting with West after a Warriors game. Even though he met him only once, West approached him and told him he loved watching Jackson as a player. Throughout his entire career, West was considered one of the slickest executives in the NBA, and Jackson has the same opinion describing him as a cool guy.
I think the Warriors had brought us back for something. I was walking through the hallway after the game, and I didn’t see him, and he grabs me. Hey motherfer, I loved you as a player. My first time meeting Jerry West, pulls me ‘hey motherfer so you know what that meant to me. That’s my only experience with him. He’s got the swag of a ballplayer too. He got swag, how he walks, how he talk is real cool.Stephen Jackson, via All The Smoke
West built a name for himself as one of the best guards in NBA history and later became known as a knowledgable executive capable of building championship-caliber teams. He built the Lakers dynasty in the ’80s and later in the ’90s with Shaq and Kobe. He revitalized the Memphis Grizzlies franchise and later impacted the Warriors when he joined them in 2011, which laid the foundation for everything that subsequently happened for them to win multiple championships.