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“Get the fu**k out my locker room” - how Phil Jackson claimed the Los Angeles Lakers over Jerry West in 2000

Jerry West took it personally when Phil Jackson literally kicked him out of the locker room, which triggered The Logo to step down as the team's general manager

There's a famous saying in basketball about how winning cures all conflicts. Phil Jackson abided by this saying for most of his NBA career (both as a player and head coach) until he crossed paths with Jerry West during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.

When Jackson, who had just won 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls a decade before, arrived in Los Angeles to coach Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, he slowly took control of the team because that's how he knew how to lead them to championships. The Lakers, from its owners, executives, and players, respected Jackson's method, aside from the one and only West.

How Phil Jackson pushed Jerry West out of the Lakers

In the latest episode of the Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers documentary, Jackson and West opened up about how they felt about each other during their tenures in Los Angeles. West didn't like the fact that Phil slowly took control of the organization after they won their first championship in the Kobe-Shaq era in 2000.

West, who was under a lot of personal stress at the time, felt he was being pushed out of the organization despite being their general manager from the Lakers' Showtime era.

"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.

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It also didn't help that Jackson pushed West out of the locker room and in player's meetings when the team gathered. According to the 11-time champion, West took offense to this especially given all the stress and problems he was going through then.

"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.

Jerry West's side of the story

West admitted that he suffered from burnout and stress in 2000, which affected his perspective and strength to endure all the conflicts he was going through. While The Logo may not have been in favor of Jackson, he still respected him as their head coach, but it got to a point where he was no longer being given the same respect and priority by the franchise, which caused him to step down.

"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.

It was clear that the Zen Master played a massive role in West's departure with the Purple and Gold. The conflict between Jackson and West is another example of great-minded individuals who bumped heads often and couldn't jell to attain team success together. No amount of winning was enough to unite these two brilliant basketball minds. 

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