As general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry West constructed some of the winningest rosters in franchise history. West help assemble the Showtime-era Lakers that dominated the 1980’s and laid down the framework for the 2000-02 championship teams.
During the summer of 1996, West obtained the draft rights to Kobe Bryant while also clearing enough cap space to make a run at free-agent center Shaquille O’Neal. While the duo won three titles in a row alongside one another, their public feud prevented them from winning another Larry O’Brien trophy after their third consecutive championship.
West sat down on In Depth with Graham Bensinger for an interview and discussed bringing Bryant and O’Neal together among other topics. He explained how he felt the conflict between the two was inevitable:
I think those two different personalities had to clash somewhere along the way. I didn’t think they’d ever clash to the extent they did.”
Although having the foresight to pair Bryant and O’Neal, the Lakers failed to win a championship until West hired Phil Jackson as head coach. West stepped down as general manager after the first title in 2000 and has since helped the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors turn into contenders.
Here is the video of West talking about the Kobe-Shaq feud: