Jerry West revealed Kobe Bryant had made a commitment to the Clippers during his NBA career with the Lakers.
Appearing on “NBA on TNT,” West, the former Lakers general manager, head coach and player, said Bryant had committed to making a move to the Clippers.
“I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers and I’ve never really mentioned this to anyone,” West said. “He was going to come and sign with the Clippers, who I’m now involved with as a consultant. And I told him, ‘Kobe, under no circumstances can you do this.’ And he was mad at everyone at the Lakers, the owner, everyone else. I said, ‘Kobe, you can’t go play with the Clippers, you can’t play for that owner [Donald Sterling], period.'”
In 2014, TMZ released audio from then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling from a 2013 conversation he had with his mistress, V. Stiviano. The audio recording caught Sterling making racist comments, and it eventually led him to being banned for life from the NBA.
“We had two conversations about it and he had supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers,” West said. “There’s so many things that we talked about as he was just seeking information. His parents were with him for a while and honestly I felt like his father for two years. I don’t know if I can get over this.”
Despite some frustrations with the franchise, Bryant never left the Lakers. He played for the franchise from 1996-2006.
Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.