The great Jerry West is known for spending nearly 40 years in the Los Angeles Lakers organization. From earning 14 All-Star appearances as a player to leading the team to six championships as an executive, West’s Lakers career is what literally made him the Association’s logo.
So when West decided to take on the role of consultant for the division-rival Golden State Warriors up north in 2011, it was to the surprise of many. In the four seasons that West has been a member of the front office in Oakland, the team has earned three playoff appearances and is coming off its first NBA title in 40 years.
Needless to say, that’s not a coincidence.
Speaking to a local radio station in Northern California, West gave us some insight as to why the Warriors’ front office has been so successful in recent years:
“People are allowed to express their own opinions. And at the end of the day, (Warriors GM) Bob Myers is going to make the decisions. I think (co-owner) Joe Lacob is kept aware and informed of everything going on, but everyone is allowed to express their opinions,” the Hall of Famer said. “Nobody takes themselves too seriously. Once you start doing that, that’s when dissenting voices become a problem. This is the most healthy environment I’ve been involved with since I’ve been in the NBA.”
Now seen as one of the model franchises around the NBA, Golden State’s return to relevance has been one of the most shocking things to take place around the Association in years. It started with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber purchasing the team from Chris Cohan. It continued with a couple risky trades. And it culminated in some of the best draft picks in franchise history.
Now the defending champs, Golden State has a chance to build off its recent success. Based on West’s words, it seems that the model is in place for this team moving forward.
Whether the 77-year-old West wants to be a part of that long-term or take it easy in the twilight of his life, now that’s another question. For the Warriors’ sake, let’s all hope he decides to wait a bit longer before riding off into the sunset.
After all, it appears that everything he touches turns to gold…almost literally.
Photo: USA Today Sports