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Jerry West Watches the LakersFacebooktwitterlinkedinmail

At the Lakers third game this season, against the Spurs, I turned in my courtside seat, pulled out my mini-binoculars and spotted Jerry West standing in a luxury box. I hustled upstairs, twice used a counterfeit pass to trick security guards, and reached the hallowed door on which I knocked. A starlet opened up, and I said, “Thanks, sweetheart” as I breezed by.

George Thomas Clark – Jerry, how you doin’?

Jerry West – Have we met?

GTC – Only telepathically during the sixties when I often watched you guys get beat by Bill Russell and the Celtics.

JW – Wilt and I won thirty-three straight games and a title in nineteen seventy-two. Then, as general manager, I masterminded several world champions. What’s on your resume?

GTC – I played pretty well against division two college players in pickup games. The start of my prime coincided with the end of yours. I wish we could’ve gone one on one.

JW – Who the hell are you?

GTC – Here’s my card.

JW – Okay, GeorgeThomasClark.com, what do you want?

GTC – I’d like to talk about the Lakers.

JW – I really can’t answer any questions. I advise the Clippers.

GTC – I don’t have any questions, just proclamations. Looks like the Lakers are again having problems on defense. Down by sixteen points after giving up forty in the first quarter tonight, and one-twenty-eight and one-twenty-four their first two games.

JW – Fans want scoring. They don’t pay to see a wrestling match. You can’t manhandle people like when I played.

GTC – I see you playing point guard in today’s game.

JW – Are you implying that at almost six-four, with long arms, I’d be too small for shooting guard?

GTC – You’d be better out front where, instead of a size disadvantage, you’d often be as tall or taller than those guarding you. I think you’d average about twenty points and ten assists a game.”

JW – At least twenty.

GTC – I know it’s early and the Lakers have a lot of new players who need to learn how to play together. But I get the feeling they’re outgunned. Not by a lot but by enough.

JW – They’re not the Showtime Lakers or the Warriors of today. They’ll need more stars for that.

GTC – Glad LeBron’s heating up after only scoring four in the first half. There he goes, basket, layup, three-pointer, another basket, nine quick points, and the Lakers only trail by three after the third quarter.

JW – Kyle Kuzma’s already got twenty-eight. There’s thirty. I like his game. Josh Hart’s, too. He’s hit four of five from downtown tonight.

GTC – Hart should be starting.

JW – No question.

GTC – The Spurs keep hitting threes, two more by Bryn Forbes, a guy most haven’t heard of. Lakers down by eight.

JW – Look at Kuzma’s stroke on that three. He’s got thirty-seven.

GTC – Still down by three, time running out, and LeBron’s got the ball.

JW – I always wanted the ball at the end of the game.

GTC – Mr. Clutch.

JW – Gotta believe it. And LeBron does. Way beyond the arc – swish. We’re going to overtime.

GTC – Lakers need a win.

JW – I think they’ll get it. Jumper by LeBron, layup by Hart, three by Lonzo Ball, LeBron an assist to young Jonathan Williams. Lakers up by six.

GTC – DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are playing great, both more than thirty points, cutting LA’s lead to three. Jesus.

JW – Incredible. Hart’s falling out of bounds and throws the ball down court to Lonzo who touch passes to LeBron for a layup, foul, and three points.

GTC – I wish the Lakers would extend their defensive perimeter. In forty-four seconds San Antonio hits three baskets for seven points to take a one-point lead.

JW – Another chance for LeBron as time’s expiring. Down one, I assume he’ll drive.

GTC – He should. Why’s he waiting? Now he’s got to shoot a step-back three. That misses.

JW – Hell of a game. You going to write about the Clippers, too?

GTC – Sure, all four times you play the Lakers.

JW – We’ll win more games this year than the Lakers.

GTC – Betcha a million on that one.

JW – You can’t cover it and I can’t bet.

“Basketball and Football” by George Thomas Clark

This entry was posted in Basketball, DeMar DeRozan, Gregg Popovich, Jerry West, Josh Hart, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lebron James, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio, Wilt Chamberlain.