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Jerry West, the NBA’s top executive who signed Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles, walked away from the Lakers after 40 years with the organization as a player, a coach, then an executive. He couldn’t even watch his team win the championship in 1999 after a long drought. He couldn’t stomach fronting the organization and the maneuvering behind the scenes, the players performance and attitude, the narrow wins and the losses, and the stress and demands and pressure of the modern game. According to West, the first year away from basketball was the probably the best year of his life. Two years later West became the unfashionable Memphis Grizzlies?new executive. How could that be?


West explained from Tennessee, “I need to work. I’m not good when I sit around all the time. Retirement is terrible for a Type-A personality. I’ve got to work. I didn’t realize how badly I needed it. After this one year, it has been very challenging for me to find enough things to do in my life. You just need to find things in your life that are challenging for you. I’d like to think I’m still capable of working hard an doing something that will really whet my appetite. More importantly, there are a lot of things that need to be done here.?(Los Angeles Times 5/1/02 & USA Today 4/30/02)

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