Do you realize that it’s been seven years since Shaquille O’Neal played for the Los Angeles Lakers? A lot has changed since then. For instance, Willow Smith was just a wee 4-year-old with Hollywood aspirations back then, rather than the voice of our generation. Basketball-wise Kobe won two titles, Shaq won one, they hated each other, they pretended to like each other, one of them retired and the other broke all of his finger bones. Even if they’re separated now, we’ll be hearing about them forever.
For Jerry West, he probably has heard enough. He’s probably way tired of hearing about them, considering when he first acquired the two legends he went to the hospital because he was so exhausted from acquiring them. He’s probably like, “Enough with the Shaq and Kobe already, sheesh.” From the Los Angeles Times:
A parallel example is that you reveal in the book you were hospitalized for exhaustion after finalizing the acquisition of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in 1996.
“It got very discouraging — there were so many obstacles along the way, it was a long, drawn-out thing — but [Lakers owner] Jerry Buss said, ‘Let’s keep going.’ It was easier then, because there weren’t a lot of people around [in the front office]. It became a quest. We felt it was important to rejuvenate our franchise.”
Easy to understand how that would be exhausting. Just think of how many phone calls had to be made to get these guys to the Lakers, then consider that the great majority of those phone calls had to be made on a land line because cell phones weren’t huge in 1996. That means a lot of long nights at the office or lots of phone calls at home, both of which are the kinds of things that will drive you crazy. Not to mention, he traded away Vlade Divac who everyone loved, which is just the stress cherry on the exhausting sundae.
And then on top of that horrible dessert, he had to wait another four years for a title. Probably pretty hard to keep calm while the team you’re trying to build is finding new and exciting ways to flame out in the playoffs, only to bring in a guy who you think doesn’t like you to coach the team. Yuck.
That’s the life of an NBA GM though, complete exhaustion and second-guessing any time something goes wrong. No thank you.