Work in Sports
End of the line?
Report: West to retire as Lakers vice president
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jerry West will retire Monday, ending a career in which he was part of seven NBA championships in four decades as player, coach and executive with the Lakers, two newspapers reported.
The Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News, citing unidentified league and team sources, said West, now executive vice president, will continue as a consultant. The newspapers also said he might return at some point in an executive position.
Messages were left for West on Friday on his home answering machine and office. Lakers spokesman John Black declined to comment.
Former Lakers coach Kurt Rambis is expected to become assistant general manager under Mitch Kupchak, and the newspapers said coach Phil Jackson will have a stronger say in roster decisions.
Kupchak, expected to assume most of West's duties, and Rambis withheld comment in the newspaper reports.
West previously signed a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2002-2003 season. The deal reportedly is worth $3.5 million annually.
He has repeatedly talked about leaving, most recently after the Lakers won the NBA championship in June. West has said he was worn down by the pressure to succeed and by complaints.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported last month that West, a notorious perfectionist, suffers from an irregular heartbeat caused by nervous tension.
Because of the condition, he did not attend any of the Lakers' playoff games against Portland or Indiana -- the final two rounds.
West learned the outcome of the sixth game against Indiana from a friend who called on a cell phone. The victory gave the team its first title in 12 years.
Known as "Mr. Clutch," West won a championship with the Lakers as a player and six more as an executive. He was an NBA great in 14 seasons as a player, starting in 1961 after he was drafted out of West Virginia.
West also coached the team for three seasons before moving into the front office.