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Clippings: Jerry West eager for Clippers-Lakers playoff series

Plus, more news for Thursday.

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Jerry West is one of the figures who bridges the Clippers-Lakers divide better than maybe anyone, the man who was the inspiration for the NBA’s logo currently an executive with the LA Clippers after a decades-long tenure as a player, coach and executive with the Los Angeles Lakers (with stints at the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in between).

West was interviewed by TNT’s Ernie Johnson on Wednesday, and during a wide-ranging discussion, mentioned the popular interest in seeing the two Los Angeles teams face off in a playoff series.

“We were ascending OK, and now when are we going to get back? No one knows. The Lakers, across town, this would have been an incredible thing for basketball if some way, somehow these two teams could have played in a Western Conference final. I think you would have seen record numbers on TNT,” he said.

West also paid tribute to the Clippers brass for the uptick in the franchise’s fortunes.

“Steve Ballmer is an amazing owner, amazing,” he said. “Obviously he’s incredibly successful but he’s an amazing owner. Lawrence Frank has done an unbelievable job with this organization. Doc [Rivers] has done a great job with almost a completely new team. It’s been fun for me to see the change in three years time, it’s been fun for me to see the change in this organization for the positive. It’s really been good. And again, I think you have to look who the leader is. The leader is Steve Ballmer.”

You can watch the entire interview below. I should note, this is a very personal discussion, and West is very candid about his personality, faults and reputation over the years, and even if you’re a hardcore NBA fan, you’re likely to learn something about the man here.

More news for Thursday:

  • Clippers & Mister Cartoon release special merch for coronavirus relief: If you want a shirt with that sharp Los Angeles font on it, the Clippers and artist Mister Cartoon teamed up to release special limited edition merch, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles to fund emergency services during the coronavirus crisis. These look great and go towards a good cause, and you can buy them here.
Courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers.
  • How players are staying busy: If you’re looking for stuff to do, you could study for the LSAT, or work on your carpentry skills, or study a language, or make your own home gym, or start a podcast, or...you get the idea. This feature on some of the hobbies NBA players have taken up during the coronavirus shutdown from ESPN is a good read.
  • More on studying up for NBA players: Lou Williams is among the players studying classes on digital platform Yellowbrick, according to an SI feature. While some of the courses sound pretty traditionally academic, there are also short-form courses on fashion, shoe culture, music and other cool and eclectic subjects. Sounds like there are worse ways to while away your time during the shutdown.
  • Patterson, PG jumping into tech options: This feature in The Athletic discusses the ways NBA players on the shelf right now are turning to various technological options to stay connected to fans during the downtime. Patrick Patterson is profiled on his Netflix parties, while Paul George’s streaming sessions on Call of Duty: Warzone, complete with carnage for at least one ex-NBA player, are discussed as well.
  • What comes after perfection? I thought Brian Phillips’ essay on the post-Chicago Bulls peak of Michael Jordan and the lack of perfection in his life since his heyday at The Ringer was a really good read.