For all the great players, great coaches and colorful owners the Lakers… (Vernon Biever / Getty Images )
Jerry West was one of the greatest Lakers of all time, helping the franchise win its first title in Los Angeles in 1972.
West was the team's general manager who brought Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant together in 1996. Now he's with the Golden State Warriors with an ownership stake and a team that is suddenly looking like a playoff contender.
Speaking to Investor's Business Daily, West said of his love of basketball: "I've never worked a day in my life."
Of course the opposite is true, even if his line of work represents a lifelong individual passion.
"You need lofty goals," said West. "Then cement it with a great work ethic."
West was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979. His likeness can be seen in the NBA logo.
"I've always been someone who has been very driven," West said. "I think my circumstances, how I grew up, hard work and work ethic are absolutely vital to any success that people might have regardless of what they might be doing."
The Lakers have West's No. 44 jersey retired in the rafters. He may be more responsible for the team's championships in recent decades than he was as a player in 1972.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.