How Jerry West Landed Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal Setting the Stage for Lakers 3-Peat

Explore how Jerry West masterminded the acquisition of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, laying the foundation for the Lakers' 3-peat dynasty.

Published on Jun 13, 2024  |  06:36 PM IST |  51.3K
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Jerry had a vision

Jerry West secured the future of the Los Angeles Lakers by orchestrating the acquisition of two transformative players, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, setting the stage for the Lakers' remarkable 3-peat. 

West's friendship and trust with player agent Arn Tellem played a pivotal role in the lengthy and risky gambit to bring Kobe to Los Angeles and initiate the regeneration of the Lakers' dynasty. Their families' bond contributed to the crucial trust element in the intricate plan to bring Kobe to the West Coast.

Kobe Bryant entered the 1996 draft as a mystery, causing uncertainty among teams regarding his potential. Arn Tellem strategically arranged for Kobe to work out with selected teams, influencing the process by cooling off certain teams on the idea of drafting Kobe.  

Tellem then called in a favor from his friend, Jerry West, for a private session that convinced West of Kobe's potential to be the NBA's next greatest player. Additionally, West had his sights set on another player — Shaquille O'Neal.

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Jerry West had a vision in his mind

To pair both Kobe and O'Neal in mind, West made a bold move by putting together a deal with the Charlotte Hornets to secure the 13th pick, ensuring that Kobe would land in Los Angeles. 

However, the acquisition faced a moment of uncertainty when Vlade Divac initially considered retiring rather than moving to the Hornets. Tellem and the Bryants worked tirelessly to ensure Kobe's availability when the 13th pick came around. 


Despite the fallout and criticism, the Lakers successfully secured both Kobe and O'Neal, laying the groundwork for their future dominance in the NBA.

The acquisition of Kobe Bryant and the signing of Shaquille O'Neal marked the turning point for the Lakers franchise. Despite the challenges and criticisms surrounding the process, the Lakers successfully set the stage for their remarkable 3-peat, with Kobe expressing his determined commitment to winning championships from his very first season with the team.  

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About The Author

Nitish Singh is a Sports Content Writer at Pinkvilla and covers all things NBA. Apart from following



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