Jerry West is a consultant for the Golden State Warriors, but his role with that team didn’t keep him from offering some advice to the young Los Angeles Lakers a week ago. In his appearance on “The Vertical Podcast with Woj,” Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell shared the gist of the knowledge the Hall-of-Famer offered his former team.
“It was real gritty, just the grit that he brought, as far as coming from nothing and really playing for his teammates, and his competitive nature,” Russell told host Adrian Wojnarowski. “Willing to go out full brawl for his teammates, that was really the message behind it, how he came from nothing and he made it something.”
Russell can probably empathize with that message, considering he came from relatively humble beginnings as well. West’s words are also exactly the type of thing head coach Luke Walton has been emphasizing since the day he was hired. Walton has spoken over and over of creating a culture of competition, and there are few more qualified than the legendarily competitive West to talk about such matters.
It’s also hard to say the Lakers didn’t translate those words into action as they dug in to get a late win against the Houston Rockets in their season opener. The team doesn’t project to get that same end result often this season, but with the Lakers rebuilding their team from the ground up, the organization at least seems to be bringing in exactly the right voices to tell their young roster what they need to hear.
All quotes transcribed via the Vertical Podcast with Woj. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.