A highlight from Westward: Built on Fault Line


So our book has brown call harrison and offers him the icecapades for week if they pass on russell and with our top pick the rochester rosewood. A player by the name of shougang green out of duquesne. The celtics then scooped up russell as a cherry on top. They also casey jones the second round. In one singular draft red auerbach's celtics would acquire three hall of famers creating a dynasty. The likes of which the nba would never see including eighth consecutive nba championships. The first of which would be against the minneapolis lakers and their rookie. Phenom elgin baylor. They had a one player on a particular team that was just. We could not do very much with it. And that was entirely russell russell. Russell was just unbelievable. 'cause russell was the best defensive player you were fine with bird difficult but in the summer of nineteen sixty elgin baylor and the lakers would add a player who would help turn that ten years of hell pain into a furious decade long struggle. That would not only rest basketball supremacy from the east coast stronghold of the boston celtics but would so the seeds of a bitter coastal rivalry. That still exists today. The nine hundred sixty nba draft was arguably the richest draft in league. History four hall of famers in the first picks and one of those picks was a linke sharpshooter from the sticks of west virginia. When i first came into league i wasn't even sure i was good enough to play. But you know. I could run and jump like crazy At a very big vertical. And that's before they even started to You know pay attention to stuff like that and then extremely long and it was always really funny to me that they would put it out with sixty two and when the actually over six four and you know with a forty and sleeve links it makes you a lot bigger and my if the physical part of it caught up with a mental part of it and that was the most difficult transition for me mental part of getting ahead to feel confidence and the confidence to god. Were you got from point against these people. West would be the lakers. I pick in los angeles and the number two overall behind cincinnati's oscar robertson but signing the all american from west virginia would prove difficult as another ohio area team. The cleveland pipers also had their eyes on west. The papers were owned by a brash and brilliant young businessman who was educated at mit and entered the world of sports franchises against his father's wishes his name was george steinbrenner. My dad had a fight. Trying to get jerry west and steinbrenner was doing jury a chance to play at almost the same level as he would play in the nba and he didn't have a pack. The piston as you would expect from a guy who just out of west. Virginia in that era so george Wanted to see me. And i visited with him at that point in time. I think all young kids Any good and particularly if you had higher at aspiration when somebody talking about something been around for a while but not forever the nba That was always kind of a dream of mine. Because i've watched you know. Some great great players played an era and also. I felt that. If i were going to do something the most important thing to be the most competitive person i could be with to play against better players not only did steinbrenner offer west. Nba money he also offered him something. Most nba players of that era needed during the offseason. John he was really pressing me pretty hard about doing. This was in the shipbuilding business. And i'm going to be an insurance salesman again coming virginia. I can't imagine these selling in a piece of candy much less than insurance biology. Someone as steinbrenner puts jerry. West lakers owner bob. Short pulled even hiring his former coach. Fred schaus to take over the team but ultimately it was west drive. That made the decision. The money had nothing to do with it. I just wanted to play against what i felt was the best competition. And obviously i think. I made right to see the kid who grew up in the foothills of the allegheny mountains. Not far from places with names like gun. Stock knob was now moving to los angeles. The home of beverly hills and hollywood. I hadn't travelled hardly any at all. When i was a kid as we had no means of transportation so i was kind of a shot in in terms of expanding The knowledge i had about other cities and the way the people i conducted themselves in other cities compared to very really rule. Small place that. I grew up in and it was a complete a learning experience. First time i came out here. And i was kind of awestruck arena never forget we stayed at the oh ambassador hotel on wilshire boulevard. And that's were robert kennedy got killed. I was twenty one. They took us to the nightclub. Coconut grove nightclub these old hillbillies from west virginia. And so we went there and the thing. I noticed that you could just walk right across the street. You didn't have to walk across and at that point in time traffic. Stop and let you go. I was amazed how the streets were and we spent our time there and really it was an eye opening For me in a sense You know very relaxed attitude. Bob short the lakers quiet. Mid west owner had somehow managed to outduel his audacious east coast counterpart. The los angeles lakers had gotten its man an elgin baylor wouldn't get a sidekick he would get a sidearm but laker head coach. Fred shaw's would keep jerry west holstered for much of his rookie season. I played for him in college for three years. He helped recruit me when. I got the los angeles here was completely different. He would not. I did not play a whole lot. My ma the first half of my Rookie season when i say a whole lot. I don't think i ever played more than twenty minutes a game and yet i was. I felt like i was making progress. But he would tell the sports writers. Well you know he's he's he's gonna get hurt he's He's not very big and not only about two hundred and seventy eight pounds well. I'd never missed a game in college. So it was. It was a huge adjustment for me. For jerry west's education he would have to look no further than elgin. Baylor having elgin baylor and to be alongside of him and to be around him how he treated me he treated me like an equal when for a while i wasn't close to his equal

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