"Give me that damn paper": Shaquille O'Neal signed his $120 million Lakers contract in a hurry after meeting Jerry West for the first time

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Shaquille O'Neal and Jerry West (Photo: officialnbabuzz/Instagram)

Jerry West was responsible for bringing Shaquille O'Neal to the LA Lakers and getting Kobe Bryant in 1996.

O'Neal only had one meeting with West and was immediately convinced to join the Lakers. West only won one title as a player but laid down the foundation for eight Lakers championship teams.

On "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in July 2019, Shaq revealed that the Lakers were not even on his radar when he became a free agent. However, when West spoke to him for the very first time, he was persuaded to sign a seven-year, $120 million contract with the Lakers.

"When I was in Orlando, the Lakers weren't even in a position (to sign me.) I have one conversation with Jerry. And Jerry just came over with a piece of paper and said, 'You want the good news or the bad news?' I said, 'I'll take the bad news.' He said, 'We can't get you 150 (million USD).'
"I said, 'What's the good news?' 'We can get you 120 (million USD).' Give me that damn paper (laughs). Real smooth and it was the first time I met him."
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Jerry West was an executive for the LA Lakers from 1979 to 2000. He was responsible for building the "Showtime Lakers" that won five NBA championships in the 1980s. He didn't have a lot of success in the first half of the 1990s but managed to get Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996.

Shaq and Kobe won NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. West was only credited with the 2000 title, but he's one of the biggest reasons why the Lakers won the three-peat.

Apart from the Lakers, West was also an executive for the Golden State Warriors from 2011 to 2017, winning two NBA championships. He now works for the LA Clippers, but they're still waiting for their first title.


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Shaquille O'Neal and Jerry West remained friends after their first meeting in 1996

Jerry West and Shaquille O'Neal (Photo: Basketball Network/YouTube)
Jerry West and Shaquille O'Neal (Photo: Basketball Network/YouTube)

Shaquille O'Neal and Jerry West forged a bond when they first met in 1996 when the LA Lakers were pursuing the great big man.

West told the Los Angeles Times in 2017 how he was able to work with Shaq and how they strengthened their relationship over the years.

"I felt a kinship with him," West said. "There's nothing I ever told him that wasn't the truth.
"I never tried to deceive him. Would never underpay any player, period. I have a fondness for him that goes beyond description. When I was around him, I felt better."
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Edited by Juan Paolo David