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Marcus Thompson, The Athletic NBA Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2024 7:44 pm

Marcus Thompson, The Athletic NBA Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR

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June 12, 2024 7:44 pm

Marcus Thompson joined JR to discuss how the Kristaps Porzingis leg injury impacts the rest of the NBA Finals and Jerry West's impact on the NBA. 

JR Sports Brief
JR Sports Brief

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Download the free app today and make the most of your summer with AllTrails. Marcus, how are you, man? Thank you for the time. Oh, man, you know, we'll find a way to make one, baby. That's what we do. Yeah, so let me know the next time you come back down to Atlanta, okay? Absolutely.

No doubt. I think I saw you in a Fricknick documentary. Did I see you?

Was that you? Yeah, you didn't see me there. I was in the Bronx, New York, okay? Take it easy there, Marcus.

I was in the Bronx, okay? I love you. I know. Anyway, we've had a busy day. We'll talk about Jerry West. I know you wrote a book on dynasties, and you know a lot about Jerry.

I want to get into that in a second. We just learned that Kristaps Porzingis is done, at least for this game. What are your thoughts on how that's going to affect the series? I'd definitely give Dallas a window to get back in this thing. And they need it, too, right? Because this is like as must-win as it gets in the NBA Finals.

I think this is life. I mean, you've got to figure Kyrie was going to bring it today, and Luca is Luca. So if they can kind of get an advantage inside, that would really help. And I think Kristaps was such a problem at protecting the rim for them and being in the way. Al Horford ain't no slouch, but Al Horford is like 75 years old, right? So at some point you figure you don't want to play him 35 minutes, but they might have to. So this was kind of like the little stimulus package that Dallas needed to get back in the series, so they've got to do it tonight.

Without a shot of a doubt, Marcus Thompson is joining us here from The Athletic. What are your thoughts on some of the comments that Jason Kidd has made over the past few days? When it comes down to Brown and Tatum and then Kidd pleads ignorance, I guess he has to try anything to get back in the series, huh? Yeah, I mean, he's watching the film, right? He sees what's up. He's watching that knowing he needed an advantage. So to me, that's what good coaches do. Some of them work the rest, right?

Some of them come up with whatever you can. And he was trying to get Tatum or Brown or somebody to step outside themselves and play their game because it's kind of clear, if Boston plays their game and plays well, they're going to win. I just think he sees that. So, yeah, we all know what he was doing. He's from Oakland, so we know he got the game.

He was raised by Gary Payton and, you know, Hook Mitchell and those guys. So he knows how to play that kind of mind game. He was absolutely doing that.

I don't care what he says. And it was a sign that his team might be in trouble. So it was a smart play by him. I respect it. The Bay's own Marcus Thompson is joining us here on the JR Sport Reef Show. Speaking of the Bay, you have wrote some amazing books covering the Golden State Warriors, whether it be Steph Curry and you think about Kevin Durant. We all know about the passing of Jerry West earlier today.

It had an opportunity to to help consult with the Golden State Warriors as well. What have you learned and garnered from from your works over the years about Jerry West? That he is like crazy competitive, like it's insane. I mean, especially because I got to know him as an older man. And so you would think like after all the battles he's played and, you know, you think after he gets into the sixty five seventies that he would chill out some. But like now he was still just as competitive. He still wanted to win just as much like he was into it. That that always kind of amazed me as the as Joe Laker, the owner of the Warriors, said it like he's never met anybody more competitive than Jerry West. And to see this this this man who I mean, what he had to be like seventy five at the time was still like foam at the mouth trying to win. All he cared about was winning.

I thought that was wild. I thought it was like a really impressive, like visual image of why he is so great at everything he does, because he is obsessed with winning. Marcus Thompson is here with us from the athletic. You know, it's easy to look and remember him from his time with the Lakers as a player, as an executive. You know, some of his time gets lost more recently with the Clippers and the Grizzlies. What were some of his contributions to the Warriors?

I know he was instrumental in talking to Katie. He also took a look at Klay Thompson and said that should be the guy. What did he do for the Warriors? I mean, first and foremost, when the Warriors bought the team and the deal went through in November 2010, I think it was like five, six months later in May, they hired Jerry West. Right. So this was a franchise that was like just moribund.

Right. Like nobody respected the Warriors. They weren't winning.

They'd been to the playoffs two times in like 20 years or whatever. Jerry West gave them instant credibility. They could get on the phone with people.

They could they could connect with people based on his name. So they gave him a seat on the board and they used his knowledge to build not just the team, but really the entire franchise. You know, Joe Laker had the money. He had the will.

He had the desire, but he needed somebody to show him how to do it. And so he hired Jerry West to do it. You know, fast forward one month from they hired him. Klay Thompson's on the board and he's the one saying, you got to draft Klay Thompson. So there you got the number one piece, one of the pieces, the first actually after Steph, they didn't draft Steph, but he got the Slash Brothers together. Then Kevin Love is on the table and he's he's a part of this leading this voice inside the organization as they're weighing the deal to say, no, you got to keep you got to keep Klay. This is crazy at the time because the Warriors haven't won anything. Klay was young.

They had done anything. And Kevin Love was an All-Star 2010 guy. So for him to have the foresight to see that was a lot. The ability to get a Steve Kerr, the mentorship of Bob Myers. He was very instrumental in the Warriors becoming who they became because so much of it was having to make the right decisions at the right time with the right people. And Jerry West was in on all of it.

Marcus Thompson is here with us, the J.R. sport reshow coast to coast on the Infinity Sports Network. When you talk about his accomplishments as an executive and then what he did as a player and you look at some of the tributes that poured in today, it's rare that you get someone who is universally lauded and universally respected for what they accomplished as not just a player, but but as a person as well. Why do you think he garnered so much respect amongst every generation of NBA player? I think it began with how good he was, like the people who knew him from back then. I think everybody understood like how great of a player he was. And I think it began there. Like some of us who wasn't around, like, you know, I'm saying the old black and white films don't look that impressive. So we don't really know.

Right. But then I think as people got to deal with him, I mean, he's made so many massive moves in the NBA that it's hard not to respect him. But I also think, like, Jerry West is a good dude. Like he talks to anybody.

I mean, anybody. I remember being a new beatwriter and trying to get a story and calling Jerry West. And he talked to me for like twenty five minutes.

And it's like Jerry West is on the phone with this random Warriors beatwriter about some random topic. So I do think he's he was a master at being authentic. And his integrity about when it was so obvious that people gravitated towards it. And also, you know, he had like a personality to write like he was a funny guy.

He would go off on you. You know, I know a lot of people got mad. That was the thing. Remember the show Showtime? And people thought, oh, yeah, portray him right.

How bad everybody got. I remember talking to people about that behind the scenes and they were mad because it was like, you don't do this to Jerry West. If it was anybody else, maybe it's like, oh, that's funny. That's wrong.

But whatever. But people were legit mad because they really love Jerry West. They really like him and they really respect him. And I think they were offended by it. And that to me kind of show like, yeah, like they love this guy. It's a little bit more than respect. They were fear him.

And you just don't see that that often behind the scenes. Marcus Thompson is here with us from The Athletic. When you think about Jerry West, you talk about Showtime and the Los Angeles Lakers, whether it's bringing in James Worthy, hiring Phil Jackson, bringing in Shaq, saying I want Kobe by Vlade. After all that success, why did he leave the Lakers? I mean, was this about the passing of Dr. Bus?

How do we get that transition from from the Lakers and then later on with the Warriors? Well, one thing about Jerry is like Jerry, like he believes in his respect, right? Like Jerry, he knows who he is. He knows what he does in a moment. You kind of don't really value that or don't see that in the value.

He thinks that he'll throw up the deuces. Right. He doesn't stay and destruct things internally. Right.

This is like, hey, if you don't want me here, I'm out. And the whole situation with Phil Jackson was kind of the main thing. Right. He hired Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson comes in.

He's this massive figure. Phil Jackson's power kind of grew. And then Jerry West, like, you know, there was there was some issues about it. If you read the books about it and, you know, all the reporting about it, you know, he wasn't a fan of, you know, the coach date, the owner's daughter and all that type of stuff.

Right. Like I just think over time he realized that other people's voice mattered. So he was like, I'm going to do my own thing somewhere else.

And that's just the kind of principled person he was like. Even with the Warriors when it's twenty seventeen, when he felt like, all right, you know, I feel like my value here has outweighed its time. He's like, I'm out. He's not going to say it. Make you like honor him. He's he's just too principled for that. So he gets and he goes and does his own thing. And every time he does, he's usually successful. Oh, Marcus, you think about the current Lakers, it seems like they have their own issues in trying to identify a coach. What are your thoughts on the current search?

Dan Hurley says no. J.J. Redick, I guess he gets another look. Borrego, LeBron, free agent, Bronny hanging in the draft. The Lakers just seem all over the place. Yeah, it reminds me of one of my favorite comedies with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence called Life.

And they had this dude in there played by Joaquin Woodbine. They called him Can't Get Right. Lakers can't do it. The Lakers can't get right. Right. It's kind of wild that such a illustrious franchise.

With so much success and it means so much, they just have these spells that last like five years, a decade where they just can't get it right. And part of it is because it's a mom and pop shop. Right. Like it's it's a family owned business. As big as it is, it's still a family owned business. So you've got to deal with all the dynamics of that. This is not like this corporate kind of separate entity, but also like there's so much glitz and glamour and Hollywood attached to it. It's so much stuff that it's never about just the thing. Right.

It's never about just finding a coach. So because they're so big and they attract all these personalities and all the significant. They're they're they're orbit. Right.

It's just not so smooth as everybody else. Like, you know, you go to some franchises like Oklahoma City and go, you know, that's Sam Presti's where everybody knows that. Right.

You come to the words. This is Joe Laker's world. Like, it's all easy with the Lakers because it's so magnetic. It's so massive.

But you got like four planets circling there. Right. So it's hard to get them all aligned. I think that's why this coaching hire is so important.

They need one figure to align it all. That used to be Jerry West or Phil Jackson. Right. Now they need it for a while.

It was Mitch Kupchak or, you know, when it was Jerry Buss, it was Jerry Buss. You know, Jeannie needs to find her person to handle it. They tried so many people. They've got to nail this because it's just wild that the Lakers can't can't do this. Right. This is such a coveted job. Why is it so hard?

But it clearly is very hard because they can't keep a coach. Marcus, final question for you. I know you're from out in the bay. What are your thoughts on these Golden State Warriors and what their future could look like? Steph Curry is is getting older.

Everybody's getting older. Clay has been hurt. How do they move forward in winning another championship?

Or is it time to just, hey, look at another way to do it, if at all? Yeah, I think they need another massive piece. They need another major piece. I don't know how they get it and I don't know who it is, but they need something. They try like Wiggins when Wiggins was really good.

They won a championship. So like they still need that. They need to do that again because that Wiggins part felt like a little bit of a guy had the right time.

Flash, you know, like he sustained it at his stuff. They got to get another star, especially because they're older. They need somebody who's good enough to put, you know, Steph on the side sometimes to be like, yes, Steph, I got this right. They need that.

They haven't had that in a while since Kevin Durant. So it's really important they get it. I don't know how they get it, but if they do, they'll be really good because they got a lot of depth. They got some young pieces. They just got to get their hands on the star. The problem for them is their stars aren't available. Right. Or the ones who are.

They come with major question marks. One of the names that the one of the guys I like is Zach Levine. Right. Zach Levine makes a ton of money and he's got an injury history. So it could not work as risky if it works.

If it works in the way Wiggins works, he'd be great. But when it works that way, like so they're going to have to take one of those like roller the dice situations off the body and hope it works. That's how they get back in the mix because they've got one superstar and they need another one.

In order to compete, we're watching that in these finals. You've got to have two at least. So they need one. I don't know how they get it, but that's what they need.

Let's see if they can get their hands on it. And Marcus, I want to thank you so much for your insight into Jerry West, sharing some thoughts on the finals as well. The Lakers, the Warriors. Where can people follow you, your work with the athletic and also pick up some of the great books that you put together on the Warriors, the Lakers, Dynasties and what have you.

Man, fill us in. I'm Thompson Scribe on all platforms, Thompson S.C.R.I.B.E. Everything you need from me. You can find it whatever you want.

Just put in Thompson Scribe and you'll find my mug hollering at you. Hey, Marcus, thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate the words. A great chat. We're going to do it sooner than later.

OK, I have a good one, bro. Start your summer road trip at Midas and get up to thirty dollars off your next repair service. Plus, get a free Closer Look vehicle check to make sure your road trip ready. So if you need a brake service and alignment check or tune up, hit up Midas for up to thirty dollars off. For more details, request your appointment at Or download the TuneIn app to start listening. Go to to get 20% off your order now.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-12 21:39:53 / 2024-06-12 21:47:39 / 8

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