A new autobiography on the life of Jerry West reveals that the 14-time NBA All-Star and former Lakers' GM suffered from lifelong depression, was abused by his father as a child and once kept a shotgun beneath his bed as a potential defense against beatings. West writes that his defiant mentality remained with him throughout life, from his career at West Virginia to his tenure in the Lakers' front office.
In the book, West writes:
The book also delves into West's perspective on Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal's coexistence Los Angeles, a duo he united via a trade and free agent signing in 1996. In the book, he writes:
West said he believes he could have intervened as the players' relationship deteriorated, a falling out that prompted O'Neal's trade to Miami in 2004. He writes:
The book, which took more than three years to complete, touches on a variety of other topics, ranging from West's crippling fear of failure to his trying relationship with Jerry Buss. West also provides his reaction to his legacy, Wilt Chamberlain's death and Phil Jackson's book
West's goal for his memoir was not to draw attention to individual accomplishments. It was to depict the internal workings that motivated his actions -- both on and off the court.
"Most people just want to write a book about their exploits," West told SI's Gary Smith in a story in this week's issue. "I wanted none of that. I did it to show people I'm not who they think I am. I'm a very flawed person. I'm hopeful it can be an inspiration, to show that you don't need support or encouragement, that you can find a way. I'm more at peace with myself now. Getting out the things I've kept inside for so many years."