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Volume 24 No. 180
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Jerry West Discusses Leaving Warriors For Clippers, Working With Steve Ballmer

Clippers adviser Jerry West said working for his new team is "completely different" than working for the Warriors because there is a "different ownership style," according to a Q&A with Tim Kawakami of THE ATHLETIC. West added, "You get used to certain people and then you really have to, not adjust, not that word, it's almost like re-acquainting yourself with people." Below are excerpts from the Q&A, some of which have been edited for brevity. 

Q: What's your relationship like with owner Steve Ballmer?
West: We don’t have a lot of conversations. Earlier we had a lot of conversations, but not lately. He’s really a good guy. A lot of ways he reminds me of the kind of owners that you want, somebody who’s really committed to trying to build a team. He’s smart, he lets people do their job, he doesn’t think he’s someone who wants to run the team.

Q: How hard was it to walk away from the Warriors? 
West: Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there.

Q: Did you ever think you might end up back with the Lakers, not the Clippers?
West: Absolutely not. I had no contact with the Lakers. Honestly, I would’ve never gone back there even if they would’ve contacted me. Never had any conversations, never had a desire there. I knew that would’ve never happened.

Q: You did so much work helping set the path for the new arena in S.F., but you're leaving years before it'll open. Are you curious enough to come back when it opens?
West: I will never go into that arena. I shouldn’t go into it. But I think it’s going to be ... I’ve seen the plans, and it’s spectacular. A lot of creative thinking has gone on with that organization. I think for the people who want the best, they’re going to get it. It’ll be filled with hopefully a great team for a few years (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/21).