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Last April, when Jeannie Buss named her top five most important Lakers of all-time on the "All the Smoke" podcast, Jerry West was conspicuously excluded in favor of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Phil Jackson. Given his contributions to the franchise as both a player and executive, West called the slight "one of the most offensive things I've ever heard in my life."

That wasn't the start of West's beef with the Lakers, and it certainly wasn't the end, which doesn't appear to be anywhere in sight. Named to the NBA's 75th anniversary team, West, a current Clippers consultant, was recently slotted at No. 14 on The Athletic's ranking of the top 75 players of all-time, which were initially unveiled by the NBA in no particular order. 

In his interview with The Athletic, West called his relationship with the Lakers "horrible" and went so far as to suggest he regrets having played for the franchise at all -- which is a pretty heavy statement considering there are only a handful of athletes, in any sport, as inextricably linked with a particular franchise as West is with the Lakers. 

"One disappointing thing [about my career] is that my relationship with the Lakers is horrible," West told The Athletic. "I still don't know why. And at the end of the day, when I look back, I say, 'Well, maybe I should have played somewhere else instead of with the Lakers, where someone would have at least appreciated how much you give, how much you cared.'"

Neither West nor the Lakers have ever fully outlined the details of their riff, but there are well-chronicled bullet points. After West left his post as a Warriors consultant in 2017, he made it known that he would've liked to return to the Lakers and end his career where it began, but the Lakers didn't want him back. He went to the Clippers. Their gain. Now they have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. 

A few months back, West told that he believes his fallout with the organization was the reason the Lakers parted ways with his son, Ryan, who had worked for the Lakers for a decade in a number of scouting roles. Then, in what The Athletic refers to as "the last straw," the Lakers took away West's season tickets, which were apparently promised to him by the late Dr. Jerry Buss years ago. And they did it by text. With West's wife. 

From The Athletic:

"It was a cold phone text to my wife," West recalled. "No one had the nerve to call me, but that's how petty they are, OK? And I love the Lakers, OK? I love to see them do well. It's great for basketball. I'm proud of everything that happened when I was there. I'm proud of everything that happened when I wasn't there — the positives.

"But sometimes you feel like you're discarded, like a piece of trash. And there's a couple of people over there — not Jeanie — but there's a couple of people over there that, uh … I don't get it. I don't. … I always had a great relationship with Jeanie — at least I thought I did. I don't know where it is now."

Just as the retelling of it all starts to rile West up, he stops just short of naming names. Still, as he's well aware, the Lakers' circle that surrounds Buss is a small one. A message has been sent.

When asked if there was any hope for reconciliation, West shook his head.

"No, it's too late; it's too late," he said. "I don't need to do that, OK? I really don't need (it). It's just (bothersome) how people change so much. And I don't understand it, but it's fine. It's fine."

This really is too bad. The success that West and the Lakers had together in the 1960s and 1970s was historic. I don't think anyone questions that the team should've brought West back in 2017. He's probably the greatest executive of all-time. If he's not, he's on a very short list. But things happen. You'd like to think two sides could eventually let bygones be bygones and reunite on a renewed foundation of respect, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case with West and the Lakers.