With LA’s long history of winning, its Hall of Fame roster of players, and its celebrity studded arenas, the Lakers have long been the premier franchise of the NBA. Coaching the Lakers may be one of the most glamorous jobs in all of sports, full of perks and adored by a devoted fan base.
But coaching the Lakers is also akin to being in a circus. With the constant media attention, the diva-ish star players, and the absolute intolerance for losing, the Lakers, just like the city they represent, will chew you up and spit you out, as poor Mike Brown just found out.
Here’s a quick list of former Laker coaches Brown should have talked to before taking the job.
Paul Westhead (1979 – 1981)
Taking over for the badly injured Jack McKinney as head coach, Westhead won a championship his first year as head coach of the Lakers. Unfortunately, Westhead was not well liked by the players, especially after an early exit out of the playoffs the following year. Westhead was fired early in the 1981 season, replaced by Assistant coach and Laker legend Pat Riley.
Rudy Tomjanovich (2004 – 2005)
It’s hard to replace a coach like Phil Jackson, but many felt Tomjanovich was the guy. After all, he had already won two consecutive titles as the Rockets head coach in 1994 and 1995. But just 41 games into the season, Tomjanovich quit due to health related issues.
Randy Pfund (1992 – 1994)
Never heard of the guy? We’re not surprised. Pfund was unfortunate enough to inherit the Lakers during the extremely lean nether years following Magic Johnson’s retirement as a player. Speaking of Magic…
Magic Johnson (1994)
Arguably the greatest Laker player of all time. Coaching, however, is a different matter. Magic only coached 16 games, losing 5 of his last 6, before calling it quits.
-Carlos Delgado, CBS Radio Los Angeles