Named Executive Vice President
In 1995 West was named executive vice president of the Lakers. During his years as an executive with the Lakers organization, the team made it into the playoffs eight times and won the NBA championship four times (1985, 1987, 1988, and 2000). In 1995 West was named the NBA Executive of the Year. Increasingly troubled by an irregular heartbeat caused by nervous tension, West retired from basketball in the summer of 2000. After two years of relaxation away from the game, he returned to basketball again, signing on as president of the Memphis Grizzlies in October 2002.
Whipping the hapless Grizzlies into a world-class basketball team will pose a major challenge for West, but if anybody can pull it off, he can. Shortly after moving into his new post in Memphis, West told USA Today: "I'm excited about going forward with this team in terms of trying to have a team here that would be a playoff team. In many ways, that would be something that maybe would bring as much joy as I had when I worked in Los Angeles as a player and as an executive."