Byron Scott backs Lakers for NBA glory as he prepares to play Port Royal
Byron Scott believes Los Angeles Lakers have a huge shot at landing another NBA title this year.
In Bermuda to compete on Thursday in the Celebrity Invitational Tournament, which forms part of Black Golfers Week, the retired shooting guard reckons the Lakers, his former team, have the firepower to propel them to a second NBA title in three years and a record 18th overall.
“Any time that you have LeBron James and Anthony Davis on your team you got a chance to win every single night, so the Lakers have got a chance,” Scott told The Royal Gazette.
“I keep telling people if they can just stay healthy throughout the play-offs they got a chance.”
The No 7 seeds hold a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference first round series against No 2 seeds Grizzlies after losing in Memphis last night.
“Right now they got Memphis down three games to two and a chance to close it out,” Scott added.
“I don’t know if they will get it done, but I picked the series going to six and the Lakers winning.”
The eventual winner will face either defending champions Golden State Warriors or No 3 seeds Sacramento Kings in the next round.
Scott was traded to the Lakers in 1983 and went on to win three NBA titles playing alongside Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.
“‘It was really such a privilege to play on that team. When I came to LA to play for the Lakers, here I am on the floor with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem, Michael Cooper and Kurt Rambis and all these guys. I’m looking and saying ‘somebody pinch me, I got to make sure that I am really living this fantasy’,” Scott said.
“We clicked for so many years and it was all about winning. It was never about individuals on that team and that’s why I think we were so great as a basketball team, because it was all about winning.”
Being a member of the first Lakers team to defeat fierce rivals Boston Celtics in the NBA finals proved to be the highlight of Scott’s successful 15-year playing career.
“For me it was the 1985 championship beating the Boston Celtics in the Garden,” he said.
“It was the first Lakers team that ever beat a Boston Celtics team in a championship series and that kind of got that monkey off of Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain’s back.
“That first championship is always going to be special, and doing it in Boston I think makes it that more special, so that will always stick out in my mind.”
Scott also enjoyed success as a coach with several teams, including the Lakers, and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2008 with the Charlotte Hornets.
“Coaching was a lot more difficult than people think because as player you just got to worry about you,” he added.
“But as a coach you got to worry about all 12 guys and that makes it difficult, but I enjoyed it because it’s like playing a chess game against all the other coaches.
“I had some pretty good success in my coaching career, so both aspects of my life, playing and coaching, I take a lot of pride in and had a lot of fun.”
Scott is looking forward to taking part in the Bermuda Tourism Authority-organised tournament at Port Royal Golf Course and he will be joined by a host of other former stars including Bo Jackson, the only professional athlete in history to be named an all-star in both baseball and American football.
“We are going to have fun. We got a lot of athletes, and we are all older now, and we’ve transitioned to golf and all think we’re better than we probably are,” said Scott with a huge grin on his face.
“We just got a bunch of guys here who love the game of golf and that keeps our competitive juices flowing.”
Scott is no stranger to Port Royal after playing there during his previous visit to the island in 2017.
“When I came here six years ago I played Port Royal and a couple of holes kicked my butt, so I am looking for revenge,” he added.
Scott was introduced to the sport by Lakers team-mate Worthy and with a 4.5 handicap is certainly no slouch with the clubs in his hands.
“I picked up golf when I was 31 and I’m 62 now, so half of my life I have been playing this game,” he recalled.
“James Worthy is the guy who got me involved in this game and to this day I sometimes want to smack him in the head for getting me involved, but I love the game. He was the first guy that got me playing golf and I have a love for it.”
After his previous visit to the island, Scott is thrilled to be back
“This is a beautiful place and I enjoy it,” he said.
“The water is beautiful and the people are friendly. Everybody seems to welcome you when you come here and it really seems genuine.”