You might know Mitch Kupchak as Jerry West’s replacement as GM of the Lakers. The man who brought in Payton and Malone. The man who traded Shaq. The man Kobe once said went “From an F to an A+” after pulling off a Gasol for Kwame Brown trade. If that was an A+ then he deserves straight A’s for this year’s summer school by bringing Nash and Dwight Howard to the LA.
What you might not remember is Kupchak was once an NBA player that was highly recruited by Magic Johnson for his intimidating style of play. That toughness was on display against the Rockets in the Western conference finals when he went toe to toe with Hakeem in what almost turned out to be a riot with mad dog James Worthy looking like a shoving champion. Hakeem has a pretty squeaky legend image but he was a violent dirty MF back then. Rudy T once told me about all of these cheap shots Hakeem would give other centers just to get a point across. As if one of the top 3, and probably most skilled, centers ever needed to do something extra to let his opponent know how bad he was going to beat them up.