Interesting when the owner shows up at training camp and an icon accompanies him. Icon is used frequently and inappropriately. But Jerry West not only is an icon, he's a logo. Live with it.
Jerry Richardson's older son Jon died from cancer July 12. This was Richardson's first appearance in camp.
He and West have been friends for decades.
Richardson drove the golf cart. West rode with him in front. Broadcaster Jim Gray, a friend of West, rode in back. West and Gray wore identical white shirts with a blue Panther logo. Richardson parked it on the practice field.
Interesting to watch players approach. Reciever Steve Smith spent considerable time with West. Smith is from Los Angeles and the Lakers are a testament to West's legend. No matter where you're from, you know the Lakers.
Interesting to watch players show off for the owner.
"Let me ask you this," says linebacker Thomas Davis. "If your owner showed up, you'd probably come up with some really good questions."
I shook West's hand and told him that I had called him decades ago for a story and he quickly called me back. That's class."I return every call I get," West says. "You have to."
Richardson said he read John Quincy Adams' biography, which he found depressing, and then he read West's biography, which he found more depressing. Richardson would read 20 pages, call West to see if it was going to become upbeat, and West would ask, "Have you reached the part where" and tell Richardson something even more depressing.
Richardson and West met with fans and invited players over to talk, among them Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.
The final passenger in the cart was Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
"You look like you could still play," says West, tall and fit at 75.
"Yes sir," says Rivera, who sounded as if he was willing to give the NBA a try. "Especially with what they get paid today."