Byron Scott: It's about winning titles


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Before Byron Scott could say a word after being introduced as the chosen coach to carry the Los Angeles Lakers toward a hopeful championship future, several Hall of Fame voices from the purple and gold's past made a surprise appearance to weigh in on the hiring.

Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes marched into the Lakers' practice gym shortly after Scott's introductory news conference had commenced Tuesday and greeted their former teammate.

"Showtime's back, baby," Johnson said while pulling Scott in for a hug.

Scott, who played for the Lakers and won three championships from 1983 to '93 and again during Kobe Bryant's rookie season in 1996-97, was named the 25th head coach in franchise history.

"We came here today to support our brother and our former teammate and champion Byron Scott and also we're here to support the Laker organization," Johnson said. "This is a great day for all the former Lakers as well as Lakers fans all over the world. We're just excited for what Byron will bring to the table and get back to playing Laker basketball. ... We wish we could put on a uniform for you and help you, but we're here supporting you and will support you throughout. Again, congrats to the Laker organization. You chose the right guy."

Scott is the only one out of the six known candidates -- along with Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry, Mike Dunleavy, Lionel Hollins and George Karl -- who had multiple interviews for the coaching vacancy created April 30 when Mike D'Antoni resigned.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak acknowledged the drawn-out coaching search and appreciated how Scott handled the wait.

"I just want to thank him for his patience the last six or seven weeks," Kupchak said. "I think it was clear, at least it was clear to us, that Byron was always our first choice."

Scott grew up in Inglewood, California, home of The Forum, and has long wanted the chance to coach the Lakers.

"This has been a dream of mine for so long," Scott said. "It's a dream come true to be here sitting here talking to you guys today and be introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. ... The passion and the love that I have for this organization is second to none. The only thing that I regret is that Dr. (Jerry) Buss isn't here today because he's somebody who showed a lot of love, a lot of confidence in me back in the day."

The longtime Lakers owner died of cancer in February 2013. Johnson told reporters that Dr. Buss confided in him that he would have hired Scott as Lakers head coach in 2010 if Phil Jackson chose to retire, but Scott had already accepted a job the previous summer coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jackson ended up coming back to coach the Lakers for one final season and L.A. replaced him with Mike Brown after he retired.

Scott, 53, said he hopes to get the Lakers back on course to add to their collection of 16 titles.

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