28. The Summer of '96

Date: 7/18/1996 (Shaq); 6/26/1996 (Kobe)

Jerry West was Mr.Clutch on the court, but his greatest achievement may have come as a general manager. In the summer of '96, West fervently worked the phones, wooing a superstar Shaq out of Orlando and perhaps more impressively, recognized the boundless potential of a young Kobe Bryant, and stole him from the Hornets. Wowed by the high schooler in draft workouts, West acquired the rights to Bryant from Charlotte in exchange for an aging Vlade Divac and the rest, as they say, is history.