The Los Angeles Lakers introduced former player Byron Scott Tuesday as the team's new head coach Tuesday morning during a news conference at which ex-teammates praised the organization for believing in the Southern California native.
The team announced the hiring, confirming several weekend news reports, in a post on the team's web site Monday night. Scott was formally introduced as the team's coach at a news conference Tuesday with team officials and former teammates at the Lakers' training center in El Segundo.
"This is a great day for all the former Lakers and Lakers fans all over the world," said former teammate Magic Johnson. "We're excited. We wish we could put on a uniform for you and help you."
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The hiring marks an end to what General Manager Mitch Kupchak called "an extensive and thorough search" after the departure of coach Mike D'Antonio and the team's worst season since moving to Los Angeles in 1960.
"We're proud to welcome Byron back to the Lakers family as our next head coach," said Kupchak. "Byron has proven himself at the highest levels of the game as both a player and a coach in his almost 30 years of NBA experience. His leadership skills and track record for success make him the ideal person to lead this franchise forward."
Scott was the Lakers' starting guard on three championship teams in the 1980s. He takes over one of the NBA's most-storied franchises, which has been in decline since winning its 16th league title in 2010.
The Lakers' woes dropped to new lows last season when the injury-plagued team finished with the league's sixth-worst record at 27-55.
"I'm just thrilled to see my good friend and my running buddy back where he belongs," said Abdul-Jabbar. "Hopefully, this is the point where things start to turn around.
"It's great that LA takes care of its own."
Scott, the franchise's 25th head coach and a graduate of Morningside High School in Inglewood, comes back to LA after several coaching stints over 13 NBA seasons. He guided the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002, losing to the Lakers, and 2003, losing to the San Antonio Spurs. He was selected as the NBA's coach of the year for the 2007-2008 season when he was with the New Orleans Hornets.
Scott's most recent coaching position was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team he coached from 2010-13.
"I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mitch and the Buss family," said Scott. "I know firsthand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in LA and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves."
Scott, 53, played 14 seasons in the NBA, 11 with the Lakers. In his final season as a player, 1996-97, he was a teammate of Kobe Bryant, then a rookie. Bryant has expressed support for Scott.