Jerry West, NBA legend, dies at the age of 86

nba legend jerry west, His prolific basketball career, which took him to the league pennant and whose basketball IQ led to him winning numerous championships, died Wednesday, the Los Angeles Clippers said.

The 86-year-old man was working in… AdviseHr to the Clippers since 2017.

“Jerry West, the embodiment of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 86,” the Clippers statement said. “His wife, Karen, was by his side.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described West as a “basketball genius” and a “defining” figure in the league.

“I have valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he has shared with me over many years about basketball and life,” Silver said in a statement. Many of his friends are in the NBA community.

Naismith Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame He was an All-American in West Virginia university Before playing 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a foul shot in 1973.Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images file

Despite the fact that West’s career came in an era when the playoff schedule was much shorter, his name is still spread throughout the NBA. Postseason record books: 4,457 points (9th), 1,622 baskets (9th), and 1,213 free throws (7th), to name a few.

in Regular season playThe West made 7,160 free throws, the ninth-most.

The West’s enduring, multi-generational influence on sport cannot be understated.

Modern NBA Fans know him as “Logo” With his silhouette representing the most forward-facing image in professional basketball.

Many children West is known as “Mr. Clutch”., The player is always ready to take the decisive shots in the match. He was famous for hitting the buzzer 60 feet vs. New York Knickssending Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals into overtime.

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Even older fans may know West as “Zeke from Cabin Creek,” a nickname that’s a bit geographically challenging because he grew up in Chelan, West Virginia, and not in neighboring Cabin Creek.

“Today is one of the saddest days ever for West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia.” WVU Athletic Director Ren Baker He said in a statement. “We have lost the greatest mountaineer of all time, and there will never be another Jerry West.”

Before turning professional, West played on what is generally considered the greatest amateur team in the history of world basketball, Gold medalist in 1960 Americans.

Coach Pete Newell named future Hall of Famers Walt Bellamy, Jerry Lucas, Oscar Robertson and West to the team that won by an average of over 42 points per contest that summer in Rome.

West continued his greatness in the professional ranks, where he led the Lakers to nine appearances in the NBA Finals, capturing the title once, in 1972.

He spent nearly two decades in the Lakers’ front office, He holds the position of General Manager And help assemble the famous “Showtime” teams.

With West in various managerial capacities, the Lakers captured NBA titles in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 2000.

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Pat Riley on the sidelines with coach Jerry West in 1981.Manny Milan/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images file

West went on to work for the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors. He was in Golden State’s front office when the Warriors won titles in 2015 and 2017, his seventh title and eighth as CEO.

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Warriors owner Joe Lacob grew up in Massachusetts as a fan of the West’s rival, the Boston Celtics, but said he has always admired the NBA great.

“For me, it was basketball. It wasn’t just about the actual game, it was about competitiveness.” Lacob said in a statement Wednesday. “He was the most competitive person I’ve ever met, and he would settle for nothing less than greatness. He had to win. It consumed him. He was larger than life. He was an icon.”

“We are devastated by the news of his passing today and offer our prayers and support to his wife Karen, his entire family and the NBA community,” Lacob added.

The West won Executive of the Year Awards in 1995 with the Lakers and in 2004 with the Grizzlies.

“Jerry’s four decades with the Lakers also included a successful tenure as head coach and a remarkable front office career that cemented his reputation as one of the greatest executives in the history of the sport,” Silver said. “He helped build eight championship teams during his time in the NBA – a legacy of accomplishment that reflects his excellence on the court.”

West’s influence on professional basketball can be seen every time an official league statement appears on NBA letterhead or someone slips on a piece of NBA merchandise.

The red, white and blue logo, designed by branding expert Alan Siegel in 1969, remains one of the most enduring images in North American sports.

Jerry West sits next to NBA logos and holds his silhouette at a Clippers game in 2015 in Los Angeles.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Siegel’s friend and famous sports journalist Dick Schaap handed him a folder of NBA photos and a photo of West jumped out – dribbling with his left hand and driving to the hoop.

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“I’ve always been a fan of his, but I liked the picture because it was a nice vertical and had this movement.” Siegel told NBA.com In 2021. “I was a fan of his and he was one of those guys who had an important history in the NBA.”

At the time, Siegel did not reveal that West was the inspiration for that famous silhouette but it was obvious to many fans.

“When designing the logo, I never mentioned that it was based on a picture of him,” he said. “It was only discovered years later.”

In recent years, West has become a mental health advocate, speaking publicly about his battles with depression Which goes back to childhood With an abusive father in a poor rural area of ​​West Virginia.

“Gosh, like a lot of people, I’ve had some really dark moments in my life.” West said “The Rich Eisen Show” in 2022.

“I don’t know what triggers it, but going back to some of the things I saw as a kid that weren’t conducive to loving, nurturing families. It was really hard for me.”

The West has shown great dissatisfaction In the HBO series “Winning Time” Making him an out-of-control CEO prone to tantrums.

While HBO has not apologized to the West, Network said “Time to Win” should be viewed more as a drama than a documentary.

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