NBA Legend Jerry West Dies at 86

Photo: Instagram/Jerry West

Jerry West, the NBA legend who inspired the league’s logo, passed away peacefully at home at age 86, the Los Angeles Clippers announced Wednesday.

West was a giant in basketball, winning nine championships as a player, scout, coach, executive, and consultant. He helped build the Los Angeles Lakers' 10 titles in the 1980s and 2000s and advised the Golden State Warriors' dynasty.

Before becoming one of the greatest general managers, West was a superstar player. He was a standout in West Virginia high school and college basketball and co-captain of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team. In his 14-year career with the Lakers, he made the All-Star Game every season, earning 12 All-NBA selections and five All-Defensive appearances.

Photo: Instagram/Jerry West

Despite only winning one title in nine NBA Finals appearances, West left a lasting mark. He is the only player to win the Finals MVP on a losing team, averaging 37.9 points per game in the 1969 Finals against the Boston Celtics. Legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn once said, “He took a loss harder than any player I’ve ever known.”

West was known as "Mr. Clutch" for his game-winning shots, including a famous 60-foot buzzer-beater in the 1970 Finals. He retired with career averages of 27 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.8 rebounds, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the first players to score 25,000 points.

After retiring, West excelled as an NBA executive, twice winning Executive of the Year. He built the "Showtime" Lakers of the 1980s and laid the foundation for their 2000-2010 titles by signing Shaquille O'Neal and trading for Kobe Bryant. He later led the Memphis Grizzlies and advised the Warriors, helping recruit Kevin Durant. West joined the Clippers in 2017, contributing to the recruitment of Kawhi Leonard and the trade for Paul George.

West received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. Despite his basketball success, his personal life had challenges. He endured a troubled childhood and later became a mental health advocate, sharing his struggles in his 2011 memoir, "West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life."

Bill Russell once honored West by saying, "Jerry, you are, in every sense of the word, truly a champion." West is survived by his five children, including Jerry, a scout for the Detroit Pistons.

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Source: Yahoo Sports 

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