NBA Legend Jerry West Dies: ‘Personification of Basketball Excellence’

Photo from the LA Clippers’ X

NBA Legend Jerry West Dies: ‘Personification of Basketball Excellence’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Jerry West died at the age of 86 last week.

“Jerry West, the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 86. His wife, Karen, was by his side,” the Los Angeles Clippers announced on Wednesday.

West played his entire NBA career with the Lakers, helping the team win an NBA championship in 1972. West was named an NBA Finals MVP in 1969 and was a 14-time All-Star.

When his on-court career finished in 1974, he became the Lakers’ head coach and then later became the general manager of the Lakers in 1982.

West would be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1980 and inspired the NBA logo.

Many of West’s fellow NBA friends shared their condolences and memories on their social media.

Magic Johnson, who West impacted immensely, wrote on X:

Every time I achieved a goal or crossed a milestone, one of the first calls I received was from Jerry West. When I started my business, was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, was named Lakers President of Basketball Operations – he would always pick up the phone and give me a personalized call to congratulate me.

Beyond his basketball accolades as a basketball player and NBA executive, Jerry West was a great man, a leader of men, fiercely loved his family and friends, and despite holding jobs with other franchises, he was a Lakers fan for life. Laker Nation, the only reason we have 17 NBA championships is because of Jerry West and his expertise drafting players, trading for players, and hiring the right coaches. Today is a sad day for basketball fans and sports fans across the globe.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry shared, “The Logo. Forever grateful to know him and be in his presence. Helped the entire world of basketball in so many ways and his legacy will live on forever. Thank you. RIP.”

LA Clippers head coach Tyrone Lue also said, “Jerry brought me to Los Angeles on draft night in 1998 and he’s been an irreplaceable part of my life ever since. Whether I was playing or coaching, he was there for me, with advice and encouragement.”

“Sometimes, he was just there to listen. Everything was better after a conversation with Jerry,” Lue continued. “He was a mentor and a friend. I can’t believe he’s gone. I also can’t believe how lucky I was to know him and spend as much time with him as I did. Here was one of the best players of all time, one of the best executives of all time, and he treated everyone around him like his closest friend in the world. I was blessed that he called me in 1998, and even more blessed that he kept calling. I love him and I’II miss him.”

West will forever be remembered in the world of basketball as one of the greatest to ever play the game. But more than that, West will be remembered as a great friend, mentor, husband and father.

Please pray for his family and friends as they process this difficult time.

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