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Home > Legendary NBA Player Jerry West Dies At 86

Legendary NBA Player Jerry West Dies At 86

Legendary NBA Player Jerry West Dies At 86

Legendary Laker

Jerome “Jerry” Alan West was an American baseball player and executive. He played professionally for the Los Angeles Lakers as an all-around combo guard who could also take the roles of point guard and shooting guard. Unfortunately, on June 12, 2024, West died at age 86 with his wife Karen by his side.

Basketball Career 

Throughout his time playing for the NBA, West had quite the successful basketball career. He received many nicknames over the years, including “Mr. Clutch” for his late-game exploits as a player. West also hit a 60-footer at the buzzer — one of the most famous shots in finals history — during Game 3 in the 1970 series between the Lakers and the Knicks, which forced overtime.

In all 14 of his NBA seasons, West was an All-Star, as well as a 12-time All-NBA selection and a player on the 1972 Lakers team that won a championship. West was also an MVP in the NBA Finals in 1969, the year the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics. This was the first year the award was given out, and it was the only time it went to a player on the losing team. Because of this, West was selected to be a part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team.

Post Playing Career 

After being an NBA player, West worked as a coach and executive (of which he was a champion). As a coach and executive, he worked with many notable NBA stars from the last 40 years. Some of these players include Stephen Curry, Bryant, Paul George, Worthy, Klay Thompson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Johnson, and O’Neal. As an executive for the Lakers, West drafted James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy, forming a title-winning duo.

Alongside being a coach and executive, West was the general manager of Lakers’ championship teams and also worked in the front offices of the Golden State Warriors, the Clippers, and the Memphis Grizzlies. He also worked as a consultant for the Clippers for the past seven years.

Even towards the end of his life, West was basketball royalty. He would regularly be seated courtside at the Summer League games in Las Vegas, where he would usually watch multiple games in a day. He would also greet the long line of players who would come to shake his hand, such as LeBron James.

Legacy 

West’s legacy consisted of numerous accomplishments throughout his career. West was enshrined by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame three different times. He was an NBA and Olympic champion and inducted into the Hall of Fame for the first time as a player in 1980. His second enshrinement into the Hall of Fame was in 2010 for being a part of the gold-medal winning 1960 U.S. Olympic Team. West’s third enshrinement will be later this year as a contributor. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver referred to West as “one of the greatest executives in sports history,” as West was also a champion as an executive. Silver also noted that West “helped build eight championship teams during his tenure in the NBA — a legacy of achievements that mirrors his on-court excellence,” as well as “the first person ever inducted as both player and a contributor.”

Tributes and Condolences 

As a well-loved and respected man, many tributes and condolences were released after the announcement of his death. Michael Jordan — who was drafted by West — considered West “a friend and mentor — like an older brother to me.” Johnson also stated: “I valued his friendship and knowledge. I always wished I could have played against him as a competitor, but the more I came to know him, I wish I had been his teammate. I admired his basketball insights and he and I shared many similarities to how we approached the game.”

James Worthy wrote on X (formerly Twitter) “Will truly miss our convos my dear friend! My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy!” 

Aside from those whom he drafted, other sports teams released statements sympathizing the loss of such a wonderful man and player. The Los Angeles Dodgers called West “an indelible figure on the Los Angeles sports landscape for more than 60 years.” In announcing his death, the Clippers said West was “the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him.” The Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (whom West worked as a consultant for) said that West was “absolutely my basketball sage: wise, loyal and so much fun,” and that “From the first day I met Jerry seven years ago, he inspired me with his intellect, honesty and enthusiasm. He never stopped.”

West was also remembered by his college alma mater, West Virginia University (WVU), where he was a Mountaineer. WVU’s athletic director Wren Baker said, “Today is one of the saddest days ever for West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia. Mountaineer hearts all over the world are broken with the passing of the great Jerry West.”

As a final tribute to Jerry West and all that he has done throughout his time working for the NBA, the NBA was planning a pregame tribute to West before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

“Remembering Jerry West” Official NBA Tribute Video

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Author at Dead Talk News

Hi, I'm Haley! I recently graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a B.F.A. in creative writing and a B.A. in psychology. I love writing and have been doing it since I was little, with my niche being the dark and macabre in short stories and poems.

Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.