July 16, 2024

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Jerry West, the inspiration for the NBA logo, has died at the age of 86

Jerry West, the inspiration for the NBA logo, has died at the age of 86

Jerry West, a three-time selection to the Basketball Hall of Fame in a storied career as a player and executive, and whose silhouette is the basis of the NBA’s logo, died Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Clippers announced.

He was 86 years old.

Nicknamed “Mr. “Clutch” for his recent exploits as a player, West was an NBA champion who was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1980 and again as a member of the gold-medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympic team in 2010. He will be honored for the third time in Later that year as a contributor, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called West “one of the greatest executives in the history of sports.”

“He helped build eight championship teams during his time in the NBA, a legacy of accomplishment that reflects his excellence on the court,” Silver said. “He will be enshrined next October in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a Contributor, becoming the first person ever to be named a Contributor and Player. I have valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he has shared with me over many years about basketball and life.

In announcing his death, the Clippers said that West was “the embodiment of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him.” West’s wife, Karen, was by his side when he died, the Clippers said. West has worked with the Clippers as a consultant for the past seven years.

He was an All-Star in all 14 of his NBA seasons, a 12-time All-NBA selection, part of the 1972 Lakers team that won the championship, and NBA Finals MVP when the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in 1969 – The first year this award was given, still the only time it has gone to a player on the losing team – he was selected as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

West was the general manager of the championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he helped build the “Showtime” dynasty. He also worked in the front offices of the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Clippers. Among his most notable accomplishments as an executive with the Lakers: He drafted Magic Johnson and James Worthy, then brought in Kobe Bryant and eventually Shaquille O’Neal to play alongside Bryant.

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His basketball career was a bridge between generations: West played for Elgin Baylor, whom he described as “the most supportive and greatest player of that era,” and Wilt Chamberlain. As a coach and executive, he has worked with NBA superstars over the past 40 years: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Worthy, O’Neal, Bryant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Ball. Among them is George.

“I marvel at them, at the joy they bring to basketball fans around the world,” West said in 2019.

Even in the final years of his life, West was considered one of the kings of basketball. He routinely sat courtside at Summer League games in Las Vegas, often watching several games in a single day while greeting long lines of players — among them LeBron James — who would approach to shake his hand.

“The game is about so many things,” West said while attending summer league last year. He added: “Players change, the style of play may change, but the respect you learn in this game never changes.”

Mosques, On social mediaHe offered his condolences: “I will really miss our seminars, my dear friend!” My thoughts and prayers go to your wonderful family! Love forever Jerry! Rest in heaven man! the NBA’s all-time scoring leader wrote on Wednesday.

West is 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and although the league has never confirmed that West was actually the model for its logo — a player dribbling the ball, against a red and blue background — the league has never said otherwise also.

“Although it has never been officially announced that the logo is Jerry West’s, it certainly looks a lot like him,” Silver said in 2021.

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The West remains the all-time NBA Finals leader in total points, along with field goals made and attempted as well as free throws made and attempted. He played in the title series nine times with the Lakers. His team went 1-2 against the New York Knicks, and 0-6 against the Celtics.

“Those damned Celtics,” he would often say.

West also hit one of the most famous shots in Finals history, 60 feet at the bell From Game 3 of the 1970 series between the Knicks and Lakers to force overtime.

Condolences quickly poured in from around the sports world on Wednesday morning. The Los Angeles Dodgers issued a statement calling West “an indelible figure in the Los Angeles sports landscape for more than 60 years,” and the NBA was planning to honor West before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

“Jerry West is one of my favorite people I have ever had the privilege of knowing in the NBA,” Miami Heat general manager Micky Arison said Wednesday. He welcomed me into the league, gave me advice from day one, and never asked for anything in return. “We will miss him.”

Michael Jordan said he considered West “a friend and a mentor — like a big brother to me.”

“I appreciated his friendship and knowledge,” Jordan said. “I always hoped to play against him as a competitor, but the more I got to know him, the more I wished I was his teammate. I admired his basketball ideas and we shared many similarities in how we approached the game.

West, a native of Chelan, West Virginia, was known as a stubborn player who was rarely satisfied with his performance. He grew up shooting from a basket mounted on the side of the shed and would often shoot until his fingers bled. He became the first high school player in state history to score more than 900 points in a single season, averaging 32.2 points in leading East Bank High to the state title.

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He later revealed that basketball was his therapy.

In his memoir, West by West: My Charmed and Tortured Life, West chronicled a lifelong battle with depression. He wrote that his childhood was devoid of love and filled with anger as a result of his father’s abuse. He often felt worthless, and to combat this, he said he put his energy into playing the game.

West led West Virginia University—where he remains the all-time leader in scoring average—to the NCAA final in 1959, when the Mountaineers lost by one point to California.

A year after winning the Olympic gold medal in Rome, West joined the Lakers, where he spent his entire professional career. He was honored as one of the league’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996 and when the league expanded the ballot to 75 players for its 75th anniversary in 2021, West was chosen again.

“You know, I never cease to be amazed by the places you can go in this world to chase a bouncy ball,” West said in 2019, when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — by then-President Donald Trump. Trump card. “My hunt began in Chelan, West Virginia, where I hung a wire basket without a net over the side of a bridge. If your shot doesn’t go in, the ball has rolled off a long ledge and you’ll be chasing it forever. So, you better do it.

“I was a dreamer. My family didn’t have much, but we had a clear view of the Appalachian Mountains, and I would sit alone on our front porch and wonder, ‘If I could get to the top of that mountain, what would I see there?’ The other side?’ Well, I made it to the other side, and my dreams came true. I was able to see sides, thanks to that bouncing ball.

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Associated Press writer John Rabe contributed to this report.

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ABNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA