window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-QV9HFVZD64'); NBA legend Jerry West dies at age 86 author - TELCOTELCO

NBA legend Jerry West dies at age 86

Jerry West, an iconic figure in basketball history whose silhouette is widely believed to be the basis of the NBA logo, passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 86, as announced by the Los Angeles Clippers.

West, affectionately known as “Mr. Clutch” for his clutch performances, had a distinguished career both on and off the court. Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame three times, he was honored as a player in 1980, as part of the gold medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympic Team in 2010, and is set to be enshrined as a contributor later this year. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver praised West, calling him “one of the greatest executives in sports history.”

“He helped build eight championship teams during his tenure in the NBA — a legacy of achievement that mirrors his on-court excellence,” Silver remarked. “And he will be enshrined this October into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, becoming the first person ever inducted as both a player and a contributor. I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life.”

West’s wife, Karen, was with him at his time of passing, the Clippers noted. For the past seven years, West served as a consultant for the team.

During his 14-season NBA career, West was a 14-time All-Star, a 12-time All-NBA selection, and part of the 1972 Lakers championship team. He also made history as the first NBA Finals MVP in 1969, despite the Lakers losing to the Boston Celtics — a feat yet to be repeated. West was included in the NBA’s 75th anniversary team.

As a general manager, West was instrumental in constructing championship-winning teams with the Lakers, contributing to the “Showtime” era. His tenure in the front offices of the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Clippers further showcased his talent for team building. Notably, he was responsible for drafting Magic Johnson and James Worthy, as well as bringing Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal to the Lakers.

West’s career spanned various eras, playing alongside Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, and later coaching or managing stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Worthy, O’Neal, Bryant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.

“I marvel at them, at the joy they brought basketball fans all over the world,” West said in 2019.

Despite his retirement, West remained a revered figure in basketball, frequently seen courtside at Summer League games in Las Vegas, engaging with players such as LeBron James.

“The game transcends many things,” West noted last year. “The players change, the style of play may change, but the respect that you learn in this game never changes.”

LeBron James expressed his condolences on social media: “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!”

Although the NBA has not officially confirmed West as the model for its logo, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated in 2021, “While it’s never been officially declared that the logo is Jerry West, it sure looks a lot like him.”

West remains the NBA Finals’ all-time leader in total points, field goals made and attempted, and free throws made and attempted. He played in nine NBA Finals, securing one championship against the New York Knicks and losing six times to the Celtics.

West also made one of the most memorable shots in finals history with a 60-foot buzzer-beater in Game 3 of the 1970 series against the Knicks, forcing overtime.

Tributes poured in from the sports world, with the Los Angeles Dodgers calling West “an indelible figure on the Los Angeles sports landscape for more than 60 years,” and the NBA planning a tribute before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Mavericks.

“Jerry West is one of my favorite people that I had the honor to get to know in the NBA,” Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison stated. “He welcomed me to the league, offered advice from the first day, and asked nothing in return. He will be missed.”

West, a native of Chelyan, West Virginia, was known for his relentless dedication to basketball. He grew up practicing on a basket nailed to a shed, often until his fingers bled. He was the first high school player in West Virginia to score over 900 points in a season, leading East Bank High to a state title with an average of 32.2 points per game.

Basketball was West’s escape and therapy, as detailed in his memoir “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,” where he revealed his struggles with depression stemming from an abusive childhood.

At West Virginia University, West still holds the record for highest scoring average and led the team to the 1959 NCAA final. He joined the Lakers in 1960 after winning Olympic gold in Rome and spent his entire professional playing career with them. He was recognized among the league’s 50 greatest players in1996 and again in 2021 as part of the 75th-anniversary team.

In 2019, West was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Donald Trump. Reflecting on his journey, West said, “My chase began in Chelyan, West Virginia, where I strung a wire basket with no net to the side of a bridge. If your shot didn’t go in, the ball rolled down a long bank and you would be chasing it forever. So, you better make it.”

West concluded, “I was a dreamer. My family didn’t have much, but we had a clear view of the Appalachian Mountains, and I’d sit alone on our front porch and wonder, ‘If I ever make it to the top of that mountain, what will I see on the other side?’ Well, I did make it to the other side, and my dreams have come true. I’ve been able to see the sides, thanks to that bouncing ball.”

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