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Legends – Jerry West

Legends – Jerry West

In 1969, the NBA was looking for the perfect silhouette for a logo. Someone who would show the essence of the game of basketball. And Jerry West turned out to embody exactly that.

Mr. Clutch, Mr. Outside, Zeke from Cabin Creek, the Logo, all names to describe the fourteen-time All-Star from West Virginia, and he earned all of them. West was great at making important shots at the end of the game, had a quick jumper and was a good on defense as he was on offense. Unfortunately for West, blocked shots only became an official statistic in 1973-1974, otherwise he might’ve had a quadruple double. In one game, West scored 44 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists and 10 (unofficial) blocks.

Though West had played on the forward position during his college years, as soon as he was drafted into the NBA by the Lakers, West was also used as a guard. And he made such an impact as a player that he made it into the All-Star team every year he played in the league, and even in seasons where he barely played because of injuries.

West appeared in nine Finals in fourteen years with the Lakers, but he lost all but one. In 1972, he won his only championship as a player when they beat the New York Knicks in five games. This was actually a rematch of the Finals two years before, when the Lakers lost the series in seven games. The 1969 Finals against the Celtics might’ve been more special than any other Finals, for two different reasons. It was the last title for Bill Russell and it was the only time in the history of the NBA that the Finals MVP wasn’t a player from the winning team. Jerry West averaged almost 38 points throughout the series and definitely earned his selection as MVP.

The 1973-1974 season would be West’s last season in the NBA, as he had contract disagreements with the Lakers and therefore didn’t want to continue playing for them anymore. At 36 years old, West probably would’ve been able to find another team, but as he didn’t want to play for any other franchise than the Lakers, he decided to retire.

Photo: LA Times

Nowadays, West is an executive board member with the Los Angeles Clippers, and he has earned 8 titles as a team executive over the years.

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