Jerry West dies at 86: NBA mourns passing of legendary player

Jerry West, the basketball legend whose silhouette is immortalized as the NBA logo, passed away at the age of 86, as announced by the Clippers. West’s legacy is etched in the annals of basketball history, spanning a remarkable career as both a player and an executive.

Drafted by the Lakers with the No. 2 pick in 1960, West embarked on a stellar 14-year journey in the NBA, all while donning the purple and gold. His on-court prowess was unmatched, earning him 14 All-Star selections and 12 All-NBA nods. Despite falling short of an NBA title as a player, West’s indomitable spirit shone brightest during the 1968-69 NBA Finals, where he earned MVP honors despite the Lakers’ defeat to the Celtics.


Renowned for his scoring prowess, West epitomized excellence, leading the league in scoring and leaving an indelible mark on the game. His contributions were duly recognized with induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979 and the retirement of his No. 44 jersey by the Lakers in 1983.

Transitioning seamlessly from player to coach and then to general manager, West’s impact on the Lakers’ dynasty of the 1980s cannot be overstated. Under his stewardship, the Lakers clinched five championships, cementing their status as a powerhouse in the NBA.

West’s influence extended beyond the Lakers, shaping the trajectory of the league with his astute moves as an executive. His pivotal decision to acquire Kobe Bryant and sign Shaquille O’Neal laid the foundation for the Lakers’ dominance in the 2000s, culminating in three consecutive NBA titles.

Even in his later years, West continued to leave an indelible imprint on the NBA landscape, guiding teams like the Grizzlies and the Warriors to success. His enduring impact earned him accolades such as the NBA Executive of the Year and the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.

As the basketball world mourns the loss of a true icon, Jerry West’s legacy will forever endure, a testament to his unwavering dedication and unparalleled contributions to the sport he loved dearly.