Jerry West, NBA Legend and Architect of Showtime Lakers, Passes Away at 86

Jerry West, NBA Legend and Architect of Showtime Lakers, Passes Away at 86
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Leg­endary bas­ket­ball play­er and exec­u­tive Jer­ry West has died at the age of 86. Dur­ing his illus­tri­ous career, West estab­lished him­self as one of the great­est play­ers in NBA his­to­ry and helped build mul­ti­ple cham­pi­onship-win­ning fran­chis­es as a gen­er­al manager.

West played his entire 14-year NBA career with the Los Ange­les Lak­ers from 1960–1974, where he was a 14-time All-Star and helped lead the team to an NBA title in 1972. He aver­aged 27 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds for his career. Wide­ly con­sid­ered one of the best clutch per­form­ers in NBA his­to­ry, West earned the nick­name “Mr. Clutch.”

After retir­ing as a play­er, West served as the Lak­ers head coach from 1976–1979 before becom­ing a scout and gen­er­al man­ag­er, where he con­struct­ed the “Show­time” Lak­ers dynasty of the 1980s. As GM, West draft­ed Mag­ic John­son and trad­ed for Kareem Abdul-Jab­bar, and signed free agent James Wor­thy to join them. The Lak­ers went on to win 5 cham­pi­onships under West­’s tenure.

He lat­er built anoth­er dom­i­nant Lak­ers team in the ear­ly 2000s, draft­ing Kobe Bryant and sign­ing Shaquille O’Neal. The Lak­ers won 3 straight titles from 2000–2002 behind Bryant and O’Neal. West was also instru­men­tal in the ear­ly suc­cess of the Mem­phis Griz­zlies fran­chise as their GM from 2002–2007.

In addi­tion to his immense play­ing career, West has had his sil­hou­ette incor­po­rat­ed into the NBA logo since 1969 in recog­ni­tion of his con­tri­bu­tions to the league. He received the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom in 2019. West remains one of the most respect­ed and influ­en­tial fig­ures in bas­ket­ball history.

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