Jerry West: Lakers Legend and NBA Icon Passes Away at 86

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Jerry West, the legendary basketball figure whose silhouette inspired the NBA’s iconic logo, has passed away at the age of 86. The Los Angeles Clippers confirmed his death, noting that he died peacefully with his wife, Karen, by his side.

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West’s storied career with the Los Angeles Lakers is the stuff of legend. Over 14 seasons, he played in nine NBA Finals, finally capturing the championship in 1972.

His remarkable performance earned him a place as an NBA All-Star every year he played. He also became the third player in NBA history to surpass 25,000 career points, ending his playing days with a total of 25,192 points.

Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” for his late-game heroics, West also shone on the international stage, winning a gold medal with the USA team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

After retiring from playing in 1974, West transitioned to coaching, leading the Lakers for three seasons beginning in 1976.

 

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Beyond his contributions on the court, West’s impact on basketball extended into the executive offices. He played a pivotal role in assembling the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980s, a team that dominated the NBA with five championships in that decade. His tenure with the Lakers ended in 2000, but he continued to shape the league as an executive with the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver lauded West as a “basketball genius,” while the Basketball Hall of Fame highlighted his enduring legacy, stating, “His profound impact on the game of basketball is matched only by his character and integrity.”

Jerry West’s contributions to basketball over more than six decades have left an indelible mark, solidifying his status as a defining figure in the sport’s history.

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