#2 – The Logo
Jerry West was an All-Star in each of his 14 NBA seasons. He was a member of the 1st Team All-NBA 10 times. He led the Lakers to the NBA Finals 9 separate seasons, coming up short all but once. He remains the only player to win the NBA Finals MVP trophy for the losing team. He hit one of the league’s most famous baskets of all time, a 60-foot heave at the buzzer to send Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals into overtime in a game and series they would ultimately lose.
His obsessive quest for perfection drove him insane as he suffered many sleepless nights replaying what he could have done better, what he could have done to win. Winning was everything to Jerry West. He wasn’t the fastest, strongest or biggest player on the court, but none of that seemed to matter. People often throw around the term “will to win” in describing an intangible trait true leaders possess. Well Jerry West is the man who stamped a patent on the term will to win.
No one wanted to win as badly as Jerry West, and moreover, no one dreaded the thought of losing more than the man who would one day embody the logo of the league he loves so much. He finally ascended to the top of the NBA with his lone championship in 1972. That team ranks among the greatest teams ever assembled, a testament to the work ethic and pride of Jerry West. That year his Lakers ran off 33 wins in a row, a record that still stands today as the most consecutive wins in professional sports. As a player he was known as Mr. Clutch, as sure a 2 points in crunch time as there’s ever been. As a GM he is widely regarded as the smartest basketball mind of any generation.
When he speaks, we listen. In 1971, the NBA adopted a new logo: a white silhouette of one Jerry West in a red and blue box. Some people know him as “Zeke from Cabin Creek”, most people know him as Mr. Clutch, but everyone who has ever followed basketball knows him as The Logo.
Next: Nothing like Being No. 1