As the 80’s came around Mr. West became a coaching dropout, opting for the role of the Lakers General Manager. In this role Mr. Clutch became Mr. Craft as he built a team for the ages. Hollywood was waiting for the bigger picture and Jerry West premiered ‘Showtime.’ Bringing Magic, Worthy, and a collection of other players to Los Angeles it resulted in five gold, championship rings. It was just like Christmas in sunny California.
Than deep into the 90’s Jerry proved that lightning can indeed strike twice, as thanks to his shrewd managing another dynasty rained championships in Los Angeles. After building a nice squad around Nick Van Exel, Vlade Divac, Eddie Jones and coach Del Harris, West went all Hollywood out in Los Angeles, making major power moves. First he traded Vlade Divac for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant. Then he made a ‘big’ signing by bringing in Shaquille O’ Neal. Then he went even bigger and brought in six time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson. The rest was NBA history. Once, twice, three times a champion, and who knows what else could have happened if the team could have solved their off-court issues.
As Jerry moved from a Western powerhouse to a lottery bound outfit he still prevailed in Memphis. He signed another coach of the year (Hubie Brown) and did the best with what he had with the Grizzlies. Since then for the Lakers their former player Mitch Kupchak has managed things very well, but there’s just something about Jerry. West helped with the bringing up of Pau Gasol in Memphis, who now has been that extra championship ingredient for Los Angeles. Coincidence?
Jerry West has been great at three different roles in the NBA, legendary in fact. Sure the logo is an honor like no other, but now that the Lakers have done a Spike Lee with the statue, the right thing has happened. West was more than just an incredible player (as if that wasn’t enough). He has built more than one dynasty over the decades for the purple and gold. Who else has done that (apart from Red for the Celtic green)? So he may have only achieved one ring as a player (which is good enough anyway) but he’s amassed eight in the boardroom.
Now there’s one guy who can definitely cockily straighten his tie after a good day at the office. Either way, when Jerry has suited up, (sweats or slacks) he’s helped the Lakers look more than sharp. Mr. Clutch is the Frank Sinatra of the NBA, ‘Mr. Success’ doing things his way, the right way, the Jerry way. As a matter of fact he was and is still Mr. Laker. Statuesque in more ways then one. Now that will always be set in stone.