Lakers Legend Jerry West Dies At Age 86
Jerry West, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers announced on Wednesday morning that executive and Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West has died at the age of 86. He passed away peacefully in his home and his wife Karen was by his side.

Perhaps no figure is more important to tell the history of the Lakers organization than West, who starred as a player before moving into scouting, coaching and executive roles.

West was legend in West Virginia high school and college basketball before co-captaining the 1960 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. He then had a 14-year playing career with the Lakers, making the All-Star team all 14 years in addition to 12 All-NBA selections and five All-Defensive selections.

Following the franchise’s move to Los Angeles, Jerry West led the organization to its first NBA championship in Southern California during their historic 1971-72 season. West was one of the best scorers of his era and was subsequently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the first time in 1979 as a player.

West was inducted into the Hall of Fame a second time back in 2010 as a member of the 1960 USA Men’s Basketball Team that won gold in Rome.

To this day, West remains the only player to win Finals MVP as a member of the losing team for his performance in 1969. While he only won one championships, he was known as one of the best and most competitive players of his era.

After his playing career concluded, West remained involved in the Lakers organization and was eventually named general manager of the franchise in 1982. He helped lead them to five titles during the Showtime era, but also built the “three-peat’ roster of the 2000s led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

West helped recruit O’Neal to L.A. by telling him that he would have a young co-star to play with for years to come after drafting Bryant out of high school. He, of course, ended up being right about that.

After leaving the Lakers in 2000, West spent five seasons running the Memphis Grizzlies before retiring as a full-time executive at the age of 69 in 2007. He finished his career as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors from 2011-16 and then the Clippers from 2017 until his death.

West will forever be remember as a Laker though, both as a legendary player and executive responsible for a number of the organization’s titles.

Jerry West to be inducted into Hall of Fame for third third

Later this year, Jerry West will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for a third time, making it as an executive.

It’s unfortunate that he won’t be there for the ceremony, but it will be a great time to celebrate all that he has done for the Lakers and basketball world as a whole.

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