It’s one thing to have your jersey retired, but to have your career with the Lakers immortalized through a statue outside of STAPLES Center exhibits a completely different stature of greatness. Today, at 5 p.m. PST in Star Plaza, hall-of-famer and Lakers-legend Jerry West will finally receive this honor, as he will be revealed as the newest statue outside of STAPLES Center, joining Magic Johnson and Chick Hearn as the other two members of the Lakers’ organization to have their careers cemented into history (literally).
Although he has constantly been overshadowed by the rings and individual awards of Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, West has arguably been the most influential figure in Lakers’ history.
No, he was never voted the league’s Most Valuable Player and he was only a member of one NBA championship-winning team; however, he is the only player in NBA history to ever win the Finals MVP award while playing for the losing team. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times while being selected as an all-star in each of his 14 seasons as a Laker. Oh yeah, and the player who’s dribbling a basketball in the NBA’s logo – that’s West’s silhouette.
It’s not even his 25,192 career points or his 6,238 assists that make Mr. Clutch worthy of a statue outside STAPLES Center – although his numbers certainly didn’t hamper his case for one. Rather, his contributions extend past the hardwood and into the Lakers’ front office, where he helped orchestrate nearly 30 years of excellent basketball.
Next: Beyond the Hardwood