NBA Legend Jerry West Passes Away At 86

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West has died at age 86, the Clippers announced today. According to the team, he passed away “peacefully” on Wednesday morning with his wife Karen at his side.

Few individuals have had a greater impact on the NBA during its history than West, who played 14 seasons for the Lakers from 1960-74, earning All-Star honors in all 14 years.

West also made 12 All-NBA teams and five All-Defensive squads, winning a championship, an NBA Finals MVP award, and an All-Star MVP award while leading the league in points per game in one season and assists per game in another. He averaged 27.0 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game across 932 regular season contests and was part of the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

West’s contributions as a player were enough to earn him a spot in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, but his legacy extends far beyond that. His silhouette serves as the basis for the NBA’s logo, and after a brief stint as the Lakers’ head coach from 1976-79, he enjoyed a long and successful career as a front office executive for multiple organizations.

West, who transitioned into a scouting role with the Lakers in 1979, was named L.A.’s general manager in 1982 and served as the architect of a team that made it to the NBA Finals eight times and won four titles during his tenure from 1982-2000. Los Angeles had a 972-472 (.673) record in the regular season and a 140-90 (.609) mark in the playoffs under West’s stewardship, and also won championships in each of the two years following his departure.

Following his long run with the Lakers, West became the Grizzlies‘ general manager in 2002, a year after the team had made the move from Vancouver to Memphis. Prior to West’s arrival, the Grizzlies had never won more than 23 games in a season, but he helped turn the franchise around, leading Memphis to its first three playoff appearances from 2004-06 and claiming his second Executive of the Year award in 2004.

West retired as a lead basketball decision-maker in 2007, but later served as a consultant with the Warriors, winning two more titles in 2015 and 2017, and with the Clippers beginning in 2017.

In addition to being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, West was enshrined as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team that won gold in Rome and was elected to the Hall a third time in 2024 for his work as an executive. That enshrinement ceremony will take place later this year.

Our condolences go out to West’s family and friends, as well as all those in the basketball world affected by this tremendous loss to the sport.

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