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NBA Legend and Logo Jerry West Dies at 86
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By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
June 12, 2024

Jerry West, a three-time Hall of Fame inductee and the NBA logo's likely inspiration, passed away at 86, leaving a legacy as a player and an executive. (AP File)

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Jerry West, who was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame three times in a storied career as a player and executive and whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Clippers announced.

He was 86.

West, nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” for his late-game exploits as a player, went into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1980 and again as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team in 2010. He will be enshrined for a third time later this year as a contributor.

West was “the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him,” the Clippers said in announcing his death. West’s wife, Karen, was by his side when he died, the Clippers said.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant gives basketball great Jerry West a shoulder rub after the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference basketball finals in Los Angeles, May 29, 2008. (AP File)

He was an All-Star in all 14 of his NBA seasons, a 12-time All-NBA selection, part of the 1972 Lakers team that won a championship, an NBA Finals MVP as part of a losing team in 1969 and was selected as part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team.

West was general manager of eight NBA championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers, helping build the “Showtime” dynasty. He also worked in the front offices of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors and the Clippers. Among his many, many highlights as an executive with the Lakers: he drafted Magic Johnson and James Worthy, then brought in Kobe Bryant and eventually Shaquille O’Neal to play alongside Bryant.

Even in the final years of his life, West was considered basketball royalty. He routinely sat courtside at Summer League games in Las Vegas, often watching many games in a day while greeting long lines of players — LeBron James among them — who would approach to shake his hand and pay him respect.

The NBA logo in shown on a basketball court in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Jerry West, who was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame three times in a legendary career as a player and executive and whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo. (AP File)

“The game transcends many things,” West said while attending Summer League last year. “The players change, the style of play may change, but the respect that you learn in this game never changes.”

He’s 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and while the league has never confirmed that West was in fact the model for its logo — a player dribbling a ball, set against a red-and-blue background — the league has never said otherwise, either.

“While it’s never been officially declared that the logo is Jerry West,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in 2021, “it sure looks a lot like him.”

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