Legendary NBA Star Jerry West Dies

Basketball icon and ‘Mr. Clutch’ passes away at 86

Jerry West, an NBA Hall-of-Famer and the man widely considered to be the player depicted in the NBA logo, died on Wednesday morning at the age of 86.

West, who spent his entire playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was an NBA all-star in each of his 14 seasons and won one championship in his nine NBA Finals appearances. The former Lakers guard was the third player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points and the only player to win a Finals MVP after losing the NBA championship. He earned the nickname “Mr. Clutch” for his frequent late-game heroics.

The NBA mourned West’s death with Commissioner Adam Silver releasing a statement on Wednesday, ESPN reported.

“Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years,” Silver said. “He distinguished himself not only as an NBA champion and an All-Star in all 14 of his playing seasons, but also as a consummate competitor who embraced the biggest moments.”

“I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life,” Silver added. “On behalf of the NBA, we send our deepest condolences to Jerry’s wife, Karen, his family, and his many friends in the NBA community.”

After his storied NBA playing career, West coached the Lakers from 1976 to 1979 and then became an NBA executive. He played a crucial role in building the dominant Lakers teams of the 1980s, which won five NBA titles with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. West was also instrumental in assembling the all-time great duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and hiring head coach Phil Jackson.

Later in his life, West advised the Los Angeles Clippers and worked in the front offices of the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, ESPN reported.

West’s fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan also released a statement on Wednesday, saying West was “like an older brother to me.”

“I always wished I could have played against him as a competitor, but the more I came to know him, I wish I had been his teammate,” Jordan said. “I admired his basketball insights and he and I shared many similarities in how we approached the game. He will be forever missed! My condolences to his wife, Karen, and his sons. RIP, Logo.”

West’s death comes just two weeks after NBA Hall-of-Fame forward Bill Walton died at the age of 71. Walton was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1974, beginning his career just one season after West retired.

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