Jerry West, an NBA champion, Basketball Hall of Famer, and the association’s logo, died at the age of 86. According to Chris Haynes, West died while his wife Karen was by his side.

Born on May 28, 1938, in Chelyan, West Virginia, West has had an incalculable impact on the game of basketball, spanning an illustrious playing career and transforming management jobs.

West first rose to prominence at West Virginia University, when his outstanding play helped his team reach the NCAA championships in 1959. His outstanding performance drew the attention of the NBA, and he was selected second overall by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1960.

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With the Lakers, who shortly relocated to Los Angeles, West rapidly established himself as one of the league’s top guards. He was known as “Mr. Clutch” for his exceptional ability to deliver in critical situations, as well as for his scoring skills, precision shooting, and defensive grit. Over the course of 14 seasons, he was selected to 14 All-Star games and ten All-NBA First Teams. West led the Lakers to the NBA Finals nine times, eventually capturing the championship in 1972.

West’s silhouette is engraved in the NBA’s renowned logo, representing his lasting impact. After retiring as a player in 1974, he moved on to coaching and eventually to an executive position, where he continued to create the NBA. As the Lakers’ General Manager in the 1980s and 2000s, he built championship-winning teams with stars such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant.

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West’s impact went beyond the Lakers. He contributed significantly to the success of the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, confirming his status as one of basketball’s best thinkers. His most recent position is as an executive for the Los Angeles Clippers.