One of the most successful and respected figures in the history of the NBA, Jerry West owns a list of accomplishments as both a player and front office executive that is unmatched in league history: nine NBA Championships as a player, executive or special consultant, two NBA Executive of the Year awards, 14 NBA All-Star appearances, 10 First Team All-NBA selections, election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and the list goes on.
Appropriately dubbed “Mr. Clutch” because of his uncanny ability to produce with the game on the line, West established himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history throughout his brilliant 14-year NBA career. The 16th leading overall scorer in NBA history (25,192 points), West was the Lakers’ all-time scoring leader until being surpassed by Kobe Bryant on February 1, 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the NBA’s career playoff leader in scoring average with a mark of 29.1 ppg, which currently ranks third all-time. Additionally, West, who is featured in a silhouette on the NBA’s logo, established a long-standing league record by scoring 20-plus points in 25 consecutive NBA Finals games (between 1966-1970), a record which was eclipsed by Michael Jordan in 1998.
Following retirement from his playing career at the conclusion of the 1973-74 season and a two-year hiatus from the NBA, he returned to the Lakers for the 1976-77 campaign. Following his three-year coaching tenure, West spent three years as a special consultant with the Lakers (1979-82), before being elevated to general manager prior to the 1982-83 campaign. Prior to the 1995-96 season, West was named executive vice president of basketball operations, a position he held for five seasons.
During a historic 18-year run in the Lakers front office, both as general manager (from 1982-1994) and executive vice president of basketball operations (1995-2000), West’s teams captured four NBA Championships (1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) and made eight trips overall to the NBA Finals. Additionally, following his departure after the Lakers’ 2000 NBA title, the team that he had built completed its three-peat by capturing two additional NBA Championships in 2001 and 2002.
West attended West Virginia University (1956-60), where he was a two-time All-American. Following his senior year, he became the Lakers’ first-round pick (first-ever pick in Los Angeles Lakers history) in the 1960 NBA Draft (second pick overall). Before entering the NBA, Jerry served as co-captain of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic basketball team in Rome in 1960. He was also a member of the victorious U.S. squad in the 1958 Pan-Am Games.
Jerry and his wife, Karen, reside in Bel Air, California, and have two sons, Ryan and Jonnie. He has three other sons, David, Mark, and Michael, from a previous marriage. Jerry also has three grandchildren and another on the way.