National Basketball Association
Jerry West, the NBA icon also known as 'The Logo,' dies at 86
National Basketball Association

Jerry West, the NBA icon also known as 'The Logo,' dies at 86

Updated Jun. 12, 2024 10:47 a.m. ET

Basketball icon Jerry West, who won nine total NBA titles as a player and an executive, passed away on Wednesday. He was 86 years old.

West was widely regarded as one of the best guards of all time. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1960, when they selected him with the second overall pick in that year's draft. He was the first-ever draft pick of the Lakers after they relocated to Los Angeles. 

West was named an All-Star in every season of his 14-year career, making the Lakers perennial contenders throughout the 1960s and early '70s. He was also a prolific scorer, averaging 27 points per game, including more than 30 PPG in four separate seasons. He was also known for his ability to make big plays in big moments, earning the nickname, "Mr. Clutch." His buzzer-beating, 60-foot shot to send Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals is widely regarded as one of the greatest shots in league history. 


West won the first-ever NBA Finals MVP Award in 1969, but the Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics in the Finals that year. He finally got over the hump in 1972, winning his first and only title as a player.

Two years after his retirement, West became the Lakers' head coach in 1976. He transitioned into a front-office role in 1979, becoming the team's general manager. He arguably had the best career ever for an NBA executive, building the Showtime Lakers that won five NBA titles in the 1980s. He remade the Lakers again in the late 1990s, signing Shaquille O'Neal, trading for Kobe Bryant on draft night in 1996 and hiring Phil Jackson. He won six total titles as an executive with the Lakers before departing the franchise in 2000.

West continued to work in front offices around the league following his departure from the Lakers. He worked as the Memphis Grizzlies' general manager for five years (2002-07). He joined the Golden State Warriors' front office in 2011, helping the franchise win two titles before his departure in 2017. He most recently worked with the LA Clippers, joining the team as a consultant in 2017. He worked for the Clippers at the time of his death.

The most notable thing about West though for many basketball fans is his claim as the NBA's logo. West is the inspiration for the logo, which is a silhouette of him dribbling a basketball, that was introduced by the league in 1969. West was appropriately nicknamed, "The Logo," as a result.

"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."

Prior to his successful NBA career as a player and executive, West was a two-time consensus first-team All-American at West Virginia. He led the Mountaineers to the national championship game in 1959, where they lost to California

West was still named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, making him one of 10 players ever to win the award while not being on the team that won the tournament.

Tributes to West poured on social media shortly after the Clippers announced his passing on Wednesday.

"Will truly miss our convos my dear friend! My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy!" LeBron James wrote in a social media post. 

West was first inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1980. He was inducted again as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team in 2010. He'll be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for a third time in 2024 as a contributor for his work as an executive and a consultant. He was named to the NBA's 35th, 50th and 75th anniversary teams. He was also inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Off the court, West received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. 

West leaves behind his wife, Karen. He also had five sons between two marriages. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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