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Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West, Inspiration for NBA Logo, Dead at 86

Jerry West dies at 86
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

NBA legend and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West has died at the age of 86.

The Los Angeles Clippers confirmed his death in a statement on Wednesday, June 12. “Jerry West, the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 86,” read the statement published via X. “His wife, Karen, was by his side.”

West had been an advisor for the Clippers since 2017. He played professionally from 1960 to 1974 before eventually going on to coach.

West was an NBA All-Star every year of his playing career as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (initially the Minneapolis Lakers). He won a championship with the team in 1972, previously becoming the only player ever to be named Finals MVP despite playing for the losing team in 1969. West was also the third player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points, made the All-NBA First Team 10 times, the All-NBA Defensive Team four times and was a member of the NBA’s 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary teams.

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“Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. ”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. He was the league’s first Finals MVP and made rising to the occasion his signature quality, earning him the nickname ‘Mr. Clutch.’”

Jerry West dies at 86
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Apart from his impressive career on the court, the Lakers great was best known as the one whose silhouette inspired the current NBA logo, aptly earning him another nickname, The Logo.

Before his NBA career, West was a college basketball legend at West Virginia, where he was the 1959 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, again despite his Mountaineers losing in the title game. The Lakers and Mountaineers have both retired his No. 44, and in 2019, President Donald Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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As an executive, West won eight NBA Championships spanning his time in the Lakers and Golden State Warriors front offices. The NBA named him Executive of the Year in 1995 and 2004.

Jerry West dies at 86
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

“Jerry’s four decades with the Lakers also included a successful stint as a head coach and a remarkable run in the front office that cemented his reputation as one of the greatest executives in sports history,” Silver continued. “He helped build eight championship teams during his tenure in the NBA — a legacy of achievement that mirrors his on-court excellence. And he will be enshrined this October into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, becoming the first person ever inducted as both a player and a contributor.”

West is scheduled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for a third time this year and second time as a contributor to the sport.

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