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Hall of Fame player, executive Jerry West passes away at 86

Jerry West NBA
Jerry West won nine combined NBA titles as a player and executive. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Hall of Fame player, executive Jerry West passes away at 86

Legendary NBA player and executive Jerry West, the league logo, has passed away peacefully at the age of 86, the Los Angeles Clippers announced Wednesday.

West played 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, making the All-Star team in all 14 years. He was a one-time champion in 1971-72 and won the very first Finals MVP in 1968-69, despite being on the losing end to Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics.

West was one of the most skilled basketball players of his era and one of the all-time greats. He averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists across 932 career games, shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and 81.4 percent from the free-throw line. He finished in the top-5 in MVP voting eight times, including the top-3 five times and the top-2 four times, despite never winning it.

He was named one of the top-75 and top-50 greatest players in league history by his peers. Though his run as executive was even greater. He was the general manager for the Lakers for over two decades, assembling championship teams led by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. He eventually joined the Grizzies as a general manager in 2002, where he spent five seasons, before joining the Golden State Warriors as an executive board member ahead of the 2011-12 season.

The Warriors subsequently won three more titles with West–headed by Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson (plus Kevin Durant). He spent the rest of his career with the Clippers as an executive and consultant.

Here was a statement released by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on the news:

“Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years. 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’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. 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.

“I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life. 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.”

Rest in peace to a basketball legend.

***

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.

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