“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days you feel good.”
Sports fans under age 45 know Jerry West for his great work as General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a two-time NBA Executive of the Year; once with the Lakers and once with the Memphis Grizzlies. Prior to becoming the Lakers GM, West was their Head Coach for three seasons.
Those of us who saw Jerry West play, were privileged to watch one of the all-time greats. West played in the NBA for 14 seasons and was an All-Star every year. His Laker teams went to the NBA Finals nine times and won the Championship in 1972.
Before turning pro in 1960, West starred at West Virginia (three time All-American) and played on the 1960 U.S. Olympic team which won the Gold Medal.
West averaged 27 points and 6.7 assists per game in his NBA career.
If I needed someone to take a last second shot, I could not find anyone better than Jerry West. Jerry was so quick with his shot off the dribble and he thrived in pressure situations. West is the only man to be named MVP of the NBA Finals (1969) when his team lost.
West played on only one Championship team despite going to the Finals nine times. Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics often stood in Jerry’s way.
Jerry West was a winner even though he won only one Championship as a player. Jerry West was a great competitor who had the heart of a champion. Everyone who saw him play talks about his offensive heroics, let’s also remember that he was a great defensive player, too.