Jerry West, an iconic figure in the world of basketball, passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 86, the Los Angeles Clippers announced. Known for his exceptional skills both on and off the court, West’s legacy is deeply intertwined with the NBA, where he left an indelible mark as a player, coach, and executive.

Mr. Clutch’s Hall of Fame Career

Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” for his late-game heroics, Jerry West was a formidable player who was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame three times. His first induction came in 1980 as a player, followed by a 2010 induction as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team. Later this year, he will be posthumously honored for his contributions as an executive, marking his third Hall of Fame recognition.

West’s influence extended far beyond his playing days. As the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, he was instrumental in constructing the legendary “Showtime” dynasty. Under his leadership, the Lakers won eight NBA championships, a testament to his keen eye for talent and strategic acumen. His tenure saw the acquisition of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, players who defined an era of dominance in the NBA.

Jerry West’s legacy is not only etched in the annals of basketball history but also immortalized in the NBA logo. The silhouette that represents the league is widely believed to be inspired by West, embodying his grace and prowess on the court. Throughout his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, West was a 14-time All-Star and the 1972 NBA champion. Remarkably, he was awarded the NBA Finals MVP in 1969, despite his team not winning the title.

Transitioning to the Front Office

In 2017, West joined the Los Angeles Clippers, helping to shape them into a competitive force in the NBA.

After retiring as a player following the 1973-74 season, West quickly transitioned to coaching and later to a front-office role. As head coach of the Lakers from 1976 to 1979, he amassed a record of 145-101, although he did not secure a championship. His true genius emerged as a general manager, where he crafted the formidable Lakers teams of the 1980s and orchestrated key moves that led to three championships in the early 2000s.

West’s impact was not confined to the Lakers. He served as an executive with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002 to 2007, where he laid the groundwork for future successes. His tenure with the Golden State Warriors began in 2011 as an executive board member, contributing to their championship victory in 2015 and the subsequent dynasty led by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. In 2017, West joined the Los Angeles Clippers, helping to shape them into a competitive force in the NBA.

Recognized by the Nation

In 2019, Jerry West received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Donald Trump, honoring his contributions to the sport and his impact on American culture. This prestigious award highlighted his significance beyond the basketball court, recognizing his influence as a national icon.