NBA Legend and Icon Jerry West dies at 86

NBA Legend and Icon Jerry West dies at 86

(CNN) — The Los Angeles Clippers reported the death of Jerry West, the NBA's logo's inspiration. He was 86. The Clippers reported that West died Wednesday morning alongside his wife Karen.

On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver remarked, “Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years. He was an NBA champion, All-Star in all 14 seasons, and a fierce competitor who relished big events.

“He helped build eight NBA championship teams, a legacy that matched his on-court excellence. He will become the first player-contributor elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in October, Silver said.

On behalf of the NBA, we offer our sincere sympathies to Jerry's wife, Karen, his family, and his many NBA friends.

West, known as “Mr. Clutch” on the court, was picked by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1960, just before heading to Los Angeles. Until 1974, he was a point guard and shooting guard for the franchise, making 14 NBA All-Stars and nine NBA Finals appearances.

West was co-captain of the 1960 US Olympic basketball team that won gold. After playing, he coached the Lakers for three seasons starting in 1976 before becoming a scout and then front office executive. West led the Lakers through the “Showtime” era of the 1980s with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, and the mid-1990s with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

He then led the Memphis Grizzlies, Warriors, and Clippers. Trump gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.

According to his spokesman, Michael Jordan remarked, “I am so deeply saddened at the news of Jerry’s passing.” “He was a mentor and friend. Like my elder brother. I appreciated his friendship and wisdom. I always wanted to play against him, but as I got to know him, I wanted to be his teammate.

“I liked his basketball insights, and we approached the game similarly. Miss him forever. Sorry for his wife Karen and boys. Rest easy, Logo.”

One of the most famous players in the history of the league, a silhouette of West during a Lakers game was famously the inspiration for the NBA’s logo, leading to his other nickname “The Logo.”

In 1969, the NBA commissioned a new logo for the league from designer Alan Siegel, who had famously overseen the design of Major League Baseball’s logo.

Siegel, a fan of West, found his inspiration in a photograph of the Lakers guard’s perfect dribbling form. “It’s the easiest job I ever had,” Siegel told CNN Sport.

Siegel has no problem admitting that the NBA logo is based on West, but it’s a different story when it comes to the NBA itself. The league has never formally acknowledged that the logo depicts West and did not respond to requests for comment.

But in the NBA’s defense, Siegel confesses that he never told anyone at the NBA that the logo was modeled after West and never intended for it to be recognizable as the 1972 NBA champion.

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