Jerry Alan West (born May 28,1938 in Chelyan, West Virginia) has had one of the most successful careers ever in professional basketball, first as a player, then as a coach and finally as an executive. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980, and his dribbling silhouette has long been used in the National Basketball Association’s official logo.
Like most NBA players, West was a standout in high school and at college, attending West Virginia University and leading it to the 1959 NCAA championship game (of which he was named Most Valuable Player) before embarking on a 14-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also played for the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team in Rome. His nickname was “Mr. Clutch”, for his skill and ability to make a shot in clutch situations.
In 1982, Jerry West was named general manager of the Lakers, and through shrewd trades and draft picks, maintained the Lakers status in the NBA elite for the rest of the decade. These teams were built around the core of Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy and would go on to win four more championships in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 becoming the first team to win back-to-back championships since the great Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1960s did so in 1968 and 1969.
In 2002 he was hired as President of Basketball Operations by the Memphis Grizzlies. Although it was the worst team in the NBA at that time, West quietly rebuilt the team. In 2004, the Grizzlies won 50 games for the first time in their history, and West was named NBA Executive of the Year for the second time.
He currently lives in Memphis with his wife and 17-year-old son.