Jerry West, basketball legend and the NBA’s logo silhouette, dead at 86

West was one of the greatest players in NBA history, redefining the modern day shooting guard position in basketball.

Retired basketball player walking at stadium.
Jerry West walks onto the court before being recognized as members of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during the 71st NBA All-Star Game as part of 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 20, 2022 at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio [Juan Ocampo/NBAE/Getty Images via AFP]

Jerry West, an iconic 1960s star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers who inspired the NBA logo, died Wednesday at age 86, the Los Angeles Clippers announced.

West played for the Lakers from 1960 through 1974, winning his only NBA title in 1972, and was co-captain on the 1960 Rome Olympic US basketball gold medal squad.

In later years, West served as an executive on several NBA clubs, most recently the Clippers.

With impressive speed and quickness and a deft shooting touch, West was nicknamed “Mr Clutch” for his skilled shot-making under pressure.

In the 1969 NBA Finals against the archrival Boston Celtics, he received the Most Valuable Player award even though the Celtics beat the Lakers for the title.

West was a 14-time NBA All-Star and the league scoring champion in 1970. His jersey number, 44, was retired by the Lakers and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.

In 1969, the NBA created its current logo, which was the silhouette of West dribbling a basketball, an image inspired by a photograph of West taken during a game.

For his career, West averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists a game.

Basketball player dribbling the ball on court.
Lakers’ Jerry West (14) is fouled as he tries to get around Houston Rockets’ John Vallely on December 27, 1971 [AP Photo]

West, who coached the Lakers from 1976 through 1979, would capture eight titles as an NBA executive, five with the Lakers in the 1980s “Showtime” era with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

He also was an executive for NBA champions with the Lakers in 2000 and Golden State in 2015 and 2017, before leaving to join the Clippers.

Basketball players talking.
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, left, talks with then-executive board member Jerry West during their NBA basketball media day in Oakland, USA in 2012 [Jeff Chiu/AP]

In 2022, West was recognised as a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during the 71st NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio.

From a basketball standpoint, West will be remembered as the player who redefined the talent standard for the original two-guard – or shooting guard – for the modern game.

The originality of his game and the beauty of his outside jump shot served as the prototype for shooting guards for decades to come, with NBA legends such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant citing West’s stylistic influence in their own games.

Basketball players shake hands.
NBA Legend Jerry West talks to LA Lakers player LeBron James during the 71st NBA All-Star Game as part of 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 20, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio [Bart Young/NBAE/Getty Images via AFP]


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies