Jerry West career accomplishments: Scouting Kobe Bryant, making 9 NBA Finals highlight Hall of Fame resume | Sporting News (2024)

Jerry West, one of the most influential members of the NBA fraternity and the inspiration for its logo, has passed away at the age of 86. West had a Hall of Fame career both as a player for the Lakers and executive across several different teams.

West's accomplishments are too numerous to count, but here's a sampling of why he will be remembered as one of the greatest — both on and off the court.

MORE: How Jerry West inspired the NBA's iconic logo

Jerry West's Hall of Fame playing career

Making nine NBA Finals, winning one ring

West had a tortured playing career, highlighted by making nine NBA Finals in his 14-year career but winning only one championship (1972). Despite those losses, West had outstanding performances, leading the playoffs in scoring four times.

West remains the only player to ever win Finals MVP on a losing team. He was given the award in 1969 after scoring 53 points in Game 1 and averaging 37.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in the seven-game loss to the Celtics.

Earning the nickname Mr. Clutch

West raised his game during the most important moments, earning one of the most iconic nicknames in basketball.

One of the biggest shots of West's career was in Game 3 of the 1970 Finals. The Knicks held a two-point lead with three seconds to go. He received an inbounds pass, dribbled twice, and nailed a 60-foot shot to force overtime.

The Lakers eventually lost that game and that series, contributing to the anguish that West felt about his playing days.

MORE: The stories behind Jerry West's nicknames, including 'The Logo'

Winning numerous awards

West made the All-Star game in all 14 years of his career. He also made 12 All-NBA teams, five All-Defensive teams, and was named to the NBA's Top 75 players list. He was undoubtedly one of the best guards of all time.

Jerry West's Hall of Fame executive career

West is considered by many to be the greatest talent evaluator of all time. His list of hits is long and consistent. He won eight rings as an executive and contributed to building great teams in Memphis, Golden State, and both Los Angeles teams.

Creating the Showtime Lakers

West was largely credited as the architect of the Showtime Lakers with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That group won five championships under the guidance of West.

Trading up for Kobe Bryant

The Lakers had the 24th pick in the 1996 draft, and West was determined to trade up. He watched Bryant in a private workout and was immediately convinced that a future star was there for the taking.

West desperately called every team ahead of the Lakers, asking for their pick. He found a taker in the Hornets, who drafted and traded Bryant with the No. 13 pick in exchange for center Vlade Divac.

MORE:How Jerry West and Kobe Bryant forged a lasting friendship

Signing Shaquille O'Neal

The Shaq-Kobe pairing would not have happened without West. As the general manager of the Lakers, he convinced O'Neal to leave Orlando and come to Los Angeles in 1996.

West put together a seven-year, $120 million offer for Shaq, helping to form a tandem that would dominate the NBA and win three championships together.

Winning Executive of the Year with the Grizzlies

West served as the General Manager of the Grizzlies from 2002-2007. He won an Executive of the Year award with the franchise, turning them around from a 28-54 team to 50-32 in one year. West hired legendary coach Hubie Brown to take over a team led by Pau Gasol, getting them consistently to the playoffs.

Joining the dynastic Warriors

West joined the Warriors as an advisor in 2011, serving with the team until 2017. They won two rings during his time there, in large part thanks to his influence on the roster.

West advocated for selecting both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the draft. He was also adamantly opposed to trading Klay Thompson for Kevin Love, which was a real possibility back in 2014.

West also was credited with helping to bring Kevin Durant to the team in the summer of 2016.

Getting Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Clippers

West shocked the NBA world back in 2019 when he pulled off one of the most daring series of trades in recent history. He managed to bring both Leonard and George to the Clippers in the same summer, forming a duo that would make the Western Conference Finals in 2021.

Jerry West career accomplishments: Scouting Kobe Bryant, making 9 NBA Finals highlight Hall of Fame resume | Sporting News (2024)
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