Jerry West - The Life and Legacy of Jerry West: Basketball Icon and the NBA's "The Logo" - 14/Jun/2024

Jerry West – The Life and Legacy of Jerry West: Basketball Icon and the NBA’s “The Logo” – 14/Jun/2024

The Life and Legacy of Jerry West: Basketball Icon and the NBA’s “The Logo”

The name Jerry West is synonymous with basketball excellence. An icon of the sport, West’s multifaceted career spans over six decades—as a remarkable player, successful coach, and highly esteemed executive. Known as “The Logo,” due to his silhouette being used in the NBA’s iconic emblem, Jerry West’s contributions to basketball have left an indelible mark on the game’s history.

Early Life and Collegiate Success

Jerry Alan West was born on May 28, 1938, in Chelyan, West Virginia. From an early age, he demonstrated exceptional talent in basketball and during his collegiate career at West Virginia University (WVU), he excelled magnificently. His tenure at WVU saw him earn honors such as All-American.

A Stellar NBA Career

West’s achievements in college basketball were a precursor to a blockbuster Professional career. Selected with the second pick of the 1960 NBA draft by the Minneapolis Lakers (who would soon relocate to Los Angeles), West quickly established himself as one of the league’s premier guards.

Throughout his 14-year NBA career—all spent with the Lakers—West showcased masterful skill and fierce competitiveness that led him to 14 All-Star selections, 10 All-NBA First Team nods and being named to the All-Defensive First Team four times. Despite facing strong competitors throughout the 1960s, Jerry West’s persistence and virtuosity on the court won him a championship ring in 1972.

In the 1969 NBA Finals, despite being on the losing team against the Boston Celtics, West became the first player ever to be awarded the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP). This spoke volumes to his impeccable performance during those series and his significant impact on the game.

Post-Playing Career Achievements

Transition to Coaching and Executive Roles

As impressive as his playing career was, Jerry West’s impact off the court would be as significant. After his retirement as a player in 1974, West would eventually return to the Lakers as a coach before moving into an executive role. As a sports executive and team manager for the Los Angeles Lakers, he brought about an era dubbed “Showtime,” furthering the franchise’s already legendary status in professional basketball.

West is widely recognized for his essential role in multiple Lakers championships during the 1980s through assembling teams that played an entertaining blend of basketball characterized by speedy runs and flamboyant passes leading to flashy dunks.

Later, as a general manager, West was instrumental in shaping some of the greatest rosters in NBA history—with acquisitions like Shaquille O’Neal and drafting Kobe Bryant straight out of high school in 1996. These moves made enormous impacts on the sport and cemented his reputation as one of its shrewdest minds.

Continued Industry Impact

Beyond the Lakers, Jerry West continued to shape NBA narratives as he took on roles with other famous teams including Memphis Grizzlies—where his leadership earned him the NBA Executive of the Year Award in 2004—and more recently as a consultant for teams like Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.


Jerry West’s universal appeal is not just due to his talent or contribution to team success but also is woven deeply into the cultural fabric of basketball itself; his silhouette has graced every basketball jersey as part of the NBA logo since 1969. Although never publicly acknowledging it until recent times, years later still speaks volumes about how much West’s embodiment equates with NBA’s identity.


  • Jerry West was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1980 and as a contributor in 2010.
  • He holds career averages of 27 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game in regular-season play with excellent playoff performance statistics as well.
  • Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch,” his knack for hitting critical shots in pivotal moments made him one of the most feared players with the game on the line.
  • Jerry West’s silhouette was selected for the NBA logo by designing consultant Alan Siegel based upon Jerry’s strong poise and fluid ball-handing skills.
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    Image description

    A silhouette that mirrors that of NBA’s emblem – showcasing a male figure dribbling a basketball which is meant to depict Jerry West’s likeness. The figure is positioned mid-motion as it maneuvers, emulating an iconic stance known across basketball fans worldwide as “The Logo.”