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Jerry West: A Lifetime of Emotional Struggle Couldn’t Shake His Sustained Excellence as a Player and Executive

In 1999-2000, the Los Angeles Lakers were on the verge of reclaiming their NBA glory, thanks to the team put together by Jerry West. However, West chose not to attend the game that could crown them champions at Staples Center. This decision was not new for West, as high-stakes moments often drove him to distraction.

Despite not being present, West deeply cared about the Lakers’ success, as evidenced by his relentless pursuit of excellence both as a player and an executive. His passing at age 86 evoked strong emotions from peers like Oscar Robertson, who considered it a very sad day for basketball.

Throughout his career, West played a pivotal role in shaping the Lakers into a winning franchise, much like Red Auerbach did with the Celtics. His talent evaluation skills were unparalleled, and he continued to impact the league well into his 80s with various executive roles.

West’s unwavering intensity and dedication to winning set him apart as one of the greatest NBA executives of all time. Despite his accomplishments on and off the court, West remained humble and focused on the pursuit of perfection throughout his life.

From his early days in West Virginia to his Olympic success in 1960, West’s journey was marked by triumphs and challenges that shaped his enigmatic persona. His impact on the game of basketball was far-reaching, with his legacy cemented as one of the sport’s all-time greats.

While West’s competitiveness and talent were undeniable, his humility and dedication to his craft endeared him to those who knew him best. His legacy as a basketball icon will forever be remembered for his contributions to the sport.

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