Lakers legend Jerry West passes away at 86, leaving an incomparable legacy

The NBA has lost a giant. Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West has passed away at the age of 86, leaving an unrivaled legacy as a player, executive, and person.
Los Angeles Lakers v Baltimore Bullets
Los Angeles Lakers v Baltimore Bullets / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

The NBA has lost one of its greatest titans. A legend on the court, a savant in the front office, and a good man who believed in equality and fair treatment, Los Angeles Lakers icon Jerry West has passed away at the age of 86.

The news was broken by the Los Angeles Clippers, with which he had been an executive board member and consultant since 2017.

It's a monumental loss for the NBA community at large.

West played 14 years in the Association, spending them all with the Lakers, being drafted just before the team moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. He was an All-Star in each of his 14 seasons, earning 10 All-NBA First Team and two All-NBA Second Team nods along the way.

West was also named All-Defense in all but one of the seasons that the honor existed during his playing career—with the lone exception being his final campaign.

The 1970 scoring champion and 1972 assists leader, West was the epitome of a modern guard before anyone knew what that would look like. He was a sharpshooter of the highest order, burying shots from every angle before the three-point line had been introduced.

West also became the first Finals MVP in NBA history in 1969 and helped end an 18-year championship drought for the Lakers by delivering a title in 1972.

Over the course of his 14 seasons with the franchise, the Lakers would reach the NBA Finals on nine different occasions. He led the team through an era-defining rivalry with Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, before doing the same against Willis Reed and the New York Knicks in the early 1970s.

West scored 25,192 points during his remarkable run, which ranks 25th in NBA history—a ridiculous feat considering he was a guard without a three-point line in an era of legendary centers.

As an executive, West managed to build two of the greatest dynasties in NBA history. First, he helped construct the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s as general manager. When Magic Johnson retired and the franchise went through a brief down period, he turned the team around in a manner that showed the depth of his team-building skills.

Just when it seemed he couldn't do anymore, West put the icing on the cake by uniting Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O'Neal, thus delivering another three championships to Los Angeles.

With nine titles won during his playing and executive careers, and an enduring willingness to adapt and grow as times changed, West is The Logo for a justified reason.

Rest In Peace, Jerry West. An icon of the highest order.