Today we reflect on the amazing career of Jerry West. West was an amazing scorer, a phenomenal leader, and never failed to surprise Laker fans with his amazing ability to come through when he was most needed. Here are the top five moments in the career of Mr. Clutch:
5.) Jerry West Hits From Way Downtown
On April 29, 1970, ‘Mr. Clutch’ delivered another classic moment in the NBA Finals. With one second left to tie the score against the New York Knicks in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, West made a 63-foot heave from beyond half-court to send the game into overtime. Despite the fact that the Knicks would end up winning in overtime and eventually be crowned NBA champions later in the series, this moment stands out as one of the greatest memories in the NBA Finals history for the Lakers franchise.
4.) West Wins Game 3 Of The 1962 NBA Finals
Jerry West was in the prime of his career during the 1962 season. The Lakers and West faced off against the hated Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals that year, as the Lakers looked to capture their first title since moving to Los Angeles. At the end of game three, down by one point and time running down, West stole the ball, and raced down the court for a game-winning layup to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the series. The Lakers went on to lose in seven games, but that was one of the most memorable plays of West’s career.
3.) Jerry West Wins Finals MVP On A Losing Team
Despite the fact that the Lakers had lost in an epic seven game series to the Boston Celtics in the 1969 NBA Finals, Jerry West was awarded the the Finals MVP. This would be the first time that the Finals MVP award had been given out, and ironically it would be given to player on the losing end. West is the only player in the history of the series to win the award after losing. His stats in the 1969 NBA Finals were pretty historic, as he averaged 38 points, five rebounds, and seven assists.
2.) West Gets A Statue
Jerry West was one of the greatest Lakers ever, but arguably one of the ten greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. His success and accolades made him one of the most profiled players in the leagues history, ultimately resulting in his image being used as the logo for the NBA. After his playing days, he would become one of the greatest NBA executives in the history of the sport, as he helped build the Lakers championship dynasties in the early 2000s. It was only fitting that during the 2011 All-Star weekend West was honored with his own statue outside of Staple Center. Now West is forever commemorated in Laker lore.
1.) West Finally Wins The Title
After coming off a 69-win season (which included an NBA record of 33 wins in a row), Jerry West and the Lakers made it all the way through the playoffs to face off against the New York Knicks in the 1972 Finals. The years of failure in the Finals against the Celtics had motivated West, as he knew that this would be one of his final chances at ceasing the opportunity of becoming an NBA champion. While West wasn’t the premier player for the Lakers at this point and time, his veteran leadership would ultimately play a pivotal role in the Lakers’ franchise securing its title since moving to Los Angeles.