How Jerry West Became an NBA Legend: Career, Achievements, and More

Jerry West, an icon in basketball, has left a mark on the NBA that’s hard to match.

Known for his skills on the court and his contributions off it, West’s legacy is unparalleled.

Let’s dive into the life and achievements of Jerry West, covering his career stats, Hall of Fame inductions, and the stories that have made him a legend.

Jerry West: Key Highlights and Achievements

How Did Jerry West Die?Passed away peacefully at 86, with his wife Karen by his side.
Hall of Fame Inductions– Player (1980)
– 1960 Olympic Team (2010)
– Contributor (2024)
NBA Logo InspirationChosen by designer Alan Siegel in 1969.
Career Stats– Points: 25,192
– Rebounds: 5,366
– Assists: 6,238
Championships Won9 total:
– 1 as player (1972)
– 6 as Lakers’ GM
– 2 with Warriors
Finals MVP on Losing TeamYes, in 1969.
Jerry West AwardTop men’s collegiate shooting guard since 2015.
Friendship with Kobe BryantMentor-mentee relationship; traded for Bryant in 1996.
“Winning Time” SeriesHBO series on Lakers’ 1980s dynasty; controversial portrayal of West.
“Showtime” EraLakers’ fast-paced 1980s basketball; West’s key executive role.
Net Worth in 2024$60 million.
Family MembersWife: Karen Bua
Children: David, Mark, Michael, Ryan, Jonnie
College CareerWest Virginia University (1957-1960); led team to 1959 NCAA finals.

How Did Jerry West Die?

Jerry West passed away peacefully at the age of 86, with his wife Karen by his side.

While the specific details regarding the cause of his death weren’t disclosed, his passing marked the end of an era for the basketball community and fans worldwide.

“Jerry lived a life full of passion for the game and a commitment to excellence. His contributions to basketball will be remembered forever.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. (Source:

Is West in the Hall of Fame?

Yes, West is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His inductions include:

  • As a player in 1980: Recognized for his extraordinary career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • As a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team in 2010: Celebrated for his contributions to the team’s success.
  • As a contributor in 2024: Honored for his roles as an executive, with the Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

West’s career includes:

  • 14 All-Star selections
  • 12 All-NBA team honors
  • One NBA championship in 1972

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor in basketball. Jerry’s multiple inductions are a testament to his profound impact on the sport.”

Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo. (Source: ESPN)

Why Is Jerry West the NBA Logo?

West is the figure behind the NBA logo. The story is pretty cool:

  • In 1969, designer Alan Siegel was asked to create a new logo for the NBA.
  • Siegel picked a photo of West dribbling a basketball, captivated by the image’s “sense of movement” and essence of the game.
  • Although the NBA never officially confirmed it, Siegel said the logo was based on West. The silhouette’s athletic build and dribbling pose perfectly matched West’s style.
  • West himself felt a mix of pride and embarrassment over this, preferring to avoid the spotlight.
Jerry West: The Inspiration for the NBA Logo
Jerry West: The Inspiration for the NBA Logo

“I am very proud to be part of something as significant as the NBA logo, even though it wasn’t something I sought out.”

West, Sports Illustrated

Also Read: How Dan Hurley Became UConn’s Highest-Paid Coach and Led Them to Victory

What Are West’s Career Stats?

West’s career stats show his all-around excellence:

  • Points: 25,192 (27.0 points per game)
  • Rebounds: 5,366 (5.8 rebounds per game)
  • Assists: 6,238 (6.7 assists per game)
  • Field Goal Percentage: 47.4%
  • Free Throw Percentage: 81.4%
  • Player Efficiency Rating (PER): 22.9

Notable achievements:

  • 14 All-Star selections
  • 10 All-NBA First Team honors
  • 4 All-Defensive First Team honors
  • One NBA Championship (1972)
  • NBA Finals MVP in 1969
  • #44 jersey retired by the Lakers

How Many Championships Does West Have?

West has a total of 9 NBA championships:

  • As a player: One NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972.
  • As an executive: Six NBA championships as the Lakers’ general manager (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) and two championships as an executive/consultant with the Golden State Warriors (2015, 2017).

How Many Rings Does West Have?

West’s championship rings total nine:

  • One as a player: 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Eight as an executive: Six with the Lakers and two with the Warriors.

His nine rings highlight his contributions both on and off the court, making him one of the most accomplished figures in NBA history.

Did West Win the Finals MVP on a Losing Team?

Yes, West is the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award while playing for the losing team.

This happened in the 1969 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

Even though the Lakers lost, West’s performance was so amazing that he was awarded the MVP.

He averaged 37.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game during the series.

What Is the Jerry West Award?

The Jerry West Award is given every year to the top men’s collegiate shooting guard by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Established in 2015, it honors West’s legacy and recognizes excellence in college basketball.

What Is the Story of Jerry West and Kobe Bryant’s Friendship?

Jerry West and Kobe Bryant shared a close relationship that started when West, as the Lakers’ general manager, traded for Bryant in 1996.

West saw great potential in Bryant and became his mentor, guiding him on and off the court.

Their bond was like a father-son relationship, full of respect and admiration.

Jerry West friendship with Kobe Bryant
Jerry West friendship with Kobe Bryant

What Is “Winning Time” About Jerry West?

“Winning Time” is an HBO drama series about the rise of the Lakers’ dynasty in the 1980s.

The show, however, faced backlash for its portrayal of Jerry West, depicting him as an out-of-control and emotional figure.

West’s legal team demanded a retraction, calling the portrayal baseless and defamatory.

What Is “Showtime” About West?

“Showtime” refers to the Lakers’ era during the 1980s, known for its fast-paced and entertaining basketball.

West, as an executive, played a key role in building and maintaining this successful team.

Despite the dramatized depiction in “Winning Time,” West’s contributions to the Showtime era are well-known and respected.

What Is West’s Net Worth in 2024?

As of 2024, West’s net worth is estimated to be around $60 million.

This wealth comes from his successful NBA career as a player and executive, as well as various endorsements over the years.

Who Are West’s Family Members?

West’s family includes:

  • Wife: Karen Bua, whom he married in 1978.
  • Children: Five sons – David, Mark, and Michael (from his first marriage to Martha Jane Kane) and Ryan and Jonnie (from his marriage to Karen).
  • Parents: Father, Howard West, a mining electrician and union activist.
  • Siblings: Jerry was the fifth of six children in his family.

Where Did West Go to College?

West went to West Virginia University, where he played for the Mountaineers from 1957 to 1960.

He led the team to the 1959 NCAA championship game and earned lots of accolades, including being named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

West’s college career set the stage for his legendary professional journey.

To conclude

West’s legacy in basketball is unmatched.

From his incredible career stats to his impactful executive roles, West has left a lasting mark on the NBA.

His story is one of dedication, excellence, and a love for the game.

As we reflect on his life and contributions, it’s clear that West will always be remembered as one of the greatest figures in basketball history.


Where is Jerry West from?

Jerry West was born and raised in Chelyan, West Virginia.

What is West’s jersey number?

West’s jersey number was 44, which was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers.

How old is Jerry West?

Jerry West is 86 years old.

How tall is Jessy West?

West’s height was 6’3″ (1.91 meters).

What is West’s ethnicity?

West is of Caucasian ethnicity. Born in Chelyan, West Virginia.

Also Read:

Bill Walton’s Journey: From UCLA Champion to NBA Legend and Beloved Broadcaster

How Shaquille O’Neal Built a $500 Million Empire: From NBA Rings to Business Ventures

How Paul George’s Move to the 76ers Shakes Up the NBA: Everything You Need to Know

Grace Taylor is a dedicated writer at Viz Times, bringing stories to life with her unique flair. Before joining the Viz Times family, she honed her skills at The Sporting News. With a Master’s in Sports Media from Arizona State University, her work has graced platforms like, SB Nation, and FanSided. Beyond writing, Grace is a loving wife, mother of two, and an enthusiastic tennis player.