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La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

NBA logo representative passes away at the age of 86

Jerry West leaves behind iconic legacy as a player and executive
Rob Poetsch, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Jerry West had numerous success as a player and as an executive, passed away at the age of 86 on June 12.

On June 12, the world lost a basketball icon and the National Basketball Association will never be the same.

Jerry West’s silhouette is the NBA’s league logo, the only logo in major U.S. sports to represent an actual public figure, according to CBSsports.

According to, the NBA asked Alan Siegel to design the association’s new logo in 1969 so he chose West because his basketball photo portrayed a “really elegant, powerful presentation of basketball. … It’s hard, graphically, to do something that static like this. To have tension in it, movement and grace. It’s very hard. … It has to be simple. It has to be powerful. It has to be dynamic. This has all these elements.”

Henry Nguyen, 22, business major, shares his input on the West’s passing.

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“Jerry West is like an icon (in the) NBA. He’s pretty much a logo of the NBA,” Nguyen said. “Rest in peace to him and praise for his family for them to you know, stay up.”

West has been to nine NBA Finals Championship rounds but only won one title. He is also the only player in league history to win an NBA finals award while being on the losing team and was nicknamed “Mr. Clutch”.

West played 14 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and became their coach for three more seasons after he retired as a player. He became the Lakers’ general manager in 1979 and helped build the great Showtime dynasty that went on to win five championships in the 1980s.

West was also responsible for trading Lakers’ center, Vlade Divac to Charlotte in a trade for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant in 1996 and then signing the Orlando Magic’s free agent star center, Shaquille O’Neal a few months later. This player duo netted the Lakers three more consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002 and Bryant acknowledged West’s accomplishments after winning his fifth NBA Championship.

However, West chose not to rest on his laurels in Los Angeles, and set out to make a difference for other NBA teams. He left the City of Angels in 2002 and went on to work in the front offices of three more NBA teams: the Memphis Grizzlies (2002–2007), Golden State Warriors (2011–2017) and Los Angeles Clippers (2017–2024).

The Warriors were the only team that saw similar championship success as the Lakers under West’s management.

Mateo Garcia, 19, history major, shares his thoughts on West’s accomplishments, trials and tribulations.

“I know he (West) won eight (championship) rings as an executive,” Garcia said. “And he’s the only player to win a Finals MVP (award) in a loss … I know … (he) lost a lot of (NBA) finals.”

West was instrumental in persuading Oklahoma City’s free agent superstar Kevin Durant to sign with the Warriors in 2016, the following summer after Durant’s team lost to them in the NBA playoffs. This signing catapulted the Warriors towards the upper echelon of the league’s elite teams and cemented the team’s dynasty as they went on to win two consecutive NBA championships from 2017 to 2018 in a dominating fashion.

West was also adamant on not wanting the Warriors to trade Klay Thompson for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star forward, Kevin Love. Keeping Thompson on the team gave the teams’ superstar, Stephen Curry the perfect complimentary backcourt guard that allowed him to win two consecutive regular season MVP awards in 2015 and 2016, with the 2016 award determined by a unanimous voting from the media members; the first time that this has happened in NBA history.

West’s legacy will be remembered for his impact upon the league as much as his individual accomplishments as a player and success as a front office executive because of his respected character and inspiring vision.

Dvin Dawkins, 23, business major, offers his condolences about West’s death.

“I feel like it’s never good hearing someone passing away, especially a legend like him,” Dawkins said. “I’m pretty sure it affect(ed) the community.”

Warriors owner Joe Lacob had this to say about West according to CBSnews.

“Jerry West was an incredible and unique individual. He did so much for the NBA, the game of basketball and each of the teams he was associated with during his unmatched career,” Lacob said. “He (West) was not just about the actual game, but he personified competitiveness. He was the most competitive individual I have ever met, settling for nothing short of greatness.”

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About the Contributor
Sonny La
Sonny La, Opinion Editor
Sonny has a passion for history and literature, and journalism allows him to encompass these personal interests. He found out about La Voz while taking journalism classes and he appreciates the opportunity to: stay engaged with what is going on in our industry, bring light to ethnic struggles and be more informed about the political strife landscape, domestically as well as globally. During his leisure time, Sonny enjoys watching Bay Area sports, hiking and exploring the abundance of boba drink places and diverse restaurants throughout the region.

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