Make no doubt about it, the Lakers are playing poorly right now. No more evidence is needed than the loss to Cleveland last night. And so, if being 100% honest, I need a distraction from the action that’s been happening on the court. I need a bit of a getaway.
So, I must say that I’m very happy to have this day to reflect on the career of Jerry West as the Lakers unveil a statue in his honor to sit outside the Staples Center for all to see.
Jerry West may not be the best Laker player ever (I’d go with Magic, personally) but he can easily be considered the most accomplished in terms of the contributions he made to the organization. He may have only won a single championship as a player – suffering through countless heartaches in Finals losses in his storied playing career – but he contributed to countless others as GM and as mentor to Mitch Kupchak (who currently holds that title).
You see, West helped build Showtime, kept the team competitive through Magic’s retirement, and then built the next Lakers’ dynasty by recruiting Shaq and trading for the rights to Kobe Bryant. He then gave Kupchak the keys and while this team suffered through some hard times at the beginning of Mitch’s tenure this group is now back on top as champions of the NBA. I don’t think this organization would have reached the heights that is has without the influence of Mr. Clutch.
And while there’s likely no bigger honor than being the inspiration for the logo that the league uses, West will always be a Laker. And thus the statue dedicated in his honor that will sit outside the team’s home arena is extremely meaningful to the man even though he’ll likely deflect credit for all that he accomplished in his career with the team.
But I’ll do no such deflecting. Instead, I give the man all the praise I can muster for all that he’s done to make the Lakers organization what it is today. He is, simply, a symbol for the franchise and a man who will never be forgotten – especially now that his likeness will be present for all to see.
Congrats, Mr. West you certainly deserve it. I leave you with a short reflection on his career. Enjoy.
Mimsy's Hubby (Jim C.) says
Statesman of the game. One of the all time greatest players AND greatest GMs AND class acts.
Mimsy's Hubby (Jim C.) says
Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that the idiotic idea to have Jordan replace West as The Logo never went anywhere?
If you haven’t read Roland Lazenby’s book about him yet, do it. It is amazing.
Jim C @ 2 – That would be like taking Lincoln off the cent!
Can we get Jerry to suit up and play 15 minutes per night? His clutch outside shooting is sorely needed by this current squad. JK. A great ambassador for the game and a greater human being – Jerry West.
John Morris says
I’m glad they didn’t make the Jordan sillouette the NBA logo because that has transformed into more of a clothing statement.
However, if they were to ever replace it I’d like to see a sillouette of Kobe shooting a fade away running jumper with one leg kicked out as we have seen over the years. Submit sketches to the NBA now?
Igor Avidon says
Jordan is not the ambassador of the game that West was.
Igor Avidon says
Kobe is an even worse choice than Jordan. Leave Jerry be.. that logo is timeless.
After watching the Bulls game tonight I have to say if I hear anyone mention that Lebron is the MVP over Derrick Rose I may slap them straight up. Guy is insane, drops 42 on the Spurs tonight and hasn’t had a healthy team all year. He is the MVP up to this point based on what he does for his team and where his team is in the standings.
Best Lakers player ever? I’d have to go with Kobe because defense and longevity mean something.
I remember the day and the weeks leading up to the signing of Shaq. It was a great time in Los Angeles when Jerry West engineered that for the Lakers, and it happened because of the way West handled business for the team, always professional. That signing changed the team to a championship caliber one, overnight it seemed like back then.
Best Laker Ever?
Magic is my favorite Laker ever – however.
During the Lakers’ lean years, when you had Elden Campell and Doug Christie as your most promising young players. They often failed to compete as hard as they should, and got blown out easily. In an interview, Jerry West talked about a special sense of commitment and pride whenever he put on that jersey. He said that the players should look at themselves in the mirror and think hard about this commitment.
You look at Artest, Bynum, sometimes Gasol and Lamar. These guys have incredible talent, but lack that commitment and pride. That is why they often wing it, try to minimize the effort to milk out a win, only to be outplayed or out hustled.
The more you look at the Lakers today, the more you appreciate the sportsmanship of the likes of Jerry West. Even though I never watch him play, but just from how he carries himself, and how he is always so concerned (more than the players on the court), I know I am looking at a very honorable man.
I also agree that the logo is a classic and it’s great that West is getting a statue. Unfortunately, I missed this period of Lakers history and can only appreciate what West has done for the franchise outside of his time as a player. Sure, I’ve watched the old footage, but it just isn’t the same.
While I grew up watching Showtime, those are hazy, fond childhood memories which will remain untarnished by losses and only joyous triumphs come to mind. The Del Harris era is the when I start remembering the Lakers clearly and the Kobe/Shaq era is when I began to enjoy the glorious rings.
However, this current squad, while not currently looking like the champion-caliber team that it is, will probably be my favorite of all time, as I’ve agonized and celebrated their regular season ups and downs, and ultimately the trophies. Also the reignition of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry is epic and the championship win over them is just historic. This current team is what binds me on a personal level to Lakers history.
And to bring my post back on topic, congrats to the Logo! This is an occasion that brings the phrase “that’ll do pig. That’ll do.” to mind.
jake astig says
Using Jordan’s silhouette is free advertising for Nike.