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.