‘I Think Michael Jordan’s The Greatest. He Deserves It’: RIP To ‘The Architect’ Jerry West, Who Agrees It’s Time For MJ To Replace Him As The Logo

On Wednesday Los Angeles Lakers legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West passed away at the age of 86. The legendary guard whose silhouette became the NBA logo leaves an indelible mark as both a Hall of Fame player and Hall of Fame executive. Following the news of West’s death, the Lakers released a statement.

“Jerry West, the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 86,” the team said. “His wife, Karen, was by his side.”

Jerry West Passes At 86

West the one-time NBA champion, 14-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA First Team selection finished his illustrious playing career averaging 27 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Only Michael Jordan and Elgin Baylor boast a higher scoring average amongst retired players. His 29.1 playoff average is only bested by the aforementioned Jordan. West also holds the distinction of being the only player to win NBA Finals MVP on a losing team, doing so in 1969. 

Following the announcement of his death, the sports world took time to remember West the former West Virginia Mountaineers legend and 1960 US Olympic gold medalist. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith spoke at length about his relationship with West. Smith also described his first time speaking with West, and how he mentioned that Michael Jordan should replace him as the NBA logo. 

NBA legend Jerry West passed at age 86. He believed Michael Jordan should be the new NBA logo. (Photo: Getty Images)

“The first time we had a conversation … He heard me saying that that NBA logo, that the silhouette should be changed to Michael Jordan from him,” Smith began.

“He wasn’t calling to refute it. He was calling because he felt like I sounded like it’s something he would refute. And he was saying, ‘Absolutely not. I think Michael Jordan’s the greatest. I think he deserves it.’”

Jordan, who has never mentioned replacing West and never would because he has too much respect for those who have paved the way, made sure to send his condolences to the family of West.

“I am so deeply saddened at the news of Jerry’s passing. He was truly a friend and a mentor. Like an older brother to me. I valued his friendship and knowledge. I always wished I could have played against him as a competitor, but the more I came to know him, I wish I had been his teammate. I admired his basketball insights and he and I shared many similarities to how we approached the game. He will be forever missed! RIP, Logo.” 

West Won Eight Championships As NBA Executive

Following his Hall of Fame playing career, West coached the Lakers for two seasons, finishing with a (145-101) record. He became general manager in 1982-83 leading the Lakers to six NBA championships in ten Finals appearances. West is credited with building the Showtime-era Lakers, which featured Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “Big Game” James Worthy, and head coach Pat Riley stalking the sidelines. That core won three titles together (1985, 1987, 1988). 

West is also credited with convincing Shaquille O’Neal to sign with the Lakers in free agency in 1996. He then traded center Vlade Divac on draft night in 1996 for a young high schooler named Kobe Bryant.

What became the finishing piece to what would become another Lakers dynasty was adding former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson. The Zen Master led the Lakers to a three-peat (2000-02). 

West also won two titles (2015 and 2017) as an executive board member of the Golden State Warriors. He was really instrumental in landing Kevin Durant via free agency in 2016. 

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