1968 Topps Test
Jerry Alan West (May 28, 1938-) has been the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Lakers since 1960, as a player, coach and executive, guiding the franchise to its first NBA Championship after moving to LA in 1972 and the 7 of the 10 subsequent championships since his arrival after the 1960 NBA Draft. Jerry was a highly sought-after standout player from West Virginia, having a successful high school career and before becoming one of the best players in the country with the University of West Virginia. Leading the Mountaineers to the NCAA Final Four and eventual championship game, West was named the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player despite losing the final game to California. West was made the second overall pick by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1960 NBA Draft, shortly before the organization’s relocation to Los Angeles, making Jerry the first draft pick ever of a relocated franchise. Also in 1960, West co-captained the Olympic Basketball team with Oscar Robertson capturing the gold medal at the Rome Summer Olympiad.
Mr. Clutch, as Lakers announcer dubbed West, was named to his first of 14 NBA All-Star Games playing in twelve of fourteen All-Star Games during the span of his career (1960-1974). In 1972, Jerry was named the All-Star Game MVP during a season that he drove his Lakers to an NBA Championship where he also named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Jerry was named to ten All-NBA First Teams and four All-Defensive NBA First Teams. In 1970, he was the NBA’s leading scorer from the free throw line as well as leading the NBA in points per game with a 31.2 average. Various injuries took their toll on West’s playing ability during the waning years of his career and combined with a bitter contract dispute with management, he was forced to retired after the 1973-74 season. West walked away as the leading scorer in Lakers history. He finished his career 25,192 points, 5,366 total rebound and 6,238 assists. Jerry West was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. West was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. He coached the Lakers from 1976-1979 compiling a record of 145-101 before moving into the front office, taking over as the club’s general manager. West can be credited as the one of the architects of the 1980s Lakers Dynasty teams as well as the three-peating Lakers of 2000-2002. From 2002-2007, he served as the Memphis Grizzlies as a GM. One of the most visible contributions West provided to the NBA is that of his silhouette used to create the NBA’s longstanding and current logo.