West, Jerry

West, Jerry (Jerome Alan West), 1938–, American basketball player, b. Cheylan, W.Va. One of the game's great shooting guards, he led West Virginia Univ. to the 1959 National Collegiate Athletic Association championship finals and was co-captain of the gold-medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympic team. Drafted by the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers, West played with them his entire career (1960–74), winning the nickname Mr. Clutch for scoring key baskets in high-pressure situations. Famous for his soaring jump shot and cool court demeanor, he was an extremely effective defensive player as well and a perennial NBA all-star. He scored 25,192 career points, averaging 27 points a game, and was NBA scoring champion in 1970. West later was Laker head coach (1976–79) and general manager (1982–2000). He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.

See his memoir (2011, with J. Coleman) biography by R. Lazenby (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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