#44 Jerry West


Few players in history have made as much of an impact on the NBA as the man whose silhouette is used as the league's logo. Jerry West was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers with the second-overall pick in 1960, but he spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles, earning All-Star honors each season.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard was an offensive mastermind, dangerous with both his passing and scoring, as he averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists throughout his career.

West — who has a statue of himself standing outside of Staples Center — ranked among the league's top 10 in several categories almost every year, including free throw percentage (eight times), scoring (seven), assists (seven) and field goal percentage (four).

The West Virginia University product is sixth in NBA history in made free throws (7,160). He also led the league in scoring in 1969-70 (31.2 ppg) and assists two years later (9.7 apg).

West was known for his ability to erupt on any given night, especially on Jan. 17, 1962 when he led the Lakers to a 129-121 win over New York by piling up 63 points on 22-of-36 shooting from the field and 19-of-22 on free throws.

On Feb. 1, 1967, he did it with his passing by handing out 23 assists in a 143-133 shootout over Philadelphia in which he also chipped in 24 points. Seven years later, it was his defense on display as he tallied the third-most steals in league history by swiping the ball 10 times in a 115-111 loss to Seattle on Dec. 7, 1973.

Known as "Mr. Clutch," West shined in the postseason as well, leading the playoffs in scoring four times, including when he averaged 40.6 points in 1965.

Despite losing to Boston in seven games, the Chelyan, W.V., native was named 1969 NBA Finals MVP in part because he racked up 53 points in Game 1, making him one of only four players with multiple 50-point playoff games.

West made it to the Finals nine times in his 14 years, but he finally won his only title as a player in 1972 by averaging 22.8 points and a league-best 8.9 assists.

Three years after his retirement in 1974, West took over as head coach of the Lakers for three seasons, compiling a 145-101 record that included a playoff appearance each time.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1980 — two years before becoming the Lakers' general manager.

The two-time Executive of the Year was even more successful in the front office than he was on the floor. He has won seven championships as an executive — six of which were with the Lakers — including as the architect of the three-peat as the man who signed Shaquille O'Neal and drafted Kobe Bryant.