Jerry West’s contributions to the Golden State Warriors’ takeover of California and the NBA are evident with their second title in three seasons, which the Warriors will celebrate today with a championship parade in Oakland.
But West, who is featured in a silhouette on the NBA’s logo, is taking his talents back to his Southern California roots. He will reportedly join the LA Clippers in a front-office capacity, as first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum.
A special consultant the past six seasons with the Warriors, and the architect of the Showtime Lakers of Magic Johnson in the 1980s and, in the early 2000s, the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant-led squad there, West is returning to the city to assist the Lakers’ hallway rival at Staples Center.
West served in a non-decision making role for the Warriors but was no doubt a trusted voice as the organization rose to championship heights. He also helped recruit free agent Kevin Durant last summer, helping bring the 2014 Kia MVP to the Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In what will serve as perhaps the most indelible image from his time with the Warriors, West shared a brief moment with Durant in a hallway at Oracle Arena Monday night after Durant won Finals MVP honors for his role in the Warriors’ five-game conquest of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who has touted the organization’s championship culture since they won the 2015 NBA title, praised West in a statement.
The Clippers have a huge summer ahead of them, with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin headed for free agency. Team president and coach Doc Rivers has made it clear that keeping the Clippers’ core intact is the top priority for the organization. Bringing West on board to make that happen, and to help recruit other free agents in the future, will certainly be a part of the plan moving forward.
West, 79, remains one of the most iconic figures in NBA history. And his presence will shake things up in Los Angeles, where Johnson and new GM Rob Pelinka have taken over front office control for the Lakers.