Jerry West, NBA logo inspiration and 3-time Hall of Famer, dies at 86

Jerry West, who was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame three times in a storied career as a player and executive, and whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Clippers announced.

He was 86.

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“Jerry West is one of my favourite people that I had the honour to get to know in the NBA,” Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison said Wednesday. “He welcomed me to the league, offered advice from the first day, and asked nothing in return. He will be missed.”

A native of Chelyan, West Virginia, West was known as a tenacious player who was rarely satisfied with his performance. He grew up shooting at a basket nailed to the side of a shed and often shot until his fingers bled. He became the first high school player in state history to score more than 900 points in a season, averaging 32.2 points in leading East Bank High to a state title.

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Basketball, he would later reveal, was his therapy.

In his memoir, “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,” West chronicled a lifelong battle with depression. He wrote that his childhood was devoid of love and filled with anger as a result of an abusive father. He often felt worthless, and to combat that, he said he put his energy into playing the game.

West led West Virginia University — where he is still the all-time leader in scoring average — to the NCAA final in 1959, when the Mountaineers lost by one point to California.

West won gold at the 1960 Summer Olympics and the following year joined the Lakers, where he spent his entire pro playing career. He was honored as one of the league’s 50 greatest players in 1996 and when the league expanded the polling to 75 players to commemorate its 75th anniversary, West was selected again.

“Success without a personal satisfaction or sacrifice isn’t success at all,” West said during a 2006 speech at a West Virginia commencement. “It’s posturing. Money is a means of power, but seldom a measure of success.”

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: World