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Jerry West - Mr. Clutch

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Uploaded on Feb 26, 2008

Jerry Alan West (born May 28, 1938, in Chelyan, West Virginia) is a retired American basketball player who played his entire professional career for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers. West has also had a successful career as a coach and as an executive. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980, and his left-handed dribbling silhouette has long been used in the National Basketball Association's official logo.

Drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA with the 2nd overall pick in the 1960 entry draft, Jerry West became the first draft pick by the Lakers after their move to Los Angeles. West spent his entire professional career (1960-74) with the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. Although he was teamed with Hall-of-Fame scorer Elgin Baylor for most of his career, West still averaged more than 30 points per game in four different seasons and led the league in scoring during the 1969-70 season. One of the most memorable moments of the '69-'70 season came in the NBA Finals, against the New York Knicks. In Game 3, West hit a 60-foot shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Although the Knicks won the game and the series, West's shot is often called one of the most memorable moments in Finals history. Remarkably, since there was no three point line in the NBA at that time, West's shot only counted for 2 points and sent the game to overtime, after which the Lakers lost. In today's NBA, the shot would have won the game.

An excellent playmaker, West also led the league in assists per game during the 1971-72 season. Although steals weren't recorded by the NBA until West's final season, at age 35 West became the first player in the league to ever record 10 steals in a single game — still the Lakers franchise record. Heralded as one of the most legendary clutch shooters in the NBA's history, West averaged 29.1 points per game in 153 playoff games, including 40.6 in 11 playoff games in 1965, in 1969 he became the only losing player to win the NBA Finals MVP award.

West played in nine NBA Finals, but finished his career with only one championship, won in the 1971-72 season, the year the Lakers established a modern North American professional sports record of 33 straight wins. When he retired, West had scored 25,192 points, averaged 27.0 points per game (the fourth highest career average in NBA history), and made 7,160 free throws and 6,238 assists. During his career, West was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times (the NBA All-Defensive Team did not exist until West's ninth season), to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, and played in the All-Star Game 13 times. West was named the All-Star Game MVP in 1972. He remains the only player ever to be named NBA Finals MVP when on a losing team. He accomplished this in the 1969 NBA Finals against Boston, the first year the award was given. In 1980 he was named to the NBA's 35th Anniversary All-Time Team and in 1996 was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

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