13 Comments
Jun 23Liked by Marc Stein

What a great read Marc! I spent my first 5 years in LA (born in 63) and then grew up in the Midwest with no obvious teams to support. So I became a huge LA sports fan. Jerry West and Roman Gabriel were the first two sports posters along with Gale Sayers to adorn my childhood bedroom. I was a fan of the Lakers till he left them as GM and I moved to Dallas in the late 90s and started a 20+ year love of the Dallas Mavs:). Obviously, I appreciate your work greatly and this beautiful piece hits deeper than most! Thank you!

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Marc - Terrific tribute. Heartfelt. In Boston, we still have Satch and Cousy to rely upon for the sage advice Jerry West provided to a new generation. In LA, it seems Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his writings have stepped up to the highest levels. All three still Love This Game.

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Jun 15Liked by Marc Stein

Wonderful piece, Marc. I appreciate you sharing those personal interactions with West, even if one was embarrassing to you which you handled today with grace and humility. Thank you.

The one thing that stands out is West’s resilience throughout his life in overcoming challenges in his both personal and professional lives. It’s no wonder that some of the greatest NBA players admired him and sought out his advice, knowing that he had dealt with it all. West By West was just added to my list of books to read.

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Jun 14Liked by Marc Stein

Great tribute Marc! I had the opportunity to interview Jerry a couple of times (decades ago) and he was always so friendly and candid. Please NBA keep the LOGO!

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Respect to a legend. I’m curious to know if West was keeping up with players entering 2024 draft. Would love to know who Jerry thought would be a good player - guessing it would be based on prospects’ competitiveness.

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Just finishing West by West and I highly recommend the book.

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Jun 14Liked by Marc Stein

I share in others' remarks: beautiful, nuanced piece. Loved every word...

Really wish Jerry West and the Lakers could have put aside their difference to patch things up for the good of the franchise and league, to be honest. I thought, maybe after Kobe's passing, that might be the catalyst to bring everyone together. But, sadly, no.

Having witnessed other rifts, that never get mended, personally, I suppose that's just life, sometimes. 😕

RIP to Mr. West and condolences to his family. He was "The Logo" both in design and in spirit. #ThisLeague will forever be grateful! 😔

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The way he held the room at that NBA 75 draft they did with a bunch of HOF ex players and celebs was amazing - and demonstrated both the electricity and respect. He talked, everyone listened. Even Ernie wasn’t giving him any lip - too much respect.

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Jun 13·edited Jun 13Liked by Marc Stein

Fantastic tribute, as many of the tributes that have come out over the past 24 hours have been.. seems everyone has fantastic Jerry memories. I am too young to have witnessed Jerry as a player, and I had read about his competitiveness, but only had his more 'public' persona to get a sense of what he was like, and, as you noted, he had a very regal, but also very modest personality. In his interviews, he seemed quick to offer praise to others and deflect credit. He did absolutely seem like someone with a plethora of stories, though (and as someone who actively was involved in multiple great eras of basketball, it makes sense why he seemed to have some story for everything).

Tom Tolbert was on the radio yesterday saying how lucky he felt to have been able to spend a little time getting to know West during his tenure with the Warriors, and also decried his portrayal in 'Winnng Time.' He humorously noted that the scene where he threw his Finals MVP out a window during a tantrum stuck him as way off, not because he had a tantrum over losing (a side he said he never saw, but could understand as having been a part of his persona, since he, too, had heard about West's legendary competitiveness), but because Jerry would never have had that Finals MVP trophy anywhere near his office and certainly not on display. It seems to be fairly well documented that West was embarrassed by winning a trophy when he had actually lost the series, and, even had they won, he would have felt awkward having an award for a team accomplishment.

Anyway, it's a sad period for the NBA to have lost two such iconic figures who transcended the 94 ft confines of the basketball court in such a short amount of time, but all the stories that come out that celebrate them are like one final gift they give back to the game.

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Jun 13Liked by Marc Stein

Thanks for this, Marc. It's heartbreaking that both West and Kobe are gone from us. I appreciate hearing your insights on him. There will never be a Laker like him, sadly. I'm grateful for the hours and hours of entertainment and thrills he contributed to my life and the lives of so many others. I hope he's found the peace that seemed to elude him so often.

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Jun 13Liked by Marc Stein

Walton and now West... two of the greatest ever!

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author

Mark Whicker wrote it beautifully on his Substack ... basketball has lost a lot of its soul in the space of about 17 days.

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Jun 13Liked by Marc Stein

Beautiful piece. Many (maybe most?) people who had suffered such an abusive, love-deprived childhood grow up to be nasty, abusive adults who take their trauma out on others. West, by all accounts (including this one), took it out on himself, to his detriment but to the benefit of everyone else.

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