One of the greatest basketball players who ever graced the courts was Jerry West. He played for 14 years – and he was consistently in the top for 12 of those 14 years – without the three-point line, the lack of All-Defense teams (that didn’t start until 1969) and the lack of recording steals (which started happening in the 1973 – 74 season).
West finished in the top 10 in nine major categories (not even MJ did that!!). The Lakers knew they could count on West to deliver whatever the team needed at the time.
Injuries didn’t even put him on the sidelines. He suffered:
- Broken noses (Ok, wise guys, his ONE nose was broken several times)
- Broken thumbs (same note here – only he had TWO thumbs)
- Pulled hamstrings
- Sprained ankles
- Concussions, etc.
In The Book of Basketball, Bill Simmons describes why West earned the moniker, “Mr.Clutch.”
(West) delivered “a few iconic moments along the way – like his steal and buzzer-beating layup to win Game 3 of the ’62 Finals, or his game saving 60-footer in Game 3 of the ’70 Finals, or a 53-point, 10-assist explosion in Game 1 of the ’69 Finals (which Bill Russell said was the “greatest clutch performance ever against the Celtics.”)
Isn’t that a guy you’d want on your team?
Who’s that man?
On performance alone you’d say yes, but evidence shows West was also a player who elevated the rest of the team – a guy who connected with his teammates to make them want to win – with him, for him, whatever – they wanted to share the court with him.
You know what, he is a guy who is included in every NBA team yet today.
West’s signature move (going right, leaning forward, ready to make last high dribble for a pull-up jumper) is the model for the NBA’s logo. Yeah, that silhouette was a real guy – Jerry West. Maybe someday the silhouette will be replaced with your signature move – who knows, it could happen with practice.
Another of West’s signature moves was releasing the ball at the TOP of his jump. He was rarely blocked because of that – and it’s a move that players today can achieve – and use. It takes a lot of purposeful practice.
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-Pat of the Basketball Goal Store Blog Team