Hall of Famer Jerry West, who won two NBA titles with Warriors, dies at 86

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Jerry West, the Hall of Fame player who won two NBA titles with the Warriors, died Wednesday at the age of 86.

The Los Angeles Clippers announced that West died peacefully at his home.

West was an NBA champion, an NBA Finals MVP, an Olympic gold medalist and the inspiration behind the league's iconic logo. He began his historic pro basketball career in 1960 and influenced the game of basketball for eight decades, winning nine championships as a player, scout, coach, executive and consultant.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement after news of West’s death hit.

The Los Angeles Lakers selected West with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft, and he spent his entire Hall of Fame playing career with the purple and gold. He averaged 27 points on 47.4 percent shooting, with 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists, in 932 games through 14 seasons.

West was a 14-time NBA All-Star, 12-time All-NBA pick and five-time All-Defensive selection, but his impact went beyond those accolades.

After his playing career, West found success as an NBA executive, building the 1980s Showtime Lakers team that won five championships and orchestrating the formation of the iconic Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant duo that won three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

West joined Golden State in 2011 and served as an executive board member for six seasons. After the Warriors won the second of their four most recent championships, he left the Bay to join the Los Angeles Clippers organization in 2017.

“Jerry West was an incredible and unique individual, having accomplished immeasurable heights in the game of basketball,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said in a statement released by the team. “He reached the absolute pinnacle of the sport as both a player and executive, something few can claim in the profession. He did so much for the NBA, the game of basketball and each of the teams he was associated with during his unmatched career, including the Warriors. Jerry had a profound and immense impact on our franchise and was instrumental in our recent decade of success.

“Personally, as a child, despite growing up a Celtics fan in Massachusetts, Jerry was my idol and I loved him. To me, he was basketball. He was not just about the actual game, but he personified competitiveness. He was the most competitive individual I have ever met, settling for nothing short of greatness. He had to win. It consumed him. He was bigger than life. He was an icon.

“We are devastated with today’s news of his passing and extend our prayers and support to his wife, Karen, his entire family and the NBA community.”

Many questioned why West chose to leave a Warriors team that had just made three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and was in the midst of a dynastic run. West pointed to his desire to work with Clippers owners Steve Ballmer and Dennis Wong, as well as then-coach Doc Rivers.

"I will really miss the Warriors organization. I really will," West told The Los Angeles Times in 2017. "But honestly, there was nothing left for me to do. When I left there Monday night after they won the championship, it was probably the worst feeling I ever had in my life as a basketball person.

"I knew I wasn't going to be part of that anymore."

West handled business with the Warriors and then sought a new challenge in SoCal with the Clippers -- a team that’s still itching for the first NBA title in franchise history.

"I'll miss Jerry," then-Warriors general manager Bob Myers said after West’s move, per The Associated Press. "I think for him, it's a great new challenge, and it's in Los Angeles. I've always said to him and will always say whatever he's happy doing makes me happy, whatever that might be.

"But his presence, his personality, his competitiveness, his passion for those that know him or have been around him -- it's unique."

The NBA world lost an icon Wednesday morning, but his presence -- as symbolized in his silhouette as the league’s logo -- can serve as the perfect reminder of West's legacy both on and off the hardwood.

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