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Jerry West’s death sparks tributes from basketball world: ‘You’re already missed’

Jerry West’s death sent a ripple effect across the NBA on Wednesday morning with Michael Jordan, LeBron James and others from around the league sending their condolences.

West died at the age of 86, the Los Angeles Clippers announced. He built a legendary career on the court and in the front office.

“Jerry West, the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 86,” the team said. “His wife, Karen, was by his side.”

Across social media, tributes poured in.

Michael Jordan

“I am so deeply saddened at the news of Jerry’s passing. He was truly a friend and mentor – like an older brother to me. I valued his friendship and knowledge. I always wished I could have played against him as a competitor, but the more I came to know him, I wish I had been his teammate. I admired his basketball insights and he and I shared many similarities to how we approached the game. He will be forever missed! My condolences to his wife, Karen, and his sons. RIP, Logo.”

LeBron James

LeBron James and Jerry West

“Will truly miss our convos my dear friend! My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy.

“My mentor, My friend! Hopefully I continue to make you proud!”


Adam Silver

Jerry West talks to Adam Silver

“Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years.  He distinguished himself not only as an NBA champion and an All-Star in all 14 of his playing seasons, but also as a consummate competitor who embraced the biggest moments.  He was the league’s first Finals MVP and made rising to the occasion his signature quality, earning him the nickname ‘Mr. Clutch.’

“Jerry’s four decades with the Lakers also included a successful stint as a head coach and a remarkable run in the front office that cemented his reputation as one of the greatest executives in sports history.  He helped build eight championship teams during his tenure in the NBA – a legacy of achievement that mirrors his on-court excellence.  And he will be enshrined this October into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, becoming the first person ever inducted as both a player and a contributor.

“I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life.  On behalf of the NBA, we send our deepest condolences to Jerry’s wife, Karen, his family and his many friends in the NBA community.”

National Basketball Players Association

Jerry West in the 1970s

“The NBPA mourns the loss of Jerry West. 

“We send our condolences to the West Family and the countless people positively impacted by his many contributions to the game of basketball.”

Joe Lacob, Warriors team owner

Jerry West and Joe Lacob

“Jerry West was an incredible and unique individual, having accomplished immeasurable heights in the game of basketball. 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.”

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