Jerry West Biography Facts, Childhood, Net Worth, Life

Jerry West Biography Facts, Childhood, Net Worth, Life
Jerry West Biography, Childhood, Career, Accomplishments & Awards. (Image credits: icollector.com & Getty Images)

Jerry West is a retired American Basketball forward who played professionally for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 14-year career. West who is currently an NBA executive made his professional debut for the Los Angeles Lakers subsequent to his selection as the 2nd pick of the 1st round in the 1960 NBA draft. Although a retiree who featured in the 60s and 70s, West’s illustrious career is worth thorough review. Jerry West biography facts, childhood, net worth and personal life present a complete rundown of his life, career and profile from childhood to date.

Jerry West Biography Facts, Age, Family, Wife, Sons

  • Full Name: Jerome Alan West
  • Nickname: Mr Clutch
  • Date of Birth: 28th May 1938
  • Age: 82 years
  • Place of Birth: Chelyan, West Virginia, United States
  • Nationality: American
  • Listed Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
  • Listed Weight: 73 kg
  • Occupation: Basketball Player
  • League: NBA
  • Kit Number: #44
  • NBA Draft: 1960 (Round 1; Pick 2) by Los Angeles Lakers
  • Playing Career: 1960–1974 (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Position Played: Shooting guard, Point guard
  • Coaching Career: 1976–1979 (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Net Worth: $55 million USD
  • Education:
    • High School: East Bank High School
    • College: West Virginia University
  • Parents:
    • Mother: Cecil Sue West
    • Father: Howard Stewart West
  • Partner: Karen West (married 1978)
  • Children:
    • Jonnie West
    • Michael West
    • Ryan West
    • Mark West
    • David West
  • Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Jerry West Childhood Story, Family Background & Early Life

Jerry West was born on 28th May 1938, to a big family of 6 children along with his parents. His father, Howard Stewart West, was an electrician who worked in a coal mine and his mother, Cecil Sue West, was a full housewife.

West had his teenage years clouded by the destructive World War II which killed his big brother while in military action for the US army; the ordeal physiologically affected him that he became reserved and timid in contrast of his former outgoing and aggressive self. To worsen his situation, his father abused him physically to the extent that he felt threatened and slept with a gun for self-defence in his late teens; this ill-treatment made him depressed for the rest of his life.

West’s health conditions weren’t any better; he was placed on a vitamin injection treatment and was even declared unhealthy to participate in sports. Due to this, he basically spent his early days shooting into a basketball net at his neighbour’s store shed, keeping away from playing with other kids and overlooking the mud and snow from the yard as well as discipline. He also engaged in hunting and fishing once in a while.

Jerry West High School Basketball Career & Achievements

East Bank High School

Jerry West featured in the East Bank High School team and became a captain in his 1st year. In his senior year, he won the West Virginia Player of the Year honour and recorded above 900 points, becoming the 1st player to score that much number of points in the school’s regular season. He led the school to a state championship which impelled the school to change its name from East Bank to West Bank in his honour.

Jerry West College Basketball Career & Achievements

West Virginia University (1957–1960)

Following his high school education, West attended West Virginia University after interests from over sixty universities. He led his college team to a 17-0 perfect record during his freshman year. He also recorded a good number of points and rebounds to win the Southern Conference Tournament MVP Award and a number of other awards.

In his sophomore, he won the Most Outstanding Player after reaching the NCAA finals. He also won his 2nd consecutive Southern Conference Tournament MVP; the Southern Conference Athlete of the Year and Player of the Year award along with the gold-winning U.S. Pan American Games basketball team. He continued with outstanding performances till his final year when he accumulated over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds to set one of the highest collegiate records in the University. He also participated in the 1960 Olympics and won the basketball gold medal as a co-captain.

Jerry West NBA Career, Achievements & Awards

Los Angeles Lakers (1960–1974)

After his graduation from college, West decided to enter the 1960 NBA draft and was selected by the Lakers as the 2nd overall pick. New to professionalism, he found it difficult to adapt to his new environment. However, he started to make an impact in each game he played. His high work rate and ability to throw from long distances as well as his defensive skills are highlights. His feats helped him to the NBA All-Star Game. He scored his career’s highest points in a single game against the New York Knicks when he tallied 63 points. He earned the Mr Clutch nickname due to his ability to score late winners and made himself Lakers main scorer.

In the 1963/1964 season, West led the score sheet on team level for the first time in his career. The following season, West tallied a mean score of 31.0 points per game and led the team the NBA finals which they lost to the Celtics. In the 1965/66 season, he increased his average score per game by 1.3 points over the previous season but lost once again to the Celtics in the NBA finals. Two seasons later, the Lakers again fell to the NBA reign of the Celtics after another rival loss in the finals.

In order to build up the team, the Lakers’ acquired Wilt Chamberlain who at the time was a consistent NBA MVP. The signing however altered the team chemistry and put West under duress to perform. His feat dropped to his career’s lowest average but was yet listed to the NBA Second All-Defensive Team. In the 1968/69 season, the Lakers got to the NBA finals but were defeated by the Celtics with a 3 point difference. Although the Lakers lost, West won the NBA Most Valuable Player Honour.

Chamberlain was out of action for almost the entire 1969/70 season and West stepped up his game to lead the Lakers into the playoffs. The Lakers made it to the finals once more in a match against the New York Knicks. The Lakers lost the championship once more to increase West’s frustration. After an injury-ridden 1970/71 season, West considered retirement the following season but forged on and was rewarded with the All-Star MVP, All-Defence First Team call-up, his career’s 1st NBA championship victory and set an NBA record of over 4,000 points in the playoffs.

Photo of Jerry West (foreground) with the Los Angeles Lakers
Jerry West with the Los Angeles Lakers in the ’70s. (Image credit: TSN/Icon SMI/Newscom)

He played the next 2 seasons as a legendary playmaker and retired in 1974 because of contract disagreements. Acknowledging that West could have played some more good years, his disagreements with the Lakers would have prevented him from playing for the Lakers and his love for the Lakers prevented him to play elsewhere. The Lakers’ veteran had recorded the highest points in the Lakers history as at his retirement. His love for basketball and the Lakers were termed obsessive by the NBA.

Jerry West Coaching & Executive Career

West Began his coaching career in 1976 and made it to the NBA finals in the 3 seasons he featured in the position. Following his job as a manager, he became the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982 after working as a scout for 3 years. Jerry West is linked with the successes of the 80s and the rebuild of the 90s.

He won the NBA Executive of the Year Award in 1996 and again with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2004 after becoming their general manager in 2002. In 2011, Jerry West became an executive board member for the Golden State Warriors. He won 2 championships with the Warriors, winning 8 championships in total as an executive.

Jerry West NBA Logo & Silhouette

Jerry West with NBA silhouettes
NBA legend Jerry West seated with his famous NBA silhouettes/logo by his sides. (Image credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

The silhouette on the famous NBA’s logo which shows a basketball player swivelling and dribbling in between a red and blue background colour is modelled on Jerry West’s picture. However, he reportedly does not get any royalty off of that.

Jerry West Net Worth, Salary, Endorsements & Sponsorships

Jerry West ‘s net worth is valued at $55 million and his main source of income is from basketball as a player, coach and NBA executive. During his time as a player, Brands were not accustomed to signing sponsorship and endorsement deals with players.

Jerry West Personal life & Trivia

Jerry West got married to Martha Jane Kane, his wag from college in 1960 and divorced 16 years later with 3 boys. Two years later, he and Karen got married and both have 2 boys together—the youngest featured in the West Virginia’s college team and got married to a golfer in 2019.

Jerry West is an introvert and also a restless and timid person. One of the reasons for his failed marriage with Martha Jane is attributed to his shyness and quietness.

During his 1st few years, West was mildly jested at by his teammates because of his Appalachian accent and his Virginia’s native high-pitched style of speaking.

West’s personality as a hard worker makes him a mentor and motivator to other people especially young basketball prospects and heroes.

Jerry West's Statue at Staples Center
Jerry West’s Statue at Staples Center. (Image credit: roopez123 / Flickr)

West’s statue was erected at the Star Plaza, Los Angeles, California in 2011 and was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump in 2019.

In 2011 West and Jonathan Coleman collaborated to publish an account about his life.


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