If you’re looking for something to read that gives you a basketball fix during the NBA lockout, I would recommend heading to your local bookstore (if it’s still open) and picking up a copy of Roland Lazenby’s Jerry West biography. It’s simply a fantastic portrait. (West has his autobiography coming out soon, which should be fascinating.)
But before you do that, go read the profile of West at Grantland by Jonathan Abrams — our “if you read one thing today go read this” link. Abrams spent some time with West in his West Virginia home talking about what drove him then and what pulled him back into a front office job with the Golden State Warriors.
West is an introspective man who understands what motivates him in ways most of us simply do not.
“Self-esteem is something I still battle. People look at me and say you’ve got fame, you’ve got admiration, you’ve done this, you’ve done that. As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t done anything. I’ve just fulfilled a dream of competing. I could be special in some ways. Even though I felt at times, ‘My goodness, you’re among the upper echelon,’ there is still a huge void there. A huge void. It is about self-esteem. That’s a thing that has always been a real complex part of my life.
“I see people that have success and I see how poised and polished they are and how they handle it. I wonder inside if they feel the same way that I feel.”
West is as competitive, as driven as anyone who ever played in the league. He fears losing. He couldn’t watch Laker games as a GM because he would get sick. Winning does not bring him joy so much as relief.
Go read Abrams entire article. This is good journalism. And few people walking the planet are as fascinating to read and learn about as Jerry West.