It doesn’t get any more iconic than being “The Logo.”
So it seems fitting that the Lakers are going to honor Jerry West — the legendary Lakers player and general manager — with a statue in Star Plaza outside Staples Center. The statue will be unveiled All-Star Weekend (which is at Staples this year).
West will join Magic Johnson and broadcaster Chick Hearn as Lakers with statues. Also out there are Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya. Yes, Oscar De La Hoya.
West the player was part of the legendary Lakers Big Three of the 60s —West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. They changed the game with their combination of skills, that combo never won a title because of Bill Russell and the Celtics. West got his title as a player in 1972 (with Chamberlain, not Baylor). Still, we are talking about a 14 time All-Star who averaged 27 points a game. Nicknamed Mr. Clutch because of his shooting. A gold medal from the 1960 games. A gimme Hall-of-Famer. One of the 50 best to ever play the game. An icon.
West the general manager took over a good Lakers team and made the little moves — hello Mychal Thompson, AC Green, Glen Rice, Byron Scott, and on and on — that made Showtime run through the 80s. Then swindled Charlotte out of future Staples Center statue guy Kobe Bryant and lured Shaquille O’Neal to Los Angeles to form another dynasty. Most great players are not great judges of talent (we’re looking at you, MJ) but West was the exception to the rule. An icon.
A guy who deserves a statue.