What made Jerry West such a great NBA player?

He had a high degree of competitiveness – up there with any of the all time NBA greats. The fact that he lost 8 times in the NBA Finals devastated him and haunted him. His Finals MVP in 1969 given as a consolation prize to West despite losing didn’t cheer West up at all. I remember him saying he would rather not have the Finals MVP because it was a sign for pity for him which he didn’t want. Russell despite having beat West that Finals, called West one of the greatest competitors and human beings he knew.

Aside from his competitiveness and his clutch ability, he was a great shooter for his era, a great defender, an all time scorer, a great passer and all around great teammate. What most people don’t know is how many NBA Finals he pushed to a Game 7 only to lose by a slim margin (1962 and 1969 for example). If the Celtics didn’t have so many clutch players (Russell, Jones, Havlicek), I think West would actually be quite clearly seen as the second best shooting guard ever over Kobe.

But modern fans often disrespect West and put Dwayne Wade over him all time, which makes me frustrated. West is one of my personal favorite players of all time. Other than his bad luck in the Finals, I don’t think he had many weaknesses as a player.

A shot of me playing pickup against a friend wearing #44 – Jerry West


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