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Some things to know about NBA great Jerry West's life and Hall of Fame career


West was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1980 and again as a member of the gold medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympic Team in 2010. He is scheduled to go in a third time later this year as a contributor for his work as an executive and a consultant

Jerry West speaks during a news conference.
Jerry West speaks during a news conference.AP

West was nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" for his late-game heroics during 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, including hitting a 60-foot shot at the buzzer to tie the New York Knicks in Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals. It was a two-point shot at the time, so the game went to overtime, and the Knicks won 111-108.

West was consistently one of the top scorers in the league, topping 30 points a game four times. An All-Star in each of his 14 seasons, West averaged an NBA-best 31.2 points in 1969 and ranks fourth among retired players in all-time scoring behind Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor. He ended his career with 25,192 points, averaging 27 a game.

West was at his best in the postseason, where he made the playoffs every year except 1971. He eclipsed the 40-point mark in 1965 and still holds the record for highest scoring average for a series. He averaged 46.3 points against Baltimore in the 1965 Western Division Finals.

West helped the Lakers reach the NBA Finals nine times but won just once, in 1972 against the Knicks. He lost six times to Boston in the 1960s.

West was general manager of eight NBA championship teams with the Lakers and helped build the "Showtime" dynasty. He also worked in front offices of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors and the Clippers.

He drafted Magic Johnson and James Worthy with the Lakers and then brought in Kobe Bryant and eventually Shaquille O'Neal.

Even in his final years, West was considered basketball royalty. He routinely sat courtside at Summer League games in Las Vegas, often seeing players — including LeBron James — stand in long lines to shake his hand.

A native of Chelyan, West Virginia, West grew up shooting at a basket nailed to the side of a shed and often shot until his fingers bled. He became the first high school player in state history to score more than 900 points in a season, averaging 32.2 points in leading East Bank High to a state title.

He played collegiately at West Virginia, where he led the Mountaineers to the 1959 NCAA final. They lost to California by a point. He remains WVU's all-time leading scorer.

In his memoir, "West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life," West chronicled a lifelong battle with depression. He wrote that his childhood was devoid of love and filled with anger as a result of an abusive father. He often felt worthless and used basketball as therapy.