How NBA legend Jerry West helped build Warriors dynasty and 'decade of success'

ByRyan Curry and Gloria Rodríguez KGO logo
Thursday, June 13, 2024
How Jerry West helped build Warriors dynasty and 'decade of success'
Basketball legend Jerry West died at 86 and among the many chapters in his storied career is his contribution to building the Warriors dynasty.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Basketball legend Jerry West, whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday at 86.

He left his mark on the game with a storied career and even had a large part in the building of the Warriors' dynasty.

West was selected to the NBA Hall of Fame three times, including as a player in 1980, and in 2010 for being a member of the 1960 US Olympic Team. He will be enshrined later this year as a contributor.

MORE: Jerry West, Lakers legend, Hall of Famer and executive who was inspiration for NBA logo, dies at 86

West was a player and executive with the Los Angeles Lakers but also worked in the front offices of the Grizzlies, Clippers, and the Golden State Warriors.

Bay Area basketball fans will remember that he joined the Warriors front office in 2011 and helped build the team we know today.

"I see the fans up here and I see a real opportunity to build a team up here," he said in his introductory press conference. "They are so close to having a good team. And Bob Myers is someone I've known since he was a puppy, seeing him come in with Larry and have an opportunity to work. Bob has been an agent, he's going to have to change his hat, of course. But to work with people that empower you, it really makes me feel good. And I think the best thing in the world about life is when somebody feels like you can help."

In that 2011 press conference, West discussed the winning culture he wanted to see within the organization and fanbase.

"Ultimately, at the end of the day, winning is what should drive everyone in this organization," he said. "The fans deserve it, the city deserves it. And the thing that I really care about is winning, and there's a right way to win and a wrong way to win. And I believe you win with class and you lose with class."

West was part of the Warriors for their championships in 2015 and 2017.

"You can make the argument this is Joe Lacob's best decision," said Dieter Kurtenbach with the Mercury News. "Any person who was with those warriors team from a man to a woman would tell you that it was his influence that steered them into a laughing stock of the NBA to becoming not just champions but dynastic champions."

The team's Co-Executive Chairman and CEO, Joe Lacob, gave a nod to that in a statement he issued about West's death.

"He did so much for the NBA, the game of basketball and each of the teams he was associated with during his unmatched career, including the Warriors," Lacob wrote, in part. "Jerry had a profound and immense impact on our franchise and was instrumental in our recent decade of success."

Warriors star Klay Thompson also reacted to news of West's death.

Klay posted a picture on his Instagram story, writing: "Gonna miss Mr. West. A true pioneer of basketball and one of them ones."

He ended the post with the "goat" symbol.

West reportedly threatened to resign in 2014 if the Warriors went through with a potential trade of Thompson for Kevin Love.

The NBA planned a pregame tribute to West before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

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