Letters to Sports: Paying tribute to the life and career of Jerry West

Jerry West, general manager of the Lakers, sits at his desk circa 1987 at the Forum.
Jerry West, sitting at his desk at the Forum in 1987 during his stint as general manager of the Lakers, is considered by many to be the greatest Laker of all time. (Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images)

When considering the combined history of collegiate, Olympic and professional basketball, the facts are undeniable: Jerry West is the most impactful individual of all time!

Dennis Butkovich

North Hills


What a sad day for us all. Jerry West was one of the best players, coaches, executives and human beings that ever walked Earth. He is the NBA logo for a reason. I was lucky to meet Jerry on several occasions and just talk life and basketball. His wife, Karen, was one of my teachers in high school and will always be special to me. My heart breaks for the family and everyone who Jerry West touched. RIP Jerry West — you will be missed.

Geno Apicella



I have to applaud Jerry West in making his final shot. Timing his passage to make sure that everyone will continue to talk about the Lakers rather than the hated Celtics during the NBA Finals is a Mr. Clutch move for sure. Well played, sir.

Bryan Wiedeman

San Clemente


In describing a man like Jerry West, one could use words as classy, humble and modest. After an All-Star playing career for the Lakers, he then became an All-Star executive for several organizations (mainly the Lakers). But with all that, does anyone else in the history of sports have better nicknames than Jerry West? "The Logo" and "Mr. Clutch" is as good as it gets. Rest in peace, Mr. West, and thanks for all the great memories.

Chris Sorce

Fountain Valley


Within two weeks, we have lost two L.A. basketball legends. For the younger generation who never got to see Jerry West and Bill Walton play, just try to imagine 1972. The Lakers, led by West, won a still-record 33 consecutive games on their way to the NBA title. That same season, Walton and the UCLA Bruins went 30-0 and won a sixth straight NCAA championship. Our city was truly the basketball capital of the world, and it was a time that will never be duplicated or forgotten.

Jim Bendat

Los Angeles


Not to make light of the passing of the great Jerry West, but I do feel some solace for the fact that he won't have to witness another Celtics championship.

George Metalsky

Redondo Beach

That's a 'no thanks'

As for his decision to turn down the Lakers' coaching job, not only is Dan Hurley an excellent basketball coach, he is one wise man.

Wayne Muramatsu



Why would a very successful college coach want to get involved with a questionable organization, a mediocre team and a star approaching 40 with a huge ego and big mouth when he can wait until a good team throws money at him?

Bert Bergen

La Cañada


How bad must the Lakers organization be? How about turned down $70 million bad.

Russell Morgan



Rob "Don Corleone" Pelinka apparently made Dan Hurley an offer he could refuse. Hardly surprising, as the same Lakers’ Godfather moronically drafted Lonzo Ball over Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram over Jaylen Brown and Jalen Hood-Schifino over Jaime Jaquez. Time for Jeanie Buss to whack Pelinka, instead of the innumerable coaches embarrassingly canned in the last 10 years.

Mark S. Roth

Playa Vista


Hey Bill Plaschke, stop stewing, the Hurley rejection is a blessing in disguise. His hybrid of the triangle offense will be dealt with because teams play each other far more than in college and scouting will stifle it. Hurley's mad-dog histrionics on the sideline will drive him nuts, alienate refs and cause his players to shake their heads.

The college game is a coach's game, the pro game belongs to the players. If Rick Pitino couldn't cut it in the NBA, nobody can. Front offices create good teams in the NBA, and the Lakers need a new one as well as a new owner. It's a long haul, Bill, stay calm, bro.

Dell Franklin


Consider this

If the Lakers want coaches who have recently won championships, they should also consider one who has NBA coaching experience like Becky Hammon, who has won the last two WNBA championships after being a well-trained assistant coach to one of NBA’s best coaches, Greg Popovich. And it would be basketball history for her, and for the Lakers to hire the first female head coach. Or would the Lakers prefer a male college coach to this highly qualified woman?

Judith Levin

Los Angeles

Olympic-sized mistake

I finally agree with Bill Plaschke. The members of the USA women's basketball committee have proven themselves to be idiots for leaving Caitlin Clark off the Olympic team.

I played basketball for 30 years and I coached a high school girls team for two years, but I've never watched the WNBA nor the women's Olympic team.

That would have changed had Clark been added to the team. As Plaschke predicted, I would have watched to see if the Clark hoopla is warranted. Now I won't.

A major blunder indeed!

Ray McKown



How can Caitlin Clark not be picked for the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team? At the very least have her riding the bench.

Imagine the ratings if she were there in Paris. Wake up WNBA!

Thanks, Bill Plaschke. Leaving Clark at home is indeed a major blunder.

Joan Fingon



I am a little mystified when I looked at the June 9 paper on how the Olympics women's basketball squad will be poorer without Caitlin Clark.

Don't get me wrong. Clark is an exceptional talent. However, her game is still riddled with turnovers and the Fever have about three times as many losses as wins.

A gold medal, not Miss Popularity, is the goal of the Olympics, Mr. Plaschke.

Jonathan Goldstein

La Jolla


Caitlin Clark could not have been more gracious in her attitude when not being selected for the 2024 Olympic roster. Young people everywhere will see her gracious perspective and wonder how this grace can be obtained. Thank you, Ms. Clark, for your shining outlook on your future hopes.

Susan Dalton


Word of caution

Glad to see Jack Harris’ story on Kiké Hernández making an error at the hot corner in the middle of being asked a question by Dontrelle Willis. (At least the Dodgers won the game.)

Hopefully MLB will finally realize the only time players should be mic’d up on the field is during spring training or the All-Star Game.

Ken Feldman



The Dodgers have no shortage of banjo hitting middle infielders, excluding Mookie Betts. So what do they do? They trade for another middle infielder, Cavan Biggio, who is barely hitting his weight and put him at third base, a position he has rarely played. Has the term "Dodgers organization" become an oxymoron?

Mike Gamboa

Buena Park


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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.