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2016 Exhibit

2016 Exhibit: Jerry West
An American Icon

A poster advertising WV Day 2016. It has a blue background, and an illustration of Jerry West mid-air, reaching for a basket ball overlaid over a circular image of hills and the state of WV. Above the image is Jerry West's signature.

Jerry West is considered by many to be the greatest athlete West Virginia has ever produced. His amazing career statistics and revered reputation on the hardwood leave little room for argument as does the fact that the NBA logo was fashioned from his profile. West is both figuratively and literally an American icon!

West began his career on the court at Kanawha County's East Bank High School. Leading his team to the state championship in 1956, he was recruited by some 60 colleges and universities before fulfilling his childhood dream by signing with the West Virginia University Mountaineers. Setting myriad records, many of which survive to this day, he led the Mountaineers to the NCAA championship game in 1959. Despite his team losing by a single point, West was chosen as the tournament's MVP.

West went on to enjoy a celebrated 40-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. A player, coach, manager and team executive, his legendary talent, drive, integrity, vision, and mentorship helped make the NBA what it is today.

On June 20, 2016, to commemorate the gift of the Jerry West Collection to the West Virginia and Regional History Center, the WVU Libraries celebrated West's life and legacy during Libraries' annual West Virginia Day Celebration. The festivities included the opening of an exhibit featuring artifacts and information documenting West's incredible career. The Center also launched the Jerry West Digital Collection which provides access to photographs of key moments in West's life as well as clips from oral history interviews with some of basketball's greatest stars.

To access a PDF slideshow of the exhibit, please use the following:

Gallery 1:

Jerry West by Jamie Lester

A small bronze statue on a wooden base. It depicts Jerry West dribbling a ball, mid-motion.

Jerry West looms large in WVU sports history, and indeed in the history of sports in America. His name is a household word and his image is figurally and literally iconic.

In 2006, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of West’s enrollment, West Virginia University dedicated a life-size statue of West created by the nationally known Morgantown sculptor Jamie Lester. This case holds a “maquette” (a scaled down model) made by Lester of the sculpture which was installed and dedicated at the WVU Coliseum in February 2007. 

Early Life

A railroad depot sits in front of a large mountain covered with trees. Multiple railroad tracks lead past it; between the tracks are lamp posts. The ground is covered with a light layer of snow

Cabin Creek, WV: The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Depot at Cabin Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia. 

A collection of a birth certificate and 3 photos of Jerry West at different ages, a baby, a small child, a middle school basketball photo. They are displayed on a blue background

A black and white phot of a middle school basketball team, wearing their uniforms and standing in front of brick wall. Jerry West wears a number 12

Jerry West was born on May 28, 1938 in Cabin Creek, West Virginia, and raised in nearby Chelyan. This case includes childhood portraits including his middle school basketball team. Jerry is number 12 in that photo. 

The West Family 

An image of a middle-aged woman and man, standing close to each other. The woman is wearing a dress, a white fascinator and has a corsage pinned over her chest. The man wears a suit, tie, and carnation pinned to his jacket. He's smiling, she looks serious

Parents (above): Jerry’s parents, Cecil and Howard West. 

Five elderly people sit on a couch, three women and two men. They are all wearing blue, gray, or white. They smile at the camera

Siblings (above): The West children, left to right, Patricia, Charlie, Hannah, Jerry and Barbara, in October of 2010 in St. Albans, W. Va.

David L. West, 1928-1951

A young man wearing a suit and tie turns toward the camera with a serious expression on his face. His hair is combed and parted neatly.

Family and friends referred to David as kind, thoughtful and “a very decent young man.” He was looked up to at East Bank High School as a responsible student leader and popular athlete. His brother Jerry described him simply as “the glue” that held the West family together and “our shining light.” Nine years older than Jerry, the younger brother found comfort in the feeling that David was looking out for him.

The same young man, a little older, a little thinner, wears a military jacket and hat, over a shirt and tie. He looks thoughtfully past the camera.

When the Korean War broke out, David enlisted in the Army and served in the Heavy Mortar Company, 35th Infantry, on the frontlines. Strong in his faith, David’s army buddies tagged him with the nickname, “Deacon.” His company medic declared “Deacon was the most well liked boy we will ever have in our company.”  His selfless nature translated into acts of bravery during battle, which included pulling a badly wounded comrade to safety under heavy fire. David earned the Bronze Star for “Meritorious Service.”

A young man stands in front of a rectangular archway. He is dressed in a military uniform, with a hat and boots. He is holding a small book in his left hand.

David regularly corresponded with his family in Chelyan. He always asked about each member of his family, “How’s Charlie’s baby; How’s Grandma, fine I hope; How is Jerry doing in basketball? Do you think he’ll make the team? Tell him he had better score some points.”

A young man wearing a light colored jumpsuit, a leather belt with several pouches, and a hard military issue helmet. He looks seriously into the camera.

In December 1951 David wrote a letter to the pastor of his church back home that was published in a local newspaper.  In it he said, “I hope people are praying for peace all over the world . . . the innocent are really suffering over here.  We are very sorrowful…”

Six months later, David West was killed in action. His death was a crushing blow to his family, leaving lifelong heartaches.

David West 

A selection of documents including letters from David West and an article announcing his death

The 1947 East Bank High School Yearbook includes several photos of Jerry’s elder brother David West. The Kanawha Citizen announced David’s passing and quoted a letter he wrote prior to his death beseeching the world to pray for peace. His letters home from Korea reveal a thoughtful and loving son. Mother Cecil West kept and read David’s letters out loud to the family as a reminder of their brother and his kind spirit. 

East Bank High School 

Three photos in a row, all showing East Bank High School, a two story building made of brick, with columns at each level, from different angles.

Jerry West and his siblings attended East Bank High School. These images from the 1947 East Bank yearbook show a typical day at the school. 

A young Jerry West wearing a suit and tie looks thoughtfully past the camera. He has short hair, a square face, and a serious expression

A portrait of Jerry West during his school years at East Bank High School. 

Academic Excellence 

An East Bank High Merit award, presented to Jerry West.

Jerry West was a good student in addition to being a gifted athlete. He received this Merit Award certificate his senior year. West was part of the student government and delivered the “Key Speech” passing on the class key to members of the incoming senior class. 

A draft of the key speech, written by jerry west

Senior Senate 

A group of 21 people sit or stand around a table. This is the East Bank High Senior Senate

Jerry West was an active student at East Bank High School. In this image, he is pictured with other members of the Senior Senate, a student government group, ca. 1956.

1956 West Virginia State Basketball Champions 

A basketball team stands around the couches and cheers

Several documents detailing the success of the East Bank High Pioneers basketball team from 1955-56

In 1955-1956, led by star player Jerry West and Coach Roy Brown, the East Bank High “Pioneers” earned a place in high school basketball history by capturing the State Championship. The team overcame a deficit to defeat Morgantown High School 71 to 56 in the championship game.

The east bank pioneers pose, some standing, others crouching, watching intently as the coach uses a pen to demonstrate plays.

East Bank High School Pioneers Basketball Team, 1956

A group of ten middle-aged men wearing suits and ties stand in two rows. They smile at the camera

East Bank High School Pioneers Basketball Team Reunion, ca. 1980s

Record Breaker

Mid-game, Jerry West is mid-air in a jump shot. Other players watch on. One lunges for the ball

Jerry West (No. 12) set a new state record with this very shot – 860 points in a single season! He would go on to top the 900 point mark before the season’s end (1956). Also pictured on the court here is Bob Green (No. 20) of East Bank and Bob Short (No. 24) of Mullens. West was East Bank’s small starting forward. He was named All-State from 1953–1956, then All-American in 1956 during which he was named West Virginia Player of the Year. 

Welcome to WVU

A WVU basketball jersey with the number 44. It is a white tank with dark blue text and trimmings and yellow outlines

A basketball displayed on a blue pedestal

Several documents concerning Jerry West's college career, including acceptance letters from various colleges

As a result of his impressive high school career, some sixty colleges across the nation vied to recruit Jerry West, including perennial powerhouses like Kansas and Maryland (see letters above). A West Virginian at heart, West was a Mountaineer fan as a school boy and his decision to attend West Virginia University was in fact fulfillment of a dream. 

In May 1956, Mountaineer Coach Fred Schaus wrote to Jerry West welcoming him to the Mountaineers saying, “I am confident you will never regret your decision at any time during your four years here in Morgantown.” Truer words were never spoken. Jerry West’s bond with WVU and Mountaineers everywhere remains strong to this day. 

One of Ann's Boys

Two middle-aged men pose with an elderly woman. The man on the left wears a button down and has his arm around her. The man on the left wears a jacket. They are all smiling

Two men stand on either side of the same woman, they are all slightly younger. The men wear suits and the woman has short curly hair and glasses. They are all smiling

In the early 1950s a small, unassuming house on Beechurst Avenue, next to the WVU Fieldhouse (Stansbury Hall), became a second home to many on the WVU basketball team.  The home belonged to a local pharmacist, Ann Dinardi, and her sister Erlinda.  The first female graduate of the WVU School of Pharmacy, Ann was part owner of Moore and Parriot Pharmacy in downtown Morgantown.  Erlinda worked as a sales clerk at Chico’s Ice Cream parlor just up the street on Beechurst.

A house with two stories, a window in the middle of the top floor, and an awning over the door. A car with a white roof is parked in front

The sisters’ lives changed forever when they received a call from WVU Athletic Director, Red Brown, seeking lodging for one of his star basketball players, “Hot” Rod Hundley.  Hundley had left WVU, hoping to join the NBA, but had had a change of heart and returned to Morgantown.  Because of his late enrollment, there wasn’t a place for Hundley in the dorms.  When the Dinardi’s agreed to take Hundley in, a tradition was born that would establish the little house on Beechurst as a home away from home for many of WVU’s basketball players.

Jerry West, middle-aged poses with ann. He wears a suit and has his arm around her. She has glasses and a black shirt with bright yellow, green and magenta flowers on it.

In the summer of 1956, WVU’s newest recruit, Jerry West, moved into this little house.  The nurturing environment proved to be a godsend to a shy young man who faced a difficult transition from his rural roots to a major university.  Though he would go on to become one of the NBA’s greatest players, he would never forget the love, encouragement and support he received from Dinardi’s.

A group of several men pose with Ann, all wearing pale yellow shirts with her face on them. It is ann's 90th birthday and they are all smiling

While Erlinda died in 1980, Ann continued to live on Beechurst for another half century.  “Ann’s Boys” would continue to visit her there whenever they were back in Morgantown.  In 1996, they gathered at Lakeview Resort for Ann’s surprise 90th birthday party.  The former players all wore t-shirts with Ann’s likeness in her honor.  Ann was also on hand in 2000 when part of Beechurst Avenue was renamed “Jerry West Boulevard.”  Ann passed away in 2003 at the age of 97 but will be eternally remembered as the “Mother of WVU Basketball.”

1959 NCAA National Championship

A basketball team in white uniforms stand in a semi-circle at center court

In 1959, the Mountaineers came one point away from winning the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Championship. WVU defeated powerhouse Louisville in the Final Four to advance to the Championship Game in which they bowed to California. Despite the loss, WVU’s Jerry West was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Jerry West jumps into the air to score a point, he is mid-air and the opposing team's player falls back behind him

Mid-Air in the 1959 NCAA Tournament (above): Jerry West flies past Louisville’s John Turner during the 1959 NCAA Semi-Finals.

Two young men stand, wearing suit jackets and ties. They both have the same flat top hair cut and look into the camera. They each have a hand on a trophy that sits in front of them

Mountaineers Bob Smith (left) and Jerry West stand with a 1959 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball tournament trophy. 

College Years 

Several documents, including a scrapbook and photos of Jerry West as various points throughout his life

A scrapbook including newspaper clippings, team photographs, and other documents concerning Jerry West's life and career

Scrapbooks and documents of the West family

Various documents and clippings concerning Jerry West from the West family scrapbooks

The West family scrapbooks (above) contain clippings from Jerry’s college basketball seasons.

Two young men wearing letterman sweaters, with a W on one side of the buttons and a V on the other. They walk down concrete steps and smile.

Lettermen (above): Mountaineers Willie Akers (left) and Jerry West in their letter sweaters, ca. 1959.

A photo of Jerry West jumping up to block a layup from the other team. They are both mid-air, with their arms outstretched toward the ball as it approaches the hoop

West blocks a layup by the University of Kentucky’s Adrian Smith in 1957. WVU handed Kentucky one of just five home losses in 15 years in this game. Rivals in this game, West and Smith would become teammates three years later on the 1960 United States Olympic team.

The WVU Field House (Stansbury Hall)

The inside of a large, airy room. The ceiling rafters are high and there are several arched windows letting in the sun.
A wide shot of the WVU field house or Stansbury Hall. It is a large brick building on a slight incline with multiple levels. It has a ramp that leads up to four arched entrances, and a very tall chimney

The WVU Field House was the home to WVU basketball until the opening of the Coliseum in 1970. This is the floor on which Jerry West played. Now known as Stansbury Hall, the building currently houses a fitness center, the ROTC program, and WVU’s Department of Philosophy. 

Highlights from the 1958-1959 Mountaineer Basketball Season

Coach Fred Schaus 

Two middle aged men stand on either side of an elderly man. They are wearing suits and ties and smiling.

Black and white, two players stand on either side of a coach. The players weird uniforms and crouch down smiling to look at the ball the coach holds in his hands. He is smiling and on one knee.

Jerry West credits WVU Basketball Coach Fred Schaus with being the first coach who had a genuine interest in him and a lifelong mentor. Schaus was himself a standout player at WVU. He was the first Mountaineer to earn the record of 1000 career points and was named an All-American in 1949. After a career in the NBA playing for the Fort Wayne Pistons and New York Knicks, Schaus returned to his alma mater to coach in 1954. He left WVU in 1960 to coach the LA Lakers including his WVU standout Jerry West. He remained as the Lakers’ head coach until 1967 when he became General Manager. He assembled the Lakers team that won the NBA title in 1972. Following his stint with the Lakers, and a brief period of coaching at Purdue, Schaus returned to WVU once again, this time as the university’s Athletic Director. 

Two basketball players on the court in mid-motion. The player on the left is black and wearing a dark blue uniform, the other player's elbow is pressed against his chest to block him. This is Oscar Robertson. The other player is jerry west, who dribbles.

Nine Times (above): Jerry West broke his nose nine times throughout his basketball playing career, but he rarely missed a game. Here he is guarded by his Olympic team co-captain Oscar Robertson

Black and white photo, four players in motion. Jerry West is mid-air, jumping straight up with the ball in his hands, preparing to make a jump shot

A Pretty Jump Shot (above): Jerry West taking a shot during a match up between WVU and Tennessee, ca. 1960.

Scoresheet from Jerry West's Last Home Game 

A very detailed scoresheet with several rows and columns written in small handwriting.

This scoresheet documents the play at Jerry West’s last home game at WVU. The Mountaineers defeated Pitt in this contest. 

1960 United States Men's Olympic Basketball Team

A group of 13 athletes standing in two rows wearing matching sweatshirts that read "USA". In front of them three men in suits crouch in the grass

Various documents concerning the 1960 US Men's olympic basketball team

A small card-sized image of Jerry West mid-game. The top reads "Greatest Olympians." A yellow frame with rounded edges surrounds the photo, and on the bottom are the words "USA" and an american flag. beneath, the name "Jerry West"

The 1960 US Men’s Olympic Basketball team is considered to be the best amateur basketball team of all time and is one of only a handful of teams to be included in the Naismith Hall of Fame as a unit. Coached by California Golden Bears coach Pete Newell, the team went 8-0 to bring home the Gold Medal. The team was comprised of Jay Arnette, Walt Bellamy, Bob Boozer, Terry Dischinger, Burdette Haldorson, Darral Imhoff, Allen Kelley, Lester Lane, Jerry Lucas, Oscar Roberston, Adrian Smith, and Jerry West.

Four men stand and put their hands in the center of the huddle. in the middle are two men wearing USA sweatshirts and medals. They are smiling. The one on the left is Jerry Lewis, and the one on the right is Oscar Robertson

Olympic Co-Captains (above): Jerry West and Oscar Roberston served as co-captains of the US Men’s Olympic basketball team in Rome.

an image of a building with roman architecture. The top reads "Postcard from jerry west to roy williams from olympics in rome, itally Aug 1960." The bottom says "see message on reverse side. USA team won gold medals"

The reverse side of the postcard, including postage and a message from Jerry saying he is enjoying his time at the olympics, having fun. He says they arrived in rome from Switzerland, and that it was the most beautiful country he has ever seen

Winning the Olympic Gold (above): Prior to the commencement of the Olympic Games, Jerry West penned this postcard to his high school coach, Roy Williams, to let him know about his adventure so far. The Olympic win was a thrilling and defining moment for West.

Gallery 2:

Joining the Lakers

Jerry West on the court ina blue lakers uniform, about to shoot the ball
A display of Jerry's jersey. it is blue and has the number 44
A yellow and purple lakers uniform displayed in a glass case, it is number 44

In 1960, after winning the Olympic Gold, Jerry West was drafted by the Lakers just as they were moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Over the next fourteen years, Jerry played in 932 games averaging a remarkable 27 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game.

Elgin Baylor, Coach Fred Schaus, and Jerry West

A spalding basketball signed by Elgin Baylor displayed on a blue background

fred schaus crouched between Jerry west on the right and Elgin Baylor
Following the 1960 season, WVU Basketball Coach Fred Schaus left college basketball to become head coach of the LA Lakers. He reunited with Jerry West in Los Angeles where he also coached another talented young shooter, Elgin Baylor. Baylor won Rookie of the Year in the 1958-1959 season and was known for his trademark hanging jump shots. Regarded as one of the game’s all-time greatest players, Baylor retired from the Lakers during the 1971-1972 season and went on to coach the New Orleans Jazz. He also served as an executive for the Los Angeles Clippers for 22 years.

Jerry West Basketball Cards

A large display of several vintage Jerry West basketball cards from over the years.

Jerry West’s popularity is evidenced by highly collectible basketball cards dating from the 1950s through the present which number in the hundreds if not thousands. A Jerry West NBA rookie card in mint condition can fetch $20,000 or even more in today’s market. The vintage cards reveal West’s physicality and impressive statistics.


Jerry West mid-air on the court, jumping with both hands outstretched; one reaching up and one reaching out. two players from the opposing team surround him
Celtics Bill Russell and Sam Jones watch Jerry West in midair with the ball, ca. 1960 (above).

The LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics rivalry is considered to be one of the greatest in NBA history. The two teams have faced each other twelve times in the NBA finals and both teams dominated the game in the 1960s and 1980s.

Jerry West lunges forward mid-game, the ball in his hand, and powers past the Celtics defender, John Havliceck, a white man with brown hair
Jerry West powers by Celtics defender, John Havliceck, ca. 1963 (above).

25,000 Points

a basketball commemorating Jerry West scoring 25,000 points. It has his name printed on it, as well as the words "25,000 points" and "Lakers vs. Phoenix, 1973." it is on a black pedestal that reads "25,000 career points"

In 1974, Jerry West became the third player in NBA history to reach the 25,000 point milestone. He was preceded in that feat by Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.

"Mr. Clutch"

Jerry West earned the nickname “Mr. Clutch” for his ability to make big plays at the crucial moment between winning and losing. He was invigorated at the end of the game when others were tired. His teammates knew Jerry was the one you wanted to have the ball when the clock was ticking.

In 1970, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the New York Knicks, West made one of the most famous buzzer-beater shots in basketball history – a 60 foot shot that tied the game and sent it into overtime. After the shot, Knicks coach, Red Holzman, told his demoralized players, “Don’t go back out there thinking we’ve had some bad luck. This is just routine stuff from Jerry West.”

Gillette Cavalcade of Champions Award

A bronze statue of a male figure running, holding a large laurel in one hand, that resembles a horseshoe shape. the other hand reaches upward in victory

In the early 1970s, the Gillette Company sponsored “champions” awards to recognize achievements in all fields of athletics. Nominees of the Champions Award were determined by a nationwide ballot and the winners were selected by sports writers and sports casters. Bob Hope hosted the awards show during prime time on NBC. Jerry West won the award for excellence in basketball in 1972. Other winners of the prestigious award included Mark Spitz and OJ Simpson.


A magazine reading "Lakers" with Jerry's picture as well as another player, an african american man holding a ball. To the right is a poster advertising the east-vs-west all star game
A black and white image from the all-star game. 5 players are seen, two wearing white East uniforms, and three wearing darker West unifroms. the man in the middle, who is african american, lunges upward, as the players surrounding him reach forward and up

Jerry West all-star uniform, a bright red with white accents. The tank reads "West 44"

Original Jerry West All-Star Game Uniform (above): Jerry West was selected as an All Star every year he played for the Lakers, a total of fourteen times from 1960 to 1974.

Jerry West "Cover Boy!"

a selection of dozens of magazines featuring jerry west on the cover

Jerry West’s amazing athletic prowess, competitiveness and popular appeal made him a darling of the media during his heyday as a player and coach. In addition to appearing in advertisements for products ranging from Chapstick to swimwear, his image graced the cover of dozens of magazines including Sports Illustrated, Sport Scene, Sport, and Dell Sports.

The NBA Logo

the NBA logo as we know it: a vertical rectangle with rounded corners, the left side is blue and the right is red, split down the middle with a white sillohuette of a running player with a ball. to the left, the letters "NBA" in white
jerry west on the court, running and holding a ball. it almost exactly resembles the player sillohuette on the logo

In 1969, facing fierce competition from the newly formed American Basketball Association, Commissioner J. Walter Kennedy felt that a new and prominent identity was needed to make the NBA stand out as the nation’s premiere basketball league, as Major League Baseball (MBL) was to baseball.  Development of a new iconic and patriotic logo was part of his plan.

Designer Alan Siegel of Seigel+Gale had recently supervised the creation of the red, white and blue MLB logo, so Kennedy turned to him for a design.  Looking for inspiration, Seigel was reviewing the photo archives of Sport magazine when a shot taken by photographer Wen Roberts of All-American Jerry West caught his attention.  The vertical image displayed action and captured the spirit of the game.  Seigel and his partner Bob Gale proceeded to transform West’s silhouette into a white shape in front of a blue and red background, similar to the look of the MLB logo.  The addition of “NBA” to the bottom of the logo cemented the abbreviation in the public lexicon.

Today the NBA logo is one of the world’s most recognizable sports symbols generating more than $3 billion in revenue each year through licensing.

Game Ball from First Victory of Coach Jerry West

A game ball commemorating Jerry west's first NBA coaching victory. "Lakers 103, Wash 84, October 22, 1976"

Jerry West achieved his first victory as coach of the Lakers when they defeated the Washington Bullets on October 22, 1976.
Jerry west, with longer hair and wearing a plaid suit jacket and dress pants, stands to the left of a shorter man with a jacket, tie, goatee and medium length gray hair.

Courtside (above): Coach Jerry West and Assistant Coach Stan Albeck courtside during a Lakers game, ca. 1977.

Lakers Scrapbook

a display of two photos of Jerry as a coach, to the right is an open book with news paper clippings and advertisements concerning the LA Lakers

This scrapbook documents the Lakers’ domination of NBA basketball during the 1980s when Jerry West was the team’s General Manager. West is credited for molding the team through trades, drafts, and free agents into the franchise that would go on to win five NBA titles.

Jerry wearing a light gray suit jacked and button down, sitting next to a middle aged man in a white weater, tie and button down. they both look into the camera

In the “Nest” with Announcer Chick Hearn (above): Jerry West and Lakers’ announcer Chick Hearn in the broadcast booth at the Los Angeles Forum.

Success as a Manager and Executive

the lakers logo: a golden yellow basketball, and overlaid in a purple font, drawn with lines indicating speed, "Los Angeles lakers"

Jerry West is known as an iconic player but is also lauded for his skill as a manager and executive.  During his tenure with the Lakers, West formed a legendary franchise with players that included Kobe Bryant, Vlade Divac, A.C. Green, Shaquille O’Neal, Byron Scott, Mychal Thompson and Orlando Woolridge.

Under Jerry West, the Lakers went to the playoffs seventeen times and his stewardship brought home five championship rings: 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.

Jerry sits in his laker's office. he is using a white landline phone and smiling. Behind him, several lakers-related items and awards, including his jersey, are displayed on the wall

In the Office (above): Jerry West, flanked by awards, sits in his Lakers’ office.
jerry sits next to five identical trophies, depicting a large ball on the edge of a hoop, leaning his elbow on the one closest to him. he is smiling.

NBA Championships (above): Jerry West sits with five Lakers NBA Championship trophies.

Lakers Stars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant

Jerry West and Shaquille O'Neal posing in front a purple curtain background

Kobe Bryant and Jerry West pose together on the court. Kobe wears a bright yellow training jacket and holds a basketball. Jerry is elderly and wears a black suit. Kobe is smiling and both look into the camera
In July 1996, Jerry West showed the brilliance of his executive decision making by signing both Shaquille O’Neal (top) and Kobe Bryant (above).

The basketball in this case bears the signatures of both Lakers superstars (below). 

A Spalding basketball signed by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal

2002 NBA Championship Ring

Jerry West’s Lakers 2002 NBA Championship Ring (below, left) bears a dedication to broadcaster Chick Hearn who passed away that year. The Lakers defeated the New York Nets to win the title. Note that the name “West” appears on the left side of the ring above the NBA logo derived from West’s profile.

A 2002 NBA gold championship ring. To the right is an award, a large orb made of clear glass, inside is a clear statue of a player. it is on top of a two tier dark wooden base

National Basketball Retired Players Association Founder Award (above, right): The National Basketball Retired Players Association was founded in 1992 by NBA stars Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens, and Oscar Robertson. Jerry West received this trophy in 1974.

Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer

An elderly Jerry West standing on a court, next to him two men stand holding his number 44 west virginia jerseys in frames

On November 26, 2005, West Virginia University officially retired Jerry West’s number, 44. Two years later, a statue of Jerry West designed by Morgantown sculptor Jamie Lester was dedicated at the WVU Coliseum to honor one of WVU’s all-time greatest athletes. A “maquette” (miniature scale model) of this statue is included in the exhibits in Gallery 1.

Videos of both events are available on YouTube:

  Number Retirement:

  Statue Dedication:

After the Lakers

A selection of documents and magazines concerning Jerry's post-Lakers career. One includes a photo of Barack Obama holding a number 44 jersey.

After a forty year career with the Lakers, in 2002 Jerry West assumed an executive role with the Memphis Grizzlies, remaining until 2007. He is presently affiliated with the Golden State Warriors for whom his son Jonnie West serves as Associate General Manager. His retirement years have enabled him to devote time to assorted pastimes including being a “scratch” golfer!

"Roll Out the Carpet!"

A group of men holding balls walk down a long carpet that reads "West Virginia"

On-court image of modern version of the same ceremony, a blue carpet with gold letters spelling "West Virginia"
One of the outstanding traditions in college basketball takes place before Mountaineer basketball home games. A courtly, blue and gold carpet runner with “WEST VIRGINIA” print down the middle is rolled out to center court for the introduction of the each member of the WVU team. The idea was the brain child of Head Coach Fred Schaus and Mountaineer supporter Alex Mumford in 1955 as promotion idea to fill the seats.

The custom continued until the mid-1960’s when Coach Bucky Waters replaced the carpet as the center piece of pregame introductions with a paper covered hoop the players ran through to the their bench. 

The popular carpet tradition was brought back in 1978 by former Mountaineer player and new head coach, Gale Catlett.  It remains today as much a symbol of West Virginia University Athletics as the fight song, “Hail West Virginia.” 

So “Let’s Roll Out the Carpet and Bring on the Mountaineers!”