‘Like an older brother’: MJ’s heartbreaking tribute as legend behind NBA logo dies

    The NBA is mourning the death of Hall of Famer Jerry West, who died Wednesday at the age of 86.

    A number of prominent figures in the NBA community reminisced about West’s legacy, including current Lakers superstar LeBron James and the legendary Michael Jordan, the NY Post reports.

    “Will truly miss our convos my dear friend! My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy!” James posted on X.

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    Jordan, a six-time NBA champion with the Bulls, sent a message to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to deliver on “First Take.”

    “I am so deeply saddened at the news of Jerry’s passing. He was truly a friend and a mentor,” Smith said on behalf of Jordan, whose company later released said statement.

    “Like an older brother to me. I valued his friendship and knowledge. I always wished I could’ve played against him as a competitor. But the more I came to know him, I wish I had been his teammate.”

    Jerry West died at 86. (Photo by Stacy Revere / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)Source: AFP

    The Los Angeles Clippers announced West’s death. His wife, Karen, was by his side.

    “Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

    “He distinguished himself not only as an NBA champion and an All-Star in all 14 of his playing seasons, but also as a consummate competitor who embraced the biggest moments … I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life.”

    A star player in his own right, West was the second overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft after playing at the collegiate level in his native West Virginia.

    He was named an All-Star throughout every season of his 14-year career and helped lead the Lakers to the 1972 NBA title.

    West was named the Lakers’ head coach in 1976, a position he held for three years, before transitioning to become the team’s general manager in 1982, sparking a five-title run.

    Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch,” West’s silhouette is also used as the NBA’s emblem.

    West’s statue outside of the Lakers arena in Los Angeles. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)Source: AFP

    ESPN’s Jay Bilas posted on X that West “was far more than ‘The Logo.’”

    “Admired him growing up in LA, revered him as a basketball man, and loved talking about players and the game with him. He was far more than ‘The Logo’. Jerry West is embedded into the very fabric of the game. He literally did it all. RIP Jerry West,” Bilas penned.

    Miami Heat owner Micky Arison, who competed against West’s teams since taking over as team owner in 1995, also praised him.

    “Jerry West is one of my favourite people that I had the honour to get to know in the NBA. He welcomed me to the league, offered advice from the first day, and asked nothing in return. He will be missed. Rest in peace,” Arison wrote on X.

    ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski also praised the legend, tweeting that “Jerry West lived a profound basketball and American life — iconic as a player, executive and looming figure in the history of the game,” while Mike Greenberg said on “Get Up” that West was “one of the greatest figures in the history of American sports.”

    During his time with the Lakers in the late 1990s and 2000s, West hired Phil Jackson as the coach, traded for the rights to Kobe Bryant and signed Shaquille O’Neal.

    Most recently, West was working with the Los Angeles Clippers, whose executive board he joined in June 2017.

    He was named NBA Executive of the Year twice, once with the Lakers in 1995 and in 2004 while general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies.

    This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.

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