Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Feb 23, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
11 Reviews
When in 1969 the NBA sought an emblem for the league, one man was chosen above all as the icon of his sport: Jerry West. Silhouetted in white against a red-and-blue backdrop, West’s signature gait and left-handed dribble are still the NBA logo, seen on merchandise around the world.

    In this marvelous book—the first biography of the basketball legend—award-winning reporter and author Roland Lazenby traces Jerry West’s brilliant career from the coalfields near Cabin Creek, West Virginia, to the bare-knuckled pre-expansion era of the NBA, from the Lakers’ Riley-Magic-Kareem Showtime era to Jackson–Kobe–Shaq teams of the early twenty-first century, and beyond.

But fame was not all glory.

Called “Mr. Clutch,” West was an incomparable talent—flawless on defense, possessing unmatched court vision, and the perfect jumper, unstoppable when the game was on the line. Beloved and respected by fans and fellow players alike, West was the centerpiece of Lakers teams that starred such players as Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, and he went on to nine NBA Finals. Yet in losing eight of those series, including six in a row to the detested Boston Celtics, West became as famous for his failures as for his triumphs. And that notoriety cast long shadows over West’s life on and off the court. 
 
Yet as the author discovered through scores of exclusive interviews with West’s teammates, colleagues, and family members, West channeled the frustration of his darkest moments into a driving force that propelled his years as an executive. And in this capacity, the success that often eluded West on the court has enabled him to reach out to successive generations of players to enrich and shape the sport in immeasurable ways.

Though sometimes overshadowed by flashier peers on the court, Jerry West nevertheless stands out as the heart and soul of a league that, in fifty years, has metamorphosed from a regional sideshow into a global phenomenon. And in Jerry West, Roland Lazenby provides the ultimate story of a man who has done more to shape basketball than anyone on the planet. 
 


From the Hardcover edition.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
7
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
1

Review: Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon

User Review  - Patrick O'Connor - Goodreads

What a tortured life. And reliving all those Finals series from the 60's and 70's was no picnic either. Read full review

Review: Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon

User Review  - Jon Nielson - Goodreads

How an author can make something so exciting read so boring is beyond me. No excitement, no fun, just boring. Read full review

Contents

Saga
3
West by God Virginia
18
Heartbreak
37
k The Locomotive
77
The Discover 112
142
The Hopeful
171
The Laker
189
The Horror
213
Misery 246
247
The Logo
281
The Last Chance
299
A WearingThing
332
The After Life
363
Acknowledgments
388
Bibliography
401
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Roland Lazenby has taught journalism at Virginia Tech and Radford University for two decades and is the author of Mindgames: The Long, Strange Journey of Phil Jackson and The Show: The Inside Story of the Los Angeles Lakers, among other books. He is a frequent contributor to sports documentaries, including ESPN’s "Sports Century," and a regular guest on television and radio programs. Lazenby’s work has been cited in numerous publications and websites, including Sports Illustrated, the Washington Post, and NBA.com.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information