28th May, 1938. The birthday of one Jerry "Mr. Clutch" West. Around these parts, this man needs no introduction. Even those who have no clue of his remarkable exploits as a player will certainly remember the masterful wheeling and dealing he did to bring us the Kobe-Shaq partnership, as well as building much of the team during the Showtime Era. As an executive alone, he's damn well Hall-of-Fame material.
But as a player... 27 points, 6.7 assists, 5.8 rebounds per game, as a shooting guard in the era before the three-point line. 13 Playoff appearances, 12 All-Star appearances, and 9 Finals berths. Unfortunately, in the era of Red Auerbach and Bill Russel's unstoppable Celtics, 8 times in Jerry West's career he was turned back at the cusp of winning it all. Heartbreaking moments, from when the old Celtics denied Los Angeles a championship they felt was surely theirs with the addition of Wilt Chamberlain, to the famous Willis Reed game. Time and time again, history found a way to deny Jerry West championships, even when he put up such inhuman performances so as to be the only player in NBA Finals history to win the Finals MVP while on the losing team.
Jerry West possesses only one Championship ring as a player, but he undoubtedly deserves many, many more.
A fiery competitor, tough defender, gifted scorer, good leader, cunning and smart executive, and even a pretty good coach. A man who lived and breathed Lakers for four decades of his life. The Logo of the NBA. Mr. Jerry West, we here at Silver Screen and Roll, as well as undoubtedly the Lakers and Basketball community in general, wish you a very happy 72nd birthday.
Stick around after the jump for some throwback highlights.