Jonathan Abrams of Grantland provided us with a deep look into the psyche of Jerry West. I highly recommend reading the full piece, here are a few quotes from West that really made me contemplate the purpose of life:
“As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t done anything. I’ve just fulfilled a dream of competing”. Surprising thought coming from a guy with a legacy that will prevail as long as pro-basketball is played in the United States.
West continues… “I felt at times, ‘My goodness, you’re among the upper echelon,’ there is still a huge void there. A huge void. It is about self-esteem.” …
“I see people that have success and I see how poised and polished they are and how they handle it”. Jerry, you just described yourself and how you are perceived.
Nearly everyone who is determined, focused and talented enough to play in the NBA is psychologically very different from you or I. West probably takes this to another level as he is a top 1% type of person in a multitude of ways.
- Most Outstanding Player in a Final Four (1959)
- co-captain of the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal winning basketball team
- lead the Lakers to 9 Western Division/Conference titles in 14 years as a pro
- selected to the All-Star team every season he played (’61-’74)
- Upon retirement ranked in the top 5 all-time in Points, Assists, Field Goals Made, Free Throws Made and was considered the greatest defensive guard in history
- owner of 9 NBA championship rings
- Did I mention The Logo???
- supremely popular and well liked among millions of basketball fans around the globe
- most enduring figure ever in his home state of West Virginia
- well-spoken, confident and thoughtful in public light
- portrayed in a positive tone among the media
- the possessor of an incredibly strong work ethic
- happily married (it appears)
- proud father (presumably)