Jerry West, the iconic NBA player whose silhouette graces the league’s logo, died on Wednesday morning, according to an announcement by the Los Angeles Clippers. West, 86, died with his wife, Karen, by his side.

In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver lauded West’s unparalleled contributions to the sport, calling him a “basketball genius” and a “defining figure in our league for more than 60 years.”

Silver highlighted West’s dual legacy as both an exceptional player and a visionary, “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,” Silver said to CNN.

West, affectionately known as “Mr. Clutch” for his ability to perform under pressure, was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1960. Over his 14-year career, West established himself as one of the game’s greatest point guards and shooting guards, earning 14 All-Star selections and leading the Lakers to the NBA Finals nine times. His legendary status was further cemented when he became a co-captain of the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1960.

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West’s strategic mind was seen through his executive roles, where he played a pivotal part in assembling championship-winning teams. His contributions to the sport will be formally recognized this October when he is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, making him the first person to receive this honor as both a player and a contributor.

The basketball community mourns the loss of a figure whose impact was felt across generations. West’s legacy is not only etched in the history books but also in the hearts of fans and players who revered him.

“On behalf of the NBA, we send our deepest condolences to Jerry’s wife, Karen, his family, and his many friends in the NBA community,” Silver said.

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