West Virginia State Museum Education

West Virginia's Historic People

Important People

Jerome Alan "Jerry" West

Jerry West

Jerome Alan “Jerry” West (1938- ) was selected in 1966 as one of the 50 greatest NBA basketball players ever. He was an All-American at WVU for two years before playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. When he retired as an active player, West ranked third in the NBA in regular-season scoring. He later coached the Lakers, and then became general manager of the team, before retiring in 2000. In 2002, citing boredom and a chance to build another winning team, West joined the Memphis Grizzlies as president of basketball operations. West was a member of the 1960 USA Olympic Basketball team, which won the gold medal. In August of 2000, West attended a ceremony naming a stretch of road, which runs past the former WVU field house, Jerry West Boulevard.

“I think it’s pretty cool, myself,” West said. “It really is an honor. This state’s been very, very meaningful for me. I come back here every year. I love the people here. I almost wish my career hadn’t taken me to Los Angeles because this is a place I truly love.” Although he has been called “Zeke from Cabin Creek,” (a name he does not like) West actually was born and grew up in Chelyan. He graduated from East Bank High School in 1956.

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