LeBron James leads heartfelt tributes to Jerry West as Los Angeles Lakers and NBA legend passes away at 86

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James led the tributes to NBA legend Jerry West on social media after the basketball mogul passed away Tuesday at 86. 

James has played for the Lakers since 2018, while West was either a player, coach, or executive for the team from 1960-2000. 

‘Will truly miss our convos my dear friend! My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy!’ James said on X. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also quickly followed suit to pay tribute to the man silhouetted in his league’s logo. 

‘Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years,’ Silver said in a statement. ‘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.’

LeBron James paid tribute to Jerry West on social media after the news broke of his passing

West and James had met on a few occasions with LeBron now starring for the LA Lakers

West and James had met on a few occasions with LeBron now starring for the LA Lakers

‘He was the league’s first Finals MVP and made rising to the occasion his signature quality, earning him the nickname “Mr. Clutch”‘. 

‘… I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life,’ Silver continued. ‘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.’

Former NBA star and coach Nick Van Exel was drafted by West in 1993.  

‘RIH Jerry West. Drafted me in the 2nd round and gave me a shot as a young player that wasn’t the better pg at the time. Always kept it a 100 with me and I always knew where you were coming from. Prayers to the family!! Tough loss,’ Van Exel said on social media. 

Sports commentator Skip Bayless saluted West, including seeing Kobe Bryant’s potential as a Laker and trading for him at the No 13 overall spot in the 1996 NBA Draft. 

‘I loved Jerry West, I loved him as a player and as a guru, a franchise-builder because its rare that a player of his caliber and quality can then transfer that into being able to pick players,’ Bayless said. 

Because too many times as we saw with Michael Jordan, you’re so good at what you do, you can’t see it. You’re never going to pick somebody as good or better than you were. It’s just hard to see what works on a much lesser level,’ Bayless continued. 

ESPN’s Mike Greenberg also talked about West’s impact. 

‘Jerry West will forever be among the most accomplished people in the history of American sports,’ Greenberg said on X. ‘He was relevant and dominant in every decade since the 1950s, a player well ahead of his time, a visionary executive, and a role model for every generation that has followed in the path he created. RIP to the logo, no one who loves sports will ever forget you.’

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