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Yes, Jerry West Won An NBA Championship, But The Laker Great Has A Poor NBA Finals Record

Jerry West is consistently named as one of the NBA’s best players to ever put on a jersey. If you are to believe ESPN or SLAM lists of greatest of all-time are accurate, you’ll see West’s name fall somewhere below Oscar Robertson and Kobe Bryant but above Karl Malone and Elgin Baylor, meaning West typically falls in the latter half of the top 20. 

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West wasn’t just one of the league’s greatest players, but he’s an NBA champion, a multiple time all-star, and known as The Logo because his silhouette was the muse for the official NBA logo.

Most NBA fans are more familiar with West’s name as someone in a suit than an NBA jersey. West has carved out one of the most successful post-playing careers. As a league executive, West built a reputation with an uncanny skill helping organizations build successful, championship-caliber teams with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. 

As an executive, he won multiple championships and was named NBA Executive of the Year twice in 1995 and 2007. Usually after a couple years in the front office, West transformed his teams into contenders with significantly increased odds such as the odds to win in online casino such as Ignition Casino and ESPN analysts.

Did Jerry West Win An NBA Championship?

No matter how great a player is, there are always those willing to take them down a notch or five. We don’t have to look any further than all the LeBron James haters that exist today. The same goes with Jerry West, if there’s a knock on  West, the biggest has to be his inability to bring home the NBA championship. Despite all his all-star games and scoring over 25,000 points in his NBA career, he only won one NBA championship as a player.

West did eventually win more NBA Championships as an executive. He was part of the Los Angeles Lakers organization as a Scout and then General Manager during the Showtime Lakers era that brought home five NBA championship trophies (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) and another as with the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant Lakers in 2000.

After some years in Memphis crafting a competitive team, West joined the Golden State Warriors as an Executive Board Member in 2011 and he helped to build a team that would add two more NBA titles to his trophy case (2015 and 2017). As an executive, West’s career is nearly unparalleled and certainly one of the best executives in the history of the league.

In the face of that, we’re certain West would trade a couple of those championships to have sipped champagne in the locker room during his actual playing days.

Jerry West NBA Finals Record

It’s one thing to not win an NBA championship, it’s another to reach the pinnacle of the postseason and come up short multiple times. Jerry West’s Lakers teams advanced to the NBA Finals an impressive nine times – the problem is that West’s career (1960-74) overlapped with Bill Russell’s (1956-69) – you know the player with the most rings.

We’ve all seen that photo of Russell with the widest grin with each of his fingers adorned with a championship ring. If you haven’t seen that photo, here it is:

Jerry West’s NBA Finals record is a frustrating 1-8 meaning he won one NBA championship despite making it to the NBA Finals nine times. In each of the six NBA Finals in which West’s Lakers met up with Russell’s Celtics, they lost.

In game seven of the 1969 NBA Finals, West was determined to win his first NBA championship. The living legend played through a leg injury and notched a triple double with 42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Still his team lost to the Celtics. The performance moved Celtics center Bill Russell to say, “Los Angeles has not won the championship, but Jerry West is a champion.”

West would face the New York Knicks three times in the NBA Finals; winning one of those matchups in 1972. West finally would capture that elusive title two years before he would go on to retire.

You know sometimes your career comes at a time when there are just greater teams. The Celtics in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Lakers and Celtics in the 1980’s, Jordan’s Bulls in the 1990’s and the LeBron-Curry Era of the 2010’s. In an alternative universe, we can see Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing with championship rings. It’s the same universe where Jerry West’s legacy includes winning a couple more of those eight NBA Finals he lost.

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