NBA Finals: Mavericks, Celtics honor Hall of Famer Jerry West ahead of Game 3

The NBA honored Hall of Famer Jerry West on Wednesday night ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals, just hours after his death.

West, who died earlier on Wednesday, was 86.

The league played a tribute video and then held a moment of silence ahead of the national anthem before Game 3 between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Both coaches addressed West's death before the game.

“When you talk about the logo, Jerry was a gentleman to everyone,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said, via The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds. “He was the best.”

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said one of the “most impactful phone calls” he ever received was from West when he was in college.

"He had a tough way of showing that he loved you, but he was super competitive and he really, really cared about you," Mazzulla said."

Both Charles Barkley and former Warriors general manager Bob Myers honored West on their respective pregame shows on Wednesday afternoon, too.

West, who was the inspiration for the NBA’s logo, was one of the biggest names in the league for decades. He won nine championships as a player, scout, coach, executive and consultant. He made the NBA Finals nine times as a player, though he fell to Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics six times, and he was named the Finals MVP in 1969 despite being on the losing team. West, who spent his entire playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was among the league’s first 25,000-point scorers. He averaged 27 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds throughout his career.

He helped build the “Showtime” Lakers in the 1980s, and he landed both Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant before leaving the franchise in 2000. West also spent time running the Memphis Grizzlies and worked as an executive board member with both the Golden State Warriors — where he helped oversee two more titles before he left in 2017 — and the Clippers.

West was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a player in 1980 and again as a member of the gold medal-winning 1960 U.S. Olympics team in 2010. He will be inducted again this fall as a contributor for his work in a non-playing/coaching capacity. West was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.

"Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "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. He was the league’s first Finals MVP and made rising to the occasion his signature quality."

Advertisement