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'The Logo' Immortalized in Bronze at Staples Center

Victor Marticorena |
February 18, 2011 | 10:40 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The Lakers unveiled a statue dedicated to Jerry West on Thursday. (Creative Commons/Rob Poetsch)
The Lakers unveiled a statue dedicated to Jerry West on Thursday. (Creative Commons/Rob Poetsch)
There is a small list of local sports icons who are immortalized in the form of a statue at Staples Center: Earvin “Magic” Johnson; “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky; “The Golden Boy,” Oscar De La Hoya; and the late, great, Francis “Chick” Hearn. As of Thursday night, those four now share the space at star plaza with one more legend: “Mr. Clutch,” Jerry West.

At a time when the NBA celebrates the best players in the league, the Lakers honored one of the greatest to ever represent the Purple and Gold -- both on and off the court.

In a touching ceremony, former players, coaches, GMs, owners and fans honored West’s contributions to the organization and to the basketball community.

Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Mitch Kupchak, Pat Riley, David Stern and Jerry Buss all sat on the stage with West. Each took a moment to reflect about West's time with the Lakers before the ceremony culminated in a five-second countdown by all in attendance and West tugging on a large golden rope to reveal his larger-than-life bronze statue.

Other current and former players who were impacted in some way by West were in attendance, including Pau Gasol, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Walton, Kurt Rambis, James Worthy, Norm Nixon, Michael Cooper and Tyronn Lue.

“I know you thought nobody was going to show up today,” Johnson joked during his speech.

In reality, quite a few people showed up. A number of fans gathered around the outside of the ceremony and chanted “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” 

“Please enjoy this moment today because you deserve it, and people do love you,” Johnson said.

During his speech, West thanked numerous people, including the fans, his family, his teammates and even his opponents.

“To be honored by the people I admire most is just incredible," he said. “Every time I put on a Laker uniform, I was filled with a tremendous sense of pride”

It was fitting that one of the greatest Lakers of all time was immortalized at Staples Center to kick off the week's All-Star festivities.

The man who has arguably done the most for the Lakers' organization got the recognition he deserved at the place they now call home.

Jerry West, you truly are one of a kind.



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