Jerry West Visits USC
The Laker legend and two-time Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer moved the audience with emotionally captivating stories about his childhood and his brother’s passing. He also had the classroom cracking up with a tale about historic broadcaster Chick Hearn trying to impress a woman with a false story about how he shot down the Red Baron in World War II (for non-history buffs, the Baron flew in World War I).
The lasting words West imparted on the largely student-populated crowded were simple: find something that you love to do and stay humble.
“I’ve never worked a day in my life. I won’t do anything that I don’t love to do. Ever,” West said.
“I never placed myself above someone, nor would I ever,” he added, explaining why he calls humility "the greatest word."
West even briefly discussed what he thought about his former player, Magic Johnson, participating in a group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Upon hearing about the ultimate $2.1 billion sales price, West called the sum “mind-boggling,” but understands the nature of sports has changed and has become widely monetized.
The interview and Q&A period ended just shy of the two-hour mark, and afterward, West remained in the Annenberg lobby to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
Now as he assists the Golden State Warrior’s front office, the fire West had as a player certainly has not died down, even though he last stepped on a court in 1976.
“I would kill myself to win. That’s the only thing I care about: winning and excelling,” he said.
Though most of the attendees Wednesday night never saw West on the basketball court, the crowd was in awe of his presence, proof that West’s spot as Los Angeles’ first basketball king will never be forgotten.