to read

Basketball legend Jerry West passes away

LOS ANGELES (USA) - Olympic gold medalist and NBA legend Jerry West has died. He was 86.

A native of West Virginia, West went from being a two-time All-America guard for the Mountaineers in college basketball to gold medal winner with the USA at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and then a long career in the NBA, as a player and then executive.

West's silhouette is the logo of the NBA.

He was the American dream.

Growing up in the coal country of West Virginia, West was like a lot of other boys in the state because he liked to hunt and fish.

Yet West also had a passion for basketball, which, according to his biography on NBA.com, grew as he shot at a hoop that had been nailed to a neighbor's storage shed, no matter what time of year.

It was on those days in his childhood and teens that he learned how to make tough shots, "ignoring mud and snow in the backyard..."

His star-studded days with the West Virginia Mountaineers naturally paved the way for West to play for the USA at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. West, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas formed an impressive triumvirate and led the Americans to eight wins in as many games and a gold medal.

Later, reflecting on that time with the USA, West said: "There was so much going on in the world then, the threat of nuclear war, the Cold War, racism. The world was in turmoil.

"When I was selected, it was like the dream of a lifetime. When you went to the ceremonies, it was just incredible the feeling that you had inside."