Jerry West’s prolific career as a basketball player and coach inspires senior citizens to continue their involvement in their own communities.
Jerry West was one of the most iconic basketball players of his time. The NBA champion, 14 time All-Star, and Hall of Fame player retired from the league in 1974, at the age of 36, after 14 years of playing. For most athletes, that list of accolades and Hall of Fame acceptance would be enough, but West continued to work in basketball after his playing days were over. West served as a scout, a coach, and a general manager for another 28 years, winning four championships with his old team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and leading two franchises, the Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies, to perennial playoff status. In 2011, after stepping down as the general manager of the Grizzlies, West became a consultant for the Golden State Warriors, still working at the age of 72!
But basketball hasn’t been the only part of West’s life. After retiring, West remarried and had two children, one of whom went on to play college basketball at West Virginia, his alma mater. In 2009 West became the executive director of the Northern Trust Open, a golf tournament within the PGA tour. West also published a memoir in 2011, called West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life, which met immense critical acclaim, and became an instant best-seller.
West, now 75, is still working just as hard as he did when he was a player. Dozens of famous players, like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and more, owe their success to West, not for what he did on the court, but what he did behind it, coaching, drafting, and training these players to become the stars they are today. The man who became legendary for his work ethic and perfectionism on the court has found success pushing that determination into the rest of his work, and has left a legacy that isn’t soon to be forgotten.
If West can win championships and run corporations at his age, then there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same! West credits his success to his incredibly drive and determination to take on new challenges, and his experience as a player helped him in his post-playing career. If you have skills, find ways to use them, either working for a local business or just volunteering in your community; just because you’ve gotten older, doesn’t mean you can’t still make an impact!