During his active basketball career West played professionally for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. His trademark on the field was the mid-range jump shot. He became a leader both on the field and on the courtside for the team.
West was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980 and voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996.
After his playing career ended, West took over as head coach of the Lakers for three years and guided them during three seasons. He led Los Angeles into the playoffs each year and earned a Western Conference Finals berth once. He spent three seasons as coach guiding them and later on became a talent scout and then general manager.
West moved on as the GM for Memphis Grizzlies and won two NBA Executive of the Year awards in1995 and 2004. He continued as an adviser for The Golden State Warriors. Shortly after they won their second title he left to consult for Los Angeles Clippers.
What may have been his greatest testament to his career is when he served as a model for the ubiquitous red, white, and blue NBA logo.
He came from a poor childhood in West Virginia, was one of six children. Had a rough start in the game but later made the cut to his High School Team and became a leader and an early age.