Jerry West (born May 28, 1938 in Chelyan, West Virginia) has had one of the most successful careers ever in professional basketball, first as a player, then as a coach and finally as an executive. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980, and his dribbling silhouette has long been used in the National Basketball Association's official logo.
Like most NBA players, West was a standout in high school and at college, attending West Virginia University and leading it to the 1959 NCAA championship game (of which he was named Most Valuable Player) before embarking on a 14-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also played for, and co-captained with Oscar Robertson, the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team in Rome.
His nicknames included "Mr. Clutch", for his skill and ability to make a shot in a clutch situation, and "Zeke from Cabin Creek", given to him by teammate Elgin Baylor, and one West was not particularly fond of. The latter name is somewhat of a misnomer, but not completely; Cabin Creek is the name of both a stream and a community near West's hometown of Chelyan. The community of Cabin Creek is on the opposite side of the stream from Chelyan as it enters the Kanawha River.
On November 26, 2005, his number 44 became the first basketball number to be retired by West Virginia University. His son Jonnie West signed to play basketball with WVU in 2006.