No wonder Jerry West will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
They might as well call this the Jerry West NBA Finals.
One of The Logo’s first moves when new Golden State Warriors owner Joe Macomb retained him as his chief basketball consultant was the drafting of Stephen Curry from Davidson.
Then, when the Lakers couldn’t make up their mind on broadcaster Michael Thompson to convince his son, Klay, to leave Washington State early if the Lakers would draft him in the second round, West drafted him with the 11th overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery in 2011.
Voila! The Splash Brothers were born.
They helped the Golden State Warriors to a rebirth in the NBA Finals in Game 5 Monday night.
In 2008, West took all the Lakers’ bad contracts off their hands when he gift-wrapped Pau Gasol and tickets to the next three NBA Finals to the Lakers.
One of those was Marc Gasol, Pau’s kid brother, who blossomed into an all-star in Memphis, and is now a key contributor to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.
Three years ago, when Kevin Durant was listening to free agent sales pitches as an Oklahoma City Thunder expatriate, it was Jerry West who convinced him to sign with Golden State.
Now West runs the Clippers.
The same Clippers Kawhi Leonard makes no secret of wanting to join as a free agent this summer.
Only Jerry West could turn the NBA Finals into a two-week job interview for the Los Angeles Clippers.
West has two max contracts to bestow in July.
If you had an NBA free agent choice of the two teams in L.A., who would you choose?
Or the guy who was backstabbing Magic Johnson?
A parting shot about the world champions, please.
Finally, here in their fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals, they are confronting their own mortality.
Just like the injury-wracked Lakers of 1988, and the twilight Boston Celtics of 1969 did.
Steph Curry couldn’t throw a ball into Lake Ontario for a good stretch of these Finals.
But when it counted, he and Thompson put the champions on their back and lifted them all the way back to Oakland.
Win or lose — and not just because they have my name across their chests — they are to be cherished and admired.