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Jerry West on Loss, Love and the Friends He Can’t Forget

  • January 26, 2022

Do you think about the day he died?

It’s hard not to be reminded of the day he passed away. I don’t think anyone will forget that for a long time. I’ve often wondered if he had lived to, say, Elgin Baylor’s age, or even my age, would people look at him the same way? I’m not sure they would. Just the shock and sadness of seeing this very young man’s life taken seemed impossible.

Is it hard for you to talk about this?

I probably talk a lot more about him than Elgin because of the timing and the tragedy of it. A life taken so young. Elgin is the one I probably think about more because I see myself. You get up every day and you can’t deny, thank God I’m still alive and, more importantly, I don’t have any real aches and ailments. Which is all, knock on wood, because I had a bunch of injuries.

Also, the fact that I still enjoy learning. I feel really blessed. A lot of times I see my life pass before my eyes. No question, I do. I get these really blue moods, which sometimes last longer than they used to. Of course, I look at life a lot differently than I did then. I’m so much more introspective with all the people I’ve seen pass away, teammates.

I know there’s a day out there that I’m not going to wake up. I’m just fortunate to have so many people in my life that I can never thank for, most importantly, being loyal friends.

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