President Donald Trump announced in June that 81-year-old basketball legend and WVU alum Jerry West will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“The Great Jerry West will be receiving our nation’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his outstanding career, both on and off the court,” Trump tweeted.
West, a native of Chelyan, WV, graduated from WVU in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and in 1988 was inducted into the College’s inaugural Hall of Fame and then selected as Outstanding Alumnus in 2006. He was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by WVU on May 14, 2006.
West was a two-time All-American player at WVU who led the Mountaineers to the 1959 NCAA finals in Louisville, KY.
He later became a 14-time NBA all-star from 1961-74 with the Los Angeles Lakers, leading them to an NBA title in 1972. He was named All-NBA first team 10 times, was voted most valuable player of the 1969 NBA finals and was named MVP of the 1972 NBA All-Star Game. In 2002, West joined the Memphis Grizzlies as president of basketball operations, where he was honored with the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award. He retired from the basketball organization in 2007.
West’s silhouette as a player was used to create the NBA logo and is still used today.