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Jerry West

Steps Down As Player In 1974

West left professional basketball in 1974 as the third highest career scorer in NBA history, with a total of 25,192 points in 932 games. Only Chamberlain and Robertson had better records at that time, although in the years to come five other NBA players would surpass him. His career average of 27 points per game is the fourth highest ever, behind Michael Jordan, Chamberlain, and Baylor. West still retains the record for the highest average points per game for a player over the age of 30, for 31.2 points per game during the 1969-70 season, when he was 31.

Career Statistics

NBA Regular Season 932 25192 27.0 .474 .814 4449 6238 81 23
NBA Playoffs 153 4457 29.1 .469 .805 855 970
NBA All-Star Games 12 160 13.3 .453 .720 47 55

West's absence from basketball was relatively brief. He returned as the Lakers coach for the 1976-77 season

Jerry West, right

and over the next three years coached Los Angeles to a 145-101 record and the team's first return to the playoffs since he had left the team as a player. After three years as coach, West worked for another three years as a special consultant and scout for the Lakers and in 1982 signed on as the team's general manager. In that post he played a pivotal role in building the Lakers dynasty of the 1980s. West found that even off the court he was unable to shake the nervous condition that had troubled him in his years as a player. But he found that it was an essential part of who he was and how he operated as an executive. In a 1990 interview with the Orange County Register, West observed: "If I'm not nervous, if I don't have at least a little bit of the same self-doubt and anxious feelings I had when I started playing, then it will be time for me to go on. I must have that tension."

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Famous Sports StarsBasketballJerry West Biography - Born In Cheylan, West Virginia, Picked By Lakers In Nba Draft, Chronology, Shines In Playoffs - SELECTED WRITINGS BY WEST: