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"Mr. Clutch" Jerry West Honored With Staples Center Statue

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In an emotional unveiling ceremony held yesterday evening, Lakers veteran Jerry West, aka "Mr. Clutch" was honored with a bronze statue on the plaza at Staples Center. The 72-year-old, who played for Los Angeles his entire pro basketball career, was on hand, and quite taken by the moment, according to Blogdowntown, who say that when the legendary athlete pulled the cord to drop the curtain "he turned away so fast that you briefly saw the Hall of Fame guard's quickness that could drive past a defender to make a jumper, then retreat back to play defense in one fluid motion."

Speaking at the ceremony were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley, Jerry Buss, and NBA Commissioner David Stern. Also there to mark the occasion were Bill Russell, Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Walton," notes the Daily Breeze.

West earned his nickname "The Clutch" "for his ability to make a big play in a clutch situation, such as his famous buzzer-beating 63-foot (19-m) shot that tied Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the New York Knicks." During his long relationship with LA's purple and gold, West served as a head coach, as well as a player scout, and general manager. Under West, the Lakers earned seven championship rings.