There are few personalities in sports more enigmatic than Jerry West. He's a man of incredible achievement who views his life largely through a lens of loss and failure. For legions of basketball fans (and, frankly, many basketball players and executives I suspect), it's an outlook difficult to comprehend. It also makes him a fascinating subject for feature writing, and with that in mind if you haven't yet had a chance to do so, be sure to carve out some time for this feature on West, written by Grantland's Jonathan Abrams.
It's a great piece, detailing among other things West's struggles with self-esteem, his relationship -- or more specifically, the lack of one -- with the Lakers, and how he views his new job in Golden State, likely West's last high profile position in the NBA. Abrams, who spent time with West in his native West Virginia, paints a picture throughout of how West's personality developed and how it influenced his professional life, both as a player and executive:
"... At its core, basketball always supplied West with a nondebatable ledger, only it never solved his anguish or his anxiety or his frustration and pain. The game served as an outlet and record-keeper for him. That's it. There are no ties, no middle ground, no confusion about the outcome. One side always wins -- that's good. One side always loses -- that's bad. Cut-and-dry. That's what drove West to become the player and executive he once was, that's what haunted him then and haunts him now, and that's what pulled him back to the NBA one last time."
So read the story, then click on the link above for the interview (or listen first, then read, or do both at once -- I'm not here to tell you how to live your life) for more detail.