Remembering Jerry West

You knew him as the silhouette in the NBA logo and one of the greatest to ever play the game; I knew him as West Virginia’s favourite son and a personal hero. However you knew Jerry West, the news of his death has likely touched you deeply.

There have been two times in my 39 years that my personal gravity was impacted merely by being in the same (albeit large) room as somebody who I had never (and would never) meet personally. Those two people were Barack Obama and Jerry West. When I graduated from WVU in 2006, West was our commencement speaker. Among the many things he told us that day that have stayed with me through the years were the three traits he thought we would all need for the life ahead of us:

All of you have also made it here to West Virginia University. Your paths are as varied as your faces. Your journey, however, has just begun. Believe it or not, the easy part is over.

When I arrived at the University, I was homesick for Cabin Creek, the town of 500 I had left behind. I soon realized that my dreams and goals had to expand. While I had a God-given gift, that gift was not going to be enough.

And while I did not realize it at the time, my goals were achieved because I possessed three additional characteristics. It is these three characteristics that define a fighter. These three characteristics allow a fighter to believe in his goals.

They are character, determination and resolve.

Character, determination and resolve will give you the foundation needed to face the world.

His entire speech is worth a read, whether you’re looking for inspiration or would just like to remember him.

Rest peacefully, Jerry. When we finally build a Mount Rushmore for beloved West Virginians, yours will be all four of the faces.




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