The 21 Greatest NBA stars that played for a single team

Dirk Nowitzki NBA, Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Dirk Nowitzki NBA, Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
12 of 22

NBA stars that played for one team #11: Jerry West

Younger NBA fans probably know Hall of Famer Jerry West as the league’s logo, and there’s a reason for that. West was one of the best players of his era: an elite and efficient scorer, a talented passer, as well as a terrific defender. West has the seventh-highest scoring average in NBA history with a minimum of 900 games, proving that was is not only a top-tier scorer but has staying power too. He spent his entire 14-season career with the Lakers, helping them make nine NBA Finals.

West was a winner, even when he lost. He became the first and, so far, the only player to win the Most Valuable Player award on a losing NBA Finals team. He was also the second-leading scorer on the famous 1971–72 Lakers team that won a record 33 straight games in a row and a then-record 69 games overall. They would go on to win the championship that year, earning West his only title as a player. He retired in 1974, but not before amassing 25,000 points and making 14 straight All-Star teams.

Even after his retirement, West continued to give his all to the Lakers. He coached the Lakers for three seasons, guiding them to a 145–101 record. West was then a scout before becoming general manager in 1982.

As GM, he helped build the Showtime Lakers by drafting Hall of Famer James Worthy, giving a team that had already won a championship another weapon. They went to six NBA Finals and won three more championships. He later famously orchestrated the pre-draft trade that landed Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles and then signed Shaquille O’Neal in the summer of 1996.

That resulted in the Lakers making four more NBA Finals and 3-peating, allowing West to add to his championship haul as an executive. In total, West spent 37 years with Los Angeles as a player, coach, scout, and executive, winning seven championships, proving himself in all aspects of the game, and showing his loyalty to the Lakers.