Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WVU BASKETBALL ; West Collection Highlights Legendary Career Memorabilia from East Bank, WVU and NBA Star Goes on Display in Morgantown

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WVU BASKETBALL ; West Collection Highlights Legendary Career Memorabilia from East Bank, WVU and NBA Star Goes on Display in Morgantown

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN - The most amazing thing about what Jerry West did Monday was not that he donated a collection of items from his storied basketball career to his alma mater. It wasn't that West, unquestionably among West Virginia University's top exports, once again gave so much of himself to a place that means more to him than he can explain. The most unthinkable part of it all is that someone managed to talk West into publicizing the gesture.

"Anonymity has always been important to me, probably the most important thing in my life, said West, who to this day, stays away from basketball games and the big crowds that can't help but adore and approach him.

"Unfortunately, I still don't have much of it, he said.

Time and again, West has given the school gifts, sometimes to some fanfare that he had to agree to first, oftentimes with no headlines at all. On Monday, he was here to mark the dedication of the Jerry West Collection. The keepsakes and a tribute to the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder will be on display at the West Virginia & Regional History Center within the WVU Libraries.

"I asked my wife to find some pretty unique pieces that might be out there that might be fun for people to see, West said. "I can't believe that someone would do something like this. It's just very special.

Fittingly, the event was on West Virginia Day, the state's 153rd birthday.

"What a treasure, Mountaineers men's basketball coach Bob Huggins said. "He is, I think, probably more a symbol of this great state and the people here than the NBA. He is Mr. West Virginia.

It's merely the latest and not the last in a series of good things West has done for and provided to the university, which said "yes when West asked to give well more than $1 million in gifts across the years. That includes money to fund scholarships and an academic center inside the Coliseum.

"I'm not here to call attention to my contributions to the university in terms of dollars given, but there will be something going forward, there will be some other gifts from me, he said.

"I don't like people to even know it, but what's the most gratifying thing about it is when I see someone who has been a beneficiary of a couple scholarship funds I have or a building here that has four rooms, and one is dedicated to my brother, who was killed in Korea.

West's brother, David, was killed in action during the Korean War when he was 22, 10 years older than Jerry.

"It's really kind of sad they send his stuff back to the house in a little wooden box, West said.

The box remained at the family's home in Cabin Creek while West began to make a name for himself in high school and then became a star in college. He and Oscar Robertson were co-captains of the team that won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome before West began is 14-year career in the NBA, but a fire burned down the family house in the 1960s. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.