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Mountaineers in the Pros

Jerry West on His Competitiveness as Player: ‘I Was a Wolf, Used to Eat Dogs’



Jerry West

Be a wolf, not a dog. That’s the message Jerry West offered to convey the competitiveness he played with during his legendary NBA career.

“The word comes up a lot. That guy is a dog. Well, I was a wolf. Okay. I used to eat dogs,” West said while being interviewed at the NBA Con event at the league’s Summer League home in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hearing a comment like this from the always outspoken West isn’t exactly surprising and his basketball resume, which dates back to his college days at WVU, certainly backs up his strong words.

Before establishing a legendary legacy as an executive, West played in the NBA from 1960-74, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. The West Virginia native averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists throughout his entire career.

West was also a 14-time NBA All-Star, 10-time All-NBA first team and led the Lakers to the NBA Finals 9 times, granted only winning one championship (1972). Despite falling just short in the NBA Finals, often to Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, West owns the distinction as the only player to win NBA Finals MVP on the losing team (1969).

Prior to entering the NBA as the second overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft, West became a star at WVU from 1957-1960. He led the Mountaineers to the program’s first Final Four appearance in 1959 and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament as West Virginia fell in the championship game.

Needless to say, Jerry West was a wolf and that’s better than being a dog.

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