Jerry West: Los Angeles Lakers Legend Brave to Discuss Personal Demons Publicly

Jerry West has accomplished more in just one lifetime than most people could every hope to in an eternity, which makes the revelation of his long and arduous battle with depression that much more remarkable and admirable.

The Hall of Fame player and general manager for the Los Angeles Lakers discussed his demons during an interview for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that will air on Tuesday.

West's private woes date back to his childhood, when his father, a coal mine electrician in West Virginia, would abuse him, both physically and verbally, thereby degrading his self-esteem and sense of self-worth. West's memoir, West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life, is set to hit bookstores (what few of them are left) on Wednesday.

West says those issues never hindered him on the court during his 14-year NBA career, during which he won an NBA championship, a Finals MVP and was named to the All-NBA First Team on 10 occasions. Instead, West says he was motivated by a deep fear of failure, one that grew out of a last-second loss to Cal in the NCAA Tournament Final when he played at West Virginia. It became ever-more engrossing with each of the six defeats he suffered at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

West, a very private man whose influence within the world of sports extends far beyond the hardwood, deserves tremendous credit for speaking so honestly and publicly about his struggles. Coming clean about such a debilitating condition is an incredibly difficult task for anyone, much less a public figure like West, who has touched so many lives and serves as a role model for people around the world.

The fact that he's been able to achieve so much—become one of the greatest basketball players of all time, build two separate NBA dynasties with the Lakers, enjoy tremendous success in the business world—all while coping with depression, fear and self-doubt, speaks volumes of The Logo...

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