R.I.P to an NBA Legend - How Jerry West helped build a Golden State Warriors dynasty

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors
Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

As Klay Thompson weighs up his future in preparation for free agency in the coming weeks, it's easy to forget that the veteran sharpshooter may have been long gone from the Golden State Warriors if not for Jerry West.

The NBA legend passed away on Wednesday at 86, with West leaving an indelible mark on the league as a player, coach and executive across a number of franchises. In April it was announced he'd been enshrined to NBA Hall of Fame for a record third time.

Jerry West almost single-handedly kept Klay Thompson at the Golden State Warriors -- a decision that helped propel four NBA championships

West spent six years with the Warriors between 2011 and 2017, acting as a consultant and executive board member where he aided the franchise to a pair of championships in 2015 and 2017. He undoubtedly played a role in the subsequent 2018 and 2022 champions as well despite having left for the LA Clippers in what was his final NBA role.

The most famous moment of West's time at Golden State, barring the championships, is his now unforgettable stance on the franchise potentially trading a then 24-year-old Thompson in the 2014 offseason.

The Warriors, led by owner Joe Lacob and General Manager Bob Myers, were prepared to trade Thompson to the Minnesota Timberwolves for big man Kevin Love, only for West and new head coach Steve Kerr to step in at the last second.

So firm was West in his stance that he reportedly threatened to resign from his position were they to go through with the trade. Lacob and Myers heeded the advice, kept Thompson, and the rest they say is history.

West stated that "the perfect player for Steph was Klay" and labelled the five-time All-Star as one of the most underrated players in the league during an interview in 2020. Upon learning of his passing, Thompson took to instagram with a photo of the pair and the caption, "gonna miss Mr. West. A True pioneer of basketball and one of them ones" alongside a goat emoji.

West's impact on Thompson, the Warriors and the NBA at large will never be forgotten, and he will forever be synonymous with the league as his silhouette inspired the basis of the NBA logo.