In 2000, the Los Angeles Lakers announced the retirement of former star player and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jerry West and named Mitch Kupchak as his successor. As VP of the Lakers, West laid down the foundation that ultimately saw the Lakers win a three-peat from 2000-02. West played a critical role in trading Vlade Divac for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant, helping the Lakers secure their franchise player for the following two decades. In addition, West signed free agent center Shaquille O’Neal and acquired six-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson.
Following West’s retirement from the Lakers, he became the General Manager for the Memphis Grizzlies. It was with the Grizzlies that West earned his second Executive of the Year Award in 2004. Although the Grizzlies had a disappointing first-round exit in the 2004 playoffs, West was credited for signing Hubie Brown. Brown was named Coach Of The Year in 2004. In 2011, West joined the Golden State Warriors as an executive board member. The Warriors championship in 2015 marked West’s seventh as an executive. Most recently, the sought-after executive joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017. After acquiring superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George the Clippers made their first franchise NBA Conference FInals appearance in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.