tv President Trump Presents Medal of Freedom to Jerry West CSPAN September 6, 2019 12:02am-12:20am EDT
america's military project. on c-span2 at 7:30, general jim .attis talks about his new book looking at his life and career in the military. >> watch c-span's campaign 2020 coverage of democratic residential candidates at the democratic convention. saturday.ages at 9:00 listen with the free c-span radio app. >> president trump awarded the medal of freedom to basketball hall of fame player jerry west. 81 years old, who played guard for the los angeles lakers. the ceremony took place in the white house oval office. president trump: thank you very much for coming today. it's my privilege to award to -- our nations highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of
read him, to a remarkable man, jerry west. i would like to congratulate you on this tremendous atresia and -- achievement and congratulations to your family. we are delighted to be joined by jerry's wife, karen, and their wonderful family. thank you very much, everybody. look at that family, huh? you did a good job. beautiful. we are also pleased to have with us senator joe manchin and governor jim justice. two terrific people. stand up, jim, in case they can't see you. now you can see him. that's great. great to have you. joe, thank you very much. thank you both for being here. they are busy. they are very busy people, and i think we will meet on a certain subject later on, joe, and that's good. jerry was born in west virginia in 1938, the fifth of six children. he grew up hiking in the woods, fishing in the clear water and exploring the beautiful mountains of west virginia, great, great state.
i should not say this, but i won it by 43 points. that's a lot. we love west virginia. probably helped you getting this award today. we like you, jerry. more than anything else, what jerry liked doing is play basketball and west virginia. -- playing basketball in west virginia. starting at age six, he taught himself on the dirt surfaces of his neighborhood's backyard. when it rained, his sister said it was called the mud wallow. do you remember that at all? the mud wallow. but nothing ever stopped him. jerry later reflected that "everything i did, i tried to do perfectly. not just well but perfectly, and it hasn't changed i don't think too much, has it. we ended a great senior year, jerry spent it in high school with a west virginia scoring ,ecord of 1501 points
approximately 60 major colleges and universities tried to -- toical -- or recruit recruit jerry, but he decided very intelligently that he would stay in west virginia, and he went to west virginia university in 1956, donning his famous number 44 jersey. he set 17 mountaineer records, was named the ncaa's most outstanding player in 1959 and was a two-time consensus all-american. wow. west virginia won 87% of the games in which jerry was in the line-up, and one the southern conference all three years he played varsity. after graduating, jerry played on the 1960 usa olympic team, which swept every matchup, including a much-anticipated showdown with the soviet union. in that game, jerry was the highest scorer, accounting for nearly a quarter of america's points. to this day, the olympic gold medal is his most prized possession. is that still so?
that's pretty good, jerry. you've got plenty of possessions. maybe we will top it today. i don't know. we will see. jerry then joined the los angeles lakers. we all know that. in the years that followed, he was to become a legend. he made plays that will be remembered forever. i know many of them. in the january 1962 game against the new york knicks, jerry scored nearly half of the lakers' total, setting a personal scoring record of 63 points in less than 40 minutes. in game three of the 1962 finals against the celtics, jerry rallied the lakers and tried very hard, i will tell you, he tried so hard, and that was a great rally of all time. up 115-115 with three seconds left. the celtics had the ball, and sam jones, he was a good one, too, was it he? sam jones. they were all good on that team. passed the ball to bob cousy, who was here a few weeks ago.
i don't know if he would want this story told, so we will tell it quietly, but jerry suddenly rushed forward, stole the ball before it reached cousy, and made a layup in the final second, winning the game. in that iconic 19 tunes -- 1962 season, jerry earned the nickname of mr. clutch, a name that stuck. over the course of his 14 nba seasons, he broke the record for the most points scored in the history of the lakers, was named the nba finals mvp, and was inducted into the basketball hall of fame. but perhaps the greatest commemoration of his legacy was the legendary playing career, was the nba logo. today, the silhouette of jerry west is displayed on every uniform, court, and basketball in the league. still the same one, jerry, right? we don't want them to change it, do we? better not change it. you never know. after his playing career ended
in 1974, jerry went on to coach the lakers for three seasons and later served as general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations for nearly 20 years. in the summer of 1996, he succeeded in securing both kobe bryant and shaquille o'neal, 2 truly great players, creating an unstoppable force in the nba. under his management, the lakers won four championships, and he was named executive of the year in 1995. jerry went on to serve as the president of basketball operations for the struggling themis grizzlies, and took to the playoffs three times. he was executive of the year again in 2004. he then joined the executive board of the warriors. recently, he became a consultant for the clippers. he helped sign kawhiis some pla.
we were talking about that. of the two ofn them will be an interesting season. great ones. jerry is one of the greatest negotiators, managers and executives in the history of the nba. in addition to his sterling professional career, jerry helped raise millions of dollars for charity in los angeles, contributed to a flood of relief efforts in west virginia and generally just incredible supporter of west virginia and west virginia university. he has also brought awareness to the risks of arterial fibrillation. i did not know that, jerry. that's very good. that's big stuff for you. that's very good. that's very good. and is a passionate supporter of our nation's veterans. jerry works harder than just about anybody i can imagine, helping our nation's veterans. jerry west is one extraordinary american, and i would like to
ask the military aid to come forward and present jerry allen west with the presidential medal of freedom this is so richly deserved. thank you very much. thank you, jerry. congratulations. [applause] >> jerry allen west is one of the greatest basketball players and sports executives of all time. after an outstanding collegiate career at west virginia university, mr. west played in -- 14 season than -- seasons in the nba with the lakers, making the all-star team each year. in 1972, mr. clutch helped lead the lakers to their first championship. a few years later, he was inducted into the basketball hall of fame. after his playing career, he was the legendary manager responsible for building the laker juggernauts of the 1980's and 2000's. the united states now proudly honest jerry west whose excellence and determination have made him a true basketball icon.
[applause] mr. west: first of all, thank you, mr. president. where should i begin? it never ceases to amaze me, the places you can go in this world. chain saying -- chasing a bouncing ball. my chase began in west virginia basket strung a wire with no net to the side of a bridge. if a shot did not go in, the ball rolled down a long bank. you would be taking it forever. so you better make it. i was a dreamer. my family did not have much, but we had a clear view of the
appalachian mountains and as -- i would sit on the front porch and wonder if i ever make it at the top of the mountain, what will i feel on the other side? well, i did make it to the other side and my dreams have come true. i have been able to see it, see the sides thanks to that bouncing ball. i spent my childhood in west virginia and my adulthood in los angeles. two of the most profoundly different places in this country and i have been shaped by wonderful people in both. i would have never made it to west virginia university without a surrogate mother of sorts who gave me a room at her house and constantly fed me to pack weight on my 160-pound frame. she cursed me when i needed it, and, boy, that was a lot, like the time i came back home before my freshman year personally convinced i did not belong in college, and helped me when i needed it, which was probably at the same time.
she was strong, sassy, italian, not so much different than another incredible woman i eventually met in los angeles and married. thank you, karen, for accompanying me and tolerating me on this long, rich american journey. i have experienced a country at war, a country at peace, a time when we huddled around the radio with terrible reception to hear president roosevelt's weekly addresses, to a time when we read on our cell phone president trump's instantaneous tweets. you are pretty good at that, by the way. [laughter] i suffered excruciating losses both personally and professionally. i'm not going to say how many nba final losses to those damned celtics, and exhilarating victories, but the one i cherish most was a group of fellow amateurs at the 1960 olympics. as i stood on the gold medal
stand with my friend and soon to be adversary oscar robertson, i thought about my brother david, who had died fighting in korea when i was 13, and how proud i was to represent the united states of america and west virginia, the state of west virginia. i have tried in my life to do for others what david did for me -- lead, protect, and assist whenever possible. the david west and willie aker's academic center at west virginia university is a place where i hope young men and women and my -- in my home state can also dream about the top of the mountain, and take the first steps towards realizing those dreams. i am surrounded here today by my wonderful family, although my s anna and barbara weren't able to make the trip. i have been blessed with five remarkable sons.
mark, brian, and john. i have been privileged to work for four fantastic basketball franchises. the los angeles lakers, where i celebrated the most memorable triumphs, where i mourned the most painful setbacks and partnered with a true visionary, they buss, who changed landscape of professional sports. michael heisley, the memphis grizzlies gave me an opportunity to rebuild a franchise looking for its way. the golden state warriors, where i witnessed some of the most beautiful basketball ever played alongside a most unique and successful ownership group. and now the la clippers. i work with an incredible and inspirational leader, steve ballmer. maybe i'm prejudiced, but the best staff i have ever known. i have had many great coaches and teammates i will never forget. as a player, i was flanked by the great elgin baylor, the most supportive and greatest player
of that era, and later, the great wilt chamberlain. as an executive, i have been just as fortunate and been involved with truly incredible groups of the greatest players who have ever played this game. magic, worthy, shaquille, kobe, steph, klay, kevin, at the golden state warriors. and now kawhi leonard and paul george with the clippers. i marvel at them, at the joy they brought basketball fans all over the world. the bouncing ball brought me there and here. when karen first read on the internet that i was going to receive the medal, the presidential medal of freedom, we were both shocked and surprised and amused. i thought it was a joke. then when west virginia center
-- senator joe manson confirmed the honor, i'm sure he had a big part in the selection -- thank you, joe, for being here today. also my friend, the governor of west virginia, jim justice. i appreciate you being here today also, jim. i look at the list of other on noreed bywas in -- ho bill gates and warren buffett, philanthropic champions. martin luther king, sesser shabbos, nelson mandela, simon wiesenthal, desmond tutu, legendary leaders. , bill russell, athletebdul-jabbar, activists. michael jordan, tiger woods, stevie wonder, excellence personified. john wooden, frank robinson, arnold palmer and vin scully.
friends i try to it -- emulate. mild -- my name is going to look like a misprint on this list. mr. president, thank you for including me among this incredible group of people. [applause] president trump: congratulations to jerry. also, congratulations on your marriage to a great golfer. thank you everybody. it is a great honor, a great man, a great pleasure. you are going to be around a long time. thank you. [applause] >> in alabama, there were millions of the -- in the storm's path -- >> thank you very much. >> c-span's "washington journal"
live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, former republican congressman and current nra board member bob barr discusses efforts to reduce gun violence. women iniscussion of the republican party. with democracy alliance senior advisor julie kohler. watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. and live friday, a discussion about updating the 1996 communications decency act, which gives websites in immunity from liability for what their users post. we will be live from the american enterprise institute at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and at noon eastern, the heritage foundation hosts a form on -- a forum on the rebuilding america's military project, focused on the u.s. army. on c-span2 at 7:30, retired general jim mattis, former
defense secretary, talks about his new book "callsign chaos," looking at his life and career in the military. >> vice president pence met with british prime minister boris johnson a day after the prime prime minister lost two key votes in the house of commons, one that would bar him from a new deal brexit and another blocking his efforts to hold a snap general election on october 15. >> good afternoon. vice president, have a seat. we welcome you to number 10, mr. vice president. great to have you here. i had a wonderful time at thg7 do together. free trade, all that.