'West by West': 20 stories from Jerry West's autobiography

Basketball great Jerry West's autobiography is rife with revelations about the legend.

By , Staff writer

2. Secret preference

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In 1966, while West was in the NBA, he secretly rooted for Texas Western (now the University of Texas at El Paso) to beat Kentucky in a historic national championship college game. The contest was the first in which an all-black starting lineup (Texas Western’s) played for the NCAA title. Until revealing this in his biography, West said he’d never told anybody that he silently backed the Miners, and certainly not Pat Riley, who played for all-white Kentucky and eventually became a Laker teammate and close friend. Toppling a color barrier, West felt, was “great for basketball,” especially against a team that epitomized basketball segregation.

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