This is a picture of Jerry West in a dark suit. Next to him are the words: Jerry West's Nicknames

What Were Jerry West’s Nicknames? Logo Was The Best!

Jerry West’s nicknames included Zeke from Cabin Creek, Tweety, Mr. Outside, Mr. Clutch and the Logo. Some came from West’s quiet personality and his West Virginia roots. Others came from his great play for the Lakers. The Logo came from West being the inspiration for the NBA’s iconic logo. 

Why Was Jerry West Called Zeke from Cabin Creek & the Cabin Creek Comet?

Jerry West was born in 1938,  and he grew up tough in rural West Virginia.  His father was abusive. It has been reported that West slept with a shotgun under his bed in case he ever needed to use it on his father in self-defense.

As you would expect for someone growing up in such tough circumstances, West was aggressive as a kid. But that aspect of his personality changed with the death of his brother David in the Korean War in 1951. 

At that point West did two things that would shape his life and his nicknames. First, he became more introverted and quiet. 

Next, he channeled his grief and anger into playing basketball. Boy, did that pay off. 

West was a dominant high school player for East Bank High School in West Virginia. So much so that the school renamed itself WEST Bank High School for one day every year to honor him. 

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Jerry West Poster from the University of West Virginia

He stayed home to play college ball for West Virginia University, where he was once again a dominant force. West led the Mountaineers to a Final Four and was a two-time All American.

After winning a Gold Medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics, West joined the Lakers in their first year in Los Angeles. 

Most of Jerry West’s nicknames came from the dynamic of a young, introverted West Virginia kid joining a team of sophisticated professionals in the big city. 

The first of those names comes from West’s hometown. While he was born in Cheylan, West Virginia, he lived near an unincorporated part of the state called Cabin Creek. 

When West got to Los Angeles, he still had a thick Appalachian accent that was foreign to most of his teammates. 

When his teammates in Los Angeles heard his accent and found out he was from Cabin Creek, they started calling him Zeke from Cabin Creek. 

The Zeke part of the nickname is an insult that implies people from West Virginia are hicks – plus, it rhymed nicely with Cabin Creek. This was a time when the Beverly Hillbillies was a hit show, so the idea was too easy for people to latch onto.

West did not like the name. It was changed to Cabin Creek Comet as West showed his athleticism to reporters and observers of the team. West was a hustler who went all out – especially on defense, and he had a great vertical jump.

Why was Jerry West’s Nickname Tweety & Tweety Bird?

The Tweety Bird nickname also came from West’s earliest years with the Lakers. West was a shy, quiet type at that point in his life.

He also had the thick Appalachian accent from his life in West Virginia to go along with a high-pitched voice. West was naturally feeling a little awkward in his new environment as well.

When you combined all those factors, it is not a surprise he gave high-pitched answers that were hard to understand. Because of his high-pitched answers, his teammates started referring to West as Tweety or Tweety Bird. 

Why was Jerry West’s Nickname Mr. Outside? 

Believe it or not, West picked up a fifth nickname in his early Laker years – the man was busy collecting nicknames!

The Lakers already had a star forward when West joined the team as its star point guard. That forward was Elgin Baylor. 

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Jerry West signed Poster with Baylor and Nash

Baylor was a dominant force inside – when West joined the Lakers he was in the midst of a three year stretch averaging more than 30 points per game. 

Baylor averaged nearly 20 rebounds per game in West’s rookie season and scored an insane 38 points per game in West’s second season. He had the inside locked down.

Elgin Baylor was Mr. Inside. West averaged 17 points 7 rebounds and 4 assists in his rookie season – the first of 14 straight years he would make the NBA All Star team. Jerry West became the Lakers Mr. Outside. 

Why was Jerry West’s Nickname Mr. Clutch?  

Not only was Jerry West Mr. Outside, he was Mr. Clutch. With Elgin Baylor missing substantial time in West’s second NBA season due to an Army obligation, Mr. Outside stepped up for the Lakers.

West averaged 31 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in his second season. He was the player the team looked to make the big shots – and he did just that.

West was given the name Mr. Clutch by the Lakers legendary announcer Chick Hearn in the 1961-1962 season because he hit all the big shots for the team. 

None was more clutch than this one: with the Knicks taking the lead with just three seconds left in game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals, West took this shot. 

What is amazing to me is that West really shot it – it was no wild heave. Unfortunately, for West, the Lakers lost in overtime. They lost the series as well with Clyde Frazier leading the Knicks to victory. 

For all his greatness, West, like his teammate Wilt Chamberlain, did not win that many titles. 

West lost 5 times to Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics in the Finals. They also lost twice to the Knicks. They were able to defeat the Knicks once as well for West’s only NBA title. 

Why is Jerry West’s Nickname the Logo? 

In 1969 at the height of West’s dominant NBA career, the league was looking for a new logo. They hired Alan Siegel who had just designed MLB’s familiar logo.

Siegel was inspired by a photo of West playing and used that to make his iconic logo. The commissioner at the time Walter Kennedy loved the new design and it became the NBA’s logo.

This is the NBA's logo

Kennedy was not informed that it was inspired by West when he approved it. And West was never consulted at all.

West got the nickname the Logo for the obvious reason that his image was the inspiration for the NBA’s logo. 

West came to dislike being the logo. People called him The Logo and it made him uncomfortable. He publicly stated at one point that the league should change it to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook or Michael Jordan flying in for a dunk.

But, up to this point, the logo remains unchanged. Jerry West would like you to know that he is not the logo. 

The logo was designed based on his image – but he is not actually the logo. 

Summary: Jerry West’s Nickname

In his fourteen seasons playing for the Lakers, Jerry West collected many nicknames. Tweety and Zeke from Comet Creek came from his quiet disposition and his West Virginia roots. Mr. Outside and Mr. Clutch came from his great play for the Lakers while the Logo was given to West because he was the inspiration for the NBA’s iconic logo.

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