People often wonder why former Laker great Jerry West was chosen as the image for the red, white, and blue NBA logo. No one is exactly sure, but friends of his assume that the honor was given to West as an anti-dote for all the pain he had suffered at the hands of the Boston Celtics.
Six times his Lakers lost to the Celtics in the Finals while West was a player, once they lost while West was a general manager, and once (in 2008) they lost while West was as an interested onlooker.
As the losses to Boston piled up, West got to the point where he couldn’t stand the sight of anything colored green. He wouldn’t wear anything green, and any furniture or belongings he owned of that color were thrown away or put in storage. “After the loss at the Forum in the 1969 Finals,” West said, “the rivalry began to dominate my every thought, and they weren’t exactly healthy thoughts.”
The first five times his Lakers lost to the Green, the Celtics were favored. In the 1969 Finals, however, the Lakers enjoyed home-court advantage, they had Wilt Chamberlain, and the Boston Celtics were an aging, injured group of players on the downsides of their careers. There was every reason to believe the Lakers would win.
But they didn't.
Still, West played so well he won the Finals MVP, the only player ever to do so for a losing team. Already inconsolable, his mood turned bleak when he saw the car that came with the award.
It was a brand new Cadillac.