The Laker legend knows all about the history between the two storied franchises. Mostly because he played through one of the largest chapters of it. But West holds a contempt of the Celtics that extends beyond his battles against them on the court. In fact, his hatred is evident based on the clothes he’d never be caught dead wearing.
Jerry West and the Los Angeles Lakers perenially lost to the Boston Celtics
Typically, a rivalry involves two sides getting the better of one another over the course of many years. But for the bulk of West’s playing career, the rivalry was lopsided in the wrong direction.
Mr. Clutch joined the Lakers in 1960, their first season in Los Angeles. By his second season, he had them in the NBA Finals against Bill Russell and the Celtics. In a hard-fought seven-game series, Boston prevailed for its fourth consecutive title. The teams would meet again the following year, with the C’s once again getting the better of LA.
Across the rest of the decade, West’s Lakers would match up against the Celtics four more times in the Finals — in 1965, ’66, ’68, and ’69. And each time, it was Boston that came out on top. The 1969 series were especially memorable for West, who after averaging 37.9 points in seven games won Finals MVP. To this day, he remains the only player to win the award despite losing the championship.
West’s prestigious basketball career was eventually capped off with a title in his third-to-last season with the Purple and Gold. But he also owns the piteous mark of eight Finals losses, six of which came against the hated Celtics.
West’s wardrobe reflected his disdain for the Celtics
With half-a-dozen Finals losses against the Celtics, it’s hard for West to drop his ill feelings toward his longtime rival. Even when he is putting on his clothes every morning.
In an interview with VICE in 2015, West revealed that he has never taken a step in Boston since his playing days. Additionally, there is one particular color you won’t find in his wardrobe.
“I do not have anything green in my closet, I will tell you that.”Jerry West
West’s aversion to the Celtics’ famed hue was legitimate. As Kobe Bryant told ESPN before his final game in Boston, the 83-year-old never wore anything green.
“Jerry won’t even wear green drawers,” Bryant said. “He and I have talked about this before. He’s just allergic to green.”
The aversion to green didn’t just apply to Mr. Clutch. In a profile of Jerry’s son Ryan on Bleacher Report, the Hall of Famer instilled a no-green policy for his entire family “in a pledge of unity against the Celtics.”
Jerry West got the last laugh as an executive
West might have fallen short time and time again whenever he played the Celtics. But as an executive, the Hall of Famer got his much-deserved revenge.
After his playing career ended, Jerry earned eight championships across four decades. Fittingly, two of them came in 1985 and 1987, when his Lakers defeated the Celtics. As a whole, LA added eight championship banners to the rafters across West’s tenure in the front office.
Whether it was as a player, coach, or executive, West bleeds Purple and Gold. But truthfully, he’d support every color as long as it wasn’t green.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.