NEW YORK (WFAN) – The new autobiography of NBA legend Jerry West—West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life, written with Jonathan Coleman tears open a lot of the Hall of Famer’s old wounds.
West joined WFAN’s Mike Francesa on for 40 minutes on Wednesday to talk about the book and why he decided to write it.
“It was a cleansing thing in some respects,” West said, “[The book] is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done because you’re really exposing yourself.”
Although he has experienced a lifetime of depression, West doesn’t want to be seen as a victim. He is hoping the book helps others in similar situations emerge to become successful people, much like he has become.
“I’ve received lot of letters from people thanking me for writing about it,” he said.
West traces his troubles to an abusive parent. “When you had a father who beat you, as mine did, for reasons I’m still trying to fathom, it is hard to think of yourself as very special, as deserving of acclaim,” he writes.
“We embellish athletes so much, but we really don’t know what goes on in their lives,” West told Francesa.
West spoke about his playing career in detail, spending time discussing his teammates and opponents.
He has a special fondness for the Knicks of the late ’60s and early ’70s. “They played the game the way it was supposed to be played.”
West offered comparisons of his era versus today’s game. “It was a lot more physical, it was a dirty game then,” he said, “I wonder if [today’s players] could’ve played in the 70s.”
He did admit that he still enjoys the game. “I do admire the players today,” West remarked, “I have such great respect for [them].”
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