His autobiography — released in October and already a New York Times best-seller — delves much deeper. The reviews of West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life, no matter how they rate the book overall, make that clear.
Mike Downey describes it this way in the Los Angeles Times:
If perhaps he kept a majority of the people he met at arm’s length, it turns out he might have had good cause. He was physically abused in his youth, despising his father to the extent that young Jerry kept a gun under his bed and entertained thoughts of using it on the old man. He has been haunted all his life by a beloved brother’s death in military combat. He suffers from a clinical depression so acute that even his daily Prozac doesn’t always keep him from feeling suicidal.
Still pursued by his demons at 73, [West] reintroduces himself as flesh, blood and anguish in his new autobiography ... going past the point where the cheers fade and sports books end to pose a question that rarely comes up: What is it all worth?
West and his co-author, Jonathan Coleman, will be online Thursday at noon to discuss West’s life and career, the new book and the current state of the NBA. Submit questions now and join in at noon by clicking this link.
A good question might even convince West to talk about his onetime boss with the Lakers (and former Washington Redskins owner), the late Jack Kent Cooke. Preview: in the book, West writes that Cooke “always acted kind of above you and treated you as if you were subservient. He was Lord of the Manor (and dressed the part in his tweedy, three-piece suits) and the rest of us were basically peons.”