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Jerry West reveals childhood beatings to HBO's Bryant Gumbel

October 18, 2011 |  8:21 am

Sitting on a boat fishing in the middle of his native state, West Virginia, it appeared Jerry West seemed at peace while talking with "HBO Real Sports" host Bryant Gumbel.

Viewing West's graceful on-court play that led him to the Lakers' first championship 1972 and becoming the Lakers' second all-time leading scorer, it appeared West simply lived up to his nickname as Mr. Clutch.

Seeing how West constructed the Lakers' Showtime era and another one led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, it appeared the Lakers' general manager felt in total control.

But underneath that calm and cool exterior remained a man unable to escape his personal demons, most notably the physical abuse he endured from his father as a youngster. 

"I know the difference between a spanking and a beating, I know that," West told Gumbel in a segment that will air Tuesday night. "It was brutal."

That's because, West said, the beating usually involved his dad hitting him with a belt that had a buckle on it. In one instance, West faced a 10-minute beating for refusing to eat dinner and led his mother to tell his father, "You're going to kill him."

West said he actually threatened his father's life when he witnessed him beating his sister using the handle of a hammer.

"There was nowhere for me to go," West said. "I would've killed him. I was so afraid that I just didn't want to be hit anymore."


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— Mark Medina

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