INDIANAPOLIS -- After 14 years in the NBA, David West finally got his championship.
West, an NBA veteran in every sense and former Indiana Pacer, was a backup forward and a role player for the Golden State Warriors this season. The Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 Monday night to win the NBA Championship.
West played for the Pacers for four seasons and took an $11 million pay cut to leave the team and sign with the San Antonio Spurs in 2015. He made it clear when he left that he was looking to win a championship.
While with the Pacers from 2011-2015, he started 285 out of a possible 285 games, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds per game.
But West brought a certain toughness to the team that Indiana hasn't seen in the last two years. West was the player getting into scrums with opposing teams and sticking up for his teammates when they would start fights they shouldn't have.
"You think you are gonna be in those playoff battles, playing alongside those guys forever," Pacers star Paul George told ESPN in March. "You have to try and recapture that moment. And that moment for us was having a strong chemistry and identity. We don't have one now. I've never been on a team without an identity -- without a toughness identity."
West's 2016-17 stats were a far cry from his Pacers years (zero starts, 4.6 points, 3 rebounds per game), but he finally has a championship. And from the sound of it, he started the party shortly after the game ended.
David West, stumbling carrying the Larry O'Brien trophy: "I dun got drunk REAL quick."