Yet his shooting touch was influenced by the man who would end up being the silhouette for the NBA logo – Jerry West.
According to Person, via Mike Trudell/NBA.com, when he was a teen, he attended a basketball camp where West would end up having an impact on his game and especially his deadly shooting touch:
“Jerry West was the guy who basically taught me how to shoot properly,” Person recalls some 32 years later. “The drills he did on the floor that day and the speech he gave had a great impact on my life. I remember everything that he had to say about the game and about the art of shooting and how to be successful if you had the opportunity to advance your career.”
While with the Spurs from 1994-1998, Person’s best season shooting wise came in the 1995-1996 season where he averaged 43% from the field and 41% from the three point line.
Now he is an assistant coach to former Spurs coach Mike Brown with the Los Angeles Lakers and whenever Person sees West, he is reminded of how it all began:
“Every time I see him I always remind him of the influence he had on me,” Person explained. “Jerry is a straightforward type of guy who tells it like it is, and he says to me, ‘Young man, you don’t have to thank me every time you see me.’ But I counter with, ‘I have to, because you changed the course of my life, what I became versus what I would have become.’ I couldn’t see any ending that’s been as good as what I have now without Jerry’s direction back at the camp.”
I think I speak for everyone in saying there probably is no better NBA player to have such an impact on ones game than West. And for Spurs fans, at least for four seasons, they got to see West’s influence on Person when he wore the black and silver.