Asst. Sports Editor
This past Wednesday, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving posted a tweet that had the whole sports world debating. The tweet stated “Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says. BLACK KINGS BUILT THE LEAGUE.” This tweet was accompanied by a photo of Kobe Bryant replacing Jerry West on the NBA logo. Last week was the one year anniversary of Bryant’s tragic death and may have been a source of inspiration for the tweet. However, the tweet itself however raises a question: should someone replace Jerry West on the NBA logo? The story of the logo itself may help answer this question.
The designer of the logo is Alan Siegel, CEO of Siegelvision, a consulting firm committed to brand identity. Before the 1969-1970 season, Siegel was approached by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to design a logo for the league. Siegel would be inspired by a photo of then Lakers guard Jerry West dribbling a basketball as his muse for the design. He found the photo to be “inspirational and dynamic” which made it a perfect representation of the NBA brand. The logo has been used ever since with it being one of the most recognizable images in the world. However, the person the logo was modeled after absolutely hates it.
Basketball Hall-of-Famer Jerry West was one of the best basketball players in the world during his playing days. He would make nine NBA Finals appearances but only would win one in 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also a 14 time NBA All-Star and was selected 10 times to the NBA All-First Team. At the time of the logo’s creation, West was arguably the best player in the league which made him a deserving candidate. But West believes otherwise. In interviews, he has told encounters of walking down the street and people yelling “Logo!” at him. Everytime he hears it, he cringes and starts to boil with anger. West believes there are better candidates for the logo, and also hates the fact people know him more as the “Logo” rather than the great player he was. There is also the problem of him being used as the logo and not being paid since the league has never confirmed him as the person on it. The NBA does not want to have a “personalized” logo as their global representation meaning not one cent has gone to West. Money will definitely be a factor, especially in today’s NBA climate where some players are paid hundreds of millions of dollars. Being used as a representation as the global brand will be costly which is a reason it has not been acted upon sooner.
The “logo” himself Jerry West hates the fact he is the logo. Big name NBA stars like Kyrie Irving and fans alike want there to be a change. These two factors alone should be enough to force such a movement. However, the factor of money and politics will probably block it from anything actually changing anytime soon. There is also going to be debate and discussion who it would change to and would decide that. Fans? Players? Of course, it could be easily decided on one of the so called “G.O.A.T.S” of the game like Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdual-Jabbar, or Lebron James being the best representation of the NBA brand. Until NBA Commissioner Adam Silver decides a change should be made, these discussions will remain at lunch tables and barber shops across the country for now.