While professional athletes are people, certain stars can take on near-mythic status. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was one of those players. His legendary life, unfortunately, came to an abrupt end on Sunday, when the 41-year old and eight others died in a tragic helicopter crash.
The sports world was immediately shaken to its core, with fans and players alike mourning the untimely loss of a modern great. Some people have even started calling on the NBA to honor Bryant in one specific way.
Kobe Bryant’s untimely death
On Sunday, Kobe Bryant and eight other passengers tragically died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles, California.
As initially reported by TMZ, the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into a hillside on a foggy, Southern California morning. While the accident is still under investigation, a source told ESPN that the pilot had been trying to climb above the fog and clouds; shortly after that ascent, the vehicle descended and crashed into a hillside.
While authorities stated that all nine passengers on board are presumed dead; on Monday, the passengers’ identities were confirmed. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Bryant and one of his daughters were on their way to a travel basketball game, but there is still a great deal of speculation around the accident.
Understandably, there was an immediate and visceral outpouring of grief. Lakers fans struggled to come to grips with the loss of their hero; some of the franchise’s biggest names mourned their friend and colleague. Athletes from every sport joined in, remembering a fierce competitor who refused to accept anything short of greatness.
Fans want the NBA to honor Kobe Bryant with a new logo
As news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death spread, basketball fans everywhere found themselves at a collective loss. The Lakers guard had seemed unstoppable during his playing career; all of a sudden, that aura of invulnerability was shattered.
One fan, Nick N., however, decided to take action. Rather than simply mourning, he started a Change.org petition, asking the NBA to change their iconic logo. “With the untimely and unexpected passing of Kobe Bryant, please sign this petition in an attempt to make his memory last forever as the NBA logo,” he explained.
Unsurprisingly, the petition took off. As of Monday evening, it has received nearly a million signatures; social media has also been flooded with mock-ups, showing how Bryant’s silhouette could replace Jerry West’s in the league logo.
Could the NBA actually change their logo?
In the coming days, there will surely be plenty of memorials and tributes to Kobe Bryant. While the NBA will do something to honor the guard—presumably another black bar or jersey patch—changing the logo seems unlikely.
That’s not a knock against Kobe, though. Instead, it’s the realities of a global league. Even though everyone knows that the current NBA logo is based on Jerry West, the league has never officially acknowledged it; that image is supposed to represent the NBA as a whole, not specifically honor one person.
Regardless of the NBA logo, though, Kobe Bryant’s legacy isn’t something that the league can control. His career—full of on-court triumph and off-court issues—are far more complex than a patch on a jersey or an image on the floor.