Why the NBA Logo Will Never Be Changed to Kobe Bryant

With the outpouring of tributes to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven others who lost their lives in the tragic helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, some ideas are gaining steam. From retiring Kobe and Gianna’s numbers to additions to the NBA All-Star Game made in their honor, these ideas have taken the internet by storm. One increasingly popular idea may also be the most unrealistic. 

Should the NBA change the logo to honor Kobe Bryant? 

Change.org has long been a platform for people to petition for causes both big and small. A fan of Kobe’s who goes by “Nick M” started a petition to change the NBA logo to Kobe’s outline. The petition, as of writing, has over three million signatures with more getting added by the minute.

Its goal is to have 4.5 million signatures to show the wide-spread support that fans have for the notion. This seems like an easy way for the NBA to pay tribute to one of its greatest players, but it may not be easy to convince them to change their iconic logo. 

Making the NBA logo

An artist named Alan Siegel designed the current logo, which outlines NBA Hall of Famer and fellow Lakers legend Jerry West. According to The Undefeated, commissioner J. Walter Kennedy tasked Siegel to create a branding symbol mimicking MLB’s red, white, and blue design. From there, Siegel searched for the perfect inspiration and found it.

This came in the form of a photograph taken by Wen Roberts that showed West dribbling down the court. Although the NBA has never publicly acknowledged that this photograph was the logo, everybody knew in short time.

West had a new nickname as “The Logo.” He isn’t always keen about being the logo, however, as he stated on an episode of ESPN’s The Jump

“I wish that it had never gotten out that I’m the logo, I really do,” West said. “I’ve said it more than once, and it’s flattering if that’s me … If I were the NBA, I would be embarrassed about it. I really would. … I don’t like to do anything to call attention to myself … that’s just not who I am, period. If they would want to change it, I wish they would.”

This sentiment is exactly the one that could make the NBA think twice before changing the logo. 

Why not change the NBA logo? 

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports explained why it may be hard to get the NBA to change its logo, even if it did so for one of its most popular superstars. The league, like West, has never wanted anything to become bigger than basketball when it came to the logo. This is why they haven’t commented on who is behind the logo after 50 years. 

Bryant’s legacy will live on through the NBA in many ways, but asking the league to make him part of the brand could be viewed as putting an individual over the sport the league is trying to preserve. 

Presumably, there are ways the NBA could still do this by changing the logo to Kobe while never actually acknowledging who is behind the photo. But it’s more likely that the league will just find other ways to pay tribute to the star.

After all, while the logo might represent the NBA as a whole, Kobe’s imprint will always be felt regardless of whose outline is on that logo.

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