Fans of the National Basketball Association with an in-depth knowledge of the American pro-ball league’s history would know that the silhouette of a dribbling basketball player on the NBA logo is based on a real person. League officials would prefer the official story that it is a generalization of an NBA player, but the silhouette is actually that of 1960-74 LA Laker (and eventual coach) Jerry West. With the recent tragic passing of another Laker for a more contemporary generation, the call has suddenly intensified for the changing of the NBA logo silhouette to honor none other than Kobe Bryant.
NBC Sports tells us that an online petition to the NBA to revise their league logo to carry a silhouette likeness of Kobe Bryant has been gaining steady steam in terms of support. That is no mere figure either. The petition only appeared on Change.org at around the same day that the death of Bryant in a California helicopter crash this Sunday, January 26, but it has already amassed more than 2.6 million signatures. Such has been the outpouring of emotional nostalgia for the career-long Laker who joined the team in 1996 and left with his retirement in 2016 that the petition has exponentially exploded.
The use of the likeness of Jerry West for the modern NBA logo which debuted in 1971 (on West’s 11th year with the Lakers) was described by the now-aged-81 executive of the LA Clippers as both flattering and a source of some embarrassment for him. One of his player nicknames became “The Logo” because of it. West even felt as early as 2017 that it might be appropriate for the league to replace his silhouette with another player, jokingly suggesting that another Laker take his place. That does not sound like a joke now, with the call for Black Mamba to be the next Logo.
Tributes for Kobe Bryant, who died in the crash with his daughter Gianna and seven others, continued through the week. Talk show host Jimmy Fallon recalled how he met then-rookie Kobe back when he was a newish stand-up comic in LA during a party in the nineties. They had gone on a beer run for the party and got a delivery-only store to let them buy beer directly when Bryant identified himself as a Laker. Other talk-show hosts like Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden and Ellen DeGeneres also gave tribute monologues.
Image courtesy of CBC