How Was the Iconic NBA Logo Created and Who Was the Inspiration Behind It?

Published 02/25/2021, 12:33 PM EST


The NBA logo is one of the most recognizable and iconic logos in the sports industry. Be it a basketball fan or not, almost everyone is synonymous to the logo all over the world.

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But how was this logo created in the first place, and what was the inspiration for the same?

The history and inspiration behind the NBA logo

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Since its inception, 75 years ago, the NBA had a pretty staple logo. A circular design with the name ‘National Basketball Association’ written on it. With absolutely no competition, the league was seeing a steady growth, and gradually, the number of teams also increased.

But in 1967, everything changed. There was a challenger for the NBA- a league called the ABA. The new league was receiving nationwide attention and within two years had expanded itself to a league comprising 11 teams.

Then NBA commissioner, Walter Kennedy, took notice. Kennedy had already foreseen the growth of the league since 1963 and knew that a competition like the ABA might be futile for the league.

He knew that the NBA needed to re-invent itself, and it had to change with the logo. In 1969, Kennedy instructed the then brand identity consultant, Alan Siegel, to work on a new logo.

The commissioner wanted a logo similar to MLB’s new logo, that Siegel had created. Siegel knew that he had to find the ideal player. In an interview with the Undefeated, he opened up about how he finalised that Jerry West was going to be the logo.

“I went through the files and I found a number of images of NBA player, I found a picture of Jerry West, which is what I used as the basis of the logo. I was attracted to it because it was nice and vertical, and it had him leaning and dribbling… had a little motion to it. I designed eight, nine or 10 different versions, and that turned out to be the most effective. I presented it to the NBA, and they approved it immediately and began to use it.”

That is how the well-known NBA logo comprising a Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West silhouette was formed. But since it’s creation, the NBA has never confirmed that it was indeed Jerry West.

After 46 years, the logo saw a slight change in its font. Considering its immense popularity, it seems unlikely that it will be changed anytime soon.

Jerry West reveals how he feels to be the logo of the league

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In 2017, West opened up about how he felt about being the logo of the NBA. In an appearance at the Jump, West revealed why he doesn’t prefer to be the logo.

He said, “I wish that it had never gotten out that I’m the logo,” “I really do. I’ve said it more than once, and it’s flattering if that’s me — and I know it is me — but it is flattering.

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Aditya Mohapatra

720 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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