Why NBA Rebranding Its Logo With Kobe Bryant Image Isn’t Possible

Published 02/27/2021, 5:30 PM EST
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant chews on his jersey for a few seconds as he runs downcourt against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Kyrie Irving has been spearheading the movement that has been demanding the NBA to change its logo to a picture of Kobe Bryant. The Brooklyn Nets star has received backing from Vanessa Bryant and 3 million loyal fans, but the league might not do it for the foreseeable future. 

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The initiative to rebrand the NBA’s logo seems bright and in the right sense to some, but there are a lot of factors involved. The association just can’t go ahead and replace the silhouette with an image of Kobe Bryant. 

However, the league took a clean decision in naming the All-Star game MVP award after Bryant. It just felt like the right tribute on their part, but commissioner Adam Silver would not be keen on rebranding the logo that’s been around since 1969. 

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Why an image of Kobe Bryant cannot work as the NBA’s logo

The NBA would hardly consider keeping an image of Kobe Bryant as its universal logo. The league is yet to break the silence on its stance about the issue when three million people including Kyrie Irving, Vanessa Bryant, and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss are asking for it.

The main reason is that the league’s business will be affected if they make Kobe Bryant the new logo. A lot of people know that Lakers legend Jerry West’s silhouette makes up the current logo, but what they don’t know is that the league has never agreed with the notion.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 6: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during the basketball game against Golden State Warriors at Staples Center March 6, 2016, in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The association is reluctant to agree that it is Jerry West who’s on the current logo because if they do, then West has the right to demand royalty and the league would have to pay him a part of the branding money they receive. 

Hence, the league would be forced to shell out a part of its earnings to the Bryant family, should they decide to make the image of the late Laker legend as its universal logo. 

Fans are wishing for it to happen, but they do not realize the business that goes into rebranding the logo of an association that generations billions in revenue every year. It would be the perfect tribute, but it just will not happen right now. 

Jerry West wants the logo to be changed

To be honest, it just feels like the league is insulting Jerry West. Every person excluding top NBA officials would agree that it is West whose silhouette is on the logo.

In fact, Alan Siegel, the artist who used West’s photo to design the famous logo back in 1969 has an explanation as to why the league refuses to acknowledge the fact. 

“They want to institutionalize it rather than individualize it. It’s become such a ubiquitous, classic symbol and focal point of their identity and their licensing program that they don’t necessarily want to identify it with one player,” Siegel mentioned

Jerry West does not want to boast about his presence on the logo, especially when the league is hesitant to accept.

“I don’t like to do anything that calls attention to myself, and when people say that, that’s just not who I am, period. And if they would want to change it, I wish they would. In many ways, I wish they would,” West said. 

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There are so many complications that pertain to the already existing logo. The NBA likes to believe that there are no records verifying that it is West on the logo, and it is unlikely that the association will change its stance.

Amid all this, the petition against the league to change its logo to an image of Kobe Bryant would not be heeded much at the front office. So one shouldn’t hope for it to happen anytime in the future.

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Arjun Athreya

1823 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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