Providence College Investigates: NBA
Should the NBA Logo Be Changed?
Will Murphy ’23
Yes, There’s A Better Choice
The NBA’s logo is one of the most, if not the most, recognizable logos in the world of professional sports.
The NBA has kept the same logo for upwards of 50 years since it was originally established. The logo famously consists of a silhouette of Jerry West, an NBA All-Star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
Although the NBA has never publicly acknowledged that West is the logo, it is common knowledge that it is West who is represented in the iconic silhouette. One would think that being the logo of the sport they played professionally is one of the highest honors that could be bestowed upon them.
West has publicly stated that, although he is honored to be depicted in the logo, it also embarrasses him to some extent.
In recent years, West has even gone as far as to advocate for the NBA to change the logo.
The game today is almost unrecognizable from the game that was played in the 1960s; there was not even a three-point line yet when the logo was instituted back in 1969. The NBA deserves a logo that evolves with the game and that can more accurately represent the spirit of today’s game.
Since West’s retirement in 1974, there have been countless players who have made a profound impact on the NBA, providing a wealth of options to choose from. Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron James are just a few of the players who have left a remarkable impact on the NBA.
One player, however, may be even better suited to become the new face of the NBA: Kobe Bryant.
Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for the duration of his 20-year career in the NBA. Throughout his career he racked up countless individual accolades, including 18 All-Star appearances, one Most Valuable Player award, and two years spent atop the league’s scoring leaderboard.
In addition to his individual accomplishments, he also led one of the most successful dynasties the league has ever seen to five NBA championships. Bryant has had one of the most storied NBA careers in the history of the league.
Bryant embodied the loyalty of a true star, remaining with the Lakers for his entire playing career. In every aspect of the game, Bryant’s hardworking nature was evident, which allowed him to gain the respect of opponents and become a fan favorite around the league.
Unfortunately, Bryant died in a tragic helicopter accident on Jan. 26, 2020. What better way to honor Bryant than to reward all the work he put into the league by memorializing his trademark fadeaway as the new NBA logo?
Joseph Quirk ’23
No, Keep It the Same
There is no good reason, be it social or economic, that the NBA should change their logo.
The narrative that the NBA should consider this change really began to pick up steam in the past year since the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
Prior to Kobe’s death, the discourse around altering the logo was not present, or at least it was not nearly as prominent as it is now.
I agree that Kobe should be immortalized; his behavior on and off the court as well as his impact on the sport will be forever remembered by fans and the league; however, changing a logo is a big deal for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the NBA logo has been a symbol of the league for a number of decades. The NBA as we know it today is still relatively young and the game never really exploded in popularity until the 1980s.
Jerry West is the figure on the league’s current logo. He has been one of the best guards in league history, one of the best talent evaluators in league history, and the face of the Los Angeles Lakers organization before the “Showtime” Lakers of the 80’s.
Needless to say, he is an iconic NBA player and an integral part of league history. The man nicknamed “The Logo” has represented the league for years.
The current logo is everywhere: on NBA video games, apparel, hats—that is to say, if you own or watch something NBA-based, you recognize it as the NBA.
If you change that, not only do you outdate all of those broadcasts and merchandise, but you have to pay to replace it all. You also confuse everyone who has for years associated that specific image with the league. The fans may not easily recognize the new logo. Those are just a couple of good reasons that the logo shouldn’t be changed.
All in all, there is no justifiable reason for the NBA to change its logo.
There is no controversy around it, and it hasn’t become outdated or the cause of outrage. The logo, an established visual of the league, doesn’t have to be changed.
The NFL hasn’t changed theirs in the last couple decades. Neither has the MLB or NHL, and all of those leagues, you could argue, have worse logos than the NBA.
Why change a piece of the league’s history, a change that may not help the expansion of the league to fans and could cost the league extensively financially for absolutely no good reason?
No, the league should certainly not change their logo.