The one-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death has reignited discussions about changing the current NBA logo in his image.
The public outcry grew louder when Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving recently voiced his support for the movement.
Kobe, after all, is a beloved figure around the world. To this day, millions of heartbroken fans still cannot comprehend the reality that the Los Angeles Lakers legend is no longer with us physically. Some believe it’s appropriate to honor Bryant with the ultimate tribute by associating the league’s image and branding with his silhouette.
Here are three reasons why Kobe Bryant as the new NBA logo is not going to happen anytime soon.
1. The NBA does not want to give an identity to the logo
By now, it’s like an open secret that Hall of Famer Jerry West is the inspiration for the iconic NBA logo. It’s blatantly obvious, as even the logo designer Alan Siegel admitted to using West’s image when drawing the symbol. The NBA logo is almost as synonymous with West as Michael Jordan’s Jumpman stamp.
But despite the fact that everyone knows this fact, the league refuses to acknowledge this as fact to this day. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a default image of a completely random player who’s just dribbling the ball in the same way as Jerry West in this photo.
The simple reason? The NBA doesn’t want to be associated with just one individual, considering how many great players who made the league what it is today.
This has been the same tune that Commissioner Adam Silver has been playing in terms of dealing with the public outcry of a Kobe Bryant logo. The NBA has been adamant about it for years and it seems they won’t back down even for a player as popular as Bryant.
2. It will be a commercial nightmare for the league
The NBA has become a money-making machine, even outside of its basketball ventures, generating huge profits from merchandise, partnership deals, and sponsors using that unofficial Jerry West logo.
Suddenly changing him into the likeness of Bryant – or anyone else – involves a massive global overhaul that the league doesn’t want to deal with right now. The NBA is already very busy with its COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Adding what could have been a completely avoidable problem like this is not something you are prepared to go through.
Sure, it’s good in theory, as honoring an all-time great like Bryant would be great public relations, but it’s not a long-term pragmatic option.
Remember last season when LeBron James was prevented from giving his number 23 jersey to Anthony Davis due to the huge throwback of the jersey that Nike has to make around the world? That’s just for one player on a team. Imagine how the league will handle rebranding its entire identity just to honor Bryant.
3. Can’t get used to the media
The death of Kobe Bryant is truly a national tragedy. Nobody deserves to go out that way, regardless of their status. Still, it’s pretty clear that the NBA just wants to remain objective in terms of this whole fiasco of the logo situation.
Suppose the league decides to put Bryant’s image as a permanent logo. What happens when another legend passes away, perhaps even bigger than Kobe? Arguably there will be more public clamor for another logo change.
This scenario alone creates total confusion for the league and its fans. Being the face of professional basketball should be considered the greatest tribute there is.
That distinction loses its eminence if the NBA has to grapple with debates over whether a player is truly worthy enough to become the symbol of the league, let alone be forced to change it every time someone important passes away. (GG) (Fielding)