If you’ve ever tossed something in the trash from across the room, you’ve probably called an NBA player’s name while doing it: Kobe. The image above is a concept for a redesigned NBA logo created by Tyson Beck, designer and personal friend of Kobe Bryant. Frankly, having Bryant with the new logo is a no-brainer, and here’s why.
The current logo has been around since 1969 and was designed by Alan Siegel – the mind behind the MLB, Dell, IBM, 3M, Girl Scouts and US Air Force logos. He was modeled after Jerry West, and the rationale behind that was West’s status as a great player without being the most accomplished player in the world (hard enough to beat Bill Russell’s 11 championship rings). The photo the logo was based on made it look like it could be applied to anyone.
“It’s a really elegant and powerful presentation of basketball… It’s difficult, graphically, to do something so static like that. Have tension, movement and grace. It’s very hard… It has to be simple. He must be powerful. It must be dynamic. It has all of those elements.
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Here’s the deal, though. The NBA doesn’t quite look like it did in 1969. The rules and style of play are vastly different, and the players generally don’t look like Jerry West’s 6’3″ frame.
In fact, West repeatedly said he didn’t want to be the logo and hated the nickname that came with the honor. Who else is better placed to be his successor than his own mentee? Jerry West was instrumental in the Los Angeles Lakers’ draft trade with the Charlotte Hornets to acquire Kobe Bryant, a player who had been on his radar since he was just 17.
Luckily, this idea already has Vanessa Bryant’s blessing, but that doesn’t mean this move is purely sentimental either. Of course, the idea of immortalizing incredible talent that was taken too soon is certainly part of the appeal, but Kobe’s case runs much deeper than that. He represents everything that makes the NBA special. It represents the aspirations of each player.
Basketball is a truly awesome sport, as you can see remarkable physical feats for 48 minutes on a small field of players who don’t wear protective gear. The Rules of the Game allow its athletes to have their own distinct style of play, rewarding hard work, competitiveness, and getting the hang of it when it really matters.
Kobe was it all to perfection, leaving a legacy fresh in the minds of basketball fans everywhere. Many of today’s stars grew up idolizing and modeling their game after the Black Mamba. Kyrie Irving, Jason Tatum, Trae Young, Devin Booker, DeMar Derozan and Kawhi Leonard may not share many similarities on the surface, they all credit Kobe Bryant as the main inspiration for the way they play the game.
His imprint on the modern NBA is virtually unmatched. While many might be quick to suggest that Michael Jordan – Kobe Bryant’s own inspiration – might be the more obvious choice in this regard, I have to disagree. Jordan is an athlete with a figure already bigger than the NBA, thanks to his eponymous sneaker brand. Kobe is the NBA. Additionally, it’s safe to assume that His Airness is far happier with its trademark silhouette’s current standing on the world’s most prolific sneakers.
If we look The Alan Siegel quote behind the original NBA logo, we see everything he wanted it to be, also applies to Kobe Bryant. He is the model of the modern player and the perfect face of the NBA for its next chapter.