Who Is On The NBA Logo? Origin Model & History

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The current NBA logo is one of the most famous images in sports leagues. However, its history and archetypes are so far a little-known fact.

Who is on the NBA logo? Los Angeles Lakers star Jerry West served as the model for the NBA logo that Alan Siegel created in 1969.

This iconic image has brought some unnecessary trouble to the owner and caused a movement about changing the paradigm. It all sounds simple, but it is incredibly complicated. Read along with Scott Fujita the following article to understand more about the original, history, and controversy surrounding the NBA logo.

Who Is On The NBA Logo: History Of The Logo

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Jerry West as the model for the NBA logo 

Brand consultant Alan Siegel created the NBA logo in 1969. The image is so trademarked and widespread that the NBA has been using it for the past 50 years.

Before that, Siegel was also responsible for designing the Major League Baseball logo. He took the same idea to create the NBA logo.

Who is the player on the NBA logo? Los Angeles Lakers star Jerry West is the figure of the original NBA logo.

He finished the product based on West’s lines. NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy loved it and agreed with the choice. The irony is that he himself didn’t know West was the archetype, and neither did the owner himself.

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The reason Siegel chose West’s image was that he felt it clearly showed the sportiness and dynamism of the tournament. The silhouette succeeds in conveying power, grace, and smooth motion at the same time. At the same time, the red, white, and blue tones evoke patriotism.

This image, in a way, underscores the NBA’s status as the top American premier basketball league as they were competing with the American Basketball Association.

While Siegel is proud of his inspiration, most leagues don’t think so. In 2017, Siegel explained to David Stern in an interview with The Undefeated how he created the logo. Stern didn’t recognize the original model as Jerry West.

Siegel offered a few personal reasons why the NBA would disagree with this original model. Maybe the league did not want to specify a player on the logo, or they fear Jerry West will demand royalties. Surprisingly, it’s not true in this case.

The Relationship Between Jerry West And NBA Logo

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Jerry West does not want to be “The Logo”

Many people may think that appearing and becoming an iconic player for the National Basketball Association is a tremendous honor. But in the case of Jerry West, this caused more trouble than ever.

Jerry West was in a state of contradiction. He felt proud at first, but later on, he was embarrassed and gradually became resentful.


The NBA logo not only had an impact on the entire league but also changed West’s life. People gradually forgot about his basketball legacies and focused only on the original logo.

Jerry West’s basketball career is very proud as he is one of the most significant point guards of the Lakers. He has participated in nine NBA Finals and won once. West also made 14 appearances on the All-Star Game roster and won the Finals MVP while playing for the losing team.

Jerry West argues that the logo is no longer his symbol, but he has turned into the logo himself. His nickname “The Logo” is spreading more and more widely as a spark to ignite the oiled sea of ​​embarrassment.

When the frustration peaked, Jerry West said in an interview with ESPN that he was embarrassed and wished the NBA could change the logo. West suggests some of the images include Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s groundbreaking skyhook, the legendary Jump Man of Michael Jordan, or LeBron James’ iconic breakaway dunk.

However, changing is not as easy as it seems. The amount of work and funding required to build and re-promote the new NBA logo was overwhelming. No investor would accept this deal just for Jerry West’s happiness.

Discussions about the NBA logo have subsided until the worst tragedy in NBA history unfolded.

You can also view the 2017 interview of Jerry West with ESPN here.

A Push To Change NBA Logo

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Some people think Kobe Bryant should be the new model of the NBA logo

Though that the story of the Jerry West logo had come to an end, it suddenly resurfaced after the tragic death of star Kobe Bryant in January 2020.

This event urged everyone to find a way to honor it—one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. Replacing the NBA’s logo is one method they suggest.

These comments were initially minimal and did not receive much attention when appearing on Twitter. Things only exploded when Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, agreed to change the new logo. Later, Kyrie Irving posted his opinion on Instagram, which has 14 million followers.

The Brooklyn Nets star quoted “black kings built the league” and renewed the logo model’s controversy. When looking back at NBA history, we can not help but acknowledge his opinion.

The Boston Celtics were a pioneer in bringing black players into the season. They were the first team to pick a black basketball player, Chuck Cooper, in 1950.

In 1964, the Celtics kicked off their starting lineup with five blacks. The team also took the lead by bringing in a black man as head coach, Bill Russell, in 1966.

Boston’s success is undisputed. They won 11 NBA championships in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the NBA has become an increasingly culturally diverse league, but the dominance of black and African-American athletes remains extreme.

Which NBA Players Should Appear On The NBA Logo?

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The iconic Skyhook of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Although the tragic death of Kobe Bryant was the main trigger to spark the fight to change the prototype of the NBA logo, the league has a hard time accepting it.

The fact that Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2004 before he denied the allegation was a black spot on his résumé.

The federation is very conscious of its image. Therefore, there is almost no chance for Black Mamba to appear on the logo.

Even when we look at the long history of this tournament, Bryant wasn’t the one who built the empire. No one can deny the talent and achievements of the former basketball star, but there are still more bright candidates.

The first is probably Bill Russell. With 11 NBA championships, he still holds a record that no one has been able to break after 50 years. The next contender is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and his iconic “skyhook” is recognizable by all at first glance.

The rivalry between star Larry Bird and Magic Johnson also added to the appeal of the NBA in the 1980s. And we have LeBron James, who took the NBA experience to the next level with his top form and clean image during the past 20 years.

However, the most likely choice belongs to six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan. The only problem that could prevent him from becoming the logo was the image of Jumpman that Jordan Brand used. Creating a different style with this built-in icon image will bring a marketing problem.

Final Thoughts

Who is the person on the NBA logo? For a long time, Jerry West’s silhouette has been associated with the NBA logo. Perhaps this is the right time for us to change and pay tribute to the black basketball players, the true kings of the league.

The problem of who will be the best candidate so far has not ended. There are so many stellar faces on the list, and it can be hard to decide. All we can do is sit back and wait for the future to change.

Would you mind sharing with us your personal opinion? In your preference, which player should appear on the NBA logo next?

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