I asked FS1 sports media veteran Rob Parker about the current change.org petition to change the NBA logo to a silhouette of Kobe Bryant and he understands that emotions are running high right now, but says this isn’t the time for the NBA to make such a move.
“This smells like a prisoner of the moment, “ said Parker, who started covering the NBA for the daily News in NYC back in 1987.
He suggested it again in a column he wrote for The Shadow League in 2013.
It’s undeniable that Jordan took the game and the NBA brand to new heights and remains the most culturally influential basketball player in history.
“Kobe was a great player, Parker told The Shadow League. “And this is so tragic. With all due respect, if the NBA changed its logo, Michael Jordan should get that honor.”
It didn’t happen then and it probably won’t happen now, considering that Jordan’s logo is already being used to enormous profit by his Nike brand. Except for a small font change in 2017, the current logo (an outline of Jerry West) has been the NBA’s official emblem since 1971.
Then again, there was no such thing as social media when Parker suggested the logo change back in 1999, so the idea couldn’t pick up enough international steam and celebrity pressure.
At least, not like the current Change.org petition requesting that the NBA switch its logo to a Kobe’s silhouette in the aftermath of the legend’s tragic helicopter death that also claimed the life of eight other victims, including his 13-year-old daughter, GiGi.
The petition has racked up close to 1.8 million signatures and counting. Social media has quickly supported the petition which was started by a user named Nick M. based in Vancouver, Canada.
“Couldn’t be a better time or all-around athlete and person for it,” Usher wrote on Instagram, adding, “#change the logo”
Adam Levine, Naomi Campbell and Vanessa Hudgens also shared their support for the initiative.
After news of the crash was confirmed, the NBA put out a statement in which commissioner Adam Silver said:
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”
Sound like a guy qualified to be the new NBA logo. No?
The NBA community’s undeniable reverence for Kobe has been evident with his death dominating the headlines of every news and sports outlet. Still, it’s unlikely that the NBA will change the logo, but the people are expressing their desires and Adam Silver might have to seriously consider it if millions continue to support the petition. The NBA can’t afford to ignore the passionate demands of its fanbase. Can it?
Back in 2017, West, the General Manager who made the Draft day trade for Kobe, said he didn’t want to be called the logo anymore. He’d probably be the first to sign a petition for the change.
“I wish that it had never gotten out that I’m the logo,” West said on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “I really do. I’ve said it more than once, and it’s flattering if that’s me — and I know it is me — but it is flattering.
“But to me, I played in a time when they first started to try to market the league. There were five people that they were going to consider, and I didn’t find out about it until the late commissioner [J. Walter Kennedy] told me about it. . . .“Again, it’s flattering. But if I were the NBA, I would be embarrassed about it. I really would.”
Totally understanding the impact of Kobe’s legacy and connection to the sports landscape, Parker suggested another idea:
“Name the MVP trophy after Kobe,” he said.
That’s a start and maybe over time, the logo change could happen too. Why not Kobe?