Jerry West became "The Logo" because the NBA decided to pattern their logo after him. He will forever be remembered as the player who became the league's symbol, but if West were to change things, he wouldn't have wanted the special recognition.
Jerry West didn't know he would become The Logo
West played for the Los Angeles Lakers his entire career, and he put up Hall-of-Fame-worthy career stats of 27 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. Based on the numbers alone, he deserved to be "The Logo," but unknown to many, he wished it was the other way. West shared his thoughts on the "Getcha Popcorn Ready with T.O. & Hatch" podcast hosted by Terrell Owens & Matthew Hatchette.
"They wanted to start to market the league so they had to have a logo. There were five guys okay, five guys that they had picked out. The faces were all blanked out and there were five uh black men and one white guy, okay. No one knew that, and so it could have been somebody completely different. So anyway, they happened to pick me. I never knew it and David Stern used to say well that's you now, that's Jerry West. I really didn't want to know to be honest with you, because I don't think that's right or fair. I really don't. There were four other black men that were really great players."
Jerry West, via T.O. & Hatch
For his part, the ever-humble Jerry West claimed he would have rejected the idea because he did not think it was fair. There were other great players in the NBA at that time, but West was not just any great player either. He won one title and earned an All-Star game spot for 14 years, basically throughout his entire career.
Is it time for the NBA logo to be replaced?
The NBA logo has been used from 1969 to the present. There were discussions about replacing it now, with fans citing Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant to take over as the new logo. However, talks never progressed, and Jerry West remains The Logo.
Compared to other leagues such as the NFL and MLB, the NBA is unique in that the sport has become a global and a billion-dollar revenue machine. If the league decides to change the logo today, it would be historic, and it would spur debates about who would be deserving to replace Jerry West. MJ's iconic dunk logo is already a patented one under his brand, so Kobe would be the next best choice given his contributions to the game and the impact of his untimely passing to fans.
Knowing West's humility and affection for Kobe, for sure he would not mind giving The Black Mamba the chance to become the next Logo.