Following the tragedy that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others in a helicopter crash in Southern California on January 26th, fans and many media members have clamored for the league to change its logo from Jerry West to Bryant. Many also propagated that the league should retire numbers 8 & 24, the two numbers that the Laker great donned during his legendary 20-year career.
As is often the case, we overreact to big events. The last game we saw is the greatest game ever. A recent acting performance is greater than anything anyone has ever put onto celluloid.
Let’s pause and think. Jerry West has many nicknames including; “The Logo”. In addition to being one of the greatest 15 players in league history, West is arguably its most accomplished executive.
The Cabin Creek Comet was the architect of the “Showtime” Lakers in the 80’s and early 2000s, the Warriors recent dynastic run as well as the current L.A. Clippers squad which, along with the Lakers, is favored to win the 2020 NBA Championship.
The 81-year-old West remains one of the classiest sports figures, past or present.
Leave him as the Logo. He has honored it impeccably.
In terms of retiring numbers 8 & 24 to honor Kobe, let’s hold off.
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Jackie Robinson, deservedly so, is the only athlete among the 4 major sports to have his number retired by the league. Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky, Bill Russell, and Michael Jordan do not have their numbers retired by their respective leagues.
Robinson broke down racial barriers and remains the most important and influential athlete in our nation’s history. Beyond athletics, Robinson is one of the most important and influential Americans in our history. His #42 being retired by Major League Baseball is richly deserved.
That being said, Kobe should be honored. A patch with his initials “KB” or with “Mamba” should be sewn on every player’s jersey for the rest of the season. And, starting with this year’s game, the NBA All-Star MVP should receive the “Kobe Bryant Award”.
It still doesn’t seem real that Kobe, his daughter, and 7 other people died on their way to doing something they love.
Life is precious.
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