The silhouette of Jerry West has been the NBA logo since 1969. Now that we live in a culture in which traditions need to be canceled, the conversation has moved to who should replace West as the league’s logo.
My first suggestion would be to leave the former Laker as its logo until he passes. West is 82 and looks 15 years younger. But when the time comes to unfurl a new silhouette, there are four candidates, all of who are deserving.
In my humble opinion, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Bill Russell are the three greatest players in NBA history. The fourth candidate is Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter accident 14 months ago.
While Bryant remains the most popular player among today’s players, he wasn’t as great as the aforementioned trio. I rank Bryant as the 9th greatest player in league history. At the time West became the logo over fifty years ago, he was the 5th greatest player ever. I currently have him ranked as the 12th greatest player ever.
My heart would like to see Russell as the new logo. He remains the greatest winner in the history of team sports and remains a trailblazer in fighting against racial injustice. Russell is 87 years old. Like selecting a Supreme Court Justice, it makes sense to go younger.
If & When The #NBA Changes It’s Logo, Which Player Should Replace #jJerryWest ? #KobeBryant #LeBronJames #MichaelJordan #BillRussell @ Me Any Other Suggestions. @FP_Coverage @iglen31 @keegan_mu @Jetstriar @Mr_MikeNice
— John Sapochetti (@johnsap25) February 26, 2021
As in almost any NBA debate, it comes down to LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan.
While I believe James is the greatest player ever, for this exercise I’m choosing Air Jordan. No player in league history has meant as much to the “brand” of the NBA as Jordan. And, it’s not even close.
Jordan made the game global. Following his first retirement in 1993, television ratings plummeted. The same thing happened 10 years later when he retired permanently after two forgettable seasons with the Wizards.
In American sports history, Jordan, Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky, and Tiger Woods impacted their sport more than any other athletes in their respective sports. It speaks to the incredible popularity of the NFL that not one singular player moved the needle like Jordan, Ruth, Gretzky, and Woods.
Leave the NBA logo as is, until Jerry West goes to his ultimate resting place many years from now.
At that point, Jordan is the logical choice to be the new logo. The Nike Air Jordan logo or a silhouette of his finals’ series-clinching jumper over Bryon Russell would suffice.
Sometimes the obvious answer is the right answer.
John Sapochetti is co-host of three podcasts heard on Full Press Radio:
-The Pick & Roll NBA Podcast With Jet & Sap
-The Sap & Kat Show
-The Get Off My Lawn Podcast With Keegan & Sap
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