By Christopher Miller
LOS ANGELES — Red Auerbach. Bill Russell. Larry O’Brien and Jerry West. They are all names connected to some of the NBA’s most prestigious trophies, awards or logos. The name Kobe Bryant has yet to be etched in a similar capacity but it certainly should be, according to multiple Phoenix Suns’ players.
In the Suns’ first visit to Staples Center since Bryant’s passing, Phoenix fell to Kobe’s beloved Lakers 125-100 on Monday night. While Bryant wasn’t physically there, he was still on the minds of fans and players alike, as yellow and purple Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys were in abundance.
“[I’d] change the logo because anything you’d see with the NBA would have his logo on it,” Phoenix Suns point guard Jevon Carter said. “He was what every winning basketball player wanted to be — the type of competitor he was, how serious he took his work, how hard he worked, how much he worked. If you could tell any player anything about basketball or how you wanted them to be, you would tell them to be like Kobe Bryant, how he approached the game.”
For Carter, the one time he met Bryant remains a treasured experience.
“He’s the only celebrity I’ve ever met that I was also a big-time fan of,” Carter recalled. “I was still in my kid phase when I met Kobe — he was everything.”
Fellow Phoenix point guard Ricky Rubio echoed his teammate’s sentiments, asking that the NBA do more to honor the late Lakers star.
“I’m not the commissioner, so I don’t know [what the league should do], but I know one thing for sure is that something needs to be done,” Rubio said. “What he did for basketball is amazing, which you can clearly see now. Players like him have to be honored the right way. He deserves a lot of credit for where the NBA is right now because of the way he played.”
Current NBA players aren’t the only ones to voice their support for changing the NBA logo to a Kobe Bryant silhouette. Usher, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber, 2 Chainz and Meek Mill were among a handful of musical elite appealing on social media that the NBA play homage to Kobe through a logo change.
Arguably the strongest case for change was made by Jerry West, the man whose image has served as the league’s logo since 1969. Although flattered by the honor, West is ready for a change, as he told the Washington Post in 2017.
“If they would want to change it, I wish they would,” West told TNT. “I will love Kobe forever and always cherish the time I spent with him. I watched him grow from an energetic kid into the man he became, making a difference in so many people’s lives. He has left the world a better place.”
Much the same way that NBAers and musicians feel more should be done to immortalize Bryant’s NBA and Lakers legacy, NBA fans across the globe have petitioned the league to do more.
According to Change.org, the Kobe NBA logo petition, started by a man named “Nick M,” has tallied over three million signatures in just two weeks. Nick’s petition also become the fastest-growing petition within 48 hours of creation in the site’s history, a Change spokesperson said after securing over two million signatures within the first 48 hours.
Neither the league nor the Lakers have commented on the suggested change at this point.