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The current logo, established in 1969, features a white silhouette of Jerry West with a blue-and-red background.
But Irving implied that it was vaguely racist to have West, who is white, remain as the NBA’s official mascot while failing to honor the late, great Bryant.
“Gotta Happen,” Irving said on Instagram. “[I don’t care] what anyone says. BLACK KINGS BUILT THE LEAGUE.”
Bryant died last year in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.
West, 82, played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 14 years, earned a spot in the hall of fame, and holds numerous college and professional records.
He later went on to become the Lakers’ general manager—and he is at least partially responsible for Bryant’s legendary career after drafting him to be the centerpiece of the team’s championship lineup.
However, West may have ruffled the feathers of some of the league’s social-justice warriors by accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Donald Trump in 2019.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, an outspoken leftist, said he “would support” the change because Bryant “brought so many people together.”
“I just think it’s so much more than basketball,” Cuban said about Bryant.
Even though the NBA’s logo earned West the nickname, “The Logo,” the league does not explicitly state that the logo features West’s silhouette .
An anonymous source who’s familiar with the NBA’s internal deliberations said the league does not want to put a specific person on the logo because so many great players have contributed to the NBA.
A Change.org petition, which has gathered more than 3.2 million signatures, calls for a far less subtle NBA logo.
Rather than a silhouette, the logo would feature Bryant’s picture over the traditional blue and red background with the words NBA at the bottom in white.