NBA logo/Jerry West

Jerry West: The Player As The Silhouette In The NBA Logo

Jerry West, NBA Logo silhouette and Los Angeles Lakers legend, was one of the NBA’s most prominent figures in NBA history. And a man who helped revolutionize the game through his offensive and defensive skill set.

The NBA logo he features in is used to this day and it remains unchanged from its reveal, back in 1969! In this blog post, we will explore why Jerry West was chosen for the NBA logo. And what he achieved during the career that made him a perfect fit for such an iconic symbol.

Back in 1969. NBA commissioner, Walter Kennedy, wanted to introduce a new NBA logo that featured the silhouette of Jerry West. However, he didn’t want it to be just any NBA logo – this one was going on all NBA jerseys!

NBA logo/Jerry West

To make matters more difficult for those tasked with creating an NBA logo based around Jerry West’s figure. They needed to do so in only two weeks as Walter had decided he would unveil the final product at 1969’s All-Star Game between Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.

The task proved incredibly daunting but luckily enough for us today. Their hard work paid dividends because the NBA logo remains unchanged since its unveiling over 45 years ago!

It Wasn’t Always Jerry!

By looking at some previous iterations of the NBA logos used before the introduction of ‘The Logo’, we can see the NBA logo had gone through several different iterations, including one that featured a basketball.

Who is Jerry West?

As mentioned above, Jerry West was most likely chosen as an NBA logo silhouette because of his career achievements and not due to any relation between him and Walter Kennedy (who also served as NBA commissioner from 1963 until 1975).

During Jerry’s 14-year career in the NBA with Lakers, he won countless accolades; including the Rookie of the Year award back in the 1960/61 season and a championship, throughout his time at Los Angeles Lakers – which earned them their name: ‘The Lake Show’.

He would go on to win Finals MVP, and make the NBA All-Star Team, an astounding fourteen times, before retiring 1973/74 season. His NBA career averages were impressive too, averaging 27.0 points per game.

The Lakers went on to retire Jerry’s NBA number 44, and in 1980, they enshrined him in the NBA Hall of Fame. Jerry West is without a doubt one of the NBA’s all-time greats and his silhouette on the NBA logo is a perfect way to remember his legacy!

NBA logo/Jerry West

Is The Logo Actually Jerry West?

Although the NBA never confirmed or denied that the NBA logo features Jerry West, we can say for certain it does. The silhouette is an almost exact match to Jerry’s figure, as well as the NBA logo!

There have been some alternative suggestions for who could be the person featured in the NBA logo but they all lack concrete evidence and so we can say with certainty that it is Jerry West.

Alan Siegel: The Designer Behind the NBA Silhouette

Alan Siegel is credited with creating such a brilliant piece of art! It is said that Jerry West was not the NBA logo silhouette until Siegel designed it to resemble him. When asked, on several occasions on whether or not the NBA Logo should be changed, Alan has always stuck to a NO;

“It’s a really elegant, powerful presentation of basketball. It’s hard, graphically, to do something that static like this. To have tension in it, movement and grace. It’s very hard. I don’t believe they should change it. I’ve done so many sports symbols, and it’s hard. You can’t have too many images in it. It has to be simple, be powerful. It has to be dynamic. This has all these elements.”

Many people have tried to discover why Alan decided upon using a basketball player in his NBA Logo design, but he has never answered so we can only speculate. Some say because Walter Kennedy decides for introducing the NBA logo at the All-Star game 1969, and wanting someone who would be familiar with all NBA fans!

Others suggest Jerry’s popularity within the league made him a perfect choice – but either way, it seems whoever chose Jerry had excellent judgment when they did!

Jerry claims that he was never officially told that he was going to be the NBA logo silhouette. In 2017, Jerry West shared his thoughts on the NBA Logo, in an interview on ESPN – stating:

“I don’t know, I don’t like to do anything to call attention to myself, and when people say that, it’s just not who I am, period. If they would want to change it, I wish they would. In many ways, I wish they would.”

There have been a few suggestions over the years of who could replace Jerry West as the NBA silhouette, but nothing has been set in stone. One suggestion is that Michael Jordan should take up the mantle – due to his prowess on and off the court, as well as being one of the most popular players in NBA history.

Jerry West, himself has even suggested the change;

“He’s been the greatest player I’ve ever seen. And I’m probably a harsh judge of talent, in the sense that I admire players that are really good defensive players and really good offensive players. . . . And he made his teams win.”

The NBA Silhouette Has Evolved Since Its Creation Back In 1969

From 1971 onwards, ‘The Logo’ started featuring on both sides of players’ jerseys, which was a first for NBA logos. In 1997, the NBA silhouette was placed inside a shield and in 2002, it underwent a few changes to make it look more like the NBA logo we see today.

NBA logo/Jerry West

As you can see, ‘The Logo’ has come a long way since 1969 and shows no signs of stopping! The silhouette is an iconic symbol that represents not only Jerry West’s legacy but also the NBA as a whole. Thanks to those who designed it – we have something truly special!


It’s hard to imagine a world without the NBA logo and even harder imagining who would be chosen if it were ever to change (which thankfully, doesn’t look likely anytime soon)!

This logo is one of the most iconic logos in sports history for good reason; its simple design but powerful statement captures everything that basketball represents. Thanks for reading – we hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post about Jerry West and the NBA Logo!

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