NBA logo/Jerry West

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

Jerry West, the NBA logo silhouette and Los Angeles Lakers legend, was one of the league’s most prominent figures and a man whose offensive and defensive abilities helped to revolutionize the game.

The NBA logo he appears in is still in use today, and it hasn’t changed since its debut in 1969! This blog post will look into why Jerry West was chosen for the NBA logo.

Jerry West accomplished many things during his career that made him the ideal candidate for such an iconic symbol.

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

NBA logo/Jerry West

Even harder for those who had to make an NBA logo based on Jerry West’s image was that they only had two weeks to do it. Walter had decided to show off the finished logo at the 1969 All-Star Game between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.

The task proved extremely difficult, but fortunately for us today, their efforts were rewarded because the NBA logo has remained unchanged since its debut over 45 years ago!

It Wasn’t Always Jerry!

Looking at some previous iterations of the NBA logos used prior to the introduction of ‘The Logo,’ we can see that the NBA logo had gone through several different iterations, including one with a basketball.

Who is Jerry West?

As previously stated, Jerry West was most likely chosen as an NBA logo silhouette due to his professional achievements rather than any connection to Walter Kennedy (who also served as NBA commissioner from 1963 until 1975).

Throughout Jerry’s 14-year NBA career with the Lakers, he won numerous awards, including Rookie of the Year in 1960/61 and a championship, which earned them their name: ‘The Lake Show.’

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

Jerry’s NBA number 44 was retired by the Lakers, and he was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1980. Jerry West is unquestionably one of the NBA’s all-time greats, and his silhouette on the NBA logo is a fitting tribute to his legacy!

NBA logo/Jerry West

Is The Logo Actually Jerry West?

Although the NBA never confirmed or denied that Jerry West appears on the NBA logo, we can say with certainty that he does. The silhouette is nearly identical to Jerry’s figure as well as the NBA logo!

There have been some alternative suggestions for who the person in the NBA logo could be, but none of them have been proven, 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 an outstanding work of art! According to legend, Jerry West was not the NBA logo silhouette until Siegel designed it to look like him. When asked on multiple occasions whether the NBA logo should be changed, Alan has always said 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 attempted to figure out why Alan chose to use a basketball player in his NBA Logo design, but he has never responded, so we can only speculate. Some say it’s because Walter Kennedy decided to debut the NBA logo at the 1969 All-Star Game, and he wanted someone who would be familiar to all NBA fans!

Others argue that Jerry’s popularity within the league made him an ideal choice – but in any case, whoever chose Jerry made an excellent decision!

Jerry claims he was never officially informed that he would be the NBA logo silhouette. In an ESPN interview in 2017, Jerry West expressed his thoughts on the NBA logo, 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.”

Over the years, there have been a few suggestions for who could replace Jerry West as the NBA silhouette, but nothing has been confirmed. One suggestion is that Michael Jordan takes up the mantle, owing to his prowess on and off the court, as well as his status as one of the most popular players in NBA history.

Jerry West himself has proposed 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

‘The Logo’ began appearing on both sides of players’ jerseys beginning in 1971, which was a first for NBA logos.

NBA logo/Jerry West

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


It’s difficult to imagine a world without the NBA logo, and even more difficult to imagine who would be chosen if it ever changed (which, thankfully, doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon)!

For a good reason, this logo is one of the most iconic in sports history. Its simple design and powerful statement capture everything that basketball represents. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post about Jerry West and the NBA logo!


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