Petition to use Kobe Bryant silhouette in NBA logo growing with more than 2 million signatures
More than 2 million people have signed an online petition seeking to have the late Kobe Bryant represent the new logo for the NBA.
"With the untimely and unexpected passing of the great Kobe Bryant please sign this petition in an attempt to immortalize him forever as the new NBA Logo," the petition states on Change.org.
The iconic NBA logo was designed in 1969 by Alan Siegel, who has said he based the prominently featured silhouette on another Lakers legend, Jerry West.
For many years, West was reluctant to acknowledge that his image appeared on the league's logo. He did admit it was him in a 2017 interview with the Washington Post, saying the gesture was both flattering and embarrassing.
"If they would want to change it, I wish they would," West said. "In many ways, I wish they would."
Maybe now is the right time to do so. West was the Lakers general manager when the team acquired Bryant following the 1996 draft and told ABC/ESPN that he served as a "surrogate father" to the then 17-year-old player.
"I will love Kobe forever and always cherish the time that I spent with him," West said Sunday in a statement. "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. Kobe's legacy will live forever."
Let’s keep this spreading pic.twitter.com/BO1ZWIEhmH— JWEPP (@JWepp) January 27, 2020
The 41-year-old retired NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, were among those instantly killed when their helicopter crashed into a hillside in Southern California on Sunday morning. They were en route to a youth basketball tournament at his training facility Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, and their three daughters.
A total of nine people were on board the 1991 Sikorsky S-76 at the time, and no one survived the crash, authorities said. The National Transportation Safety Board, along with help from the FBI, is investigating the incident.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, enjoyed a storied 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring from professional basketball in 2016.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described Bryant as "one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary."
"For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning," Silver said in a statement Sunday. "But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna."
After retiring from the NBA, Bryant began coaching his daughter Gianna's middle school basketball team, becoming an outspoken supporter for girls and women in basketball.
Women's National Basketball Association Commissioner Cathy Engelbert described the deaths of Bryant and his daughter as "sudden and tragic."
"Kobe's support for the WNBA and women's basketball along with his passion for helping young girls and boys follow their dreams made him a true legend for our sport," Engelbert said in a statement Sunday. "We admired him not just as a legendary basketball player, but as a father, a youth coach, and a role model for future generations of athletes."
However, Bryant's career on and off the court was not without criticism due to his past. He was accused of sexual assault by a hotel employee in Colorado in 2003.
Bryant always denied that the encounter was non-consensual, and the case was ultimately dismissed after the victim said she didn't want to testify. The two parties settled a civil suit, and Bryant publicly apologized to his accuser at that time.
ABC News contributed to this story.