Vicious rivals – the American Basketball Association vs the NBA – were at each others throats, each trying to top the other in the war to become the most popular basketball league.
With this battle in mind, the NBA turned to Alan Siegel for a branding project that would blow the competition off the court.
A logo that was “instantly iconic, patriotic, easy to market.” They wanted something that mimicked the striking red, white and blue logo of Major League Baseball.
But it wasn’t until Siegel stumbled on this photo of Jerry West that the breakthrough came. It was the photo that embodied the agility and intrigue of the sport.
“So I took that picture and we traced it. It was perfect. It was vertical and it had a sense of movement,” Siegel told the L.A. Times.
And it would change the identity of the league forever.
It’s meaning is known to the whole world. It sums up a large part of American culture. It generates more than $3 million a year in licensing.
The weird part?
For being the man in the icon printed on countless heaps of sports memorabilia, Jerry West doesn’t receive a penny of it.
That’s because the NBA refuses to acknowledge it as such, saying “There’s no record of it here.” (Despite the fact that the NBA’s website features a video of Jerry West titled “The Logo.”)
Read the full story at the Siegel+Gale website.
Featured image via Pixabay.