Whenever the NBA logo is shown, we often reflect on Jerry West as he’s the supposed figure in the image. He was a figurehead in the NBA during the 1960s and 70s and was the league then what Michael Jordan or Lebron James is now, so him being the guy on the logo shocks few.
But according to Jerry West himself in an interview with TMZ Sports, he isn’t compensated in anyway for being the logo.
The main reasoning behind West not being paid for being the logo is because the NBA fails to actually acknowledge that the figure within the logo is Jerry West.
“There’s no record of it here,” said NBA spokesperson Tim Frank in 2010.
The NBA likely chooses to not pinpoint West as the actual logo because of payment reasons and, possibly, favoritism. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, others were dominant also, so one could question why West was considered for the part and not the other marquee players in the league.
But according to the actual creator of the logo, Alan Siegel, West is the character the famous logo was created after, basing it off an image taken by photographer Wen Roberts.
“It’s Jerry West,” said Siegel in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “They want to institutionalize it rather than individualize it,” he says during an interview over lunch near his office in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. “It’s become such a ubiquitous, classic symbol and focal point of their identity and their licensing program that they don’t necessarily want to identify it with one player.”
The NBA will continue to play coy on the matter, but everyone knows that one of the best players in NBA history in Jerry West is the logo and at some point they should openly admit it.