The current logo of the National Basketball Association incorporates the silhouette of basketball legend Jerome Alan “Jerry” West, 82. The logo needs to be redesigned and have the late Kobe Bryant replace West, according to Kyrie Irving, 28.
On February 24, 2021, Irving took to Instagram to share a sample of what he believes an NBA logo should look like. In the caption, he suggested that it was the African-American basketball legends who made what NBA is today.
Bryant made his NBA debut in 1996 and retired in 2016. He played only for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving’s Instagram post became the beginning of a movement. It gained the support of Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant, 38, and many others.
But for those who believe the allegations made against Kobe in 2003, it is inappropriate to put the late basketball superstar in the NBA logo. It is an issue most, if not all, of his fans refuse to discuss especially after his death on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California, United States.
Partly raised in Italy, Kobe was a practicing Catholic. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA to former NBA player Joe Bryant and former NBA player John “Chubby” Cox‘s sister Pamela Cox Bryant.
Kobe was 21 and Vanessa was 17 when they met in November 1999. They got married at the St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point, California on April 18, 2001.
In January 2003, Vanessa gave birth to Natalia Diamante Bryant, her first child with Kobe. He was scheduled for a knee surgery on July 1, 2003 Edwards, Colorado, USA.
On June 30, 2003, Kobe stayed at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Edwards. A female concierge at the hotel, who was 19 at the time, claimed that when she entered his room that day, he gave her a hug that led to consensual kissing.
The woman said she was about to leave when Kobe grabbed her by the neck before pulling up her black dress and forcing her to have sex with him against a chair. She said no to him at least twice, according to her.
When Kobe was arrested in July 2003, he admitted to having sex with the accuser but claimed that it was consensual and there was no assault. With Vanessa by his side, he said at a press conference, “I sit here in front of you guys furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery.”
A preliminary hearing happened in October 2003. But the jury trial did not happen because the accuser, after receiving death threats, told prosecutors she could not continue with the case.
In September 2004, neither Kobe nor the accuser was present when District Judge Terry Ruckriegle dismissed the rape charge against him in a courtroom in Eagle, Colorado. In 2005, a civil case was settled for an undisclosed sum.
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way that I did,” Kobe said in a statement obtained by ABC. Upon learning his death in 2020, “Westworld” actress Evan Rachel Wood, 33, wrote on Twitter, “What has happened is tragic.”
“I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family,” Wood continued. “He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.”
It is impossible for the NBA to incorporate the image of a rapist in its logo. But whether or not the league as a brand believes that Kobe was a rapist remains to be seen.