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Inspiration for NBA logo, Jerry West dies at 86

NBA legend Jerry West, whose prolific playing career landed him on the league's logo and whose basketball savvy led to multiple championships, has died.

NBA legend Jerry West, whose prolific playing career landed him on the league’s logo and whose basketball savvy led to multiple championships, has died, the Los Angeles Clippers said in a statement Wednesday (12 June).

He was 86.

“Jerry West, the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 86,” according to the statement by the Clippers. “His wife, Karen, was by his side.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called West a “basketball genius” and “defining” figure in the league.

“I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life,” Silver said in a statement. “On behalf of the NBA, we send our deepest condolences to Jerry’s wife, Karen, his family and his many friends in the NBA community.”

The red-white-and-blue logo, designed in 1969 by branding guru Alan Siegel, remains as one of the most enduring images in North American sports.

Siegel’s friend and noted sports journalist Dick Schaap handed him a file of NBA pictures and an image of West — dribbling with his left hand and driving to the hoop — jumped out at him.

“I always admired him, but I liked the picture because it was a nice vertical and had this motion to it,” Siegel told NBA.com in 2021. “I was a fan of his and he was one of those people who had an important history in the NBA.”

At the time, Siegel didn’t reveal that West the inspiration for that famous silhouette but it was obvious to many fans.

“In designing the logo, I never mentioned it was based on a picture of him,” he said. “It was just discovered years later.”

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Source
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