Who is the NBA logo? Jerry West's silhouette etched forever in basketball history

The basketball world is mourning the loss of 14-time NBA All-Star Jerry West, a player who inspired several nicknames including a nod to the league's logo

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The NBA logo is one of the most iconic designs in sports, worn on basketball jerseys around the globe.

The man who has long been associated as the source of inspiration for the league's "the Logo" died Wednesday morning.

Jerry West was an NBA champion as a player and a general manager, an Olympic gold medal winner, and arguably the most influential basketball scout in the league's history.

While fans mourn the loss of a legend, we take a look back at the origins behind the NBA logo and the meaning behind West's many nicknames.

Who is the player in the NBA logo?

The legendary NBA logo has long been linked to Jerry West and his silhouette.

The jersey decal outlines a player dribbling a basketball with his left hand while closing in on the rim. 

The Los Angeles Lakers paid tribute to the iconography Wednesday shortly after West's passing was announced.

West has had questionable feelings about his association with the NBA logo.

He sometimes wished people wouldn’t talk about the image and even felt it bothered people.

“It almost feels like I have to apologize for that symbol," West said back in 2021. “It’s not fun.”

Who created the NBA logo?

The prestigious red, white and blue logo was designed in 1969 by Alan Siegel.

It wasn’t Siegal’s first rodeo. His agency created logos for other major companies such as AARP, Xfinity, Arby’s, Bank of America, and Dell, among many others.

Siegal said he charged $14,000 for the NBA logo. 

He said it wasn’t a lot of money but appreciated the opportunity's prestige and ran with it.

How did Jerry West get his nickname?

West has one of the best nicknames to date.

In his second NBA season, West was known as “Mr. Clutch” for hitting important late-game shots.

Lakers’ announcer Chick Hearn dubbed West the nickname and it stuck for the remainder of the Hall of Famer’s career. 

That season, the Lakers won 54 regular-season games and locked in a first-round bye in the 1962 NBA Playoffs.

West was also given the nickname “the Logo” in reference to the NBA logo his silhouette is featured in.

What were Jerry West's other nicknames?

West, a three-time member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, earned many badges throughout his playing career.

"Mr. Outside" was added to his cadre of monikers. West was a fantastic perimeter player — one of the league's first guards who played offense and defense at a high level.

Besides all illusions to basketball, West was dubbed "Zeke from Cabin Creek" for a creek that ran near his birthplace of Cheylan, West Virginia.

How many NBA championships did Jerry West win?

The NBA Finals proved to be a challenge for West as a player. He made it nine times, even capturing the NBA Finals MVP trophy in a losing effort in 1969.

Despite the many attempts, West walked away with just one championship. The Lakers won the NBA Finals in 1972.

West went on to win eight times as an executive with the team.

His post-playing career included stints with the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers. He was a two-time NBA Executive of the Year in 1995 and 2004.

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