5 interesting facts behind the NBA’s most famous logo

Visitors explore the NBA stand, prominently featuring the iconic NBA logo, at the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) held on November 9, 2020. ©IMAGO

5 interesting facts behind the NBA’s most famous logo

Festus Chuma 14:49 - 22.06.2024

Discover the intriguing origins and enduring legacy of the NBA logo, symbolizing basketball's global appeal and iconic status.

Over the years, the iconic NBA logo has captivated millions with its simple yet profound design, symbolizing the essence of basketball on a global stage.

But how much do you really know about this famous silhouette that represents one of the most beloved sports in the world?

Here are five fascinating facts that highlight the history and significance of the NBA's emblematic image.

1. Inspiration from a basketball legend

Although it was intended to represent an anonymous player, the silhouette in the NBA logo is based on a photograph of Jerry West, a Hall of Fame member and former player for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The logo designer, Alan Siegel, chose West's dynamic pose from a photo because it perfectly captured the grace and fluidity of basketball.

This revelation only came to light decades after the logo’s creation, adding a layer of personal connection to the symbol.

2. Designed by a branding guru

The NBA logo was crafted in 1969 by Alan Siegel, the founder of the branding firm Siegel+Gale.

At a time when the NBA was looking to establish a distinct identity amidst competition from the American Basketball Association (ABA), Siegel’s design provided a clean, memorable image that could stand the test of time.

His experience in creating a similar logo for Major League Baseball (MLB) proved invaluable in making the NBA logo a success.

3. Colors with a classic touch

The NBA logo features a red, white, and blue color scheme, which Siegel selected for its classic and versatile appeal.

NBA all-time great Jerry ‘The logo’ West ©NBA

These colors are not only reminiscent of the American flag but are also widely used in national flags around the world, enhancing the international appeal of the logo.

This choice helped cement the logo as a globally recognized symbol within the sports industry.

4. Minimal changes over the years

Since its inception, the NBA logo has undergone only minimal changes, the most significant being a slight adjustment to the font in 2017.

The updated typeface featured thinner lines and cleaner contours, which helped each letter stand out more distinctly.

However, the iconic silhouette of Jerry West has remained unchanged, preserving the logo's classic appeal.

5. A symbol of global influence

The NBA logo not only represents the league but also its expansive influence across the globe.

The NBA has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with games broadcast in nearly 50 languages and merchandise sold in over 100,000 stores across six continents.

The logo embodies the league’s commitment to basketball development worldwide and its role in addressing important social issues through initiatives like NBA Cares.

The NBA logo, therefore, is more than just a commercial symbol; it is a beacon of basketball’s enduring appeal and a testament to the sport’s ability to unite fans around the world.

Its creation story, the decision behind its elements, and its impact over the years offer a deep dive into how design can encapsulate and convey the spirit of a global sport.

This emblem remains a cornerstone of the NBA’s branding, instantly recognizable and deeply significant to basketball fans everywhere.

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