Kyrie Irving wants Kobe Bryant on NBA logo. Here's why

Lakers' Kobe Bryant defends against Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving on Dec. 11, 2012.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant defends against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving on Dec. 11, 2012. (Mark Duncan / Associated Press)

In the days following Kobe Bryant's death last year, millions of people signed a petition urging the NBA to change its logo to feature the likeness of the Lakers legend.

On Wednesday — the one-year anniversary of the memorial service for Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Jan. 26, 2020 — Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving renewed that effort by posting a Kobe-inspired logo by designer Tyson Beck on Instagram, along with the caption "Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says. BLACK KINGS BUILT THE LEAGUE."

Vanessa Bryant included Irving's post on an Instagram story and expressed her support for honoring her husband in such a manner. "Love this," she wrote.

Following the Nets' 129-92 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, Irving spoke to reporters about why the idea means so much to him.

"As a native Black man, as a native Black king, I think it's part of my responsibility to continue to push our generation, our culture, forward," Irving said. "I know that it probably was met with some people that love it, love the idea, and some people that don't like it. But, my thing is paying homage to the example that has been set by that man."

Irving added about Bryant: "He was the standard for our generation, and he will continue on, and I want that to be something in history that is changed forever, that our generation was part of that change. And, you know, if that means that I have to lead that forward and get the conversation going, then great. But I think he deserves it. I think his family deserves it. I think we deserve it as seeing greatness personified as Mamba. And anyone that's coming into the league should know that that's the example that was set."

The current NBA logo features a silhouette that designer Alan Siegel based on another Lakers legend, Jerry West. Siegel told Newsweek last year that he would support a new logo that paid tribute to Bryant.

"It's quite clear that this was a very respected figure by players and around the world and this is a really serious thing that should be considered by the league," Siegel said.

"I'm really proud of the logo, it's been something that's been recognized around the world, but if the current players want to recognize someone that's made a difference, like Kobe, and if the commissioner wanted to do so, I would support it."

West, who had a close relationship with Bryant, has indicated that he'd be fine with his image being replaced on the logo.

“If they would want to change it, I wish they would,” West told the Washington Post in 2017. “In many ways, I wish they would.”

Irving said his effort is not meant as a slight toward anyone else.

"I'm not discrediting anyone when I say that Kobe should be the logo because we have so many examples of guys that did things on and off the floor that were leaps and bounds for us to be where we are now," Irving said.

"We want to set a standard and precedent, like this is excellence. Kobe Bryant. Logo. Yes. Needs to happen."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.