Change of face

Laker’s legend Kobe Bryant should be the icon of the NBA

If you are anything like me, then Sunday, Jan. 26, was a very emotional day.

This was the day when the stunning news of Kobe Bryant’s death was released to the world. The Laker legend tragically died in a helicopter crash that also took the life of his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others.

I have never been the biggest fan of the NBA. I don’t mean that I didn’t like it or don’t respect the players. I just didn’t follow it religiously like the NFL or NCAA. Regardless, the respect I had for Kobe was as high as anyone’s.

Granted, the 18-time All Star guard left behind a complicated legacy. He was no doubt one of the greatest basketball players of all time and his work ethic was second to none, but a troubled history often clouded what people thought of him.

Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 and despite the charges later being dropped, the accusations followed him throughout his career, as they should. It is impossible to talk about the legacy of Kobe without talking about his biggest blunder.

However, Kobe Bryant meant so much to the game of basketball. He was respected by every player around the league and his talent and passion for the game drove coaches crazy. After his death, emotional videos of retired Heat guard Dwayne Wade and current Clippers coach Doc Rivers, to name a few, proved just that.

NBA teams did everything they could to honor the Laker legend. Many teams elected to take 24- and/ or 8-second violations (Kobe wore both numbers during his time in LA) at the beginning of games in honor of Bryant. The Lakers canceled their first game after Bryant’s death and LeBron James emotionally addressed Laker Nation before their next game.

Perhaps the saddest part about the 41-year-old’s untimely death is that he would have surely went on to change the culture of the NBA more during his retirement than he did when he played.

Kobe was truly a legend. For those of us too young to have watched Michael Jordan, we grew up watching Kobe. He was the face of the NBA for years and would have impacted the game for decades to come.

That is why I think the NBA should change their logo to Kobe Bryant’s figure.

I mean no disrespect to Jerry West (the current player in the logo), but with everything Kobe stood for, and all he had yet to do, it just seems right that the NBA should change their logo. For 50 years, Hall-of-Famer West has stood as the logo and, until now, there really has not been a reason to change it.

Death changes everything, especially when it happens to someone with so much life left to live. People mourn, and no one will ever understand the full pain that families suffer after learning their loved ones were lost.

What we can do is honor the legacy of those who lost their lives, and that goes for every person, not just celebrities. In the case of Kobe Bryant, the best way the NBA can honor his legacy is to make him their logo.