NBA player Kyrie Irving would like to see the league's logo replaced with an image of the late Kobe Bryant.
On Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets star posted a mock-up picture to his Instagram page of Bryant in front of the NBA logo. The image has been shared on social media many times since Bryant died at the age of 41 in a helicopter accident last year, mainly in an effort to build momentum around a reimagined NBA logo in honor of the five-time champion.
"Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says," Irving, 28, wrote in the caption of the image. "BLACK KINGS BUILT THE LEAGUE."
The NBA's current logo is unofficially based on an image of Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West. West — a Hall of Famer — was also instrumental in bringing Bryant to the Lakers in 1996 after the late athlete was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets.
Irving isn't alone in the desire for a redesign — a petition for a new NBA logo in memory of Bryant has garnered more than 3.2 million signatures (and counting) as of Thursday afternoon.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, reshared Irving's post to her Instagram Story on Wednesday night, supporting the change by simply writing, "love this."
West, who has not publicly stated if he supports Bryant as the center of a new NBA logo, has said he'd like the league to redesign its emblem.
"I wish that it had never gotten out that I'm the logo, I really do," West told ESPN in 2017, via The Undefeated. "I've said it more than once, and it's flattering if that's me — and I know it is me — but it is flattering. … If I were the NBA, I would be embarrassed about it. I really would. … I don't like to do anything to call attention to myself … that's just not who I am, period. If they would want to change it, I wish they would. In many ways, I wish they would."
Jonathan Coleman, the co-author of West's autobiography, echoed these sentiments in an interview with the outlet later that year.
"The logo, this is not something he was at all seeking. It was Walter Kennedy's idea. Walter felt it was important to have a brand for the league," he told The Undefeated. "Jerry's proud to be the logo, but it's also embarrassing to him, in equal measure."
"The effect [his death] had on this city, and really because of his enormous popularity, I just think it takes something out of you. You see some people who can do anything they want to and never contribute anything to society. You would think with the enormous success that he had in his life, and he was willing to give back," West told the Los Angeles Times in January.
"But he was willing to continue to grow into a different iconic person in another different field," he continued. "It's rare that an athlete can do that. LeBron James has certainly done it. And I admire those players that do it, I really admire them."
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