Sunday, June 7, 2020

Why Bill Russell needs to be the new NBA logo

Having already proposed the renaming of Christopher Columbus Park in Boston after Celtics-great, Bill Russell, here's why will I advocate strongly for the NBA logo to bear his likeness.

Jerry West has been the NBA logo since 1969, when designer Alan Siegel had a reason for his choice, per Sports Casting.
"The image of West was chosen as the basis of the NBA logo because Siegel felt it best embodied the league's dynamism and athleticism. The silhouette manages to convey power, movement, and grace all at once."
West never made any money from his image representing the NBA, and he seems to have no strong feelings about remaining as the visual representation of the league.
"I don't like to do anything to call attention to myself," West said. "In many ways, I wish they would [change the logo]."
Bill Russell came to the Celtics in 1956 after winning gold in the Melbourne Olympics. In 48 games during his rookie season, he averaged 35.3 minutes, 14.7 points and 19.6 rebounds per contest. In 72 games, fellow-rookie, Tommy Heinsohn, averaged 29.9 minutes, 16.2 points and 9.6 rebounds, walking away with Rookie-of-the-Year honors. But it was "Big Bill" that changed everything, as he was a natural, and ferocious, rebounder. His elevation and timing on blocking shots were masterful, and his defense, both interior and perimeter, were unmatched for a big man in the 1950's.

Russell took a figurative beating from the media - and even some fans, in part because he was black and outspoken on racial issues. Admittedly, Russell could be verbally caustic, but he had to endure many written and verbal attacks during his time in Boston and continues to stand up for what he believes is right even today.

His 11 championship rings tell the story that he was a winner on the court, and he dominated in his vital role with the Celtics. I have argued that Russell could play, and dominate, in today's game. If Siegel fashioned his original logo based on Jerry West's "dynamism, athleticism, power, movement and grace," then I would argue that Bill Russell portrayed all of that. It is time to put the racism of the 1960's aside and acknowledge what this proud, intelligent man accomplished for the Celtics, the city of Boston and the NBA.

The possibilities for a Russell logo are endless, but it was his shot blocking that was such an innovation and a potential choice can be found at the top of this piece.

Tom Lane

Photo used courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment