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Adam Silver on Kobe Bryant fervor: No plans to change ‘iconic’ NBA logo

An NBA logo is on display at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York.
An NBA logo, featuring the silhouette of Lakers legend Jerry West, is on display at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York.
(Jeenah Moon / Getty Images)

While the NBA is expecting arenas to be filled again next season with a return to its normal calendar, commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday during a news conference there were no plans to change the NBA logo.

In response to a question about widespread support to update the NBA logo with a likeness of Kobe Bryant replacing the silhouette of Jerry West, Silver said there are “no ongoing discussions” about changing the logo.

“The logo is iconic,” Silver said, adding that it doesn’t feel like it’s the appropriate moment to change it.

Silver said the league could still one day revisit updating the design, but reminded reporters that the NBA has renamed the All-Star game’s most valuable player honor after Bryant.

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“I appreciate the sentiments, but it feels like the logo is appropriate right now.”

Silver cautioned that every plan moving forward in the NBA is contingent on continued progress in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

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There are no plans for the league to travel overseas next season for exhibitions or regular-season games, Silver said, meaning recent preseason trips to foreign markets such as China, Japan or India won’t be repeated until 2022 at the earliest.

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Otherwise, things may largely appear back to normal — with the NBA eyeing a return to the 82-game schedule, starting in October and ending in June.

“I’m fairly optimistic, at this point, that we will be able to start on time,” Silver said from Atlanta, in his annual news conference that precedes the All-Star game. “Roughly half our teams have fans in their arenas right now and, if vaccines continue on the pace they are and they continue to be as effective as they have been against the virus and its variants, we’re hopeful that we’ll have relatively full arenas next season as well.”

Silver addressed many other topics Saturday, including:

— Coaching diversity: Many believe hiring processes need to be more transparent, and the coaches’ association wants to work with the league on initiatives that will improve future coaching searches. Silver wants those as well, but doesn’t want them to simply exist and be hollow.

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“I don’t want to create a process in which people are checking the boxes, and that someone becomes ‘the Black candidate who got interviewed, but didn’t get the job, everyone knows that person wasn’t really going to get the job, but somebody went through a process to appease the league office or somebody else,“ Silver said. “It requires real engagement.“

— COVID vaccine: Silver said he was not aware of any players who have been vaccinated yet. Some coaches, including San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, have gotten the vaccine. Silver also said it’s not a prerequisite that players get vaccinated in order to achieve the league’s goal of having fans back in arenas like normal next season.

— One-and-done: Silver said he and NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts have ongoing dialogue about whether to allow players to enter the NBA draft at the age of 18 again and essentially eliminate the so-called one-and-done policy where players in most circumstances need to go to college for a year before turning pro.

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“We both agreed that as part of the process of looking at a new collective bargaining agreement, we should discuss that issue,“ Silver said.

— Summer League: There are no “concrete plans“ to resume summer league later this year in Las Vegas, Silver said. Last year’s league was canceled because of the pandemic, and the NBA Finals are scheduled to go until as late as July 22 — around when summer league is usually concluding.

“I think we’re going to end up (with) maybe an abbreviated summer league, mini-camps and other opportunities,“ Silver said. “Everything’s on the table now.“

Staff writer Andrew Greif and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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