Bryant is considered one of the sport’s greatest players after spending all 20 of his seasons with the Lakers, winning five NBA championships.
“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 told reporters after his side’s 129-92 win against the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
“I know that it probably was met with some people that love the idea and some people that don’t like it.
“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.”
‘I’m not discrediting anyone’
“I don’t want to discredit any of our other historical players that have done amazing things for the league. I’m not discrediting anyone when I say that Kobe should be the logo,” Irving added.
West played 14 seasons for the Lakers in the 1960s-1970s. Part of the Lakers’ front office when the team traded for Bryant in 1996, West has previously said he wished the league would change its logo.
Although clearly the inspiration, the logo’s designer never officially approached him about becoming the silhouette and the NBA never officially acknowledged it was him.
Initially flattered by the honor, West has since said the logo has been a source of embarrassment at times.
“If they would want to change it, I wish they would,” West told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in 2017. “In many ways, I wish they would.”
However, given that the NBA’s current logo is so globally recognizable, it remains to be seen whether the league would make such a drastic change to its branding.
The NBA didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.