Legendary Lakers guard and Hall of Famer Jerry West is nicknamed ‘The Logo’ because his silhouette serves as the NBA logo.
The famous photo of Jerry West dribbling in 1969 which eventually became the official logo of the NBA. pic.twitter.com/hdW7EuaJwM
— Historical Sport (@HistoricalSport) March 15, 2017
The NBA has never confirmed that the logo is modelled after West, though they do not deny it either. By not confirming that Jerry West is on the logo, the NBA avoids paying West royalties for using his image.
The NBA shies away from the question about the inspiration behind the logo, however the designer of the logo Alan Siegel admits that the logo was modelled after West and tells the story in the following video