Currently the closest — and by closest I mean pretty not very close but it will do — thing the NBA has to a Michael Jordan-level global superstar is LeBron James of the Miami Heat, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He can dunk, he can block, he can pass, he can piss off an entire audience through megalomaniac ESPN specials, and, perhaps he can win a championship. But not yet. In the meantime, the only crowning he’ll have is by his own “King James” nickname, which serves as the basis for the logo of his Nike line of shoes and apparel. Designed by Nike Brand Design, the logo officially debuted this past October although it was leaked as far back as November 2010.
The need to update the logo came when Lebron changed his jersey number from 23 to 6. The previous logo revolved around the number and built into it, slightly crudely, the LBJ initials and a crown. It suffered from overligaturization but it definitely felt blinged out. The new logo drops the 23 and opts to not include any number at all — who knows what LeBron will do next or which team he’ll end up with? — but does retain the crown from the original, which sits atop a stylized “LJ”, although the three elements could be seen as a crown itself. The “L” and “J” shapes are a little blocky for my taste but the simplicity and compactness of the monogram is very nice and works perfectly across all kinds of merchandise — shop the LeBron collection at Nike! — from headbands to basketballs to the latest shoe, the LeBron 9. It ain’t the Jumping Man logo, but it will do.