I present to you, the Philadelphia Benjamin Franklins:
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) May 12, 2015
On May 12, 2015 the Philadelphia 76ers announced that for the upcoming 2015-16 season they will be re-branding the team’s logo with slight changes to the color scheme. Positives of the new designs is that it kept the colors and spirit of the old logo and the re-design is subtle, simple and a modernization of the team’s classic logo.
But what is really buzzing for this logo change is the secondary logo, which pictures Benjamin Franklin dribbling a basketball. The idea of having one of the founding fathers as a design to represent the identity of the franchise can certainly feel confusing. However, if you know and are informed with the history on how the Philadelphia 76ers got its name, then it would not be so surprising.
History of Origin
During 1963, at the time the 76ers were known as Syracuse Nationals, but the Nationals were purchased by Philadelpians, Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman. The team then held a contest to re-name the franchise on August 6, 1963, which was the 76ers. the idea of the name from a contest and the person who won the contest, Walt Stahlberg, suggested the franchise name to be the 76ers. Reason being, the 76ers name was a tribute to the gallant men who forged this country’s independence in 1776. One of those gallant men was Benjamin Franklin, who is respected as one of the founding fathers that took part in winning American independence and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, creating the United States of America in 1776.
Despite the meaningful history, through the media there has been negative backlash in regards to the Benjamin Franklin logo. For example, television personality and commentator on ESPN First Take, Stephen A Smith, showcases a bashful opinion in this ESPN clip:
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 13, 2015
Stephen A. Smith feels that the Benjamin Franklin design is corny and does not properly depict Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love. He feels this corny logo combined with the losing ways the 76ers have been for the past few years is unacceptable. Smith reiterates that the 76ers should not concern themselves with re-branding the logo, but instead to improve the roster.
Why Stephen A. Smith is Wrong
However, I disagree with Stephen A. Smith’s assessment. With this implementation of change to the logo, it can lead to changes in the win column for the 76ers next season. Having a new design, uniforms and brand is a breath of fresh air and it can distance the 76ers’ stigma of “tanking”. With this transformation it gives birth to a direction toward a winning culture. The change of the logo is a way to tell the fan base, the team is ready to compete and make a run to the playoffs for next season.