There’s a lot of nonsense surrounding LaVar Ball and Lonzo Ball, but not all of it is of their making. Take the hullabaloo now over whether the Z06 copied off of something called Zone 6 developed by an Ohio State assistant coach, Zach Smith.
Zach Smith took to Twitter yesterday to complain about the perceived similarities.
“Zone 6” was developed back in 2014 by the Ohio State wide receivers coach. As you can see in that story, the original patch, while having similarities, has changed. It comes from original ideas like Zone for End Zone and 6 for 6 points. I had not heard of it and it does not show up on the first page of “Zone 6” searches on Google (mostly dealing with plant zones). We did an internal poll of our staff (which includes Big Ten alums) and the response was universally “what?” in regard to whether they had heard of Zone 6. So this is an internal Ohio State thing.
Now to the logo. It includes a rounded Z. Congratulations on inventing taking a letter of the alphabet and using a round design. That is the complete extent of the similarities. Everything else is different: the colors, the thickness, the other artwork and more original elements around it, and the circular design in the middle.
I found a rounded Z on Shutterstock, and found one with Parlee Cycles on their Z-Zero model. In fact, that Ohio State design looks more similar than to the circular design in the middle of that one. Wonder if this coach isn’t as creative as he thought.
We don’t even know if Ohio State has a copyright on this design, but regardless, any actual case would be flimsy when looking at what does and does not constitute copyright infringement. “Using elements of the original logo that are unoriginal or not able to be copyrighted — such as letters, numbers, names, words, typefaces, or familiar shapes like crosses, shields, and pyramids — would not, by itself, represent a violation of copyright.”
Again, other than having a rounded Z, there is nothing similar. The odds are pretty small that LaVar Ball, who’s son goes by ZO, and would naturally fit into incorporating a Z and O design, saw this thing from Ohio State that none of us had heard of. But enjoy the attention off of LaVar Ball for this 24-hour cycle.