- The Season's Over -

ETB’s NBA Logo Report Cards, Part Two

August 21, 2009

NBA Stickers NostalgiaBy: Zachariah Blott

I have 10 more team logos for you in the second installment of ETB’s NBA Logo Report Cards. Here are the basics of what I’m looking for in a good logo: If the name of the team is included, make sure its font, size, and color allow it to be easily read. The image should be simple and clear, displaying some artistic depth while staying away from getting too busy. Additionally, the logo’s image should incorporate the theme of the team, or at least their location. Overall, I’m looking for a clean, cool looking logo (note: very subjective) that won’t date itself into local humor in 20 years.

Again, all of these logos are found at sportslogos.net.

See also: NBA Logos Report Cards, Part One

Indiana Pacers

Current logo: D

Best logo: None

Indiana Pacers Classic LogoThe Pacers logo has changed very little over the years, but it needs to because frankly it sucks. It’s a big P for Pacers, with a basketball that apparently has picked up speed. Sound terribly boring? You’re right, it is. It’s very blah and does not use the race car theme the team unwisely adopted at their inception in 1967 (they joined the NBA nine years later). Their original logo included a long white arm—Rik Smits?—holding what appears to be a baseball. I wish I was making this up.

Los Angeles Clippers

Current logo: C

San Diego Clippers LogoBest logo: Current

Like the Pacers, the Clippers’ logo showcases a basketball that’s picked up speed. Yawn. Again, I’m not sure why you have a team name that invokes specific images and then never hire a graphic artist to make it happen in a logo. At least their first logo as the San Diego Clippers used this theme, although it was quite possibly the very definition of a dated 70′s logo. I give LA’s logo minor props for being simple and clear enough that it’s remained the same for the team’s entire 25 year history.

Eight more NBA logo report cards, after the jump …

Los Angeles Lakers Logo

Los Angeles Lakers

Current logo: C

Best logo: Current

Classic Minneapolis Lakers LogoThis is the third one in a row that does not feel the need to include any image even remotely related to the name of the team. This probably has something to do with the Lakers being one of the two least appropriate location-team name combinations ever, the other being the Utah Jazz, in any professional sport. I guess a Laker is a naval captain of some kind who works on a lake; they have to be able to get something out of that. Their logo from their Minneapolis days (1947-1960) is one of those should-be-used-by-a-high-school ones and includes the shape of Minnesota, a “textured” basketball that is very distracting, and the stupidest short-hand for a city ever: MPLS.

Memphis Grizzlies

Current logo: B

Best logo: Current

Memphis Grizzlies LogoMemphis’ logo is simple and straightforward without dipping into “excruciatingly boring” territory. The grizzly face shows emotion and shadowing technique in a minimalist format that is quite effective.

I have a feeling that this logo will remain fairly static for a long time, save for what are bound to be multiple changes to which words in which sizes and fonts appear with the picture. Their holdover logo from the Vancouver days was bad on many levels, most notably how busy it was, including the bear’s feet appearing directly below its claws.

Miami Heat

Current logo: C
Miami Heat Logo
Best logo: 1988-1999

The idea isn’t bad: a basketball that isn’t really on fire, but moreso has combined with fire. It also includes a white hoop that lamely turns the basketball-flame directly from yellow to red. The font can’t possibly last forever; it just has too much of a 90′s feel to it. They should have stuck with their original logo, in which the basketball-flame image used color and stylized edges to create a more smooth overall effect.

Milwaukee Bucks

Current logo: C/B

Best logo: Tie between current and original

Classic Milwaukee Bucks LogoIt’s OK enough, but it just feels small compared to the good animal logos (Bulls, Grizzlies). The lettering of “Milwaukee” absolutely needs to be bigger. The buck image is crisp and stoic, and the use of the triangle in the background is intelligent for the purpose of top-bottom balancing.

Their original logo, used from 1968-1993, ranks just about the same with me even though they look nothing alike. Its lettering is simple and clear, but the buck cartoon was a little silly and most certainly pre-80′s in its design.

The Bucks’ 30th anniversary logo used during the 1997-98 season simply threw together every aspect of both of their regular logos up to that point, but in the purple and green color scheme they utilized at the time.

Minnesota Timberwolves Logo

Minnesota Timberwolves

Current logo: B

Best logo: Current

Minnesota Timberwolves Classic LogoThe Timberwolves fine-tuned their previous logo last year, and unlike the trivial changes other clubs often make for no reason other than to sell more merchandise, every little tweak was for the better. Minor changes to the shading of the wolf head adds depth without compromising its simplicity. The evergreens are now brighter. The word Minnesota is larger. And thank god, the font and coloring of Timberwolves was completely changed to something much easier to read and less vampiric. Their original logo, used from 1989-1996, wasn’t bad. It was clean and simple and doesn’t look dated.

I guess Minnesota has never really had a bad logo.

New Jersey Nets

Current logo: C

Best logo: Current, bordering on none

New Jersey Nets LogoThe Nets basically have the Star Trek version of a basketball logo. It’s shape is similar, albeit upside down from the emblem on Spock’s chest. It’s design is very simple. It includes a ring around it indicating an orbit more than a basketball hoop. In fact, that ring/hoop is the closest the Nets have ever come to putting an image of an actual net on their logo. They have had four logos over the 32 year history of the team, and that ring/hoop and the shape of New Jersey on the logo they used from 1978-1990 are the only two items other than a basketball and the name of the team to ever be included. Kinda lame.

New Orleans Hornets

Current logo: C

Best logo: 2002-2008

New Orleans Hornets LogoHere’s an example of a team messing with a logo simply to mess with a logo. Last year, the Hornets retooled the hornet image so that it changed from sort of angry to snarky, lost the cool honeycomb sneaker tread, and changed its wings so that they resemble two misplaced toilet bowls. It’s pretty much just a silly cartoon, better suited for a girls rec team. They also stylized the letters a little bit, but they’re now smaller and harder to read. All minor changes, all for the worse. The logo on their floor is also ill-suited for the NBA: the Fleur de Bee [Ed. note: wankers]. New Orleans has to start over and develop something totally new.

New York Knicks

Current logo: C

Best logo: Current

Father KnickerbockerThe Knicks are the fifth logo in this batch of 10 that is basically just a basketball and the name of the team. Terrible. I know it must be difficult to create an image that ties into a Knicks theme, but you can always come up with something that relies on the team’s locale. For example, the New York Mets hit upon a basic NYC skyline from day one. At least we’re past the Father Knickerbocker days (1946-1964).

See also: NBA Logos Report Cards, Part One

Zachariah Blott is a teacher in Portland, not an Amish Charles Dickens character.

6 Comments »Posted by ETB Contributor on Aug. 21, 2009 at 3:01 am in NBA

6 Responses

Ammm, does anyone get an A? Sounds like Mel Kipers draft grades, everyone gets mediocre, that way there is no fuss.

Posted by: G on August 21st, 2009 at 2:20 pm

So far, I gave an A to the Celtics and to the Bulls. There will be at least one more in the last batch. I guess I’m grading on a bell curve: a few A’s and 1 F (in the third installment). There are a lot of logos that are good but that could clearly be improved upon.

Posted by: Zachariah Blott on August 21st, 2009 at 5:27 pm

According to @mcten: Red Auerbach’s younger brother, Zang Auerbach, drew the Celtics’ cartoon logo.


Posted by: Andrew Thell on August 22nd, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Loving this series. That old Bucks logo is ridiculous.

Posted by: Vittorio De Zen on August 24th, 2009 at 9:34 am

Fight the power!

Posted by: Ruff Rider on August 24th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I am not sure where you are coming from, as other comments have said, did anyone get an “A”. Maybe you just want to sound important.
The New Jersey Net’s Logo is incredibly strong, professional and stunning as the Memphis Grizzlies logo is!
What you consider an improvement in the Timberwolves can also been considered as too busy. More wolf than husky now it seems to have the kind of agressiveness you seem to favor.

From a professional designer’s point of view, the New Orleans Hornets definitely improved their old Logo. While the old drawing you seem to favor looks like a High School doodle, the new logo is more professional. The shape of the wings may be discussed, but I don’t see your point with the toilet bowls. They are improved compared to the old version. The new font is clean, but less impressive blah. It takes time these days to do expressive type hand lettering, who wants to pay for it. To me the characters expression could be also more fierce.

Posted by: Sabine Reichert on August 11th, 2010 at 10:48 am

Leave a Comment

(will not be displayed)