Best and Worst: NBA Logos

By Steve Perrault | Nov 16, 2012

You can find them on hats, foam fingers, pink shirts, watches, and even underwear. Yes, NBA logos can be found everywhere, so franchises need to take crafting their emblem’s with caution as these images will represent their product. After scanning logos across the current landscape of the Association, it is clear that some teams crests are a slam dunk while others are closer to an air-ball free throw. Here are the best and worst logos in the NBA.

The Best:

5. Toronto Raptors

Now, before describing why the Raptors squeeked into this edition of “Best and Worst,” you need to know that Jurassic Park was easily one of my favorite movies growing up and looking at the raptor that is featured in Toronto’s logo always gives me an instant flashback to that classic flick. Moving on, the Raptors made a slight tweak to this logo in 2008 when they made the outline red instead of purple. This may seem like an upgrade to most, but purple being the Raptors primary color was one of the coolest aspects of their image. Think back to Vince Carter winning one of the most entertaining dunk contests in 2000, or a young Tracy McGrady making his name in the NBA. These significant feats took place when the team donned their sharp purple jerseys, a unique feature that has now been replaced with a generic red design. This gripe aside, the clean-cut raptor image in the logo still lands Toronto at No. 5 on this prestigious list.

4. Phoenix Suns

The Suns logo will not blow you away by any means, it simply comes to work on time every day and gets the job done. It doesn’t need to be overly flashy like other west cost styled logos, it knows that having the basketball as the rising sun with their specific color combination will do just fine. Good thing, however, that this isn’t a “Best and Worst” list of alternate logos, because their decision to go with the “PHX” design in 2000 is one of the worst looks in the league, hands down.

3. Miami Heat

When you think of Miami, you probably think of the hot weather and the flashy atmosphere. Well, this logo right here does a great job of representing these aspects of the city and the team itself. The flaming basketball through the white-hot hoop is a sleek look, while the design is very precise. The yellow flame at the end of the basketball is a great touch that makes this one of the cooler looking team badges in the NBA.

2. Boston Celtics

Pride. Tradition. Excellence. These are just some of the words that may come to mind when glancing over the Celtics logo. Boston has had its laid-back-leprechaun logo since the 1978 season, as there is simply no reason to change something that looks this cool. It’s a nice added touch that the leprechaun is smoking a pipe, as one might relate this with the late Red Auerbach, who would be the real life emblem of the historic Celtics franchise.

1. Chicago Bulls

Now, forget the fact that when looking at the Bulls logo the first thing that comes to mind has to be Michael Jordan and multiple Larry O’Brien championship trophies. So, now that we’re past that, just take a good look at that logo to the right. It’s rather simple, yet very effective. The Bull has just the right amount of intimidation without looking cheesy like the Minnesota Timberwolves logo. While other teams have failed with the team name floating over their mascot in their logos, it works perfectly here because of how symmetrical the team name looks over the Bull. The Bulls logo, like the team in the 90s, is unbeatable and would surely land at the top of several best logo lists. Here’s another trophy, Chicago. Enjoy.

The Worst:

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Count the Bucks as another team (like the Raptors) that made the wrong decision in switching one of their primary colors from purple to red in the past six years. The Bucks logo was lacking to begin with, but swapping the only cool part of their logo, being the purple trim to the more generic red outline, made it even worse. Looking at the actual Buck, he (or she) just seems disinterested. It’s as if the Buck in the logo knows that it is featured on one of the most boring NBA logos, so it naturally just sits there and looks at you with a blank “Get me out of here” type stare. Not enough here Milwaukee, not enough.

4. Detroit Pistons

To cut to the chase, the Pistons logo is just too boring. It might as well be a slice of cheese pizza; nothing original, just a bland look. Not to change topics, but the city of Detroit may be in last place in terms of overall logos for all of their professional teams. Leaving out the Red Wings traditional design, the Tigers and the Lions have arguably the worst logos in their respective leagues. Some advice for the Pistons to get out of this despised category would be to go back to the crest they featured in the Jerry Stackhouse days. If you forgot, here it is underneath. Awesome, I know.

3. Washington Wizards

How awkward looking is this logo? The last thing that comes to mind when you look at the Wizards logo is an actual wizard, and that’s where Washington’s first issue lies. Also, what is the wizard doing here? It appears as though he is using magic with his right hand to make the ball smaller while going up for a layup…I guess? Nothing about this image makes sense and, therefor, has landed the Wizards the 3rd worst logo in the NBA.

2. Charlotte Bobcats

As the bobcats are scrambling to put together a team that would be lucky to beat the top college squads, they should look to craft a completely new logo as well. While this version of their logo is a bit brighter than previous looks, they still haven’t changed anything in the actual design of the logo in the teams’ history. Changing the color scheme is a start, but in order to improve your logo sometimes you have to start from scratch and make a completely new design (reference the Cleveland Cavaliers as a great example.) So, in short, you have yet to even have a halfway decent logo, Charlotte, so you shouldn’t be surprised to have the 2nd worst logo in the Association.

1. Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets. My, oh my. In steps Jay-Z with all his “swagger,” stepping up and bringing a team no one cared about to the basketball-loving city of Brooklyn and this is the logo he comes up with? Don’t get me wrong, the move to Brooklyn is great for the NBA, but how on earth did this logo even come up in discussion as a possibility for Brooklyn’s main emblem? First off, it looks like a 6th grader could have put this together the day he or she was introduced to Photoshop. It’s just so “blah.” The font for the “Nets” and the “B” on the face of the logo are as simple as it gets. They would have been better off changing the name of the team and starting from scratch, rather than approving this lackluster image. Any way you look at it, this is a very poor look for a franchise that is trying to build from the ground up in a new city that has wanted a team for oh so long. In summary, Jay-Z’s got 99 problems, and the Nets logo is definitely one.

 



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