When it comes to any team in professional sports, there are many things that can become identifiable with them.
Some may say team players. Others may say the city that each team plays in. However, there is one thing that stands out above the rest when it comes to the identity of a team…
Just like teams in the NFL, MLB and the NHL, the NBA has a wide variety of team logos that try to tie in colors, mascot and a city all in one picture.
As you may imagine, there are some teams that do a terrific job of representing their franchise through a logo. However, there are also a number of other teams that just don’t get the job done when it comes to having a strong emblem for a particular team.
The NBA logos (and jerseys) aren't quite as lively and colorful as they were back in the 90s. With the cartoonish era of the 90s gone, teams have gone for a sleek, 'modern' look. Sometimes it works for teams, other times, you wish they would have added more to a logo to make the team stand out. There are some that are classics that should never be tampered with and there are some that could use the upgrade.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the each NBA teams’ logo, as they are ranked from number 30 to number one.
30 Oklahoma City Thunder
With team officials not wanting to commit to neither a bison logo nor one that has some sort of weather pattern, the Oklahoma City Thunder settled for a boring, bland and pointless logo to represent their team. While the color scheme is okay at best, this look just doesn’t represent the high-octane, energetic product the team displays on the court every time they take it. Don’t be at all surprised if Nike does its best to try to revamp the logo once they gain access to apparel starting in 2017.
29 Detroit Pistons
After reverting back to this logo due to hatred from the late 90s look and wanting to resemble their storied past, the Detroit Pistons logo does nothing to represent the team in any way. The red, white and blue color wave is always a solid choice, but block lettering in front of a basketball makes it look like the Pistons are a JV squad. Especially with a variety of cool looking cars that could be incorporated into the logo, the organization could use a more modern, updated look.
28 Minnesota Timberwolves
Going against the grain of the last two choices, the Minnesota Timberwolves primary logo just has way too much going on. I can't point out whether it’s the random trees that hide the wolf or the multiple shades of colors on the animal’s face, but the Timberwolves would be better off going with a more simple look – something like their great looking secondary logo.
27 Los Angeles Clippers
While the Los Angeles Clippers original logo was nothing special, it looks like work from Picasso himself compared to what the team will use beginning in the 2015-16 season. Making black a more dominant color was a solid choice, but both the jumbled up “LAC” logo mixed with the red and blue stripes on top and underneath the word “Clippers” compares to something that a child could come up with while drawing on Microsoft Paint.
26 Denver Nuggets
I have to admit, there are many things about the Denver Nuggets logo that are very good. The colors are good, the banner with “Denver” on it is clever, and the snow topped mountain is a nice touch. However, the massive lettering that says “Nuggets” just throws everything off with this one. While the gold coloring is creative, the font just doesn’t seem right. A better look would be if they used the script-like writing that was one their alternate jerseys from seasons prior.
25 New York Knicks
Although the New York Knicks attempted to keep their logo similar to the once the team used in its inception, the fact is that a city as great as New York needs to have a better logo for their basketball team. Instead of having a random triangle in the background, what about a city skyline? Even an apple to represent the city’s nickname could suffice. The team could also benefit from updating their font, as it has been the same for some time now.
24 Cleveland Cavaliers
Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers logo isn’t so bad. While a bit of an overload with long lettering, a creative looking “C” mixed with a piercing sword is a nice look. However, my problem is where this lies with their uniforms. During LeBron James' first tenure with the Cavaliers, this look was featured on the team’s primary jerseys. However, their current digs are so bland and have no resemblance to the logo.
23 Dallas Mavericks
When it comes to the Dallas Mavericks logo, my main gripe is their choice to use three different shapes, as they tend to be an eye sore and clash. Also, while the color selection is strong and the star underneath the word “Mavericks” is a nice ode to the state, their choice of the horse picture isn’t as cool as the decision makers probably believe it is.
22 Sacramento Kings
Sure, the Sacramento Kings logo is ranked rather low on the list, but frankly, it isn’t all that bad. The black and purple is unique, and both the shield and banner that says “Sacramento” looks like royalty. However, the city name itself appears too small and bunched together, while the choice to have the first and last letter in “Kings” be bigger than the rest seems off.
21 Utah Jazz
In a time where many teams bring back old logos, a team like the Utah Jazz would benefit from that the most. While the music note inside of the “J” fit the team so perfectly, the mountain look doesn’t have the same impact. However, it could also be the color choice; while the Stockton/Malone era team had a great blue, white and black choice, the current dark yellow, green and blue hinder the logo’s potential.
20 Brooklyn Nets
There’s only so much to do when you have a bad choice of a team nickname: the Brooklyn Nets. Therefore, their choice of a shield with a “B” inside of a basketball was a solid way to go. The classic black and white color scheme fits, and although there could be a better choice for a font out there, the Nets logo is, for the most part, well done. It just lacks a certain punch that a team from Brooklyn should have in their logo.
19 Phoenix Suns
While the Phoenix Suns have gone through different looks over the last decade, they have returned to an old classic, albeit with a modern twist. Heading into the 2013 season, the team brought back their 90s rectangle look, including the basketball inside of a bursting sun. However, instead of bringing back purple as the primary color, the team decided to do accent orange with black instead. Although this logo could use some of that purple, either way, it’s a good representation.
18 Los Angeles Lakers
Everyone loves a classic look – and that is something the Los Angeles Lakers have used to their advantage when it comes to the team logo. Sure, I’ve been critical on the “insert team name over basketball” look throughout this countdown. However, whether it is the borderline script font or the gold lettering accented in purple, it all comes together nicely.
17 New Orleans Pelicans
When the decision was made to make the NBA’s New Orleans franchise nicknamed the “Pelicans,” it appeared by many to be a questionable one. However, whoever made the logo got it to work, as it represents both the culture of New Orleans and, yes, a pelican! The font that has the city name and the accent above it scream the Mardi Gras culture, while the burnt gold, navy blue and red combine quite well.
16 Indiana Pacers
Simple is sometimes the best way to go, and that is something the Indiana Pacers thought of when they were creating their team logo. There is nothing flashy about the look; the yellow basketball that is in the middle of the letter “P” looks old school, while the font of the word “Pacers” brings it up to speed. The Pacers have kept a relatively similar logo throughout their history with not much modification and that's perfectly fine.
15 Portland Trail Blazers
With minor tweaks along the way, the Portland Trail Blazers have pretty much used the same logo since the team was created. Black, red and silver is one of the best color combinations for team uniforms, and the Trail Blazers use that to their advantage, as they highlight each color well. Although many fans don’t get the pinwheel look, it fits in just right.
14 Washington Wizards
While the Washington Wizards are another team that has gone through identity changes over time, they created a new look for the 2015 season, which does a great job representing the city they play in. Both the star and Washington Monument inside of the basketball is a nice touch, while the round red, white and navy blue logo is a great look. When you're the nation's capital, there is plenty of inspiration in the city and the Wizards did well.
13 Orlando Magic
It may be hard to have something represent magic, but the Orlando Magic has done a very good job while trying to do so. The comet-like basketball actually looks rather cool, and the block lettering of both “Orlando” and “Magic” combine for a solid look. One thing that the Magic did well is add more black to their color scheme, as it comes off as both more intimidating and current.
12 Houston Rockets
Don’t get me wrong; most people love their look from the Steve Francis days. However, the current logo for the Houston Rockets is a combination of both simple and effective. The font that spells out “Houston Rockets” has a very cool look, while the “R” that separates the words has both basketball and rocket references intertwined with it. Some people might rank this lower, but we're going with simplicity for this one.
11 San Antonio Spurs
With a classic organization like the San Antonio Spurs, you know their logo isn’t going to be flashy – and it works. The black and silver is a great color scheme, and the way the “U” in Spurs is an actual spur is both simple and smart. When you keep it simple, have great colors and a dominant organization, a strong logo just comes with the territory. The success of the Spurs in the 21st century just adds to the mystique of their logo.
10 Atlanta Hawks
Like the Suns, the Atlanta Hawks will be brining an updated version of an old logo to their team in 2015. The favorite “Pac-Man” logo that was once used for the team has been brought back, although a pointed beak has be amongst the changes on the hawk in the middle. Most importantly, the team has “Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club” around the logo; while it comes off soccer-esque, it is very unique, with some teams possibly adapting that in the future.
9 Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks new logo is truly one of art – especially compared to the many bad ones used in the past. While the organization has gone through a clear color identity crisis over time, they have decided on going green full tit, a decision that is wise. On top of that, both the buck’s “M” shaped collar and basketball outlined in the deer’s inner antlers is a great touch.
8 Philadelphia 76ers
Continuing with the theme of new logos, the Philadelphia 76ers have done a great job with their new one to start the 2015 season. Although it is yet another team name in front of a basketball, the organization kept it simple – and it paid off. The best part is that while the logo is predominately blue and white, the red number seven adds nice depth. It's hard to go wrong with the classic red, white and blue color scheme.
7 Toronto Raptors
Rounding out the new looks for the 2015 season is also one of the better logos the league has, the Toronto Raptors. Although the original leaks of the logos looked very similar to those of the Brooklyn Nets, the organization brought two distinct differences. A red outline that stands out, and a raptors claw that aligns with the basketball’s laces. Both were quality inclusions that helped out the new look.
6 Golden State Warriors
Coming in at number six are the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors. Although the Warriors are another team that has gone through various looks, the ode to the former “The City” jerseys was not only a nice compliment, but also made the jerseys stand out in today’s league. The blue and yellow colors are a great combination, and the classic Bay Bridge on as the focal point makes everything round out nicely.
5 Miami Heat
While the Miami Heat are the last logo on the list with a basketball as its primary focus, they follow the tried and true theme: simple, yet effective. Similar to the Magic, it seemed hard to recreate the team name into its logo. However, the decision to have a ball going through a hope on fire was the perfect solution. No team has been able to combine a basketball with the team's name as effectively as the Miami Heat.
4 Charlotte Hornets
There was league-wide joy when Michael Jordan scrapped the Bobcats name and brought the Hornets back to Charlotte. And with that, one of the top logos in the NBA was created. The hornet in the center of the logo has adopted a more hostile look, and the combination of it holding a basketball and the modernized font has turned it into one of the best representations of a team.
3 Memphis Grizzlies
Once they shifted countries, the Memphis Grizzles have had one of the best logos in the entire NBA. There is so much to like about the classic grizzly; the shading on the face looks well complimented and not overdone like the Timberwolves, the two different styles of lettering matches perfectly and the piercing neon eyes adds a quality touch. While the logo the team had in Vancouver was more cartoonish, they've adapted a sleeker look to their current logo.
2 Chicago Bulls
While many teams pull off their animal logos in a cartoonish way, the Chicago Bulls went totally against the grain when it comes to that. Opting for a more violent nature, the bull has a devilish look on his face, while the red tips on his horns surely represent blood. Combine that with the black and bold “Chicago Bulls” wording and you have to admire the classic look.
1 Boston Celtics
There can be no other team atop the best NBA logos other than the Boston Celtics. As one of the most prestigious franchises in all of professional sports, a classic look comes with the territory – and that is exactly what the Celtics have. They have stayed tried and true with the green and white, and the figure spinning the basketball on his fingers makes this one of the best team images in all of sports.