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Top 10 Old School NBA Logos

A team's logo is much more than just an image. It is a symbol which can unify a team and the fans, intimidate opponents and even come to represent the way in which a team plays. Playing such an important role for the players, the franchise, the fans and even the city the team hails from, it is important that these logos can be displayed proudly at centre court, on the uniform, on merchandise, promotional materials and everywhere else that you see NBA logos. Unfortunately many modern day logos lack character, are over-designed, are not intimidating or are simply boring. A look back through the history books and you will see that there have been a number of fantastic old school logos, and many of the cornerstone franchises such as the Bulls, Lakers, Celtics and Knicks have stuck with these logos (aside from a few minor changes to keep them fresh) because they have become iconic and it would be wrong to change them.

Throughout each era in the NBA there have been a number of different logo designs for teams as they look to rebrand every now and then, which means many excellent logos have been cast aside. The 90’s was what many would consider the golden era for NBA logos and kits, and many teams opted for cartoonish logos using intimidating but entertaining looking characters with bold color schemes. This cartoonish element would often juxtapose the hard nosed basketball that was being played on the court, and it was a large part of what makes 90’s basketball so instantly recognizable. Many NBA fans dismissed these logos and color schemes as too brash and garish (and in some cases this was true), but I find that many of these logos added charm and personality to franchises, which has now been lost with modern day designs which often have no references to their team name or what the city is famous for.

It was the turn of the millennium when teams moved to the kind of logos that we see nowadays, so this article will focus on logos that were designed pre 2000 and what most people would now consider to be retro.

Here are the top 10 old school NBA logos.

10 Miami Heat (1988–99)

via sportslogos.net

9 Milwaukee Bucks (1968-93)

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8 Houston Rockets (1995-03)

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7 Denver Nuggets (1981-93)

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6 Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-01)

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5 Seattle Supersonics (1975-95)

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4 Toronto Raptors (1995-present)

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3 San Francisco Warriors (1969-71)

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2 Charlotte Hornets (1988-02)

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It has been a bit of an identity crisis for Charlotte, who had to spend a few seasons as the Bobcats after their Hornets franchise moved to New Orleans. The Bobcats severely lacked style, but Charlotte now has their much loved team name back after New Orleans took on the identity of the Pelicans. They have now returned to the colorful and loud teal and purple colour scheme that made them so famous during the 90’s.

1 Chicago Bulls (1966-present)

via sportslogos.net

This is one of the most widely recognized logos around the world and also one that has not been changed. It is hard to imagine Chicago ever changing the logo as it has become so iconic, and although this is partially due to Jordan’s legacy, it is still a brilliantly designed logo with a great color scheme. It is tough and intimidating, and has come to represent the style of basketball which Chicago has been famous for over the years. As well as the fierce scowl, the red tipped horns suggest that the Bull has already been in battle and claimed a victim. The Bull also has a cartoonish quality, which made it right at home during the 90’s where many of the logos on this list came from.

The Bulls logo contains all the qualities that a good logo should have, and being the logo for one of the more successful teams it also means that it is one which is widely recognised and supported around the world.

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Top 10 Old School NBA Logos