30. Oklahoma City Thunder
It was tough enough to see the Seattle SuperSonics relocate to Oklahoma City in 2008, but the move became even worse when the Oklahoma City Thunder unveiled their logo. While the name ‘Thunder’ does well to represent the region, the color scheme and logo are a mess. It is nearly impossible to capture thunder in a logo, but OKC came up with a horrid representation. A shield, two stripes, and three colors that are never associated with thunder/thunderstorms — time to rethink your logo, OKC.
Image Source: Getty Images
29. LA Clippers
The Clippers have always lived in the Lakers’ shadow. While the Lakers have won a league-best 17 NBA titles, the Clippers have never won the Western Conference. Additionally, the Clippers have played second-fiddle (third if you include the Los Angeles Kings) to the Lakers at Staples Center since 1999. In fact, even LA’s old logo — used from 1984-2015 — was a ripoff of the Lakers’ iconic look. When the team announced it would refresh its look in 2015, the Clippers finally had a chance to establish their own unique brand. And what did they do? They created the abomination you are looking at above this text. LA should rebrand completely when it moves into its new arena.
28. Houston Rockets
Depending on which decade you grew up in, you may connect the Rockets with one-of-three logos — the classic red and yellow look (1972-1995) that the team owned when it won back-to-back titles, the cartoon rocket logo (1995-2003), or the current look (2003-present). Unfortunately, we think Houston’s current logo is the worst of the three. While the franchise deserves some credit for incorporating the team name into its logo (the ‘R’ resembles a rocket launch), it has run its course. It is time to freshen up the logo — and perhaps bring back the cartoon rocket.
27. New Orleans Pelicans
Maybe we are being a bit harsh — this logo isn’t terrible — but we cannot place the Pelicans’ logo any higher than this. New Orleans rebranded as the Pelicans in 2013, allowing the Charlotte Bobcats to reclaim the ‘Hornets’ moniker. New Orleans introduced a handful of new logos. The main look features a head-on view of a pelican — a pelican with its wings spread and a basketball beneath its beak. If we had our way, the franchise would switch up the color scheme and introduce a more dynamic pelican logo.
26. Brooklyn Nets
Simple is not always better. Following the 2011 season, the Nets moved into their new home in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the franchise left a better logo/look behind in New Jersey. The Nets opted to ditch the logo that the Jason Kidd-led Nets sported en route to back-to-back trips to the Finals in the 2000s. New Jersey’s blue/white/silver/red look was out, and in its place a simple black and white look was revealed. The new logo is simply boring — a shield containing ‘NETS’ over a ‘B’ adorned basketball. The Nets would be better off going back to their old look.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers
Before we get into Cleveland’s logo, let’s say that the franchise should bring back its awesome blue and orange color scheme from the 1980s. Cleveland abandoned its popular look when LeBron James joined the team in 2003. Since that time, the franchise has changed its logo three times. From LeBron’s rookie year through the 2016 season, Cleveland’s logo featured ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’ in white over a red basketball with a sword crossing through the middle. The design was clunky and a bit busy. Thankfully, the franchise improved its logo when it switched to the ‘C’ and sword look above.
24. Orlando Magic
If the Magic still sported their logo from the Shaq era, they would be much higher on this list. Orlando has one of the most unique team names in American sports. In the early years of the franchise, the team had a logo and uniform set that matched its fun name. Now? The team has dulled things down. Orlando’s logo is fine. A blue and silver ball appears as if its flying through the sky as a trail of stars follow in its wake. The current logo is more dynamic than the previous edition, but it’s not as powerful.
23. Detroit Pistons
At one time, the Detroit Pistons were the talk of the NBA. The “Bad Boys” era Pistons were incredible on the court — both with their play and their look. Detroit’s logo was nearly identical to its current logo — a blue ring surrounds a red basketball with ‘Detroit Pistons’ in white. Some people may have this logo near the top of their rankings, but we are not members of that crowd. Maybe it’s because the Pistons haven’t finished with a winning record one time since 2008? Or perhaps we are just yearning for the return of the wild flaming horsehead logo…
22. Sacramento Kings
Just like the Pistons, the Sacramento Kings have been a putrid franchise for more than a decade. Sacramento was one of the league’s best teams to start the 2000s, but it fell off a cliff starting in 2006. Adding to their misery, the Kings ditched the Chris Webber era logo in 2016 in favor of their current logo. To be fair, the logo is effective. ‘KINGS’ is sandwiched between a purple crown and a silver basketball. The Kings also feature two secondary logos — a purple lion dribbling a ball, and a roaring lion wearing a crown — that we like a bit more than the primary logo. Though, we could be seeing this logo for quite some time after the Kings finally broke their postseason curse donning these threads in 2023.
Image Source: Getty Images
21. San Antonio Spurs
Over the past 25 years, the Spurs have the NBA’s best winning percentage and have won five NBA titles. As a result, their classic ‘silver spur’ logo has become one of the league’s most recognizable logos. It is easy to understand why the look has stuck. The ‘spur’ is unmistakable. When included in the wordmark, the logo works perfectly as the ‘U’ in ‘Spurs’. However, that doesn’t mean it is a great logo. In fact, we think it is a bit boring…just like Tim Duncan’s demeanor on the court.
Image Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
20. Washington Wizards
Does anyone miss the wizard? How about the black, blue and gold that the Michael Jordan era Wizards donned? The Wizards probably made the right move by replacing the ‘wizard’ logo and bold color scheme in 2015. Washington’s current color palette is a big improvement, and we are rather fond of the primary logo. It’s a rather simple yet effective look. The Washington Monument is proudly featured in the middle of the logo, and a star sits above the Monument and atop the basketball.
19. Miami Heat
In recent years, the Miami Heat have introduced some truly wild alternate logos, uniforms, and court designs. The franchise has fully embraced the NBA’s new approach to expanding each team’s uniform catalogue — resulting in some great, and some terrible looks. However, the team’s primary logo has remained the same since 1999. A flaming basketball goes through a white hoop…sounds like something out of NBA Jam. Miami’s logo is very recognizable and we can’t imagine the franchise moving away from it anytime soon. With that being said, we prefer the team’s OG ‘flaming ball’ logo — featuring a more natural flame color and black hoop.
18. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets and Orlando Magic have a few things in common — they share a division, they have never won an NBA title, and at one time sported better logos. During their first stint in Charlotte, the Hornets featured a now-iconic logo — a flying, cartoon hornet dribbling a basketball. When the franchise was able to abandon the ‘Bobcats’ moniker and return to its roots, it opted to revamp the ‘hornet’ logo. The new hornet is more intimidating than its predecessor. The insect has sharp wings, an angry face, and a lethal stinger. While we are fans of the new look, it doesn’t quite live up to the OG hornet.
17. Indiana Pacers
From 1967-1990, the Pacers’ logo was below average. The logo was still shaped as a ‘P’ during that stretch, but it also featured a hand gripping a basketball — a basketball that more closely resembled a tennis ball. Indiana shifted to a more modern look following the ’90 season and it hasn’t looked back. The current ‘P’ logo is much more dynamic. The ball no longer looks like a tennis ball. Additionally, the lines coming off the ball makes it appear as if the ball is in motion. This is a very solid logo.
16. New York Knicks
When you have some free time, do yourself a favor and search for New York’s original logo — “Father Knickerbocker”. If it gives you nightmares, we apologize. Since 1992, the Knicks have sported a logo much like the one they boast today. A grey triangle sits behind a basketball and the prominent, raised ‘KNICKS’ text. The logo is undoubtedly one of the league’s most recognized. Unfortunately, it is beginning to feel a bit dated.
15. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have gone through a handful of primary logos over the years, but they have (hopefully) settled on a winner. The 1990s era red hawk with its wings extended and talons gripping a basketball was powerful. The blue and red hawk that replaced that iconic look was a letdown. Luckily, the franchise ditched that boring bird in 2015 and brought back a modernized ‘Pac-Hawk’ logo. The ‘Pac-Hawk’ is a great logo that should stick around for years to come. The Hawks seemingly change their uniforms every month, let’s hope they leave the logo alone.
14. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have featured two primary logos (and two minimally altered versions) in their 40+ years in the league. For 20 years, Dallas was represented by a green basketball with a blue ‘M’ and white cowboy hat. Since 2000, the Mavs have boasted their current logo — a shield with a horse head, a half moon, blue ball, and ‘MAVERICKS’ script. When simplified, we are big fans of the logo. The team often utilizes just the ball and horse head. If Mark Cuban opts to bring green back into the logo on a permanent basis, the Mavs’ logo will move up the list.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Since entering the league in 1989, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had four primary logos. And despite their current logo checking in at No. 13 on our list, it is our least favorite of the four looks. The Kevin Garnett era logo is iconic — lurking behind a row of trees is an angry, snarling wolf. In 2017, the franchise decided to move on from that logo and debuted the howling wolf seen above. Above the wolf you can find the North Star. The logo is clean and works very well. However, the previous logo reigns supreme.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
In the 1990s, a handful of teams went all-in on their animal logos. One of those teams was the then-Vancouver Grizzlies. When Vancouver joined the league, its logo was a massive, roaring grizzly bear. Just a few years after relocating to Memphis, however, the logo transitioned into a much more stoic bear. Now just a bear head, the logo features two shades of blue and a hint of yellow — the grizzly’s eyes. Despite the stoic nature of the bear, it retains its intimidation factor. The logo works, but we wouldn’t mind a return to the Vancouver logo.
11. Utah Jazz
The purple, blue, and copper mountain range logo from the late 1990s is a thing of the past. Over the past 15 or so years, the Utah Jazz gradually ditched the logo and colors that John Stockton and Karl Malone made famous. In 2022 — following the departure of former franchise stalwarts Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell — the Jazz unveiled new branding. The musical note — which came back in 2016 — is now monotone after years of sporting hues of blue and yellow. The basketball/musical note works much better for New Orleans than Utah, but it’s much better than what they’ve had in the past.
Image Source: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
10. Toronto Raptors
This is a strong look. Toronto wanted to feature a more serious look compared to its original logo, and it managed to do so while still tapping into its dinosaur theme. Toronto’s new logo is rather simple — a red ball features three claw marks along the seams of the ball. Despite the effectiveness of the logo, we believe the Raptors dropped the ball. Who doesn’t miss the ‘dribbling raptor’? Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back!
9. Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee has had some truly mediocre logos throughout its history. From 1968-1993, the franchise’s logo looked like something out of a Christmastime cartoon. Starting in 1993, the Bucks adopted a new logo featuring a more realistic buck. That purple/green look was revamped in 2006 — as red replaced purple. Mercifully, the franchise scrapped that logo in 2015. Milwaukee’s current logo is awesome. The green and cream color scheme is a vast improvement. The buck is menacing, and the hidden details in the logo are impressive — the antlers form a basketball and an ‘M’ is visible in the buck’s neck.
8. Boston Celtics
Dating back to 1968, Boston’s logo has featured a leprechaun spinning a basketball. There are arguably two logos in all of basketball that are as recognizable as Boston’s leprechaun (named Lucky). From 1974-1996, Lucky was rendered in white and green. For the past 26 years, Lucky has been improved by the addition of black, gold, and brown to the logo. How are seven logos better than a pipe-smoking leprechaun?
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia has featured a top-notch logo for much of its time in the NBA. The logo in the photo above was Philadelphia’s primary logo from 1963-1977 — and has mostly remained the main look since that time. Some version of the ‘red 7 and blue 6′ has been utilized in all but one primary logo. From 1997-2009, the franchise donned a logo that Allen Iverson made famous — the gold/black/red ’76ers’ wordmark with a comet-like ball flying underneath. While it worked at the time (for some people), that logo should have never stayed in use for as long as it did. The current ’76ers’ logo is great. Special shoutout to the 13 Revolutionary Stars above the ‘7’.
6. Denver Nuggets
After nearly 30 years, the Nuggets said goodbye to their horrible logo and revealed a new look. Since 2018, Denver has featured the gem that we see pictured above. Two gold pickaxes are accompanied by a mountain peak and basketball. The objects perfectly fill the space, and the splash of red in the surrounding circle is sublime. Let’s hope that the team never returns to the ‘snowcapped mountain peak’ logo that Dikembe Mutombo and Carmelo Anthony were forced to embrace.
5. Phoenix Suns
How can you not like this logo? The streaking sun looks good on uniforms (Charles Barkley era), the court, and on retail items. Determining the color scheme couldn’t have been difficult, but the franchise nailed its decision. With the return of the ‘streaking sun’ jerseys in 2023, it seems like the team has opted to appease their fans by going all-in on their current look. And, we think that’s for the best.
4. Golden State Warriors
If we choose to ignore the Warriors’ cartoonish logo from 1997-2010 (donned by the ‘We Believe’ Warriors), the franchise has had one of the league’s best looks since 1969. The current logo is a gem. A span of the Bay Area Bridge, in yellow, appears on a blue circle. ‘Golden State’ is above the circle and ‘WARRIORS’ sits below. The logo is incredibly simple yet elegant. And when you add in the jersey numbers, it gets even better.
3. Portland Trail Blazers
Portland’s ‘pinwheel’ logo is iconic. Portland’s awesome logo is a graphic interpretation of two five-on-five basketball teams lined up against each other. The original logo, from 1970-1990, featured five black lines, five red lines, and was tilted to the left. The pinwheel was shifted to its current position in 1991, and the color white replaced the five black lines beginning in 2002. We love the style of this logo and how unique it is to the sport. Bravo, Portland.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are one of the most iconic franchises in the world. In addition to winning 17 NBA titles, a handful of the league’s greatest players have donned the purple and gold. The Lakers first moved to Los Angeles in 1960, and their initial logo upon arriving in town has remained relatively unchanged. The gold ball, the purple, streaking ‘Lakers’ across the middle — is perfection. From the Showtime Lakers to the Kobe/Shaq dynasty, the Lakers’ logo has remained at the top of the league.
1. Chicago Bulls
Even if Michael Jordan never played for the Bulls, this logo would be towards the top of this list. Of course, Jordan’s historic run in Chicago has contributed to this logo becoming iconic. The logo has remained unchanged since Chicago entered the league in 1966. The design is nearly perfect. The charging bull’s face is intense — and was the perfect look to accompany the dynastic Bulls of the 1990s. Red and white has never looked so good.