Why NBA Team Logos Are Some of the Best in Pro Sports
The National Basketball Association and its teams’ imagery are cultural icons that remain timeless and always fresh across generations. People can quickly become friends over sharing a passion for the same team.
From New York to Toronto, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, each NBA franchise has produced some incredible logos over the league’s long history. They are some of the most creative and best-designed in North American professional sports.
Why is that, though? What makes these NBA logos so unmistakable every time you see one on a snapback, shirt, or jersey? We’re going to take a closer look at the quality and detail that goes into some of the most recognizable brands in modern athletics.
Paying Tribute to the City
Many NBA logos give credit to the neighborhoods that support them most. For example, many of their symbols include landmarks that their local regions are best known for.
For example, the Golden State Warriors logo shows undeniable pride for NorCal. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of, if not the most famous landmark in the San Franciso Bay Area. If you see that logo, you know instantly where they are from and what they represent.
Another great example of local imagery with a bit more of a subtle touch is the Houston Rockets’ logo. NASA is headquartered in the city of Houston where the United States continues to venture into outer space. The Rockets’ logo features the letter “R” stylized like a space shuttle blasting through a hoop; giving a nod to the deep aerospace history that the area is known for.
Other logos like the Los Angeles Clippers follow a traditional monogram style which is associated with timeless sports franchises like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The red “LA” is framed by a blue C in the middle of a basketball. The letters fit neatly into a clean, rectangular shape that not only proudly displays the home city but also captures that vintage vibe that continues to hold its own alongside more modern designs.
Creative Uses of Basketball Imagery
NBA franchises use basketballs in their logos more than teams in any other major sports league. The perfectly round shape and symmetrical lines in a basketball make it a perfect template to personalize with a team’s own symbolism. Some teams, such as the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, and Los Angeles Lakers have featured basketballs in their logos since the middle of the 20th century.
We’ve already touched on how the Clippers combine a basketball into a timeless vintage monogram with their logo. The San Antonio Spurs alternate logo also adopts some of these monogram elements but with a darker, more modern color scheme.
Many other teams have taken some creative approaches to using basketballs in their logos. For example, you’ll find some unique designs like:
- The Utah Jazz’s purple, gold, and green ball as the base of a music note to pay homage to their roots in New Orleans.
- The Miami Heat’s a flaming basketball blazing its way through a hoop to match the franchise’s nickname.
- The Orlando Magic transforming a basketball into a bolt of cosmic energy
- The Toronto Ratpors logo featuring a dinosaur claw tearing its way through a basketball
Some other teams take the nature of the game and translate it into a logo in itself, such as the Portland Trail Blazers. The opposing lines represent offensive and defensive players in a game while the opposing curves represent motion and speed.
The Cleanest Animal-Inspired Logos
Animal imagery has held deep symbolism in human cultures since humanity’s earliest days. From ancient works of art to modern sports logos and mascots, animals have always appealed to us.
However, stylish animal-inspired imagery is not always an easy feat to accomplish, but many NBA teams have succeeded in doing so. These symbols have become just as iconic for many fans as the legends that have played for the crest.
The Chicago Bulls logo will forever be one of the most recognizable in North American sports. Michael Jordan built his legacy with this crest and it will forever be associated with his name. When the Memphis Grizzlies introduced fans to the bear head in the 2004/05 season, they adopted a similar style of a strong, powerful animal with a look on its face that’s all business.
Other teams that have taken more creative approaches have also succeeded in doing so. From the Charlotte Hornets to the Dallas Mavericks, you’ll find some of the best uses of animal imagery in any of the Big Four.
Shop the Cleanest Iced-Out NBA Team Logo Pendants Today
At the GLD Shop, we are proud collaborators with the NBA to bring you the officially licensed GLD x NBA collection. Featuring our signature hand-set stones, our pendants are guaranteed for life to keep you always looking fresh whether it’s game time or if you’re on your grind.Shop the full GLD x NBA Collection or hit us up anytime to learn more about our pendants and other accessories.