All 30 NBA Logos, Ranked From Worst to First
You can essentially draw a line right down the middle of the NBA when it comes to team logos. On one side are teams that have picked a logo and stuck with it or have gone back to a beloved one from years past. On the other side are teams that like to tinker with their logo every decade or so — and usually with very mixed results.
It should probably come as no surprise that the teams known for being consistent with their logos are also the teams that have come out with some level of sustained consistency — and championships. The bottom end of the logo hierarchy ... well, they've also been in the bottom half of the NBA standings on a pretty consistent basis.
Here's a look at all 30 NBA logos, ranked from worst to first.
30. Los Angeles Clippers
This logo has the appeal of a hospital room after it's just been wiped down with antiseptic.
In no form, old or new, can a Clippers logo have any sort of mass appeal, positive link to history or inspire fandom in any way. Old-school NBA fans think of the Clippers as the very worst franchise in league history. New-school NBA fans think of the Clippers as the team the guy from Microsoft paid $2 billion for before he dropped another mega-bag on free agents and still couldn't win a championship.
This entire franchise is living, breathing proof that money can't buy everything.
29. Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets logo means about as much to the rest of the NBA-loving world as it does to the people who actually live in Brooklyn. Which ranges from about middling, passive interest to no interest at all.
The Nets logo looks like it was created by Starbucks for a special seasonal drink that's only served cold. The Nets logo reminds us of a poster for a Todd Field movie. It's the logo version of drinking cold, white wine on an empty stomach. The Nets logo appears to have been in ketosis for six weeks. Get the point?
28. Cleveland Cavaliers
Here's pretty much everything you need to know about the Cleveland Cavaliers logo — even with the most popular player in the world wearing it for over a decade, it still didn't become popular on a national scale.
LeBron James rocking the "C" from 2003 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018 brought Cleveland its much-desired NBA championships in 2016, but it couldn't do anything for that hideous color scheme. Even the old logo — with the "V" in "CAVS" turned into a hoop — couldn't bring this eyesore back from the brink.
27. New Orleans Pelicans
Some logos on this list have such little history and such little panache that they generate almost no feeling whatsoever, good or bad, because we care so little about the franchise and have such little connection with the team itself.
We will give New Orleans credit for doing away with the old logo in 2013 that was kind of a mix between the franchise they once were — the Charlotte Hornets — and what they wanted to become, although the franchise's Mardi Gras-inspired jerseys make us feel like we just ate an entire King Cake. Almost no NBA fan outside of New Orleans has any sort of history with this team, but they do benefit from having one of the league's best young players, Zion Williamson, wearing their logo every night … when he actually plays.
26. Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings logo is in the running for not just the most boring logo in the NBA, but also the most boring logo in all of North American professional sports. At this point, the team has been so bad for so long that we wonder if it would be worth going back to the old logo and the old color scheme from the 1980s with the baby blue and red?
My argument for that is that the current snoozefest of a logo is so associated with losing that it's tainted for good. The Kings have been historically bad for almost 20 years — they haven't even made the NBA playoffs since 2006. Woof!
25. Oklahoma City Thunder
We will admit it's difficult to see the Oklahoma City Thunder logo and not feel some phantom limb pain for the Seattle SuperSonics logo — the franchise that became the Thunder in 2008. And we'll probably take that to the grave.
Seeing this logo leaves us cold. Maybe it's the boring combo of orange and blue. Maybe it's the schticky idea of "Thunder" as the name of a midwestern team. Maybe it's because we know that there's another pro sports team just two hours north — the Central Hockey League's Wichita Thunder — that has been rocking this mascot since 1992.
24. Orlando Magic
There were more than 5,000 different options for the original Orlando Magic logo when the team joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1989 — and it's gone largely unchanged in the 30 years since. Let's be clear that this is a team that was founded on the back of a humongous corporation, Disney, that has only gotten bigger in the ensuing years, and the Mouse House is who actually sponsors the jerseys.
A team and a logo "inspired" by a gigantic corporation isn't the sort of thing that moves the soul. The black jerseys look slick, but it's still kind of a soulless enterprise when we're talking Orlando Magic logos and jerseys. Now that they've got what appears to be a transcendent player in 2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, it will be interesting to see if their fanbase starts to expand a little bit.
23. Charlotte Hornets
We admit that there was one time when it was cool to sport a Charlotte Hornets logo — in the early 1990s when Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson were the team's two young stars. And that's it. While the team has smartly taken a lot of those old color schemes and tried to integrate them into the current team's uniforms, they can't overcome the perennial suckiness that emanates from this franchise seemingly every season. What's the best thing you can say about the logo? That it's not the Bobcats?
The irony of Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, owning such a bad team isn't lost on us — the franchise has made the playoffs just three times in the past 20 years and hasn't won a playoff series since 2002.
22. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards logo is actually really nice to look at. The red, navy, white and gray color scheme harkens back to when the team was called the Bullets. It's been in place since 2011 when the team mercifully did away with the bronze, blue and black from when it first switched names.
The problem with the Wizards isn't really with the logo. It's with the fact that the franchise has been so terrible for so long that you can't look at it without thinking about the stream of losers trotted out for long-suffering fans for the last 40-plus years. Remember: The Wizards haven't been past the second round of the playoffs since 1979.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
While there's been nothing particularly likable about this franchise since Kevin Garnett left to greener pastures with the Boston Celtics in the late 2000s, we recognize that their mixed scheme of pretentious-sounding colors — midnight blue, lake blue, aurora green, moonlight grey, frost white — all works pretty well together.
It's the franchise itself that we just can't wrap our heads around. More than 30 years into their existence, the team has no fanbase outside of Minneapolis to speak of, with star players everybody hates in Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards and now an owner everybody hates in Alex Rodriguez.
20. Phoenix Suns
The logo that gives us the biggest yuck in 2023 goes to the Phoenix Suns — an impossible team to cheer for outside of the greater Phoenix area.
The best thing we can say about the Phoenix logo is that it fits the area the team plays in and the fans it represents really well. That's about it. Moving on.
19. Memphis Grizzlies
Let's be honest — the Memphis Grizzlies, their logo and their uniforms have gotten a pretty massive glow-up in the last four years because of a single player, and that man is point guard Ja Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
There's nothing really special about the Grizzlies and their color scheme. There's nothing really special about their history — they've won exactly one division title in franchise history, which came in 2022.
We're old enough to remember when this franchise was the Vancouver Grizzlies and, along with the Toronto Raptors, had the worst logos and uniform combinations in the NBA. So the fact that they're even middle-of-the-road as far as NBA logos go now is a comeback story for the ages.
18. Indiana Pacers
While the Indiana Pacers unveiled a new logo and uniforms in 2017 after the NBA opened its partnership with Nike, we don't see the changes as much as others might — mainly because the color scheme has stayed completely the same.
With the colors and logo inspired by the Indiana flag, the most iconic logo and uniforms in Pacers history are still the ones designed by the late track star Florence Griffith-Joyner — the pinstripe ones that were worn when Reggie Miller became a superstar in the mid-to-late 1990s and that were commonly known as the Flo-Jos.
The Pacers are essentially steady-as-she-goes when it comes to logos and uniforms.
17. Houston Rockets
We will give the Houston Rockets props for keeping the traditional "Houston" or "Rockets" across the front of the jersey, but the "Dripping R" logo is such a step down from the beloved logo from the 1990s that our sensibilities are somewhat offended. Like why mess with a good thing? Even in the Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming years, this was never a good look.
We don't really advocate for a lot of logo change for NBA franchises, but in this case, it might be worth exploring some better alternatives. Feel free to hit us up to avoid future mistakes.
16. Dallas Mavericks
We could very well be entering the Golden Age for the Dallas Mavericks logo thanks to 23-year-old superstar Luka Doncic — a player who should dominate the NBA for the next decade if not longer.
In football-crazy Texas, it takes a lot to break through to the masses, but Doncic rocking a Mavs jersey might just be the trick.
15. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat's logo has gone essentially unchanged since the franchise joined the NBA in 1988 as an expansion team. To us, the feeling for the Heat logo is essentially indistinguishable from the logo for the Phoenix Suns … we get it, you're both located in places where it's really hot. Cool!
The difference between the two teams exists in the championships — three for the Heat and none for the Suns. One thing that has set the Miami Heat apart in recent years has been its absolute ownership of the NBA "City" uniforms. It's off the wall. It's cool. It makes us appreciate the franchise a little bit more.
14. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks have a logo we really like … despite the fact we've always seen it more as a reverse Pac-Man eating a pellet than an actual hawk, but that's just us.
That the team has been decent and competitive again has given us a new chance to appreciate not just the old-school, Dominique Wilkins-era logo and color scheme that is just … exquisite … but also given us a new appreciation for the now-more-familiar "ATL" jerseys defined by this new era of Trae Young as the face of the franchise.
13. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have not changed their uniforms or their colors since making the move from the ABA to the NBA in the early 1970s, save for a stretch from 1989 to 2002 when they incorporated "Fiesta" colors of pink, orange and turquoise into their uniforms to honor the rich Hispanic/Latino culture that exists in San Antonio.
Not for nothing, but we would not mind if they brought some of the "Fiesta" back every now and then. Regardless, we just love that they've stayed true to their original colors and uniforms. Ever been to San Antonio? It's everywhere.
12. Detroit Pistons
It really doesn't bother us much that the Detroit Pistons are as bad as they are right now because they have a good young foundation of talent … and they're still one of the players in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. What's really important is that they are sticking with the classic, Bad Boys-era logo and the uniforms to go with it. As long as they keep that, we'll be OK.
Side note: This is essentially the logo the Washington Wizards logo wishes it could be.
11. Toronto Raptors
The award for the biggest turnaround from a crappy old logo to a new, dope logo goes to the Toronto Raptors. As much of an epic disgrace as the original Raptors logo was, the evolution into the sleek, mean-looking logo of today's team has truly been something to behold. The biggest come-up for the Raptors and their new logo has come over the last five years. That's thanks to winning an NBA championship in 2019 walking lockstep with the most popular musician on the planet essentially being a brand spokesman for the franchise.
What's it been worth to the team to have Drake wearing their gear and courtside at home games at this point? Our guess is … a lot?
10. Denver Nuggets
The most fascinating, modern approach to a franchise's logo belongs to the Denver Nuggets, as the team has adapted its secondary logo since 2005 — the circular pickaxe logo — as its primary logo.
But that's not really the point. The Nuggets have decided to take the approach of "evolved new identity" when it comes to the logo, meaning they are essentially embracing every color scheme and every uniform and every logo they've ever rolled out as theirs. It's total chaos, and we love it.
9. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors look to the pre-dynasty, "We Believe" era with fondness — while we look at it with a certain level of disgust because those were some really ugly uniforms. Needless to say, the move back to the OG gold, blue and white logo has been a welcome one.
The Warriors have totally moved to the "if it's not broke don't fix it" version of their logo, as we can't ever see them veering away from the current version that has come to define the team's era with Steph Curry … even if the team no longer exists in Oakland and has now moved to San Francisco. There is power in embracing the classics. Play the hits, you know?
8. Milwaukee Bucks
The wasteland that was the Milwaukee Bucks changing their logo and uniforms to feature purple for most of the 1990s and early 2000s is far enough behind us that we can now fully embrace the Giannis Antetokounmpo-era style that's included winning an NBA championship in 2021.
If there are branding awards for logos and slogans, we hope that Milwaukee's behind-the-scenes team has won several because "Fear the Deer" and "Cream City" have almost turned the Bucks into a national brand. This color scheme with the prominent eggshell white and hunter green … it does something for us, you know?
7. Utah Jazz
In the case of the Utah Jazz logo, just keeping it simple can be great. It can be sublime. The single-note logo with the basketball inside of it has always been cool, and props to the team owners for never changing it.
Give it up for the Jazz for letting us flip on the television any given night during the NBA season and getting a chance to see that simple, beautiful color scheme. For us, it's always been those subtle hints of purple that really set things off.
6. Chicago Bulls
It's been 25 years since Michael Jordan last suited up in a game for the Chicago Bulls, yet the team and its logo are still inextricably tied to the Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion. Heck, it's even the same as it was the day MJ was drafted. While the Bulls have been mostly bad in those 25 years, from a branding perspective, it's pretty incredible that the logo is still so well thought of. You can't help but look at the logo and think of a winner. That beautiful, red, black and white color scheme. Those classic jerseys. What more can you ask of a logo besides winning some more games?
We fully expect the Bulls to be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes by the end of the 2022-23 season … maybe even the All-Star break. That might do something to keep the logo so well thought of, but the hard work has already been done.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
There are certain logos you associate with a single player, and that's the thing that makes them iconic. For the Philadelphia 76ers, that has to be Allen Iverson, the franchise's mercurial star from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Iverson's star shined so bright in his time with the team that he brought an otherwise dead-in-the-water logo to life. Iverson made hundreds of millions of dollars not only for the 76ers but also for Reebok with his signature shoe.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
There is no reason the Los Angeles Lakers logo should work. It's a confounding color scheme with a mascot drawn from the great lakes of Minnesota pulled and placed in Hollywood. But it works. It's iconic.
Here's how great the Lakers logo is — it made wearing purple and yellow in public completely acceptable. And there's some comfort in knowing that it will never change.
Heck, even their "classic" uniforms that throw back to the days of the Minneapolis Lakers are solid. It's a logo recognizable the world over and fitting for a team with an estimated value of $5.9 billion. Don't forget that the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss bought the Lakers, NHL's Los Angeles Kings, The Great Western Forum and a 13,000-acre ranch for $67.5 million in 1979.
3. Portland Trail Blazers
The inclination for plenty of teams when they hit the skids for a few seasons or more is to tinker with logos and uniforms to inject some newness or anything different to take away from the stink of losing that's settled on the franchise. So, props to the Portland Trail Blazers for never falling into that trap.
The Blazers have kept the same logo and color scheme of perfect red, black and white since the team joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1970, and we love them for it. If you want to wow your friends with your NBA logo knowledge, point out that there has only been one slight change to Portland's famous "pinwheel logo" in team history — going from straight up and down to slanted in 1991.
2. New York Knicks
What is it about the New York Knicks logo that's so endearing? Like, in what universe do they have the right to be so consistently bad at basketball and have such an amazing logo?
Just like the very best logos on this list, the Knicks have been smart enough to stick with what works. We're old enough to remember the last time the Knicks were sort of decent in the 1990s and how popular they were then. It's safe to say that, if they ever get really good again, the Knicks will pick up fans by the boatload. "If" being the key word, though.
1. Boston Celtics
Call us a brand snob all you want. There's just a certain feeling we get when we see the green and white of the Boston Celtics logo and the iconography that comes with the logo … just an absolute banger. Some logos are just so classic they can't be denied. It's not just a logo that represents the franchise, but it represents the city, and it represents the NBA as much as any logo we've ever seen. It's the NBA's equivalent of the Dallas Cowboys logo in the NFL or the New York Yankees in the MLB or the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL.
We're not even mad when they roll out the black and gold monstrosities we've seen in recent years. We get that they want to try new things. It's just not quite as easy on the eyes.