Sometimes you look at a professional sports team’s logo and laugh, but that’s not the case when you look at the best sports logos ever. You begin to appreciate the intricate detail, the creativity, the simplicity, the relevance, the color schemes, and the hard work that went into it.
The truth is every professional sports team has a logo, but not all logos are created equal. Some of them grab your attention and receive constant praise, while others welcome frequent criticism and disgrace from those that support the team. It can work in your favor or nip you in the butt.
Throughout the years, we’ve seen sports logos come and go. Some teams end up maintaining the same logo for decades, while other teams seem to change theirs every five years. Although the best sports logos ever don’t always stick around for long, they’re certainly never forgotten.
What Are the Best Sports Logos Ever?
In order to truly rank the top 30 best sports logos ever, we have to go beyond the logos we see today. While there are a lot of good ones in the modern era and some that will crack this list, a majority of the best sports logos ever are either no longer used or used on special occasions.
What you’ll come to notice is that most of the sports logos worn today are horrendous compared to some of the older logos the team used to roll with. In fact, some of the current logos are so bad that they leave you wondering why they ever switched in the first place — it’s truly a shame.
With that said, we’re not here to talk about the worst sports logos ever — we’re here to rank the best sports logos ever. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the logos that make us proud. The logos that you won’t feel ashamed wearing on your hat, jersey, shirt, or jacket.
30. New York Mets
Years Used: 1962-present
Designed By: Ray Gotto
The New York Mets joined the MLB in 1962 as one of the first expansion teams, replacing the recently departed Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. The Mets chose to adopt blue and orange as their primary colors — blue in honor of the Dodgers and orange in honor of the Giants.
Since 1962, the Mets have rolled with the same logo design and for good reason — it works. It’s an orange-outlined baseball with a blue skyline in the middle and a cursive ‘Mets’ wordmark in the center. In 1993, they darkened the blue and in 1999 they removed the ‘NY’ next to the ‘Mets.’
It’s a classic that shouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon — I hope.
29. Toronto Raptors
Years Used: 1995-2008
Designed By: Tom O’Grady, John Bitove
When I see this vintage Toronto Raptors logo, I immediately think of Vince Carter flying through the air. While I’m not mad at their current logo, I think we can all agree that the Raptors should’ve never changed logos and should’ve stuck with the basketball-playing-raptor forever.
The colors are on point, the imagery is on point, the font is on point, the claws poking out of the raptor’s basketball shoes — also on point. Unfortunately, changes to the logo came in 2008. Despite keeping the same design, they switched out the purple background with a black one.
In 2015, Toronto completely changed the design and went with the raptor claw marks around the basketball. Not terrible, but not as good as it once was.
28. Manchester United
Years Used: 1998-present
Designed By: N/A
Since being founded in 1878, Manchester United Football Club has gone through seven different logos. Of all the changes they’ve made, the one they currently sport is one of the best sports logos ever. It’s what they wore during their glory days and what most fans know them for.
The logo is very similar to the one they ran with from 1973-1998. The main difference between the two is the old logo had ‘Manchester United’ on the top banner and ‘Football Club’ on the bottom banner. Today, the top banner reads ‘Manchester’ and the bottom reads ‘United.’
It features a yellow shield in the middle with a ship at the top (symbolizing urban trade) and a red devil holding a trident (to account for their Red Devils nickname). It’s a statement, that’s for sure.
27. Buffalo Sabres
Years Used: 1970-1996, 2010-present
Designed By: N/A
There’s a longstanding debate over which Buffalo Sabres’ logo is the best — the ‘goat head logo’ or the ‘butter knives logo.’ Personally, I’m rocking with the butter knives logo and it seems like Buffalo Sabres’ ownership is as well since they ended up bringing the logo back after a while.
It was the team’s original logo from 1970-1996 before they changed it to the goat head logo for 10 years. After five years of what many consider the worst sports logo ever — the Buffaslug — ownership decided it was time to bring back the butter knives (swords) in 2010, a smart move.
When they brought it back, they went with a darker blue than the original logo. Although it didn’t look that bad, it wasn’t the same. Luckily, they brought back the royal blue in 2020.
26. Golden State Warriors
Years Used: 1997-2010
Designed By: Tom O’Grady
The Golden State Warriors have had eight primary logos since joining the NBA in 1962 — they were originally founded as the Philadelphia Warriors back in 1946. Although their current logo isn’t that bad and I’m a fan of their 1969-1971 logo, neither are among the best sports logos ever.
That title belongs to their 1997-2010 logo, which featured a warrior holding the ‘Warriors’ wordmark and a basketball in the background. I thought this logo was unique, it was different, and it embodied the team well. Unfortunately, the ownership decided to change it in 2010.
Personally, I don’t think the new logo has any creativity, which is one of the things I want to see in the best sports logos ever. Oh well, at least we get to reminisce about the old days!
25. Dallas Cowboys
Years Used: 1964-present
Designed By: Jack Eskridge
The Dallas Cowboys’ logo is a tribute to Texas’ nickname, ‘The Lone Star State.’ When the Cowboys joined the league in 1960, it was originally just a blue star. They made minor changes in 1964, adding a thin blue outline around the star — which gave it a perfect sense of contrast.
It was the right move, especially considering the Dallas Cowboys have rocked with that same logo ever since — over 56 years! It’s rare for a professional sports team to have the same logo for that long, but there’s no reason to change it now. Despite its simplicity, it definitely works.
It’s one of the most recognizable and best sports logos ever. It’s true that not all sports logos need to be overly-creative and busy.
24. Dallas Mavericks
Years Used: 1980-2001
Designed By: N/A
Speaking of Dallas, let’s talk about the Dallas Mavericks’ logo — and no, not their current logo. Let’s take it back to 1980 when the Mavericks joined the NBA as an expansion team. To be honest, their logo was banging and it’s one of my favorite all-time vintage logos in the NBA.
On the left, it featured a green basketball in the background and a big blue ‘M’ wearing a cowboy hat. On the right, it featured the ‘Dallas Mavericks’ wordmark in blue and outlined in green. It was a fun logo and I was rocking with the green/blue color scheme — it grabbed your attention.
Unfortunately, the Dallas Mavericks switched to their current logo in 2001, doing away with the green and completely changing the design. They still use the green jerseys every now and then.
23. Washington Wizards
Years Used: 1997-2011
Designed By: N/A
I’m going to be honest, I’m not a fan of the Washington Wizards’ current logo — partly due to how boring it is, but mostly because I miss their old logo. The blue, gold, and black color scheme was classy and the wizard/moon combination gave it character — not to mention the hidden ‘W.’
Washington kept this logo from 1997, when they changed their name from the Bullets to the Wizards, until 2011. Although they kept the same design up until 2015, it featured a different color scheme — the red and blue we see today. In 2015, they completely changed the design.
Although the current logo falls in line with how NBA teams brand themselves in the modern era, I miss the cartoony-comic style logos. It was more fun and they need to start bringing it back.
22. Florida Panthers
Years Used: 1993-2016
Designed By: N/A
The Florida Panthers joined the NHL in 1993 as an expansion team, along with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim — more on them later. When they unveiled their original logo, it was fierce, it was eye-catching, and it was very detailed — three things you want to see in a sports logo.
The logo would stick around for over 20 years, only seeing minor color changes along the way. In 2016, they decided they needed a new look and went with a more neutral, boring, and less fierce design. It doesn’t look terrible, but it’s a step in the wrong direction from what they had.
In their final season with their original logo, they had their best season as an NHL franchise. Since then, they’ve struggled to find consistency. Maybe they should go back to the old logo!
21. Charlotte Hornets
Years Used: 1988-2002
Designed By: N/A
I have absolutely nothing against the Charlotte Hornets’ current logo — in fact, I think it’s a highly underrated logo in today’s NBA — but there’s something about their original logo that I enjoy even more. It was fun and it embodied the cartoon effect that most vintage logos did so well.
I love how the hornet is wearing basketball shoes, I love how it’s dribbling a basketball, and I love how it’s trying to act feisty with its ‘tough guy’ look. It was the perfect design for that era and while it wouldn’t quite fit in the modern era, it still goes down as one of the best sports logos ever.
The Hornets would end up changing team names to the Bobcats in 2004 before reverting back to the Hornets in 2014 with an updated logo, officially saying goodbye to the old one.
20. Milwaukee Bucks
Years Used: 1968-present (all 4 designs)
Designed By: Tom O’Grady, Doubleday and Cartwright
Ever since the Milwaukee Bucks joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1968, they’ve sported four different logos. In my opinion, they all deserve to be listed among the best sports logos ever. They’re one of the only teams I can think of that consistently designed quality logos.
Their first one wasn’t that intimidating and falls under the ‘cute’ category, but it was still stylish. The second and third logos were very similar, but the purple one really hits home. Their newest logo, which was unveiled in 2015, is modern, sleek, and very professional — they’re all good!
19. Buffalo Bills
Years Used: 1974-present
Designed By: Stevens Wright
When the Buffalo Bills switched their logo from the red standing buffalo to the blue charging buffalo, it was a defining moment in the franchise’s history. Nothing against the standing buffalo, but it was a little boring and dull. The charging buffalo is different, especially with the red laser.
The change was much needed and it proved worthy because the Buffalo Bills have worn the same logo since 1974 — no changes needed over that time. They do, sometimes, feature the standing buffalo on their helmets, but we all know the charging buffalo is iconic and memorable.
18. Ottawa Senators
Years Used: 1992-2007, 2020-present
Designed By: N/A
The Ottawa Senators joined the NHL in 1992 and introduced what will become one of the best sports logos ever. After five years, they kept the same design and made minor changes to the ring of the puck, replacing the ‘Ottawa Senators’ wordmark with a neat little design.
In 2007, the Senators decided to change the logo design, which turned out to be a bad move. They eventually realized their mistake after 12 years and re-introduced their original logo design before the 2020-21 season, making minor changes to the color scheme — a solid decision.
17. Washington Capitals
Years Used: 1995-2002
Designed By: N/A
The Washington Capitals joined the NHL in 1974 as an expansion team and struggled to win games for the first 8 years of their existence. They started to make some noise in the early 1980s and have consistently been one of the top teams in the league ever since.
Over the past 46+ years, the Capitals have had four main primary logo designs. Personally, their logo from 1995-2002 was highly underrated. It featured a bald eagle in attack mode with its talons stretched out and stars on its body. It was a sleek design that looked good on jerseys.
16. New Orleans Saints
Years Used: 1967-present
Designed By: N/A
The New Orleans Saints have essentially been using the same logo ever since they joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1967. It has always featured the fleur-de-lis, but has seen minor changes — mostly in color — since its introduction. It’s easily one of the most recognizable logos.
From 1967-1999, the fleur-de-lis pattern was skinny and black with a white border. In 2000, they made the change to a gold fleur-de-lis with a white border and black outline. They also made it a little thicker. Since 2000, they’ve changed the gold color into a lighter shade.
15. Detroit Pistons
Years Used: 1996-2005
Designed By: Billy Berris
The Detroit Pistons, originally the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons of the NBL and BAA, joined the NBA in 1957. For the next 20 years, they would sport an extremely boring logo with no real design initiative. From 1979-1995, they changed to something better, but it still lacked creativity.
It wasn’t until 1996 that they finally got creative with their logo. The colors were unique, the wordmark was unlike any other, it finally featured a horse (with flames), and there were even exhaust pipes — it screamed horsepower. Unfortunately, the logo only lasted nine years.
14. Denver Nuggets
Years Used: 1981-1993
Designed By: Carl Sheer
The Denver Nuggets joined the NBA in 1976 when the NBA and ABA merged. Their newest logo, which was introduced in 2018, is nothing compared to what they had from 2003-2018. Going back further than that, neither logo is as good as the one they used from 1981-1993.
The vintage logo featured a unique ‘Denver Nuggets’ wordmark on bottom and a half-circle on top. Inside the half-circle, they used a ton of different colors and followed a tetris theme for the Denver skyline. There are also mountains in the background, which is just icing on the cake.
13. Milwaukee Brewers
Years Used: 1978-1993
Designed By: Tom Meindel
The Milwaukee Brewers have had several solid logos, any of which could be considered on our list of the best sports logos ever. Their logo from 2000-2017 was a classic and what many modern fans remember them as. Even their 2018-2019 was good, yet very simplistic.
With that said, no Brewers’ logo will ever live up to the one they sported from 1978-1993. It was an ‘m’ and ‘b’ that meshed together in the shape of a ball inside a glove. It was simple, it was creative, and the light blue and gold colors were striking. They recently brought it back, kind of.
12. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Years Used: 1993-2006
Designed By: Tony Cipriano and Fred Tio
Who remembers when the Anaheim Ducks were called the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim? Weren’t those the good ‘ole days? The team was founded in 1993 and named after the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks. They ended up changing the name prior to the start of the 2006-07 season.
Sure, their current logo is creative and it was a good idea to shape the ‘D’ in the form of a duck’s webbed palmate (feet). With that said, nothing compares to the vintage logo the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim used. That duck-shaped goalie mask is nostalgic in every single way possible!
11. Columbus Blue Jackets
Years Used: 2000-2007
Designed By: Ken Loh
Before the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the newest NHL team — joining the league in 2000 along with the Minnesota Wild. It took Columbus a while to find success in the league, making it to the playoffs for the first time in 2009.
For the first six years they were in the league, their logo was awesome. It was colorful, the red and blue color scheme was on point, the ‘CBJ’ was eye-catching and creative, and it had character. While their new logo, introduced in 2007, isn’t bad, it doesn’t compare to the original.
10. Utah Jazz
Years Used: 1996-2004
Designed By: Ben Barnes
The Utah Jazz recently reintroduced their original logo — from 1979-1995 — in 2016 with minor color changes, but it’s in no way one of the best sports logos ever. Instead, the best logo they’ve ever sported was their 1996-2004 logo. It was fun and the color scheme was unlike any other.
While the design stayed the same up until 2016, they ended up doing away with the light blue, purple, green, and copper color scheme in 2004 — which was a huge mistake. They went to a light blue and dark blue color scheme from 2004-2010, then went downhill from there.
9. Boston Red Sox
Years Used: 1976-2008
Designed By: N/A
The Boston Red Sox are one of the most iconic, valuable, and recognizable sports franchises in the entire world. They’ve won nine World Series titles, which is tied for the third-most among all MLB teams. No tonly that, but their logo from 1976-2008 is one of the best sports logos ever.
The logo features the famous two cartoon red socks in the middle of a baseball. The baseball is surrounded by ‘Boston’ in blue letters on the top and ‘Red Sox’ in red letters on the bottom. The letters are then surrounded by a red circle that brings everything together — it’s a true classic.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
Years Used: 1922-1964, 1998-present
Designed By: Branch Rickey, Allie May Schmidt, Edward H. Schmidt
Speaking of MLB teams with a lot of World Series titles, the St. Louis Cardinals have the second most titles among MLB teams with 11. It’s no surprise that they also have one of the best sports logos ever — two of which can be considered, especially considering how similar they are.
The first one was used from 1922-1964 and it featured a baseball bat with two cardinals sitting on it. Next to the baseball bat was the ‘Cardinals’ wordmark. The second logo was similar, but it only featured one cardinal on the baseball bat and a different wordmark font that was cursive.
7. Montreal Canadiens
Years Used: 1917-present
It wouldn’t be right to mention the best sports logos ever without listing the Montreal Canadiens. Their classic ‘C’ logo has been around since 1917, though it has seen some minor changes since then. It used to be much more basic than the logo we see today, but it was still solid.
The logo we see today started to truly take shape in 1932, which is when the ‘C’ and inner ‘H’ gained an outer blue border. This really made the logo more appealing and pleasing to look at. In 1999, it saw another minor change by darkening the red color and making the logo a little bigger.
6. Quebec Nordiques
Years Used: 1985-1995
Designed By: N/A
The Quebec Nordiques played in the NHL from 1979-1995 before relocating and changing their name to the Colorado Avalanche. Although the Nordiques are no longer in the NHL, their logo is one of the best sports logos ever. It’s simple, but it’s memorable, recognizable, and unique.
The logo, which was used from 1985-1995, was designed to be a red igloo in the shape of an ‘n.’ A hockey stick and puck were located to the right of the igloo. The blue and red colors were classic and helped bring the logo together. The Nordiques’ logo is one we’ll always remember.
5. Boston Celtics
Years Used: 1968-present
Designed By: Zang Auerbach
The Boston Celtics have one of the most recognizable, iconic, and best sports logos ever. It features a winking leprechaun that’s spinning a basketball and smoking a pipe. The famous leprechaun is surrounded by a green circle with ‘Boston’ on the left and ‘Celtics’ on the right.
The logo went through a series of changes since 1968. It originally didn’t feature a green circle and instead featured a brown basketball in the background. In 1974, the green circle was added. In 1996, more color was added to the leprechaun, which helped bring out even more character.
4. Detroit Red Wings
Years Used: 1932-present
Designed By: James E. Norris
The Detroit Red Wings were one of the six original NHL teams. They’ve been playing under the Red Wings name since 1932 and were previously known as the Cougars and Falcons. In a league where logos change frequently, the Red Wings have never felt the need to change theirs.
In fact, the only change to their logo came in 1948 when they made it a little skinnier and sleeker, but the design stayed the same. Since 1948, not a single change has been made. That’s why it goes down as one of the best sports logos ever — it’s as iconic and recognizable as they come.
3. New York Yankees
Years Used: 1913-present
Designed By: Louis B. Tiffany
The New York Yankees are one of the most valuable sports franchises in the entire world. They lead all other MLB teams with 26 World Series titles — the next closest being the St. Louis Cardinals with 11. Not only that, but they have one of the best sports logos ever.
In fact, both of their logos can find their way on this list. The classic ‘NY’ logo was used from 1913-1946, while their current logo — the baseball hat and yankee hat — has been used since 1947. No matter where you are, you’re bound to see this logo somewhere.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
Years Used: 2001-2004
Designed By: N/A
The Memphis Grizzlies, originally established as the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1995, joined the NBA under their current name in 2001. Although they haven’t had much success in the league, they are known for having one of the best sports logos ever — it’s a shame it didn’t last long.
The logo we’re talking about is the first logo they ever had. It featured an intimidating grizzly bear holding a basketball with a unique ‘Memphis Grizzlies’ wordmark on top. They only used the logo from 2001-2004 before switching to their current logo, which is a step in the wrong direction.
1. Hartford Whalers
Years Used: 1979-1997
Designed By: Peter Good
There aren’t many sports logos as creative as the Hartford Whalers. It’s a shame they’re no longer in the league because this logo was straight fire. It featured a green ‘W’ on the bottom and blue whale’s tail on top. When combined, the two create an ‘H’ in the middle — it’s unique.
The Whalers joined the NHL in 1974 when the NHL merged with the WHA. They remained in the league until 1997, which is when they moved to North Carolina and are now known as the Carolina Hurricanes. With that said, the Whalers will be remembered for their awesome logo!
Which of the Best Sports Logos Ever Do You Like the Most?
Some sports logos only last for a few years, while some sports logos last for decades. The best sports logos ever are remembered forever, no matter how long they’re used by the team. Of the ones we listed above, which ones do you like the most? Which ones do you miss the most?
Of course, we didn’t even mention some of the other most popular sports logos to ever be designed — such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Expos, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Seattle Supersonics, and so much more.
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Since professional sports teams all across the country will continue changing their logos in the future, it’s possible we see some new sports logos find their way on this list. You also have to account for all the new teams that are being added as expansion teams every now and then!
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