30 NBA Logos Ranked From Worst to Best

30 NBA Logos Ranked From Worst to Best

NBA logos play an essential role in a franchise’s ability to form an identity and brand themselves in the greatest basketball league in the world. It’s what creates a sense of unity among those that represent the team, including ownership, front office, coaching staff, players, and fans. 

Ever since the NBA was established in 1946, teams were tasked with designing a logo that not only represents their team name well, but also the city they play for. There’s a lot of thought that goes into the designing process, from the color scheme to the font and other graphic elements. 

While some NBA logos have lasted the test of time, other NBA logos failed to make that lasting impact that owners are looking for. Sometimes logos change due to relocation, sometimes they change due to an ownership change, and sometimes the team is simply looking for a fresh start. 

RELATED: 30 of the Best Sports Logos Ever

Ranking the 30 NBA Logos From Worst to Best

30 NBA Logos Ranked From Worst to Best
Postmodern Studio / Shutterstock

The NBA logos we see today are nothing like the logos we saw in the past. Many people consider the 1990s to be the golden age of NBA logos. This is when teams were the most creative with their logo, which often included cartoon elements, mascots, and unique graphics.

Unfortunately, the NBA has shifted away from those logo styles over the past two decades. Today, teams are slowly starting to gravitate towards circular, emblem, badge-like NBA logos with basic, generic fonts. It’s not that they’re ugly, but they’re certainly not what they used to be.

Still, some NBA teams are reluctant to change logos and for good reason — they’re legendary, iconic even. Other teams improved upon their design and created something better. And then there are the teams that completely dropped the ball on the assignment and made things worse.

Below, we’re going to talk about all of the above by ranking the current NBA logos from worst (30) to best (1). We’ll also detail when the logo made its debut, who designed it, what their record is since the logo debuted, and how many championships they’ve won with their current logo. 

30. Brooklyn Nets

Year Debuted: 2012

Record Since: 325-393 (.453 winning percentage since 2012)

Championships Since: none

The Brooklyn Nets’ logo we see today is similar to the one they sported from 1997-2012. I think where they went wrong with today’s logo is removing the 3D effect to the shield and going with a more 2D look. This decision took away the character it had before, leaving it dull and boring. 

I can understand the need to change logos, especially with the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Unfortunately, this logo just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not their worst logo ever — they’ve had eight total over the past 50 years — but I do believe it’s the worst logo in the NBA right now.

29. Detroit Pistons

Year Debuted: 2017

Record Since: 120-182 (.397 winning percentage since 2017)

Championships Since: none

The Detroit Pistons’ logo has gone downhill ever since they did away with their ‘horsepower’ logo, which they sported from 1996-2005. The logo we see today is an updated version of what they used from 1979-1996 and the only major difference is the font used in the center of the ball. 

After the ‘horsepower’ logo, they transitioned to a 2D circular logo, but maintained a bit of 3D style with the font — giving it some character. All that personality was removed when they made the entire logo 2D, but maybe that’s why they haven’t had a winning season since the change. 

28. Sacramento Kings

Year Debuted: 2016

Record Since: 160-230 (.410 winning percentage since 2016)

Championships Since: none

I’ve never really been a fan of the Sacramento Kings’ logo, but I think it’s clear they took a step back with their recent design. It’s similar to their first logo they used from 1985-1994, just with a bit of a face lift and color change. While it’s better than their first logo, that’s not saying much.

To be honest, I don’t like either one nearly as much as I like their second logo — which they used from 1994-2016. If they hadn’t changed their logo in 2016, they would rank much higher among NBA logos. Who knows, maybe they would have a better winning percentage than .410, as well.

27. Utah Jazz

Year Debuted: 2016

Record Since: 245-145 (.628 winning percentage since 2016)

Championships Since: none

The Utah Jazz used to have one of the coolest NBA logos, especially with their vintage color scheme from 1996-2004. Unfortunately, they decided to bring back their first logo in 2016 and kept their dark blue and yellow color scheme. If they hadn’t changed, they would rank higher. 

Their logo today features a large ‘Jazz’ wordmark with the ‘J’ shaped as a musical note. The word ‘Utah’ fits on top in the right corner. It’s a fitting logo and is definitely creative, but doesn’t compare to their old one and isn’t as modern as some of the other NBA logos on this list. 

26. Los Angeles Clippers

Year Debuted: 2015

Record Since: 290-182 (.614 winning percentage since 2015)

Championships Since: n/a

The Los Angeles Clippers have had their current logo since 2015, though they darkened the red color in 2018. I guess I’m not so much against the ‘LAC’ basketball featured in the logo, but the ‘Clippers’ wordmark is atrocious, too bold, too big, and doesn’t really match the rest of the logo. 

The Clippers were better off with their old logo. The font was more unique, the colors weren’t as much of an eye sore, and it was more recognizable to NBA fans. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing that logo anytime soon and it looks like they’ll be rolling with their new logo indefinitely. 

25. Orlando Magic

Year Debuted: 2010

Record Since: 342-525 (.394 winning percentage since 2010)

Championships Since: none

The Orlando Magic have had three different logo designs since joining the league in 1989. While their current logo ranks 25th on our list of the best NBA logos, I will give them some credit because their new one is better than their old ones. It’s cleaner, more modern, and slicker.

I think the major difference they made with their current logo, which debuted in 2010, is the font. They used to go with a childish, cartoon-like boxed font, but changed it to a more modern-like font. They also did away with replacing ‘A’ with a star. It’s better, but still not as good as others. 

24. Dallas Mavericks

Year Debuted: 2001

Record Since: 960-649 (.597 winning percentage since 2001)

Championships Since: 1 (2010)

The Dallas Mavericks have one of the coolest vintage logos in all of sports, but their current logo doesn’t quite cut it. It was introduced when Mark Cuban bought the team in 2000. He wanted to give the team a makeover, which he certainly did, but it doesn’t quite compare to what they had.

What I do like about the logo is that it’s not a boring circle and features a number of unique shapes that give it character. It also features a horse, which goes along with the ‘Mavericks’ name. It’s not a terrible logo, but it might be time for another makeover sooner, rather than later. 

23. Cleveland Cavaliers

Year Debuted: 2017

Record Since: 110-191 (.365 winning percentage since 2017)

Championships Since: none

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had six logos since joining the league in 1970. The good news is their current logo is far from being the worst they’ve ever had. The bad news is it’s not as good as the one they had previously (2003-2017) and doesn’t compare to the rest of the NBA logos.

Similar to the Mavericks, I like that it doesn’t follow the circular design that most of the league is going with. It has more of a shield look and features the iconic ‘C’ and sword combo, which suits the team well. Maybe I’m too obsessed with their old logo, but the new one could be better. 

22. Houston Rockets

Year Debuted: 2019

Record Since: 61-83 (.424 winning percentage since 2019)

Championships Since: none

The Houston Rockets have come a long way with their logo since 1971. They’ve had five different designs through the years and the first three were terrible. Their fourth design, which debuted in 2003, was by far their best design and it lasted for over 15 years until 2019.

A couple years ago, they decided to rebrand with a new logo. The ‘Houston Rockets’ wordmark, with the circle underneath the ‘R,’ stayed the same. They added a black basketball in the background and changed the wordmark from red to white — two decisions I’m not too fond of. 

21. Indiana Pacers

Year Debuted: 2017

Record Since: 175-134 (.566 winning percentage since 2017)

Championships Since: none

The Indiana Pacers’ logo has always featured the same ‘P’ design. It saw several minor changes over the years and it got a little better each time, especially when you consider the color scheme. I don’t think it was ever among the best NBA logos, but it wasn’t all that bad.

Their new logo still features the ‘P,’ but they placed it in the middle of a circle badge. The outer ring of the circle is yellow/gold with ‘Indiana’ on top and ‘Pacers’ on the bottom. It fits what the NBA wants in logos today, but is still a bit too boring to rank any higher on our list of NBA logos.

20. Portland Trail Blazers

Year Debuted: 2017

Record Since: 179-131 (.577 winning percentage since 2017)

Championships Since: none

The Portland Trail Blazers have had a similar logo design ever since entering the league in 1970. The pinwheel design has become a cornerstone of their team’s brand and identity. Players and fans have embraced the pinwheel logo and it’s one of the more recognizable logos in the NBA.

The pinwheel has a neat story surrounding it. The five white and five red lines represent the offensive and defensive players. The lines come together to represent unity. While all of their logos have featured the pinwheel, they’ve changed the design around that pinwheel five times. 

19. Minnesota Timberwolves

Year Debuted: 2017

Record Since: 125-175 (.417 winning percentage since 2017)

Championships Since: none

From 1996-2017, the Minnesota Timberwolves had one of the coolest, most intimidating logos in the NBA. It featured a wolf that was ready to attack and what could be the most unique font I’ve ever seen in an NBA logo. Unfortunately, that design was replaced ahead of the 2017 season. 

The new Timberwolves’ logo isn’t as intimidating or unique. It follows the circular pattern that we see too often in the NBA today and features a howling wolf with ‘Minnesota Timberwolves’ along the outer edge of the circle. It’s not as bad as some other logos, but not as good as their old one.

18. Oklahoma City Thunder

Year Debuted: 2008

Record Since: 604-426 (.586 winning percentage since 2008)

Championships Since: none

The Oklahoma City Thunder had large shoes to fill when the Seattle Supersonics relocated to OKC in 2008. Since then, the Thunder have sported the same logo design, which features ‘OKC’ inside a shield-like shape with a large ‘Thunder’ wordmark located above the shield. 

What I like most about this logo is the color scheme. It’s fun, unique, and attractive with the light blue, orange, yellow, and dark blue. The ‘Thunder’ wordmark is shaped in a way that matches the shape of the shield underneath, making it look like one large shield when it comes together. 

17. New York Knicks

Year Debuted: 1992

Record Since: 1,080-1,224 (.469 winning percentage since 1992)

Championships Since: none

The New York Knicks logo we see today is one of the most iconic NBA logos in the history of the league. It’s been around since 1992 and has been worn by some of the greatest to ever play. The orange and blue color scheme is the perfect combination and fits the team very well. 

As much as I love this design, the reason I didn’t rank it higher on this list is because I think it’s time for a change — maybe not a huge change, but a change nonetheless. The Knicks have been one of the laughing stocks of the league recently and they could use some rebranding.

16. San Antonio Spurs

Year Debuted: 2017

Record Since: 160-147 (.521 winning percentage since 2017)

Championships Since: none

The San Antonio Spurs have had the same wordmark design since joining the league in 1976, though it has seen several minor changes since then. The one we see today is very similar to the first logo they sported from 1976-1989, but the wordmark doesn’t have a 3D look to it. 

The spur being used as a ‘U’ in the ‘Spurs’ wordmark is creative and fits the team perfectly. The black and grey color scheme keeps the logo neutral and the lack of a background prevents it from looking too busy. It’s clean, it’s modern, and it’s something any NBA fan will recognize. 

15. Los Angeles Lakers

Year Debuted: 1960

Record Since: 2,970-1,949 (.604 winning percentage since 1960)

Championships Since: 12 (1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020)

The Los Angeles Lakers have had the same logo for the past 60+ years, only making a few minor changes along the way. It’s one of the most iconic logos in all of sports, due to how often they win and the many greats that have worn it. They’ve had no reason to ever change it. 

I have them ranked right in the middle because I don’t think they necessarily need to change their logo, but it isn’t that creative or unique to be considered one of the best NBA logos. It’s certainly one of the most recognizable, but it doesn’t blow me away like some of the other ones.

14. Phoenix Suns

Year Debuted: 2013

Record Since: 259-378 (.407 winning percentage since 2013)

Championships Since: none

The Phoenix Suns logo hasn’t changed much since 1992. Over the past 10 years, they’ve gone with a darker color scheme and modernized the logo from top to bottom, but it’s still the same design we’ve grown accustomed to — which is good because I’m not the only one that loves it. 

It’s simple, it doesn’t feature the boring circle design, the wordmarks aren’t overpowering or too bold, the basketball inside the shooting star fits the team well, and the color scheme is eye-catching. I don’t expect them to make changes to the logo in the near future — hopefully. 

13. Washington Wizards

Year Debuted: 2015

Record Since: 224-248 (.475 winning percentage since 2015)

Championships Since: none

Of all the circular, emblem-like logos we have in the NBA today, the Washington Wizards is one of the best. It’s nothing like their old design, which featured a wizard doing a finger roll layup with a ‘W’ for a torso. It was creative, unique, and unlike any other logo we’ve ever seen before.

The new logo isn’t creative at all, but it’s pleasing to the eye. The red, white, and blue is synonymous with Washington D.C., the small stars add some character, and the font in the outer ring of the circle isn’t anything too bold. Overall, I can’t be mad at the Wizards’ logo.

12. Memphis Grizzlies

Year Debuted: 2018

Record Since: 105-122 (.463 winning percentage since 2018)

Championships Since: none

From 2001-2004, the Memphis Grizzlies sported one of my personal all-time favorite sports logos — not just NBA logos. The colors were on point, the animated grizzly was on point, and the font was on point. Why they ever did away with their original logo is beyond me. 

While their newer logo doesn’t quite compare, it’s better than most logos in the NBA today. It still features a grizzly bear, which I like because most NBA logos don’t feature animals anymore. I will say I think the 2004-2018 rendition is better with the half-circle ‘Grizzlies’ wordmark below.

11. Denver Nuggets

Year Debuted: 2018

Record Since: 147-80 (.648 winning percentage since 2018) 

Championships Since: none

The Denver Nuggets are another team that should’ve never done away with their old logo. In fact, you can say that about two of their logos. Their vintage one from 1981-1992 was unique with the tetris design, while their 1993-2018 one was their most iconic and recognizable logo. 

Their newest logo, which they debuted in 2018, is 100% different from any other logo they’ve ever sported. It brought back the pick axes, which were featured in their original logo, but went with the circular design that I’m still coming around to. The color scheme, however, is flawless.

10. Atlanta Hawks

Year Debuted: 2020

Record Since: 41-31 (.569 winning percentage since 2020)

Championships Since: none

The Atlanta Hawks recently brought back their 1972-1994 logo, featuring it inside a circular emblem with a red outer ring surrounding it. It reads ‘Atlanta Hawks’ on the top of the outer ring and ‘Basketball’ on the bottom of the outer ring. It’s good enough to crack our top-10 NBA logos.

Personally, I like when the bottom of the outer ring reads ‘Basketball Club,’ as opposed to just ‘Basketball.’ They removed the word ‘Club’ ahead of the 2020-21 season and it took the symmetry away from the top and bottom of the ring. I also still think their 1995-2015 logo is best.

9. New Orleans Pelicans

Year Debuted: 2013

Record Since: 285-351 (.448 winning percentage since 2013)

Championships Since: none

The New Orleans Pelicans used to be the New Orleans Hornets, but changed their name ahead of the 2013-14 season. Since then, they’ve sported the same logo and haven’t made any changes to it. To be honest, no changes are needed and I hope they continue to roll with it. 

It features a small fleur-de-lis at the top, an eye-pleasing ‘New Orleans’ wordmark underneath that, an intimidating pelican holding a basketball in its mouth below that, and a small ‘Pelicans’ wordmark at the bottom. In a league where logos lack uniqueness, this one sets the bar high.

8. Philadelphia 76ers

Year Debuted: 2015 

Record Since: 233-240 (.493 winning percentage since 2015)

Championships Since: none

Before I start, I would like to note how much I love the Philadelphia 76ers old logo from 1997-2008. I think it’s by far their best logo, but that doesn’t take away from how great their current logo is. Their newest one is far better than the one they had between 2009 and 2014.

They ended up bringing back the logo they used from 1977-1997, which features a red and blue ‘76ers’ inside a basketball with the stars from the original United States flag above the ‘7.’ They put that logo inside a blue ring that reads ‘Philadelphia’ on top and has more stars underneath.

7. Toronto Raptors

Year Debuted: 2015

Record Since: 304-168 (.644 winning percentage since 2015)

Championships Since: 1 (2019)

The Toronto Raptors had one of the coolest logos of all-time from 1995-2008 and I strongly wish they never changed it. With that said, I don’t think they could’ve picked a better replacement than the design they have now. As much as I like the old raptor one, the current one works. 

The Raptors made minor changes to the circular emblem recently, changing the basketball from grey to red and removing the thin red outer ring from the logo. I like the first decision, but I wish they would’ve kept that outer red ring. The three claws on the basketball add the perfect touch.

6. Golden State Warriors

Year Debuted: 2010

Record Since: 533-326 (.620 winning percentage since 2010)

Championships Since: 3 (2015, 2017, 2018)

The Golden State Warriors have had five major logo designs over the past 60 years and none of them will ever compare to the one they had from 1997-2010 — which featured a cartoon warrior holding a lightning bolt above the unique ‘Warriors’ wordmark. It was one of the best of all-time. 

Their newest logo, which debuted in 2010, takes elements from the two logo designs they used from 1969-1997. The Golden Gate Bridge inside the circle is similar to their second logo, while the ‘Golden State’ above the circle and ‘Warriors’ below the circle is similar to their third logo. 

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Year Debuted: 2015

Record Since: 281-192 (.594 winning percentage since 2015)

Championships Since: 1 (2021)

I don’t think the Milwaukee Bucks know how to design a bad logo. Ever since 1968, their three logo designs have been spot-on in every way possible. Their vintage one was a classic and one of the greatest of all time, their second one was unique, and their new one is sleek and modern. 

The featured buck in the middle of the emblem is intimidating and it also features a small ‘M’ on the buck’s neck. I absolutely love how the outer circle doesn’t continue past the buck’s antlers and think the white ‘Milwaukee Bucks’ wordmark surrounded by a green box is a nice touch. 

4. Charlotte Hornets

Year Debuted: 2014

Record Since: 248-299 (.453 winning percentage since 2014)

Championships Since: none

The Charlotte Hornets have had two unique logos since joining the league in 1988. Their first one was one of the best of all-time, featuring a hornet dribbling a basketball wearing basketball shoes. It’s easily the more recognizable one they’ve had and is quite nostalgic in a way. 

The newer one, which they adopted in 2014 after changing their name from the Charlotte Bobcats, is a little more intimidating — which is unique compared to what most NBA teams want these days. It’s sleek, modern, bold, and doesn’t feature too large of a font — which is crucial. 

3. Miami Heat

Year Debuted: 1999

Record Since: 982-787 (.555 winning percentage since 1990)

Championships Since: 3 (2006, 2012, 2013)

Since joining the NBA in 1988, the Miami Heat have had two logos and they both follow the same design (just with minor color changes). Their newest logo, which debuted in 1999, features a red basketball going through a hoop with flames coming out the top of the ball. 

I think the fact that they haven’t had to change their design (ever) is a strong indication as to why they rank No. 3 on our list of the best NBA logos right now. It’s unique, it speaks to the Heat’s identity, and is one of the more recognizable logos in all of basketball, which says a lot.

2. Chicago Bulls

Year Debuted: 1966

Record Since: 2,258-2,176 (.509 winning percentage since 1966)

Championships Since: 6 (1991, 1992, 1993,1996, 1997, 1998)

The Chicago Bulls are the only team in the entire NBA to have the same exact logo since entering the league, which is incredible considering they’ve been in the NBA since 1966. And when I say the same exact logo, I mean they haven’t made a single change to it since. 

To be honest, I’m not sure if they will ever change it — they might not have to. The red bull is more iconic than most sports logos and the Chicago Bulls wordmark fits perfectly. If they do change it in the future, their current logo will easily go down as one of the best logos of all-time. 

1. Boston Celtics

Year Debuted: 1974

Record Since: 2,158-1,653 (.566 winning percentage since 1974)

Championships Since: 6 (1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008)

With that, we’ve made it to the best logo in the NBA right now — the Boston Celtics’ logo. You won’t find a more iconic logo than the leprechaun that’s holding a cane in one hand, a basketball in the other hand, and smoking a pipe all at the same time. It’s just too good. 

Surrounding the leprechaun with a green ring that reads ‘Boston’ on the left and ‘Celtics’ on the right is just the perfect touch. It brings everything together and gives it that emblem/badge look that NBA teams love. I’m not sure there’s any way to make it any better than it already is. 

Which NBA Logos Are Your Favorite? 

No two NBA logos are the same. They each have their own design, their own color scheme, and their own backstory as to how they came about. That’s why it’s so easy to love one team’s logo, yet hate another team’s logo. Some teams do it justice, while others completely drop the ball.

While we’ve seen a lot of teams transition to more of a roundel logo, which takes away a lot of the creativity that made 1990s NBA logos so popular, there are still a lot of unique and fun logos out there. We can only hope that the best NBA logos aren’t redesigned anytime soon.

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As you browsed through our list of the worst and best NBA logos in the league right now, how do you think we did? Which NBA logos are your favorite? Which ones are your least favorite? Since we never know when a redesign might happen, it’s best to appreciate them while we can.

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