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How is it that most NBA teams (and other leagues too) STILL have bad looks?


eliasrappaport

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If you think about the NBA and the consensus good looking teams you probably think of around 10-15. How is that possible? With all of the concepts that people see and think are great or with all the retro looks people want back, how is it that a team can still look horrible? The NBA has been around since the 1940s. That's 70 years! The Sixers for example have a bad look, but great retro looks that they can switch to at anytime. If they switch to the 1970s jerseys, BOOM they are now a top 10 look. If the Magic contact that user R_E_D_D_I_T and get permission to use his Magic logo that everyone thinks is sick, boom they're top 10 too. It just amazes me. How about the Hawks? That 1980s Wilkins look in great. Use it!

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The NBA is easily the sports world's worst-dressed league. Outside of maybe 10-15 like you said (most of which are traditional designs that haven't changed much since the respective team's inception, eg. Boston, LA Lakers, Chicago, San Antonio, Miami).

There are just so many so-called 'cookie cutter' designs it seems. Teams with so much potential, like the Clippers, Mavericks, Suns and Timberwolves just to name a few go with these terribly bland templates.

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I think part of it has to do with NBA teams not wanting to take risks. Most teams stick with blue as their primary jersey color because they apparently sell the best. If not blue then they are red or black heavy color schemes. Then they try to go with something unique for their alternate jersies but those never stay around very long.

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The NBA is easily the sports world's worst-dressed league. Outside of maybe 10-15 like you said (most of which are traditional designs that haven't changed much since the respective team's inception, eg. Boston, LA Lakers, Chicago, San Antonio, Miami).

There are just so many so-called 'cookie cutter' designs it seems. Teams with so much potential, like the Clippers, Mavericks, Suns and Timberwolves just to name a few go with these terribly bland templates.

This has more to do with the urban fashion influence than the team logos and designs. The massive shorts, the jerseys cut more like muscle shirts than actual basketball jerseys, then there are the shoes and "accessories".

Other sports generally stay true to the basic uniform...football, baseball, hockey...but basketball morphs it's uniforms based on fashion trends, marketing gimmicks and pop culture. You'll never see a hockey jersey or football pants ever change shape and it's basic design, but an NBA jersey is now found in numerous styles, shapes and sizes.

This looks great:

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This looks ridiculous:

new-phoenix-suns-jerseys1.jpg

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Beno-Udrih-fights-through-his-upper-arm-

allen_iverson_photofile.jpg

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But if that Sixers uni was worn now, it would still be in the top half of the league.

That's cause jerseys keep getting worse and worse. Downgrades all over.

2/3 of the league's franchises have very little, if any tradition and barely any visual identity. The league is also not very strong in terms of controlling identities within the league like nfl properties does. When you combine these two factors you've created so much visual churn by these mediocre franchises trying to chase the sports trend of the moment. Lastly you've had rbk/adi have way too much influence in redesigns and they are flat out poor designers. The only good progressive basketball designs that are coming out are Nike's ncaa line which isn't saying much for the state of basketball design.

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So many uniforms look exactly the same to me, with different colors. Atleast the Suns have an identity, mean while if you make the Celtics and Bulls jersey the same color, they look pretty similar. Spurs and Lakers pretty much use the same template too

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Other sports generally stay true to the basic uniform...football, baseball, hockey...but basketball morphs it's uniforms based on fashion trends, marketing gimmicks and pop culture. You'll never see a hockey jersey or football pants ever change shape and it's basic design, but an NBA jersey is now found in numerous styles, shapes and sizes.

Not sure about that. Baseball hat styles have changed, for example, and we've seen the entry and exit of pullovers and vests. In football, you've got the ever-shrinking sleeves, now at the point where a football jersey is essentially a tank top.

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My take is that it's because sports management lacks a general understanding of good design and good aesthetics. I worked for years designing for various professional teams and they constantly gravitated to the least interesting design (which is why I gravitated away from designing for them). The nice stuff Nike has done (more their marketing not their uniforms) is helping educate but we're still a long way off. Just my take.

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I disagree with the idea that most NBA teams have bad looks, logo-wise, although I do agree that many of the jerseys could be improved, or at least match its respective logo better. I do not like the recent NBA trends of putting sleeves or chrome logos on the jerseys. These are just gimmicky ploys that I expect will die-out soon (or at least hoping), but logo-wise, I think most NBA logos are fine and there is a nice variety in the league. Of course some like the Lakers, could use modern updating, but I actually like the Clippers slight update recently. They felt no need to try to hard and make a over-the-top flashy logo. NBA logos follow a different criteria than NFL, NHL, or MLB logos. Mainly, the primary requires city and team names to appear in words. That alone makes an NBA logo totally different than simply making a stand-alone animal head logo which half the NFL uses, or simple design composition that the NHL uses. I love the simplicity of NFL logos and they need to be clean and bold so they can easily be seen on the helmet, but that style just wouldn't work in the NBA in my opinion.

Most pro basketball leagues in the world look horrible, and have no continuity between any jerseys/logos, and I know comparing the NBA to those leagues will of course make the NBA look better just by comparison, but if you don't like the NBA's look in general, it could be much much worse.

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NBA logos follow a different criteria than NFL, NHL, or MLB logos. Mainly, the primary requires city and team names to appear in words. That alone makes an NBA logo totally different than simply making a stand-alone animal head logo which half the NFL uses, or simple design composition that the NHL uses. I love the simplicity of NFL logos and they need to be clean and bold so they can easily be seen on the helmet, but that style just wouldn't work in the NBA in my opinion.

Why don't you think that style would work in the NBA? I think the worst parts about NBA logos are the inclusion of city/team names and basketballs. Most teams have MUCH stronger secondary/alternate logos.

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You can't really blame teams for not rebranding. It takes a lot of effort and money. However, the recent rebrands have been pretty good so that's a step in the right direction.

Brooklyn - boring but not really bad

Phoenix - they're middle of the pack at least

New York (?) - Minor changes but slightly better

Charlotte - They're the Hornets again. Nuff said

New Orleans - You can't really say that it's bad compared to some other logos.

There hasn't been a horribly bad rebrand in a while so it's something.

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NBA logos follow a different criteria than NFL, NHL, or MLB logos. Mainly, the primary requires city and team names to appear in words. That alone makes an NBA logo totally different than simply making a stand-alone animal head logo which half the NFL uses, or simple design composition that the NHL uses. I love the simplicity of NFL logos and they need to be clean and bold so they can easily be seen on the helmet, but that style just wouldn't work in the NBA in my opinion.

Why don't you think that style would work in the NBA? I think the worst parts about NBA logos are the inclusion of city/team names and basketballs. Most teams have MUCH stronger secondary/alternate logos.

The way I see it, each of the 4 major leagues use their logos somewhat differently, so naturally they all have some differences in how the logos look. I like the variety between leagues. NBA logos rely heavily on wordmarks, more so than any of the other leagues, and I think that is good for the NBA. In the NFL, the logos need to look good on a small helmet decal and having letters would just clutter up the logo. Only three teams have their name appear in the logo that come to mind (Raiders, Jets, and Steelers). Plus, since NFL logos appear on helmets, they are constantly seen during the course of any game/highlights and are recognized by all as the helmet logo, even without seeing the name. NHL jerseys usually have the logo appear on the front of the jerseys, so during the course of the game, all fans see that logo constantly and it is quickly known even without any wordmark. Even in the MLB, the cap logos, which aren't primary logos, but are seen constantly on the cap, so even without seeing the full spelled-out name, everyone knows it is their logo. NBA primary logos don't really appear anywhere on jerseys usually (minus the recent chrome jersey logos), so they are not seen constantly (unless placed on center-court or on TV graphics). Of course all real fans still know these brands well, and I agree that the NBA has some great secondary logos that do not have any words on them, but I am not sure that the NBA alternate logos are strong enough to be primary logos. Two good alternate logos that come to mind are the Hawks head logo (which actually looks like an NFL logo to me) and T-Wolves head logo, both without any lettering. But, would the average casual basketball fan or non-logo nerd who sees that Hawks instantly link it to the Atlanta Hawks? I'm not so sure they would. Or would a casual fan who see that T-Wolves stand-alone head logo know that it is the T-Wolves logo and not some other wolf team? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I'm underestimating these logos. Anyway, those alternate logos come to good use when places on jerseys above the NOB or on shorts, since the primaries tend to be too detailed in the NBA to be shrunk that much, but the primaries still need to represent the team as best it can, and having the name appear on NBA primary logos works in my opinion.

The hardest part of creating an NBA logo, I would think, would be trying to incorporate wordmarks with the other images in a logo, and not ending up with a cluttered mess. The last two NBA teams to get new logos (Pelicans and Hornets) have done a nice job in that regard. They also have solid alternate logos taking elements of the primary, while keeping the primary bold. The Nets may have gone overboard with blandness but as always, things look better with time and familiarity.

I know you aren't just talking logos in this thread, but also jerseys. I just hope that the NBA doesn't continue on its current jersey trend. Going with sleeves and logos on jerseys in the same year is too much. If they really wanted to go that route, they should have eased their way little by little, rather than putting it all on us at once, and ending up with something that looks nothing like a basketball jersey.

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