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NBA Project 32 - Timberwolves Update


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The first of two expansion teams for this series (the other is a Sonics Mk. II team). When contemplating where I would put an expansion team to bring the league up to 32 teams (31 could technically be done, but it'd just be messy for scheduling), I immediately seized upon Kansas City. I had already ruled out Pittsburgh and Kentucky , the former because it would create an imbalance of teams in each conference (Minnesota is going to the Eastern Conference), and Kentucky is dominated by college basketball programs (Louisville and University of Kentucky). Vancouver was also ruled out, as the Pacific Northwest really doesn't need three teams. Not only do they have a fully-functional modern arena that no team is using (the Sprint Center), but they also have a history in the NBA, as they were the Kings' home city from 1972-85. When deciding on a nickname, I went for a name that would make them unique in the league, Diesels. This is a reference to the rail industry in Kansas City, and the color scheme of black, yellow, and red accents is taken from the Kansas City Southern Line's livery:


The primary logo is based on a trace of the diesel, along with a roundel featuring the interlocking "KC" logo that I debuted a few days ago. The font I used for the team is Conrad's Beaverton Block, as it felt like a modern adaptation of a slab-serif font, perfect for an old-timey, industrial feel. The court incorporates a track feature in the keys, as well as dominantly yellow baselines/sidelines.




On the uniforms, I used the red as an accent for the shorts logos and the paneling, imitating the striping on the Southern Line's engines. I decided to play it simple with the collar and arm striping, as a way to draw attention towards the striped panels.




The alternate is a gold version of the home uniform, but with the train stripe paneling replaced by train track panels. I'm not all that sure about this alt, as the tracks could easily be mistaken for piano keys or seen as especially cheesy. But hey, it's an alternate, and I feel that alternates should rarely be simple recolors.


This is one of my first "from scratch" designs. I felt a little nervous trying to create a team from out of thin air with my inexperience in drawing logos (I think the primary might be a bit too over-detailed), and I still think it needs some tweaking to get it just right. But still, it was a nice experience making them, and I can't wait to learn more about making a team "from scratch".

Up next, and from a firmer base, the Los Angeles Clippers!

Oh man, being a hobbyist rail photagropher, I love it.

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Well, I checked, they're orange. Burnt orange, yes, but still orange. Probably just a minor rendering issue. Anyway, on to the Lakers!


I honestly think the Lakers have never had a bad look since they moved to LA. The Showtime-era set, the Shaq/Kobe set, and even the double blues all look nice. However, the two purple/yellow sets both have some serious issues. The Showtime-era set has the wonky script, number drop shadow from Hades and omits jersey panels (despite having shorts panels), while the Staples Center set has a mismatched NOB font (should be serifed like the numbers), a modern collar/cuff cut that clashes with the wordmark and numbers, and some number issues after the Rev30 was instituted. Let's not mention how the primary logo still rocks a dirty look that places it firmly in the 60's, even though the team has designed far cleaner logos in the same spirit, like the "L-ball" alternate. I have come here to rectify these issues and create a Lakers look that not only provides a more appropriate look, but also cleans it up to modern standards.

The primary has been redone in a style more like the "L-ball" alternate logo, with the speed lines only appearing on the "L" and the outlines given an even weight. The purple has also been darkened for the team, to better match the color they actually wear on the court. There is also a new tertiary of an interlocking "LA", mostly designed as an alternate for merchandise like hats. The court goes back to the 70's-80's Great Western Forum colorization (with purple replacing red), has college lines again (unnecessary, but the vintage feel they bring is nice), and the championship stars go bye-bye (we get that this franchise has 16 titles, they don't need to shove it in people's faces).




Like I said before, I've merged the best of the Showtime-era set and the Staples Center set into a uniform set that feels appropriate for a team as storied and old-fashioned as the Lakers. The Showtime collars and sleeve cuffs return, as well as the piping scheme on the panels (which still contain the "L-ball" logo and go over both jersey and shorts). Not only does it eliminate issues with the Nike wishbone collars, it also gives the uniform more unity with the somewhat old-fashion wordmark (while cleaned up, it's still very vintage in its sensibilities) and slab-serif number font. The number font is back to it's pre-Rev 30 form, without all the odd outlines or upside-down 6's and 9's. NOB's are now in the slab-serif font, to once again match the numbers. The "L" in the shorts/hem striping still remains, but is slightly more defined due to the older piping scheme.




The Sunday White alts receive a bit of a makeover. They use the double-blue era's "Los Angeles" wordmark, and feature the primary logo in the shorts paneling (because it has precedent and writing the name in the panels wouldn't work with full-body paneling).


Up next, the Memphis Grizzlies (with a little surprise)!

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Thanks for the C+C, it was really nice to get a classic team out of the way. Now, a somewhat modern team that actually looks modern!


Ah, the Grizz. While I like their identity, I really feel like it is a little too bland. The boring staring bear, the triple blue/yellow color scheme that just screams "mid-2000's), and what might be the most generic "modern" standard uniforms in the NBA. Also, their split numbers were one of the worst casualties of the Rev 30. However, I adore the "G with slashing bear" logo from the first couple of years in Memphis (they moved away from Vancouver long enough ago to justify its reuse) and the alternate (with it's Egyptian-esque shoulder yoke). So, I decided to hinge the identity around these logos, with a bit of a twist.

The first noticeable change is that the color scheme has switched to one of dark brown/turquoise/yellow, with metallic gold in the logos. This gives them a unique color scheme that not only ties into the nickname (brown), but also alludes to their combined time in Vancouver (turquoise) and Memphis (yellow). The turquoise and yellow could also give an Egyptian jewelry-vibe, alluding to the connection between Memphis, Tennessee and Memphis, Egypt. The court is mostly unchanged from the current court, just adapted to make room for the new logos and coloration (with a special coloration of the FedEx Forum logo).




The current alternate is used as the basis for this entire set (much like what I did with the Nuggets). It's far more modern than their current home/road look, and distances the team enough from its Vancouver days to excuse the coloration. The wordmarks remain on arcs, as I am not a fan of the straight wordmark on the actual alt. The brown road uniform makes them unique in the Western Conference (there's another brown team in the East). Because this series does not use the Rev 30, the split numbers return to the uniforms, finally unifying the set again.




The first alternate is a turquoise version of the home uniform, and the second alternate is a revival of the Memphis Tams throwback they wore a few years ago (it's too unique not to use).



While I know that this color scheme may not be popular, I feel that it is fitting for the team and really helps set them apart from the rest of the league.

Up next, the Miami Heat!

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Diesels - Great idea for a team as there are a dearth of train-themed professional sports teams. I'm going with a team from Kentucky for my series, but I understand your reasoning. As for the concept, I'm not sure the basketball silhouette needs to be in the logo. In addition to the excessive number of NBA teams with basketballs in their logo, I feel it muddles the look and makes the lines on the train look awkward. Regarding the uniforms, the home looks great, but both the away and alternate do not look right; the color balance seems way off. The white and yellow tend to bleed together for me, so I think yellow and red would provide a better contrast.

Clippers - The primary logo looks good except for the Los Angeles within it; it blends in with the light blue background. I would suggest removing it altogether, but if you want to keep it I would make it orange. Also, I've always felt that the cursive script and the modern-looking numerals clash. But that's just me.

Lakers - This is exactly what they should be wearing. Absolutely no complaints, although you didn't make any Hardwood Classics for them or the Clippers.

Grizzlies - I also considered using brown for the Grizzlies, as it obviously fits with the name and looks striking with teal or in my case light blue. However, I ultimately decided against it because of the association the Grizzlies have with Fed Ex. I'm sure Fed Ex wouldn't be too fond of a team in their namesake arena looking like a bunch of UPS guys. I realize this may seem like a trivial critique for a uniform, but I thought I should bring it to your attention. I love the Tams throwback by the way.

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I'm loving the series. All great concepts thus far. My only complaint is that on the blue Grizzlies jersey, it is a bit difficult to see the text and numbers on the jerseys. Have you tried maybe a lighter font? Perhaps even swapping the black and yellow?

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While I have what I want to do for Miami's uniforms and court figured out, I'm still iffy about the color scheme. While I do like their colors, watching them in the finals made me realize how muted/dull their look is. It's Miami, they should have some flash to their look and have a bit more energy in their design. Kinda like the current Marlins, but a little more conservative/not as "out there". So, I've narrowed it down to a few color schemes.


Top left is the typical "Miami Vice/nights" look, focusing on the magenta of the ABA Floridians and a neon tealish green, to sort of tie the look into the teal of the other Miami teams (Dolphins/my Marlins concept from earlier this year). Black is used as an accent color, to keep the bright shades from clashing/hurting the eye.

Bottom left is the same as above, but with a light orange in place of the neon teal.

Top middle replaces the magenta with a dark reddish-orange, brighter than current Miami's Cardinal-esque red shade. Neon teal remains in the look.

Bottom middle is the same as top middle, but with a bright yellow replacing neon teal (probably my favorite of the bunch).

Top right is probably my least favorite, with a magenta/neon teal/yellow color scheme, without the black key color (black would probably still be on the uniforms somehow). I don't plan on using it, but I figured it would be nice to put that option out there.

Bottom right uses reddish orange/light orange/bright yellow, going for a faux gradient distribution while eliminating black.

So, which one should I go for?

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