6 Best NBA Team Logos

With a history dating back to the 1946-47 season when there were squads like the St. Louis Bombers, Providence Steamrollers and Pittsburgh Ironmen, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen its share of teams over the years. As the league has evolved and expanded into its current 30-team format, the NBA has also seen its share of makes and misses when it comes to team logos.

What Makes a Great NBA Team Logo?

On this recent episode of the Speaking Human podcast, we discussed (and debated) which teams had the best logos in the league. Here are some of the criteria we used to determine what makes a great NBA team logo…

  • Fits with the sport – Does the logo make you think basketball?
  • Illustrates the team name – Does the logo in some way reflect the name?
  • Connects with the city or state identity – Does the logo represent the locality?
  • Appeals to fans & looks cool – Does the logo make you want to buy merchandise?

Power Rankings: Which NBA Teams Have the Best Logos?

While we split pretty significantly on some of the logos we talked about on the podcast (give it a listen to hear our differing viewpoints on the first three logos on this list), we ultimately settled on this as our definitive ranking of the best NBA team logos…

6. Utah Jazz

The Jazz name may be an odd fit for its city (does Utah even have jazz?), but it’s a good fit for basketball—with the sport often likened to jazz music for its style of play. This logo merges the two world’s with its music-note basketball that also serves as the “J” for Jazz. This is essentially the Swiss army knife of logos.

Utah Jazz Logo

5. Memphis Grizzlies

The NBA has its share of animal team names and logos (Bulls, Bucks, Pelicans, etc.), but this one is the best. It’s threatening with its yellow, angry eyes—without being too creepy. The different blue shades and use of shadow are great touches. When included, the font used for the team name is also powerful and readable.

Memphis Grizzlies Logo

4. Atlanta Hawks

Some could argue that (like the team itself) this logo doesn’t have much personality. But it’s simple and versatile—working whether the red and white colors are used in the format below or reversed. Also, by just doing the hawk outline, they don’t get caught up in animal detail overload like some of the logos noted above.

Atlanta Hawks Logo

3. New York Knicks

Colorful and vibrant, this logo looks almost like it was influenced by the Superman insignia. The three-dimensional design of the “Knicks” name makes it appear forceful and imposing (unlike the team itself). This logo’s definitely got a retro vibe to it that works great on a t-shirt.

New York Knicks Logo

2. Washington Wizards

One of many circular logos in the NBA, it’s almost easy to overlook just how good the Washington Wizards’ logo really is. The colors are pure America and the big picture gives us the lines of a basketball. But a closer look reveals the Washington monument, with a star shining gloriously above it (a nice touch).

Washington Wizards Logo

1. Sacramento Kings

This logo hits on all the criteria mentioned above. It gives us basketball, the city, and the team name wrapped together in a clever way (the city is the crown atop the ball). But what actually propels it to the top of the list is the use of color. The purple and gray really work together well here, making this our pick for best logo of the NBA.

Sacramento Kings Logo