July 29, 2017

G-League Logo Rank, Part 1

Now that I'm done with re-ranking the NBA logos for the third straight summer, let's tackle the minor league shall we?

I started writing this post months ago, knowing full well that I'd need to find something to kill the time this summer on this blog. I planned to make it a two-parter so that I wouldn't be tackling all 22 D-League (at the time) logos in one massive post. I figured I could reasonably tackle 11 each in two consecutive posts. I made a list from 1 to 22 and left it as a draft.

Since the time I started thinking about writing about the kids table league logos, there's been a lot of change. The Developmental League name is gone and replaced with corporate sponsored name Gatorade League. Gone too are the Los Angeles D-Fenders (reimagined as the South Bay Lakers) and the Iowa Energy (now the Iowa Wolves which is a tragedy of sorts). Of course the Lakers and Wolves (yawn! names) have revamped their logos but so have some other teams, and not all for the better. Finally, there are no longer 22 teams; there are 26. And all of a sudden two posts of 13 each doesn't sound so appealing to me.

So, with all that said, let's do this in three parts. And here's Part 1, which of course is the worst stuff in the G-League (I shudder every time I type that). Strap yourself in for some truly just not very good logos. It gets better. A couple of weeks from now when I roll out Part 3, your faith in logo designing will be restored because, in addition to some pretty terrible derivative logos, there are some gems in the G-League (shudder...that's the last time I'll write that out in this post).

26. Oklahoma City Blue
If you had challenged me to take the Oklahoma City Thunder's logo and make it worse, I'm not sure I could have done a better job than the team itself did when it rolled out its shot at branding their minor league team, the Blue (worst name in the league by the way). The parent team's logo, which features a triangle with bulging sides and some curved sort of markings behind, I believe is intended to reference the native Americans who called and call Oklahoma home. The overall effect, however, is underwhelming.

Two things about the Blue's logo (shown at the top of this post) here: (1) I'm not sure why anyone would want to copy the Thunder logo and (2) if you do actually like the logo, why make it simpler? Part of the problem with the Thunder logo to me is that it's too simple. Who knows, maybe I'm just looking for someone to add something to distract me from how bad this logo is. In the NBA, the Thunder are saved from the bottom spot because the Los Angeles Clippers rolled out a logo package a couple of years ago that is truly pathetic. There's nobody to save the Blue here.

25. Wisconsin Herd
A couple of years ago, the Milwaukee Bucks introduced a new branding that made their deer-centric logo package a little more abstract. Other than the fact that their primary logo looks like a deer head mounted on a wall, I generally love it as an improvement over their former look. It seems bold and modern and I love map based logos like the state of Wisconsin secondary logo. I don't love what the Bucks have done with that logo package as they have applied it to their minor league franchise.

First let me say that I like the alternate logo which is a stylized basketball with the letter W on it. But what is going on with the three-headed deer look? To me, this is either a deer with two smaller partial deer heads growing out of its shoulders or three deer about to do something very mean to the whomever they are staring at but the two deer in the back only have a single antler each. It looks like something out of a cheap deer-centric horror movie and represents the second logo of many in the G-League which are just manipulating the name and look of the parent franchise in a non-productive way.

24. Lakeland Magic
The Lakeland Magic have two official logos: one which is not sponsored and one which is. I don't like either of them but I especially don't like the sponsored one, which is the exact same as the non-sponsored one but with HomeValue.com at the bottom. I get that it's a way to make more money. I just don't get why anyone would want their branding to be this way.

As for the logo itself, I think the Magic got ripped off by someone putting a summer intern on their project. Seriously? A basketball surrounded by a black ring with some stars on it? I'm assuming this thing was a rush job and that they didn't pay much for it. I'd feel worse if they did. The Magic are the first team in this countdown who just named their G-League team after their NBA franchise. Predictably, I don't like this either; it's completely unimaginative. I know this list isn't about ranking team names but I had to mention that anyway.

23. Westchester Knicks
If the Westchester Knicks had just stuck to their guns here with their original logo when they entered the League, they'd finish a lot higher in this ranking. That's because their original logo was based on the old old New York Knicks logo that the home team (one of only two original franchises still in the location where they started) that featured Father Knickerbocker with a basketball.

To demonstrate how awesome their former logo was, I've included both the new and the old above. The current logo (on the left) is pretty much exactly the same as their parent team's logo except with "Westchester" in place of "New York". Boring. Yet, somehow in my mind better than the Blue, the mutated deer and a sponsored logo. Go figure. Supreme mediocrity somehow gets you 23rd out of 26 here. Who thinks James Dolan paid someone to come up with this logo? For the record, I do.

22. South Bay Lakers
Speaking of unimaginative retreads of an already-extant logo...let's talk about the South Bay Lakers (or the team formerly known as the Los Angeles D-Fenders). The Lakers haven't applied quite the same level of non-thought as the Knicks had, but it's pretty close.

The Los Angeles Lakers logo features a Lakers name apparently in fast motion forwards (or to the right on the logo) behind a gold basketball. The South Bay Lakers logo seems a bit more chill. Gone are the movement lines from the original perhaps because the junior Lakers and former D-Fenders have never won an NBDL (or whatever else you want to call it) title. But if the logo's come to a dead stop, the golden basketball has also transformed into a sun with an ocean below reflecting the sun's rays. How beach-y for a team that plays in El Segundo. The arena's not on the ocean but it's nor far off. The Lakers beat the Knicks here. Barely, but they do it. For the record, I like their secondary logo better.

21. Texas Legends
The logos that someone came up with for the Legends are not great but they show some imagination and that counts for something. I mean, look at the competition to this point for crying out loud. Let's take a look at their secondary logo first which is shown on the right above (the awkwardly fonted "TL" over a strangely patterned basketball graphic). I'll just say this sort of jumbo font logo isn't good and let's just move on. Some G-League teams haven't even bothered with an alternate look. The Legends shouldn't have either.

It's their primary branding that gets them some credit here. Yes, I know that the unevenly pointed star is a proportional nightmare; I assume it's intended to echo the star in the Lone Star State's flag. But honestly, I have to say before I started paying attention to the League's logos about six years ago (right before I made my first D-League road trip), I thought the logo was a cattle skull. So just for my mis-read which is I am sure the intended double entendre (or is it double voir?) the Legends get a win here. It's not elegant but it's effective.

20. Windy City Bulls
I know what you are thinking here. For the past three years (or for forever since I started publishing blog posts about logos over the last three summers) I've ranked the Chicago Bulls logo number one in the NBA. And the Windy City Bulls logo is pretty much the exact same thing, only with a kick ass map-based (which everyone knows I love) secondary logo to make the overall package even better. 

Well...yes and no. Pretty much the exact same thing and the actual exact same thing are different. And the WC Bulls' logo is beefier (pun intended) and less elegant than the original. The scowl is meaner, it's missing the red tipped horns from the original plus it's truncated. Don't get me wrong. The logo's not THAT bad and the secondary logo is awesome but the Bulls just get put down this logo because the whole primary logo just lacks any sort of originality whatsoever. Don't be derivative is the message for anyone trying to impress me with logos.

19. Greensboro Swarm
I love the Charlotte Hornets reintroduction into the NBA. I think the franchise's name is the best in the league; by and large I love their logo redesign over the old cartoon hornet from the original Charlotte Hornets franchise; and their honeycomb designed court is just terrific. I don't feel the same way about the Greensboro Swarm's copycat logos.

First of all, as I've already stated I hate all these logos that are just the initials of the team or city in large font therefore the "GS" logo just sucks to me. I feel the same way about the Legends' "TL" logo and I'll feel the same way about the Grand Rapids Drive's "GR" logo. They are simplistic and unoriginal.

But honestly, the primary Swarm logo isn't that great either. It's the same sort of hornet font that the big boys used to write the team's name and they have placed that name atop a hornet's butt. Not impressed. Two thumbs down.

So that's the bottom. There are 26 teams in the league so I've elected to do two eight team posts so I can have a top 10. Discuss what you hate about my opinions amongst yourselves (actually, nobody is going to do this and I know it). The next eight are up next week.

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