New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: As I’m sure everyone here is well aware, the NBA has a new game ball. Most of the media coverage of the new ball has centered on players’ complaints about it. But there’s a more pressing matter that nobody seems to have addressed: What happens to all the teams who have basketballs depicted in their logos?
This is no small matter, because the overwhelming majority of NBA teams have ball-inclusive logos. In addition to the Lakers, you’ve got the Hawks, Celtics, Cavs, Mavs, Pistons, Warriors, Pacers, Clippers, Heat, Nets, Knicks, Hornets, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Sonics, Raptors, Jazz, and Wizards (the only logo where the ball appears twice) — plus the Eastern and Western Conference logos! Many teams have the ball depicted on their uniforms, too.
Leaving aside the obvious point that maybe it’s time for NBA logo designers to come up with some more imaginative tropes, the issue of logo-to-ball consistency is an interesting one. Are any of these teams thinking of updating their logos to match the new ball? Will these old logos now start to become retro by default? Did the NBA think about all this when the new ball design was in development?
I posed those questions to the league office, where NBA VP for Apparel Christopher Arena provided the following response:
This was discussed, as it relates to all balls in team and event logos for the NBA, WNBA, and D-League. Some of our new franchises — the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the D-League, for example — will be using the new ball design in their logos. But we have not had any existing teams approach us about changing their logos, and we are not proactively pursuing them to change.
If you look closely at the Celtics logo, you’ll see that the ball is the pre-1970 four-panel ball. They never changed the logo when the ball became eight-panel. The eight-panel basketball is still a basketball, and represents a point in time when the franchise was created, or at least when the logo was created. We anticipate that eight-panel balls will continue to represent the game of basketball for some time — we just happen to have a new ball for game play. I would anticipate many of our event logos (draft, etc.) eventually converting to the new ball when applicable.
This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable response. My hunch, though, is that as we all grow more accustomed to the sight of the new ball (which, incidentally, I think looks pretty cool), more and more teams will decide that their logos look a bit incongruous, and will use the new ball as an excuse for a logo makeover. Everyone meet back here in three years and we’ll see if I’m right.
Of course, it’d be great if the new ball served as an excuse to resuscitate and revise the greatest NBA logo of all time.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday’s entry looked at high school football helmets with a logo on one side and a uni number on the other. But Jesse Gavin has come up with a school that wears two distinct logos: Cedar Falls High in Iowa, which has this on one side and this on the other. … And it turns out that mismatched helmet decals aren’t limited to the high school ranks after all, as explained in this report from Scott Musa: “Christopher Newport University [a NCAA D3S school in the USA South Conference] has a CNU on the left side and their school logo (three sails, but they look like triangles) on the right.” … Note to self: Don’t ever attend a Chicago-area game involving Simeon High or Libertyville High (whose opponents appear to have kidnapped Flying Elvis and put him on their helmets). This retina damage brought to you by John Waller. … Taking in a Clinton High game in Oklahoma wouldn’t be too bad, though (with thanks to Cale Challis). … The University of Wisconsin has forced an Iowa high school to change its logo, because it was too similar to the Badgers’ logo. Further info here (good catch by Jesse Gavin and Matt Nelson). … Great catch you may have missed in yesterday’s Comments section: Scott Player’s single-bar facemask was up by his forehead as he tried to tackle Devin Hester. … And yes, Neil Rackers did indeed have a Band-Aid on his forehead.