A few days ago I discussed how the NBA’s new game ball could have potentially wide-ranging implications for the all teams that have balls depicted in their logos. As you may recall, NBA VP Christopher Arena said he didn’t anticipate any immediate logo changes, and he provided a good historical antecedent:
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.
That got reader Alex Gordon thinking. For starters, as he points out, “According to the logos over at LogoServer, the Celtics had two versions of their logo in 1968 — one with the four-panel ball depicted and one with an eight-panel ball. Also, I wanted to see what other teams did once the league switched game ball designs in 1970.”
So he started digging. Here’s his analysis:
Interestingly, the Bullets, despite changing their logo from Baltimore to Capital (’73-’74) to Washington (’74-’75), never changed the design of the ball, keeping the old ball design until they became the Wizards. Yet the original Bullets logo from 1963-69 appears to show an eight-panel ball.
The Royals/Kings franchise also seemed to depict a fragment of the old four-panel ball [here are the versions used when the team was in Cincy, KC/Omaha, KC, and Sacramento], even though this logo design wasn’t in use until 1971-72, by which time the eight-panel ball had been introduced.
The logos used by the Sonics in the early 1970s and from the mid-’70s through the mid-’90s, and by the Jazz — first in New Orleans and then in Utah — also appear to depict a four-panel rather than eight-panel ball.
There seem to be other pre-1970 anomalies in which an eight-panel
design appears, even though the league had not yet adopted that game ball. These include late-1960s Bucks, the 1960 Mpls. Lakers, and the late-1960s Suns.
It’s worth noting that just because a logo is listed on a web site as “Celtics, 1968” (or whatever), that doesn’t mean that was the exact logo used in that year. Logos are often updated and then retroactively relabeled, passed around the web, and so on, and we don’t know if these logos were scanned from, say, an original yearbook or just downloaded from less primary source. But Gordon’s research is interesting, and appears to indicate that the NBA’s ball design and logo designs tend to develop independently of each other. Good stuff.
Next project: Someone go research all the ball-inclusive ABA logos (like the excellent Oakland Oaks mark shown above).
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Wizards unveiled their new alternate uni last night, complete with odd shoulder striping and shorts that don’t match the jersey. For some reason I find them more amusing than awful, and I kinda like how the shoulder stripes echo the franchise’s old Bullets-era design. … Keyshawn Johnson appears to be tying his jersey collar to his shoulder pads, and the shoelace he’s using (or strap, or whatever) is running right through his NFL Equipment logo patch (here’s a closer look). … You can get a sneak peek at FSU’s solid-black alternate uni, slated to debut this Saturday, toward the end of this video clip (with thanks to BJ Lanier). … Yesterday I jokingly suggested that Endy Chavez might have been wearing a nicotine patch, although I figured it was just a Band-Aid. Turns out it may actually have been a performance accessory, though, because Brian Terreson points out that Phiten — the same company that makes those annoying titanium necklaces that everyone’s now wearing — also makes these little adhesive titanium patch thingies, and it looks like that’s what Chavez was wearing. Bizarre. … Another NCAA football team with an asymmetrical helmet design: D3 Wesleyan. In an odd development, the school is celebrating its 175th anniversary, so the gridders have “175 Years” on the left side, while the right side is blank. Yes, I know I had previously excluded teams from this discussion if they had one blank side, instead of two distinct decals, but this one is so unusual that it deserves to be included. (Thanks to current Wesleyan sophomore Chris Choi for this info.). … Wanna own 13 pairs of stirrups very similar to the one depicted in the Uni Watch logo (and if you don’t, you really need to reconsider your priorities)? Look here. (Thanks to Tom Langan for the tip.) … Interesting note from Randy Miller, who writes: “I was watching an old Bud Greenspan-style documentary on the 1968 Olympics, and they showed a soccer finals match between Bulgaria and Hungary. The Bulgarian team (I think) wore a serifed number font I’d never seen before and it featured a European 7, the one with the line through the middle of it. Just curious if you’d ever seen or heard of a European 7 being used on a uniform before.” I never have. Anyone else..? … New York Times engaged in a bit of political uni watching yesterday. … Jeremy Brahm notes that the American gymnastics team at the 2006 FIG Artistic World Championships is wearing fuchsia, which has caused such a ruckus that it’s actually mentioned in the lead sentence of this article (plus there’s more discussion of the unis farther down in the piece). … Brahm also has his customary Japanese baseball report. Today’s installment: Waseda University’s baseball team uses different font sizes for uni Nos. 1 and 11. … Oops.