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God of Thunder

God of Thunder hed

By Phil Hecken

If you have been reading the comments the past few weeks, you may have noticed there have been several awesome uniform redesigns posted by a gentleman by the name of Tim E. O’Brien. They have encompassed the NBA, NFL, and NCAA. Intrigued by this, I decided to follow up with Tim to see what kind of concepts he’d come up with, as the ones I’d seen (for the most part) I totally loved.

As you can check out in the link to Tim’s blog (following this article), he’s taken on Big Ten football, college hoops, and the NFL. Using the “pro combat” template, I was immediately struck by how his designs and my ideas matched up quite nicely. Even when we differed, we still had similar ideas. Ok — we didn’t always agree on everything, but we usually shared very similar thoughts. I like that. I also like very much that in some of his basketball designs, he not only redesigns the uniforms, but also the logo and the court. Very thorough.

This past week Tim was busy again, coming up with both crazy alternates as well as really good looking concepts for more teams. (And of course, how could you not love his Indiana Hoosier football uniform?)

I expect that what follows will be the first of several looks at Tim’s creativity. Today, we’ll be looking at his concepts for what many consider to be one of the worst uniforms in the NBA — the Oklahoma Thunder. The team who left Seattle (leaving both their name and colors behind) may not have had the greatest design team or working time in which to create new professional uniforms from scratch — it’s not that their uniforms are outrageously garish or bad colors or anything we typically feel constitutes a bad uniform. It’s just that they seemed rushed, almost clip-artish in their logo treatment, and with colors that are neither unique nor bold. Tim has fixed that. So, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you, Tim E. O’Brien, and the “new” Oklahoma Thunder:


Oklahoma City Thunder uni concepts
By Tim E. O’Brien

Over the past few years, I have had two friends of mine try to convince me that the Thunder are the greatest team ever, of all time. Little did they know, I could’ve cared less about the NBA.

Born outside of Chicago in 1987 and raised in the burbs during the incomparable Jordan years, I loved the NBA – mostly because my team won the championship every year. As soon as the team broke up they became just dreadful to watch and I quickly turned all of my focus on sports I naturally like more, like football and hockey.

But recently I’ve started to get back into basketball and while the Chicago Bulls will always be my horse in the race (DRose and Co. are making the Bulls fun again), the Thunder do seem to be one helluva fun team.

Part of the rekindling of my interest in the NBA comes from my recent purchase of NBA 2K11. Part of the reason I am falling for the Thunder is because my ‘create-a-player’ was traded to the Thunder and has been flourishing ever since. But unfortunately for the Thunder, their team identity stinks.

No, it’s not the players – how could you not love KD, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka? And no, their players don’t have run-ins with the law, gun possession charges or worse. Their problem stems from their crap logo (and I’m not the only one who thinks so).

The Thunder’s current logo means nothing, signifies nothing and doesn’t come close to evoking Oklahoma or thunder. It is a complete and utter failure. So, being that I have free time and enjoy this sort of thing I took it upon myself to rebrand the Thunder.


If you take a look at the current Thunder logo you will see a random basketball, a buttload of colors, two bizarre streaks and an ‘OKC’ that is so oddly placed it’s a surprise it’s actually a part of the logo. None of that works, none of that screams Oklahoma City and none of that epitomizes or even symbolizes thunder.

So how to correct this? Well, I thought about the thundering herds of bison that used to roam Oklahoma and the west. Herds so large, they would kick up clouds of dust, and that’s where my idea takes off.

As you can see, I kept the Thunder font and three out of the four colors they currently use (sorry yellow, there were just too many colors). The buffalo head incorporates the theme of lightening bolts and the eyes are the orange/red of the team colors.**

Here is just the head and cloud logo by itself.

And here is an alternate logo where the buffalo is at an angle kicking up dirt into the clouds.


And being that I got rid of a color and changed the logo, that calls for a uniform edit – although I really like the current Thunder uniform set. I tried to keep the unis as similar to the current set as possible.

Home | Road

And just for Shits’n’Gigs I created some faux-backs for the Thunder. I got rid of all the colors other than the blues and white and got rid of the trim.

Home | Road


And of course, if you change the logo, you have to change the court. Not much of change here, the yellow on the court gets replaced with the orange/red since yellow is out of the pallet, the circles get changed to dark blue and the buffalo head logo gets center court.


And I figured if I’m going to change the image of the team, we might as well take a whack at changing the team colors. While I respected that the shades of blue in the pallet came from the Oklahoma State flag (I’m a fan of doing that) I ditched them in favor of black and gray — like storm clouds — and the accent colors are red/orange and yellow to evoke lightening, fire and explosiveness.

Main logo | Secondary logo

Home | Road


I really like how the recolorization worked and think that if I had to choose between the blues and the blacks, I would choose the blacks. Not only do the colors fit the theme better, but the individuality of the team identity is accentuated by the unique color pallet.

If you enjoy this rebrand, please check out my other uniform ideas in my Uniform Concept page. I’m always willing to take critiques, praise or requests.

Tim E. O’Brien

**Full Disclosure: While I was influenced by Marshall’s buffalo logo, I created these logos from scratch using Photoshop CS5.


Fantastic job with that Tim. Thanks for taking us through the entire thought process that goes into a new uniform design as well. I look forward to bringing the readers some more of your concepts down the road.

What say you readers? Please let Tim hear your thoughts.


Dodgers "Satin" Throwbacks"And the winner is…

You recall a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers held fan voting to determine which of three “throwback” uniforms (1911, 1931, or the “1940s”) the team would wear for six home games during the 2011 season. Well, the voting has ended, and the voters have spoken.

Not surprisingly, the team will wear the 1940s “satin” throwbacks (here’s a side/rear view). According to the Dodgers, “Out of 50,000 Dodger fan votes for which ‘throwback’ uniforms the team will wear for six mid-week day games in 2011, the 1940s ‘satin’ uniforms edges out the 1911 road uniforms by fewer than 2,000 votes.” While not surprising, this is somewhat disappointing, since the throwbacks will neither be satin nor worn under the lights (all six games will be day games). This kind of defeats the purpose of the throwback, no?

The team acknowledges as much: “While those original 1940s Brooklyn Dodgers uniforms were made of a highly reflective satin fabric to make them more visible under the lights for night games, the throwback jerseys feel the same as the normal uniforms the Dodgers will wear during the 2011 baseball season.” While it’s difficult to tell from those stills, they do appear to be a slightly “lighter” blue hue than the uniforms they’re seeking to replicate. Still, they should be fun to see, even if they’re wearing a road uniform at home. Much the way the Blue Jays have done by wearing their powder blue throwbacks (what used to be their road uniform) at home, I expect Dodger opponents to sport their own road unis, giving the unusual powder blue vs. gray (or softball top with gray pants) look.

The Dodgers (and their fans) couldn’t really have gone wrong with any of the three uniform choices, but it sure would have been great to see the vertical placket uniform make a “modern” return. Great decision by the team to go with throwbacks and allow the fans to vote. Hopefully this will spur some other teams to do something similar (as the Padres did last year).


Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson

Hey, if it’s on ESPN it’s a sport, right?


d-poker 2

And here’s the full size version, if that’s a tad too small.


all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks

Lots and lots of tweaks keep pouring in, so obviously this is a popular feature. A bunch new to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.

Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!

Got a nice of tweaks today…so lets get right into it:


Starting off the show is Coachie Ballgames, who is back with a concept soccer logo:

West Ham United, of England’s Premier League recently got approval to move into London’s new Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Summer Games are over. Here’s my take on what their crest could look like if they decide to change their name to “West Ham Olympic.”

Coachie Ballgames


Next up is Andrew DeFrank, who has some great concepts for the Redskins and Chargers:

Hello again,

A few weeks ago you posted my designs for the Redskins, Bills, Steelers, Vikings, and Seahawks. Well, I have EXTENSIVELY redesigned my Redskins uniforms, and also created the Chargers. Both use a new illustrator template as well as having a helmet view. So here they are…
Redskins- My idea was to scrap my old striping designs and build on the current one, with the same idea of a feather helmet, either with or without a logo on the side (preferably not).

Uniforms: Home, Away, Gold, Color on the Road, Away Alt., All Burgundy, and All White

Helmets: Back View (no logo), Side View (no logo), Front View (no logo), Back View (with logo), Side View (with logo), Front View (with logo)

Chargers- They have an absolutely great history of uniforms, and I was having trouble between powder or navy, gold or white etc. so I thought… why not make the Chargers the Oregon Ducks in terms of combinations? The bolts are like the duck wings, they are both west coast teams… it made sense. So here they are, and many many more combos are possible and workable.

Uniforms: Navy/White, Powder/White, Gold/White, Powder/Gold, Navy/Gold, Navy/Navy, White/Navy, White/White 1, White/White 2

Helmets: The current helmet.


And finally, we have Paul Lee who has both a football (Bills) and a basketball (Lakers) tweak:

I’m not the first, I’m sure I won’t be the last. Here’s a Bills tweak.

Since Paul [Lukas] detests purple, here my take on the Lakers.

Paul Lee


That’s it for today. Back with more tomorrow.


And we’ll tie a nice bow on this one for today. Gonna be covering an NCAA Men’s Lacrosse game this afternoon, #7 Hofstra vs. #8 Princeton, for grad school (woo hoo!). I don’t think I’ve watched a live lax match since my undergrad days (so we’re talking 1988 or so). This, of course, was back before digital recorders, Flip digicams, and well before Al Gore invented the interwebs, so this will be a totally new experience. If any of the media come out OK, I’ll share some of it tomorrow. I know you’re all going to be waiting with baited breath for that. But seriously, it might be pretty cool.

Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch ya tomorrow.


I bought a 59fifty cap at a mall last summer & as soon I purchased it I tore off the sticker at the counter (not thinking anything of it). The kid behind the counter’s look was if I had just murdered a puppy, I’ll never forget it. — Nick Endres

135 comments to God of Thunder

  • Oakville Endive | February 26, 2011 at 7:22 am |

    I don’t know, when I see a team called the “Thunder” with a single Buffalo head logo, the nickname takes on a different connotation to me, considering how much flatulence the average Buffalo is suppose to produce. I like the thinking, but somehow the stampede has to be worked into the log, otherwise…………

    Is a 59 fifty cap – what about a fifty mission cap ? “I worked it in to look like that” (a reference I suspect lost below the 49th parallel).

    • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 7:41 am |

      “the nickname takes on a different connotation to me, considering how much flatulence the average Buffalo is suppose to produce”

      I think I just heard a discouraging word.


      • Oakville Endive | February 26, 2011 at 8:05 am |

        Did I not get the memo (email) , is it no a “No Discouraging Word” Saturday?

        I was taken back by the logo that appears at the top of today’s blog. For years I’ve wondered if the Buffalo Bills wanted to embrace the stark look of Buffalo, a city minus about one or two buildings has the same skyline it did in the 1950’s, should adopt the colour scheme Brown and Grey – the grittiest of all colour combos.

        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 8:33 am |

          LOL, no, no, no. Was a “Home on the Range” joke.
          As in, “Where seldom is heard…”

          Because I agree with you. Buffalo methane isn’t exactly a logoworthy concept. “And our logo honors the legenedary bison farting Native Americans and early pioneers knew all too well.”



      • johnj | February 26, 2011 at 11:19 am |

        hahaha ba dum ching… very good

        Reminds me of when my dad first heard about the thunder:

        “How can you have Thunder in a place where the skys are not cloudy all day?”

    • mike 2 | February 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm |

      The other hosers are with you on that joke Endive.

  • RS Rogers | February 26, 2011 at 7:34 am |

    Of course the ersatins won. Least-good choice out of the three, but still an excellent alt, and honestly the one I, as a non-Dodgers fan, would be most likely to think about buying if it’s sold as a $70 repro. “Brooklyn” is better than “Dodgers” in that regard.

    Also, paired with a much closer reproduction of the actual Brooklyn Dodgers cap logo, which appears to be the same as the design I saw two weeks ago at a Lids in Minnesota. So props all around to the Dodgers on this.

  • Dootie Bubble | February 26, 2011 at 7:51 am |

    Gray is an underutilized color in the NBA. Sure it pops up as accents but save for the Spurs I can’t think of a team that uses it as one of the top two primary colors and the Spurs uniforms have always looked nice to me.

    • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 9:34 am |

      Yeah, loved those Charlotte Bobcats unis that, when I first saw them, looked like dark gray pinsriped suits. Then I realized they actually were blue.

      Dang. Dark gray with pins would have a ballsy idea…and unique.


      • Just Jim | February 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

        Speaking of the Bobcats, can we get some help for them? Yes, the Thunder and Nuggets are both in need of identity help in a bad way, but the Queen City P…err..Kitties are also in need of a makeover. Start with dropping Charlotte for Carolina (get with program, if you don’t understand ask the Panthers or Hurricanes). And let’s go with a nickname that is a bit less egotistical (sorry Mr. Johnson).

    • Kyle Allebach | February 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

      That’s because MLB uses all the gray for all four major league sports.

  • DBack | February 26, 2011 at 7:51 am |

    Mr. O’Brien’s redo is dumb. He’s turned the Thunder into the Buffalos. Thundering herd of buffalo?? Who the hell knows what that means?

    • The Jeff | February 26, 2011 at 7:58 am |

      It’s no different than the San Diego Chargers using a horse in their main non-helmet logo, which they did for quite a few years.

      • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 8:50 am |

        Um, a charger IS a horse.
        And a lightning bolt is a charge of electricity.

        Neither of which is the actual source of the name, though, just combined visual representations of it.

        “Chargers” was a play on words because of Barron Hilton, who owned the AFL’s original LA franchise. It’s a refernce to the credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blance etc.), which were the province of the well-to-do (not so much everyone as such things are today who stayed at his luxury hotels. In 1960, pretty much only the “elite” could say “charge it”.

        You could look it up. (Casey Stengel)


        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 9:13 am |
        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 9:24 am |

          Okay, did some checking for specifics. Hilton also owned Carte Blanche, one of the first “general purpose” credit cards. And, as I said, at the time such cards were most defintitely in the domain of the well-to-do. Definitely not yet the era of “bank cards” and such. At that time, most people used cash or travelers checks when away from home. U.S. wasn’t a credit-based society yet. For the average person it was pay-as-you-go, or you had cards from specific retailers (department stores, etc.).


        • Just Jim | February 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

          Can we get a team resign for San Diego using a credit card theme (cha-ching!). I see an SD logo with a dollar sign for the ‘S’. And how about the second definition of charger, “A large shallow dish; a platter.”? A dinnerware themed team?

      • DJ | February 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

        It’s more like using an animal totem to represent a concept (think of the bear head that the Minnesota Wild use). In this case, sadly, his buffalo head is not as good as the Wild’s logo. Too derivative of Marshall (and even the Chicago Bulls) and not well rendered. More refining would help the latter issue (a problem easily solved), but he might have to re-think the presentation of the buffalo. Perhaps a charging buffalo, which would suggest movement — but then you’d begin infringing on the Buffalo Bills.

    • a starlit carillon | February 26, 2011 at 8:28 am |

      Another scowling cartoon animal head, but with the additional benefit of making no sense.

      At least it’s wearing a colorful wig.

      • a starlit carillon | February 26, 2011 at 8:30 am |

        btw, Bulls should sue.

      • pushbutton | February 26, 2011 at 9:43 am |

        Well he was trying to make sense of it. Not a bad attempt either.

        Thunder is just a bad team name. Period. Sounds like it was voted on by a class of 7th graders.

        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 9:49 am |

          Now, see, that there is the core issue, yessiree.

          Just an uninspired nickname.

          And Tim gave it shot. Many times the artist isn’t at fault, it’s what he’s given to work with. Some names are just plain a bitch. Ever see what the Chattanooga Lookouts ended up with? I mean, the team is named after a local mountain, for pete’s sake.


        • a starlit carillon | February 26, 2011 at 11:10 am |

          Since none but the nit-pickiest care about “LA Lakers” or “Utah Jazz”…..would “Oklahoma City Sonics” have been the worst choice in the world? Came with readymade colors and logo…..nice alliteration between “City” and “Sonics”….

          Did Seattle make a deal to keep the name/colors?

        • pushbutton | February 26, 2011 at 11:17 am |

          That is a bizarre baseball design but I bet they’ve sold a lot of them to drag racing enthusiasts who didn’t even know it was a baseball cap!

        • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 11:18 am |

          I’m not sure if it’s a full-on Browns/Ravens deal, but there was a lawsuit settlement that stipulated the team could no longer use the name when it relocated to OKC.

        • The Jeff | February 26, 2011 at 11:21 am |

          Yeah, Seattle got to keep the name. Apparently the Cleveland treatment is the new normal.

          They’d have needed a new logo anyway. The final Sonics logo had a big letter S on it.

        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 11:54 am |

          Yeah, look at Oakland’s hats.
          Who thinks Oakland starts with a “A”?


    • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 9:32 am |

      Thundering herd of buffalo — why not?

      The Marshall Thundering Herd is one of the best nicknames in all of sports, college or otherwise.

      Why does a logo have to be an exact representation of the nickname? Is there no room for the esoteric in sports?

      I’m pretty sure that if you look up the word “Celtic” in the dictionary, you won’t see a picture of a leprechaun next to it.

      Besides, how do you show thunder? By depicting sound waves?

    • Dan in Houston | February 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |

      It makes sense to me. “Thundering herd” is a known phrase for a reason.

    • union jack | February 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |

      Primary logo looks like a buffalo with a down comforter on it’s back.

  • The Jeff | February 26, 2011 at 7:55 am |

    I think I’d pick the alternate gray version instead of the blues for the Thunder – the gray would be unique and fits with the name quite well, and there’s already far too many blue teams in sports. Other than that, the redesign is quite nice. Unfortunately, there’s no way the NBA would ever go for it. There’s no basketball in any of the logos. Aren’t all NBA teams required to feature a ball somewhere in their logo packages? It sure seems like it.

    • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 9:19 am |

      I agree – they should go with the gray.

      Tim knows I like his work, but I’m sure I’ll point out my favorite stuff later. Gotta head out for a little bit first.

      And Phil, by all means share your lacrosse experience with us. I enjoyed the sport back when it was just an east-coast thing. Glad to see it’s spreading across the country these days.

      • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 9:27 am |

        Phil, by all means share your lacrosse experience with us. I enjoyed the sport back when it was just an east-coast thing. Glad to see it’s spreading across the country these days.


        well, i do understand the sport & the rules (it’s not terribly complicated — rather like hockey or soccer at it’s base) … but i’ve never actually covered it before, sitting in the press box, having to follow all the action closely, doing post-game interviews, etc. — that’s the part i’m both nervous and excited aboot; still have no idea what questions i’ll be asking, but paul suggested i should ask “What makes a good pigeon better than a bad one?”

        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 10:17 am |

          Just don’t tell a player you admire how he handles his basket.
          So to speak.


        • The Hemogoblin | February 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

          Welcome to me covering my first ever soccer game this fall. Or the time two years ago when I covered rugby. It’s really challenging to cover a sport you don’t know much about. It can turn out really good, or it can turn out really bad. If you don’t know much about the sport, it’s easiest to just capture the human element of what’s going on instead.

        • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

          If nothing else, throw some good stats at the interviewee, followed by a “…that’s gotta make you feel good,” and usually they’ll agree and take it from there. Please. Don’t. Say. The following: “What was going through your mind when you scored the winning goal?” I expect more outta you guys than the typical sideline reporter. And no “What kind of adjustments do you need to make?” questions to the losing team.

        • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

          the entire post game lasted 10 minutes…three players and the coach, who did 95% of the talking…my one question got asked ahead of me, so i got the bite i needed w/o speaking

          pretty good game, hofstra trailed 4-1 early and won 11-9

        • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

          Even better. I used to love hanging around while everyone’s talking and get my quotes that way.


        • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

          tough to shoot the field from behind the glass…took maybe 10…don’t think too many came out — haven’t uploaded anything yet

    • Coleman | February 26, 2011 at 10:14 am |

      I think Tims “recolorization” ideas are some of the best designs I’ve seen here in a while. I love his new color scheme and overall look of both the home and road uni. Well done Tim, and keep ’em comin’!

      I’m also glad to see him give credit to the “Blundering Turd” of Marshall University for the idea behind his new logo. I thought of them immediately when I saw it, and that sucks, because as a born and raised WVU Mountaineer fan the last thing I want to think about is that “other” WV school…

    • DJ | February 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm |

      Aren’t all NBA teams required to feature a ball somewhere in their logo packages? It sure seems like it.</i?

      Perhaps they are required for all new logos, but others (the Bulls, for example) don't have a basketball in their logo set.

      • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

        Thinking of a logo idea…a cloud comprised of lots of basketballs, with a lightning bolt and two sound waves on each side of the bolt. May have to get out the crayons later.

        • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm |


        • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm |

          Your fingers say no but deep inside you’re saying yes.

        • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

          Oooo, better yet…A gray cloud raining small basketballs with a single bolt.

  • Bill Walsh | February 26, 2011 at 8:00 am |

    Personally, I can’t stand the stickers on the 5950 hats. I want to rip everyone off myself. Did you buy it?? If you have then take the damn stickers off!!!

    • StLMarty | February 26, 2011 at 11:28 am |

      What if someone felt the same way about neckties?

    • union jack | February 26, 2011 at 11:39 am |

      Dip-sh*ts with the stickers still on, dopes with hats so oversized their ears fit inside the cap & doofuses with straight visors.

      • Jeff Franklin | February 26, 2011 at 11:55 am |

        I agree with Bill Walsh and union jack. I get a new Yankee cap every year before Opening Day, and I always take the sticker off and bend the visor. I have been doing that since I was a little kid, and I still do it.

      • StLMarty | February 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

        Whaddaya say we round up all dem hip hop kids and kill’em. Yee haw!!!

    • =bg= | February 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

      I see guys in the championship locker rooms for whatever sport, or still on the field, and they’ve already got their new title cap or shirt on (LOOK AT ME, I’M A FIRST ROUND ALTERNATE RUNNER-UP WILD-CARD DIVISIONAL CHAMPION!) and the first thing I -always- look for- is the guy cool enough to take off the sticker on the shirt and the cap?

      I’ve never seen one w/o ’em…ever.

  • Sterling84 | February 26, 2011 at 8:20 am |

    O’Brien (rightfully) lays waste to the Thunder identity and then…..keeps the type treatment?

    The Thunder have one of the three worst logo systems in pro sports. But this is an order of magnitude worse at every level.

    I’m a “can do” guy. I’m not saying stop doing these concepts. KEEP doing them. But you’re going to have to bring a lot more to the table and push yourself buddy.

    • Tim | February 26, 2011 at 11:10 am |

      Agree to disagree but thanks for the feedback and hopefully you’ll like something else I did or will do…


    • Mike Hass | February 26, 2011 at 11:25 am |

      Gotta agree on this point. If you’re tackling one of the worst uni’s in sports, why keep the single worst element of it on the new design? That typeface is so generic and devoid of personality, and downright infuriating when it’s arched or double-stacked on the road jerseys. The blue was the one thing I liked about the original.

    • Andy | February 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

      Seconded. The similarity of the logo to Marshall’s is also off-putting. You were influenced a little too much by it. It looks like a Marshall knockoff with a hat and lightning bolt earrings.

      • Mikey | February 26, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

        Kind of hard to have time to design a quality logo when you’re too busy hijacking a team from a city…

  • Juke Early | February 26, 2011 at 8:46 am |

    I wanted the placket too. I suspected the Dodgers wouldn’t quite do right by a satin throwback. Sure does resemble a generic blue(jays) uni top – though that Brooklyn will look damn good to see again on a MLB field.

    Gee… I guess the store kid would’ve had to kill himself if Nick had curved the cap bill in front of him like a real ballplayer. Not those hip hop thugs who look as if they’re wearing a stew pot.

    • Jeff Franklin | February 26, 2011 at 11:58 am |

      I also think that oversized caps with stickers and flat visors, is a pretty stupid look.

      • StLMarty | February 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

        It’s because they’re all thugs.
        “Real” ballplayers are not thugs.

  • ScottyM | February 26, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    Tim, I can appreciate your energy and creativity. And I also agree that the Thunder logo is without question the poorest graphic element in all of professional sports (or, at least that I can think of off the top of my head).

    It was a major, major misstep and missed opportunity when they introduced it. While I’m no fan of their uniforms, either, the unis have some merit for their simplicity. (A clean, simple, vibrant design (everything the logo is not).

    This said, if you’re allowed to provide scathing criticism of their work, hopefully, you’re open to constructive criticism of your own work.

    The logo and secondary logos you’ve created simply won’t work. I can appreciate your connection to “thundering buffaloes.” So, I won’t criticize that element, because it’s a more creative idea than what currently exists.

    It’s the actual work you’ve produced that needs improvement. Your primary logo is far too similar to Marshall’s — all the way down to the lightning bolt of white on the left side. I’m going to leave it at that.

    Your primary logo suffers from an inability to reproduce accurately due to shading that’s too light. Imagine sewing those shades into a patch on a hat? Not happening. They aren’t defined well enough.

    Perhaps a more appropriate use of white space instead of shading would likely provide good contrast for features. As it stands, the logo is “flat.” And not flat in an original UPS or IBM logo, Paul Rand kind-of-way, where flat is good. It lacks energy (because of the shading). It also lacks depth and perspective with the “cloud of dust” you want to create … actually looks more like an Indian headdress (which, it wouldn’t be bad to have both elements, if the design allowed for each individual viewer’s eyes to determine what he/she sees). i.e., design that plays “tricks” on our eyes… is the best design when you’re creating double meaning. Think: Rand’s Yale press logo. Or, more appropriately here, check out the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (of the NBDL). This is where you want to go, I believe.

    I’m not going to go into detail about the secondary version, because it has basically the same issues.

    There’s a fine balance in bringing to light what you envision … without falling to a “flat” design … or, conversely, a too busy, beveled, ubiquitous design that so many sports teams are plagued with today. Keep at it. Yet, you probably want to examine more identities from the 60s/70s to help you reach where you’re intending to go (Milwaukee Bucks, Brewers, Reds, original Nuggets, original Buffalo Bills, don’t forget the original Sonics logo, too, among many others).

    • Tim | February 26, 2011 at 11:02 am |

      I appreciate the criticism. This being my first real whack at this type of thing, I hadn’t even considered some of the things you mentioned and while I think this redesign stands on its own but I will take in these comments when working on other projects.

      Thanks again,

  • Eduardo | February 26, 2011 at 9:07 am |

    OKC has an odd nickname in that thunder is expressed by sound rather than sight. You see lightning but you cannot see thunder – you hear it and sometimes feel it, but cannot visualize it. Certainly it is usually accompanied by it’s good friend lightning, and that’s why the bolts are there.But you get my point. Other teams nicknames that are sounds? The Sonics(?), the Jazz, the Blues, and isn’t there a team in some sport actually named “the Sounds”? What are some others, and what kind of logos do they have? It can be either a man-made sound or a sound from nature.

    • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Mickel | February 26, 2011 at 11:19 am |

      Named the SuperSonics after Boeing’s recently awarded contract for the SST project
      which was scene on their 1st logo

      • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 11:32 am |

        Thanks for you posting that, Mickel.
        Amazing how little time people take to look into the origin of team nicknames.

        Like the time someone here once commented, “Are there a lot of Bulls running around Chicago?”

        Obviously he knew nothing of the Chicago stockyards.

        But, hey, why let a little research get in the way of an oh-so-clever comment.


        • muddlehead | February 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

          …and then you have the bulls and bears of stock market ology. chicago being home to cboe and merc…

  • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    “Part of the rekindling of my interest in the NBA comes from my recent purchase of NBA 2K11.”

    I may be a fuddy-duddy who’s gotten rid of most of his video games, but I’ll admit I just bought that one (glad they had a PS2 version, plus it was on sale). Not only are there some great new unis (Warriors, Cavs), but they have the 80s Nuggets and Buffalo Braves throwbacks, among others.

  • Erik Morris | February 26, 2011 at 9:44 am |

    Great post today. I love the fact that so many people do tweaks here not he site. When I saw that the Thunder were going to be tweaked in the main post, I was a little leery, because while the logo is trash, I love the shade of blue. The shade they chose makes it one of, if not my overall, favorite uni in the NBA. I love the new logo w/ the blue, and even when the blue was traded for black/grey it looked really good. My favorite color combination of all, though, is blue & brown together. Whenever I create a team on Madden or NCAA, the first idea that comes to mind is “how can I make a blue/brown team make sense?” With the brown “buffalo” on the logo, that would have been a perfect opportunity to incorporate a blue/brown color scheme into the uni, making them very unique and keeping the current shade of blue.

    • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 10:21 am |

      Like the shade of blue also, but the orange and black accents on the current set are WAY too close to the Knicks road uniforms.

      • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |

        No black accents on the Thunder’s unis — that’s navy blue.

        • Erik Morris | February 26, 2011 at 10:36 am |

          The black I was talking about was the recolorization on the tweak from the main post.

        • Erik Morris | February 26, 2011 at 10:38 am |

          My bad, just reread that and saw who you were referring to.

      • Erik Morris | February 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |

        Ya know I haven’t really thought of it but you’re right. Do you think with the recent rumors of the Knicks going more simplified next year that it’ll make the Thunder & Knicks even more similar?

        • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 10:47 am |

          Think it’ll make them look less similar. Think “Trent Tucker” and “Bernard King,” and the rest of YOUR NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS!

      • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 10:38 am |

        …but I can certainly see the similarities.

        Knicks are supposed to be ditching the black next year, right?

        • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 10:44 am |

          I’d love to see the Knicks:
          1) Ditch the black
          2) Reintroduce the interlocking NY to the shorts and the warm-ups
          3) Start referring to themselves as the “KNICKERBOCKERS” again. Best name in team sports!! (With the Metropolitan Baseball Club a close second — too bad neither club uses their full name…)

        • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 11:40 am |

          “Metropolitan” was in the name of the holding company (“Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc.”, was it?) that was granted the expansion NL franchise. Was never intended to be used as the nickname for the team.

          In fact, at one point didn’t the owner ponder “Larks” because they’d be playing the new stadium in Flushing Meadow (meadowlarks, get it)?

          Apparently the Knicks still are, technically, the Knickerbockers (which, I agree, is one of the great nicknames I remember from kidhood).

          Again we quote Stengel. “You could look it up.”


        • DJ | February 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

          You won’t see the interlocking “NY” (IIRC, didn’t the Yankees ask the Knicks to stop using it?). Instead, you’ll see the perfect secondary logo for a New York basketball team, the “NYK” subway token logo.

        • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |

          The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc. is still the corporate name of the team (

          Why would you NOT capitalize on this awesome, spectacularly unique name? Whether or not it was ever intended to be marketed as such, the team could clean up on merchanidising this way (IMHO). I am a Yankee fan, but I would buy at least a t-shirt with the Mets skyline logo, encircled by the words “NEW YORK METROPOLITAN BASEBALL CLUB.”

          Anyone with tech chops want to take a crack at making my vision a reality?

  • daveclt | February 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |

    One of the few things the NBA does right is limit the length of shorts. In these uni-tweaks, it would be good if people would reflect that. Showing an NBA re-design with shorts down to the calves is inaccurate.

  • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 10:19 am |

    Love the creativity in the Thunder re-works. Don’t know that I’d adopt any of the elements in their entirety, but overall, pretty sweet.

    One thing: would that logo have any chance of ever being used? (Heaven forbid!) there’s no basketball incorporated in the design. Isn’t that, for some reason, a de facto (if not de jure) requirement in today’s NBA?

    • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |

      My apologies to TheJeff for missing his (much) earlier comment on the lack of basketball!

  • Dan in Houston | February 26, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    I love Tim’s grey version of the Thunder uniform. I don’t like the name Thunder, but if you’re going to use it, at least make the uniforms reflect a storm cloud or something.

    If you want to bottom line it, would the grey merch outsell the sky blue, or whatever that color is?

    I think it would.

  • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Conspiracy theorizing here, but anyone think there’s a chance that teams purposefully produce these throwbacks as “less than exact matches” so that two markets are created, one for the Majestic $85 replica “current throwback” and one for the Mitchell & Ness $300 “authentic throwback”? We Uni Watchers tend to chalk these minor differences to oversights, but it is a consistent theme with just about EVERY throwback. There’s always SOME difference.

    Am I being too cynical here?

    • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 11:46 am |

      Makes you wonder, does Mitchell & Ness’ agreement give them the exclusive rights to produce “authentics”?

      If so, that would be enough reason right there to vary the throwback designs. If they were precise, only Mitchell & Ness could retail them.


      • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

        I just find it hard to believe that with all of the technology that each of us has so readily available at our fingertips in order to research the specifics of these old uniforms, the people whose job it is to actually produce the throwback uniforms ALWAYS make some sort of “error” for us to notice and crow about. Perhaps there is some method to my madness, then? Sounds like, Ricko, you may be willing to entertain the idea?? Since Reebok started putting that asinine rectangle on the replica NHL jerseys (ruining the all-but-indistinguishable quality of the old CCM replicas), I’ve lost the last bit of faith I had…

  • johnj | February 26, 2011 at 11:24 am |

    Great job Tim, I liked the recolorization in particular as I’m in the school of thought that OKC looks too much like NYC.

    And sticking with the Chicago theme, why dont we change it to the OKC Reading Robots:

  • Broadway Connie | February 26, 2011 at 11:26 am |

    I’ve been out of the loop for a week, and am too lazy to read all UW from 21-25 Feb IF .. IF Phil can tell whether he has yet loosed upon the planet colorizations of the immense photo of the Lorelei head-firsting into second base under the tag of the leaping Tomcat. Gotta see!

    • Broadway Connie | February 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

      You guys are mean. Awright, I go back to Monday…

    • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

      check tomorrow connie…you aint missed nuffin

      • Broadway Connie | February 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

        Thanks, Phil. My just-completed UW review revealed that – indeed – a week ago today you promised the colorization feature “next weekend.” You gave fair warning. But my high-strung anticipation got the better of me. Just feeling a little jangly and itchy, is all. I hate myself for appearing so frail, so febrile, so needy, but I’m sure many here can testify to the hard trials of addiction.

  • JAson | February 26, 2011 at 11:31 am |

    The thing that really annoys me about the Thunder uniforms is the double decker city name. It make the top of the jersey too clunky. Move the word “CITY” underneath the number and you have a better look in my. Using Nike’s Team Builder, I did a quick mock-up…

    • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 11:47 am |

      Makes sense to me.

    • Tim | February 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm |

      You’re not the first to pose this and I agree, i think it would work better than the current uni, I would mock it up but I am away from the desk until Monday.

      Thanks for the critique,

  • Chris Cruz | February 26, 2011 at 11:47 am |

    Make sure to watch UCLA vs. Arizona today. In honor of the last game at Pauley before the renovations the Bruins will have throwbacks on. Unfortunately some of them may also wear their new garish, fluorescent shoes they debuted on Thursday.

    • scott | February 26, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

      What year were those uniforms throwing back to?

  • mike 2 | February 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Re – changing West Ham’s logo if they move after 2012, who’s going to tell this guy?×300.jpg

  • Pretty Boy Paulie | February 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

    I think O’Brien’s Thunder redux is fantastic. The primary logo could use some tweaking but I love his ideas. Now I wish I could say the same for the secondary logo. I think it’s just too cluttered, complicated and just not effective enough. Perhaps looking to the state or OKC’s municipal flag you could find some inspiration. While I do like the Thunder’s colors (and understand why their shade of blue was used) there are too many teams wearing BLUE. I’m all for adding grey into the mix.

  • Tim Nichols | February 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    The idea of UI with the striped pants is wonderful. It reminds me of a basketball uni worn by Nashville Pearl High School in the 1960’s–the shorts were a checkerboard red-and-white. I think it was a sponsorship deal of either a local Coca-Cola bottler or Purina.

    Does anyone know why basketball teams, at seemingly all levels, do not mix tops and bottoms to create more combinations? They were fairly common years ago, especially in HS (but also colleges as well).

    • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm |


      • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

        I think he meant IU. (I was once reprimanded by a Kentucky fan when I (in a slightly “lubricated” state) once referred to the ‘Cats as “KU.” That still smarts many years later…)

        • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

          This might be the first time I’ve ever seen the words “Kentucky” and “smarts” in such close proximity.


      • Tim Nichols | February 27, 2011 at 11:46 am |

        Oops . . It was a gray moment . . . I’m too old to have blonde moments . . .

  • Skycat | February 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    The NBA is the only professional league that does not have a team wearing black and orange. While we can all agree that there is too much BFBS permeating the sports universe, black and orange would definitely be a more powerful combination than the current wishy-washy colors currently representing the Thunder. Using gray would be a relatively original concept, but it is too light to be considered for a road uni.

    Also, with the departure of the Sonics, it would seem to leave the door open for another team to utilize green and yellow. My vote would go to the Milwaukee Bucks. I would simply replace the red in their uniforms with yellow. Green and red is a combination that only works well during Christmas time.

    • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

      I always liked the Bucks uniforms of the Sidney Moncrief era (with their multiple shades of green and “Marquette striping” down the sides).

      • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm |


    • Kyle Allebach | February 26, 2011 at 8:39 pm |

      I personally think Black and “Lightening” blue, but there’s enough blue in the NBA…

    • Komet17 | February 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

      But aren’t black and orange Oklahoma State’s colors? I’ll bet the Thunder would think that adopting those colors would risk alienating OU fans…

      • chris | February 27, 2011 at 2:09 am |

        That’s the whole idea. Originally they said “a reddish orange color, not too red, not too orange.” That way it didn’t lean too close to OU or OSU in a collegiate fanbase state. Hated the name and the unis at first, but as a Thunder ticket holder, I’m sold on them now. Not even an alt. Keep it simple.

  • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    stay classy ozzie

  • Skycat | February 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    In an article referenced by Tim (, the author made a list of sports teams not named after their host city. Included in the list were all the New York teams. That struck me as kind of a stretch. I wonder if the author really thinks that all the New York teams represent the State of New York or even the New York metropolitan area. Of course, I can understand that being so for the football teams, but that cannot be the case for most of the other teams mentioned.

  • rpm | February 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    nice job tim, a fine presentation. not a crit, but is it me or does the secondary thunder logo look like the lightning bolt is sticking out at me like a tongue from the clouds? really liked the whole bison thing though, real sharp.

  • iLO | February 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    I appreciate Tim’s effort on the OKC redesign but the Buffalo still doesn’t do the team justice. Nice idea but it looks too convoluted plus it’s suffering from thick-border-itis. The Buffalo is iconic, and would be a great mascot but there are many “Thunder” symbols/logos, as shown on the james watson link that would be a nice template.

    Thunder could also refer to the US Army’s Field Artillery history in Oklahoma (Fort Sill). I was stationed there for a few years and noticed that the Artillery or Redleg tradition was pretty known in OK. Thunder was synonymous with the sound of artillery goin off on post, so it would make a pretty good reference. The color scheme also isn’t a bad one…Scarlet/yellow, but then again, the Houston Rockets rock those colors plenty.

  • CWac19 | February 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

    Excellent point. Is the author not familiar with the fact that the Rangers and Knicks play in the City, County AND State of New York? He basically seems to have just listed the teams named after states and regions and tossed in the NY teams, as well. Plus, if the list were truly of teams that are not named after their host city, you’d have to throw in the likes of the Bills, Dolphins, Redskins, Coyotes, etc., none of whom are named after their “host” municipality. (Then again, I guess he disclaims that list by referencing the Cowboys…)

    I should add that the whole “Giants and Jets shouldn’t be called ‘New York’ because they don’t play in the City or State of New York” line of thinking is asinine. Until the cry is raised that there is a similar sin being perpetrated by the Buffalo (Orchard Park) Bills and the Miami (Miami Gardens) Dolphins, I don’t want to hear it about the Giants and Jets. The Meadowlands are closer to Times Square than Citi Field is, and anyone who thinks sports teams don’t represent regions unless they are appropriately labeled as such should be clamoring for the “New England Red Sox” and the “Southeast PA/Northeast Delaware/South Jersey Eagles.”

    PS — Not claiming that SkyCat is making the Giants/Jets assertion I’ve criticized above, this just seemed like an appropriate place to rant about the phenomenon (emanating from certain among those on either side of the Hudson).

    • Kyle Allebach | February 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm |

      I always liked the idea of the “New Jersey Jets”, though…

    • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

      Cripes. Does he think they should be called the Manhattan Knicks/Rangers, Queens Mets and Bronx Yankees?

      Oh, and he missed the fact that the Chicago Fire’s stadium is in Bridgeview, Illinois. But why should we expect James Robert Watson, PhD to bother researching anything?

      • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm |

        Duh. Ignore the part about the Fire. He didn’t include teams that claim a city they don’t play in.

        …unless they play in New York.

  • Cmoney | February 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm |

    I was so excited that my home state was getting an NBA team, then I saw the logo and color scheme and I nearly cried. I like most of your tweaks, but I would encourage dropping the orange and keeping the yellow. Orange is a bit of a divisive color in this state. I was in favor of naming the team the Barons and going with a black and gold “oil” them.

    • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

      What he said.


      • Ricko | February 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

        About Barons and black and gold, that is.

        • Skycat | February 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

          Apparently, I hadn’t thought it through enough. The black and orange would be too divisive for the Thunder Barons. Gold would work, though. Would still like to see a team wearing the black and orange — even if it’s an alternate.

  • luke h | February 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm |

    The Thunder are elligible for alts next year, am I right? Christ, they have limitless options to choose from: yellow, orange, navy blue, or even bfbs

  • JTH | February 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm |

    Bucks are doing the throwback thing the right way tonight — by wearing a home uni at home.

    Game’s on WGN for anyone interested.

  • Simply Moono | February 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

    …Really? No one is going to comment on the particular uniforms that UCLA wore today against Arizona?

    Here’s a view of the shorts:

    • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

      Those are quite nice. Wasn’t expecting those when I heard they were wearing throwbacks.

    • Paul Lee | February 27, 2011 at 11:24 am |

      I was really hoping the Bruins would wear these awesome jerseys since throwbacks are so popular now, and it’s common for teams to wear them during games. I even wanted to write to the athletic department to suggest this. (I can’t remember if I actually did or not, but if I did, then I’m glad someone listened.)

      I had no idea UCLA was planning to do this. At first I thought that they’ve worn these all season, but I could’ve sworn that they didn’t and I was right: they only wore them this last game.

      Later I realized that it made sense to break these out, since it was the last game at Pauley before the renovation and it paid homage to the great teams of the past.

  • Jim Vilk | February 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  • LI Phil | February 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm |

    oh good lord…russian mascots unveiled

    really? does every olympic mascot have to look like it comes from a kids video game?

  • LakerPride | February 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm |

    The lightning bolts flanking the buffalo head look like earrings, LOL.

  • ill | March 1, 2011 at 1:18 am |

    the idea for the Thunder emblem looks a lot like the third logo for the Bucknell Bison.