The Oklahoma City Thunder rarely rank dead last in anything basketball related.
It’s hard to be bad at basketball with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka on your team. However, when it comes to NBA logos, Grantland’s Zach Lowe recently ranked Oklahoma City’s logo dead last out of all 30 teams.
The logo looks fine to me, but I can see why most people see the logo as too simple. Team officials described the logo as a shield, which is supposed to hint at a leader charging into battle, and the upward rising “bolts” (which don’t look like bolts) symbolize a young franchise growing up.
How did this logo come to be?
In an interview with Lowe, Thunder senior vice president for sales and marketing Brian Byrnes talked about the process the Thunder went through to decide its logo. When it came to the decision of possibly going with “storms or rampaging bison,” the Thunder “didn’t want to commit visually” in either specific direction, and they really didn’t like the idea of using an animal:
“We didn’t feel like having professional players represented by [an] animal was where we wanted to be,” Byrnes said.
However, the resulting logo has received some real harsh criticism. Tom O’Grady, a former NBA creative director, said the Thunder logo “might be the best D-League logo ever made.” Yikes.
Lowe said Nike will push for an overhaul in 2017 when they replace Adidas as the league’s apparel partner. Nike and the Thunder are already talking, and Oklahoma City hasn’t ruled out a more weather-related secondary mark.
But despite Nike wanting to overhaul the entire Thunder logo, the team remains committed to its shield logo (as evidenced by using a similar shield logo for the OKC Blue, the D-League affiliate). They may get rid of the streaks that run across their logo, which are in favor of something more clearly representing weather:
“To some extent, we are committed to the idea we have,” Byrnes said. “But we would not dismiss good feedback, particularly from Nike. We’re open to modernizing the logo, but we don’t have an appetite to overhaul it.”
This makes some sense. If you don’t have tradition, or don’t like the tradition you have, OK, change it up. I think the Thunder do have tradition. The Thunder do have a culture. The Thunder do have a way of doing things.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t ever change. In this case, I think the best scenario for the Thunder is to see what Nike brings to the table and come up with a second logo for an alternate jersey. Who knows? Maybe it could be a huge hit that takes over as Oklahoma City’s primary jersey and logo.
If anything, perhaps the Thunder could revisit the idea of an animal logo and go with a secondary logo as a bison with a lightning bolt like this one here.
Although the bull logo is already taken, OKC should definitely explore the bison, which is a key symbol for local Native Americans.
Will the Thunder logo change happen? Should it happen? Change can be a good thing, but the logo change will take a back seat when it comes to the Thunder and their championship hopes this season. At least Thunder fans have some sweet orange alternate jerseys to look forward to this season.