Entering this season, many NBA analysts assumed Oklahoma City would be a draft lottery team. Yet the Thunder are having a surprisingly good season backed by stellar play from guards Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and backup Dennis Schroeder. As of January 8, 2020, OKC sat firmly in seventh place in the Western Conference with a 21-16 record.
While the Thunder prove to be a perennial winner when it comes to their record, they are clear losers in another regard: their logo. In a recent fan survey, the Thunder logo ranked near the very bottom. Let’s look at that survey, fan reactions, and the reasons why the Thunder logo is one of the worst in the NBA.
Why the Oklahoma City Thunder logo is so bad
Website Fanjuicer.com executed the logo poll, getting feedback from over 5,000 NBA fans in the process. The Thunder logo placed 27th out of the 30 NBA franchises. The only team logos considered worse than the Thunder’s were the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite not ranking at the very bottom, the Thunder logo remains especially unpopular. As fans discussed the poll on Reddit and elsewhere, it’s clear that the top comments are critical of OKC’s logo. Many feel the results of the poll were skewed by fans who didn’t want to downvote an otherwise beloved franchise.
Criticism of the Thunder’s logo
So what exactly do fans dislike so much about the Thunder logo? For the most part, people didn’t mind the color scheme, although some pointed out that the logo would benefit from a darker shade of blue. Many criticisms boil down to the fact that the logo looks too generic.
To begin with, nothing in the logo manages to tie back to the team name. By contrast, take a team like the Utah Jazz, whose logo cleverly works in a musical note as the letter J. The Miami Heat also successfully integrate their team name into the logo, with trails of flame coming off of a basketball going through a hoop.
The Thunder could easily capitalize on their name by incorporating storm clouds or similar motifs. Likewise, the team could use lightning bolts instead of the generic stripes cutting across the logo. The result is uninspired and non-specific, tying back to neither the team nor their city.
The Thunder’s blown opportunity
Most of the teams ranking below the Thunder in the poll have been stuck with the same logo for decades. With that kind of legacy, rebranding becomes far more challenging. The Thunder, by contrast, have only had their logo for a little over 10 years. Remember the franchise relocated from Seattle in 2008.
At that time, the Thunder had a blank slate in terms of design opportunities; they had the opportunity to perfect their logo right from the start. Instead, the team settled on an uninspired design now considered one of the worst in the NBA.
Thunder owner Clay Bennett defended the logo when it came out, reports ESPN. He pointed out that the colors were carefully chosen to reference the Oklahoma state flag and the state’s ample sunshine, while avoiding duplicates of the shades used by the state’s beloved college sports teams.
Nonetheless, over 10 years later, it’s clear most fans are ready for the Thunder to stake a bolder claim on their logo.
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