The NBA Baseline Font Rankings, Part 2

Welcome back to the world’s first and only rankings of the font on the names at the ends of all 30 NBA teams’ courts! This is going to start a whole host of imitators, I can tell. Anyway, part 1 of these rankings can be found here. On to baseline fonts 16-30! These are all basically execrable.

16. Minnesota Timberlands


Why isn’t this team just named the Wolves? There is literally no other NBA, NFL, MLB, or NHL team named after wolves. There’s the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, though, and maybe Minneapolis residents don’t want to risk offending them—Minnesotans are so nice. The T’wolves do get points, however, for creatively smushing their lengthy state name above their lengthy nickname. If they could only switch to a simpler name and convince Minnesotans to just go by “Sota,” they’d be peachy keen.

17. Miami Heat


Poor Miami Heat. They can’t do anything right. First they lose LeBron James, then Zoran Dragic. They’re also stuck with this slightly modified 1980s font that tries to convey heat by the use of loud, blocky capitals and the Methodist symbol for the Holy Ghost. Something with fluidity and subtlety, reminiscent of waves of refracting air rising from the parched asphalt of South Florida’s sprawling road network, and slowly choking visitors with alarming heat strokes, would be more appropriate.

18. San Antonio Spurs


The Spurs have the dullest team colors (black and gray—excuse me, silver—and nothing else) and their baseline font is a perfect exemplar of the kind of uninspiring spirit the team’s graphics department paid for by sending the design work to Pyongyang instead of Kuala Lumpur. However, they must be given credit for well-balanced and forthright lettering. The structure of their team is sound, even if they aren’t flashy. If only they could get their $13.00 back from Kim Jong-un (the finder’s fee can stay with Dennis Rodman).

19. Memphis Grizzlies


Collegiate lettering, adjacent two-tone color scheme, and Pacific Northwest mascot for a team named after an ancient Egyptian city. It just sort of works.

20. Golden State Warriors


This is like one of those implicit association tests requiring you to quickly select the correct color even though it’s written in a different color—it has the word “gold” written in blue. I implicitly associate Golden State with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, but somehow, deep down, I don’t believe it. Did this team just win the NBA championship? I need to do some self-assessment regarding my prejudices, because the colors, jerseys, court, stadium, logo, and fans all look kind of goofy and wrong.

21. Milwaukee Bucks


There’s nothing funny about this. They tried really hard, but the blue-on-green background, bisecting the letters, really ruins this. Replace that, and they would vault into the top ten. I’m very serious, and I know what I’m talking about. I expect to receive a call from the Milwaukee design team offering me $12,000,000 to outsource this to Papua New Guinea.

22. Phoenix Suns


You may have noticed that I have systematically docked teams that use italic fonts in these rankings, because italics are the font equivalent to praying loudly. We are a fast and dynamic team that plays exciting and rapid basketball hoop games of skill and dynamism excitedly. However, the color scheme is awesome. Sorry, Zach “I hate Halloween and delicious candy” Lowe.

23. Portland Trail Blazers


Tall italics combined with a custom font and and black-and-white scheme. We are a blazing team that is trailing the land to portside and will port your heart into our custom brand of blazed trailland blazing blazerport.

24. Denver Nuggets


The typeface is nice, but the glowing outline is not. It has an aura of pee. Specifically, fool’s pee.

25. Washington Wizards


Well, no mention of wizards, so that’s an automatic ooh-rah. But the vibe is similar to the 76ers, and worse: a team that wants to bring you back to Microsoft Word 5.1, where block letters and shadow effects were sweeping the nation. This is hard to read, and harder to avoid accidentally reading as “Warshington.”

26. Los Angeles Clippers


It’s difficult to see in this image, but the designs on either side of “LA CLIPPERS” are actually twisted paperclips. It’s a brilliant ode to the Clippers’ historical roots. Originally named the Los Angeles Paperclippers, based on the thriving local industry of rejected movie scripts, the Clippers or “Clips,” as they are sometimes called, have reoriented their design to recall the glory days of Los Angeles noir paper-pushing. Their team logo (see below) also admirably expresses this fearsome totem of administrative assistants, which has been smartly clipped onto a basketball so that you know that this is, in fact, not an intramural disc golf team. However, I do worry that the organization was unduly influenced by the corporate sponsorship of Staples, the office supply store. I don’t want to believe the rumor that they will soon be renamed the LA Tape Dispensers. Although there is historical precedence for that, given LA’s penchant to tape up its decaying movie stars’ sagging skin.

Your Los Angeles Paperclippers.

27. Los Angeles Lakers


What is going on here? Are they running from their past? Are they sailing rapidly over a lake? No one would call that “laking.” Have they been hit by a nuclear blast wave? Are they implying that the entire team is leaning into the wind while bleeding profusely? Why does the L almost look like an I? Are they actually the LA Iakers, implying they are all Hebrew versions of Jake? I don’t really understand this one.

28. Boston Celtics


This is a subtle clue that the Boston Celtics are actually a hedge fund that uses high-powered big-data analytics to reap massive windfalls from crowd-sourced trading data. They also like green things, including gardening. What they do not like, evidently, is bragging about their franchise.

29. Orlando Magic


Somehow just the worst. Just a bunch of huge letters, really. If it just said “ORLNDO MGIC,” no one would notice, because any given person can only see a tiny fraction of a single letter at any one time.

30. Utah Jazz


Whoops, Orlando is not the worst. My reaction to the Jazz’s baseline font: oof. The color is dirty mustard. The typeface is Dirty Mustard. The size is 104 mustard. It leans to one side like you’ve just ingested a bottle of ketchup, because ketchup would make you way sicker than mustard. There’s a lot of vinegar in ketchup. But there ain’t much Jazz in Utah. Ba-da-dum!

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