The one thing everyone seems to agree upon is that the Los Angeles Clippers desperately needed new logos and uniforms. The team's longstanding primary logo has always looked way too much like the logo for Los Angeles' other NBA team, and the uniforms have felt generic and characterless for years. The club and its fans have hungered for a reboot in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal.
The good news is that the Clippers finally have new logos and uniforms; the bad news is that the new designs are pretty awful. Let's go one element at a time:
1. The primary logo. Well, at least it doesn't look like the Lakers' mark. Instead, as many fans have already pointed out, it looks like the logo for EA Sports' "NBA Live 06" video game, which isn't exactly an improvement. According to materials that leaked in April, the curved lines above and below the lettering "allude to the horizon as seen from the bridge of a ship, signifying the Los Angeles Clippers steering boldly forward into the future," while the team's new promotional materials says the curved lines "symbolize the horizon of the ocean, alluding to the team's nautical roots." Uh, sure. Here's a crazy thought: If your team is called the Clippers and you want to have a nautical theme, how about coming up with a design that includes, you know, an actual clipper ship? Jeez. Grade: D-plus
2. The secondary logo. The idea of emphasizing the initials "LAC" isn't a bad one, and the nested letters are clever and snappy (although one could argue that they could just as easily be read as "CLA" instead of "LAC"). But the basketball outline feels rote and just distracts from the lettering. Not bad, but it could be better. Grade: B-plus
3. The "LA Clippers" wordmark. Sorry, but this just doesn't work. Instead of reading as "L.A. Clippers," it reads as "La Clippers," like a version of the league's Hispanic logos (El Heat, Los Spurs, etc.). Grade: D
4. The white home uniform. Have to admit that the logo looks better on the jersey than it does by itself. The red uni number feels right, and the red and blue trim elements work very nicely. There's still no zip, no pizzazz, and the chest insignia doesn't feel like it stands for anything, but the overall presentation isn't unsightly. This one could grow on us. Grade: B
5. The red alternate uniform. This, on the other hand, is embarrassing. Come on, people -- it looks like a practice jersey. And the design is particularly bad for players with single-digit uniform numbers, because the single numeral can't match the weight of the "LAC" logo. Grade: D-plus
6. The black alternate uniform. The team says a black alternate uni will be revealed at a later date, and materials that leaked in April suggest that it will probably look like this. Let's hope that turns out to be wrong, because the only thing worse than looking like a practice jersey is looking like the NBA Summer League logo. Grade: Incomplete
Overall, not good. The hunch here at Uni Watch HQ is that this was a rush job, which in sports branding terms means it was probably done in only one year instead of two. The league and new team owner Steve Ballmer both probably wanted to put the Sterling era behind them as soon as possible, which means they likely had to whip up a new design extremely quickly in order to meet all the production and licensing deadlines for the 2015-16 season.
That's understandable, but the compressed time frame really took a toll on the designs. So the Clippers have gone from desperately needing new logos and uniforms to ... desperately needing new logos and uniforms. Too bad.
Paul Lukas will assess the 76ers' new uniforms after they're unveiled tonight. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch membership program or his Uni Watch T-Shirt Club, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.