The Clippers Are Short on Championships, but Long on Logos

The Los Angeles Clippers have struggled for years to shed their reputation as one of the N.B.A.’s most woebegone franchises. Operating in a perennial shadow cast by the Lakers, the Clippers actually have a decent team this season, with hopes of winning their first championship.

But the job of transforming their image has been no easy task, and the Clippers last week announced their latest crack at it: a new logo that, defying conventional wisdom, reaches into their past.

The logo, which the team will begin using next season when it moves into a new arena in nearby Inglewood, Calif., depicts the silhouette of an oncoming ship. The Clippers describe it as “a nod to the team’s origins” in San Diego, where the franchise was based in the late 1970s and early ’80s. The hull of the ship features the seams of a basketball and is framed by a compass.

The art and design site Creative Bloq assessed the new logo as “an instant classic” that honors the team’s past “while still feeling fresh.” An editor for SB Nation wrote that the Clippers had “shed their loser branding, and finally look like a real N.B.A. team.”

Others were not so enamored. Fast Company described the new look as “confusing” and a result of “what happens when logos try to do too much: Is it a ship? Is it a compass? In fact, it’s both.” Craig Calcaterra, who has a daily baseball, news and culture newsletter, quoted another observation — that the logo appeared to show a cruise liner in someone’s cross hairs.

“Now I can’t unsee it,” Mr. Calcaterra wrote on the social platform X.

Given their history, the Clippers are easy fodder for sports pundits. There were suggestions that the team could have rebranded as, say, the animated paper clip from an outdated version of Microsoft Office, or maybe as a pair of nail clippers.

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