A day before starting their third straight NBA Finals and trying to defend their title against the Golden State Warriors in a rubber match after the classics of the past two years, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Wednesday that they will have a new logo for the 2017-18 season… check that, a new “logo suite” for the 2017-18 season.
Or, as the tweet put it, “In 2017-18, we’ll simplify and modernize the Cavs brand to reflect our team evolution and franchise growth.”
That’s just the beginning of the gobbledygook. The “new” look was designed in conjunction with Nike, and the whole thing is a fantastic look at what happens when people in a corporate setting need to prove their importance by using flowery language for extremely simple things.
Let’s break it down.
“2017-18 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS LOGO SUITE… Modernizing look of the brand while linking the past and present into the future” … We’ve got some new logos based on our old logos, but not that Shawn Kemp-era stuff, don’t worry.
“EDGES: The sharp edges of the Cleveland Cavaliers typeface are inspired from notions of a defender, and the motion of the sword and the aggressive look that it creates.” – We messed around with our typeface a little so that we can more easily tell how recently you bought that t-shirt, and because this looks a little closer to the font used by Goodyear, which is going to be our jersey sponsor.
“SWORD: The sword evokes the spirit of a modern defender, the resilience of Cleveland.” – We’re the Cavaliers, and we’ve had a sword as part of our logo for several years, because cavaliers would use swords.
“SHIELD: The shield represents the Cavaliers’ commitment to Defend The Land. It is a direct nod to the most faithful and passionate Cavaliers fans, including Wine & Gold United.” – It’s a shield, like a cavalier might have. Also, lots of sports teams have shields. Also, we have a slogan and fans!
“THE C: The C stands for something bigger than the Cavaliers. It stands for Cleveland – a city united; and represents the Cavaliers commitment to champion our hometown both on and off the court.” – The main part of our logo is the same letter C that we’ve been using for years. Cleveland and Cavaliers both start with it.
“WINE & GOLD; Wine and gold hues pay homage to the team’s first colors in their inaugural 1970 season. Navy remains as a complimentary color, while black is officially introduced as a new and permanent addition to the color palette.” – We’re keeping the same colors because people seem to like them. Also, the color that we’ve been using in our sleeved jerseys? That’s an official team color now, because it somehow wasn’t before.
This isn’t just a Cavs thing. Most teams introducing new looks go over the top with their explanations of symbolism, to a point where you can barely believe it. Sometimes, it even makes sense, like the four stripes on the Islanders’ hockey stick logo representing their four Stanley Cup wins. This, however, veers into the ludicrous. It’s as if the New York Jets signed a deal with Adidas, then explained, “the three stripes on our new pants represent the three New York-area airports and our area’s spirit of aviation, as well as our landmark victory in Super Bowl III that led to the AFL-NFL merger,” never minding that three stripes is Adidas’ general brand identifier.
What’s really galling here, though, is that for all the language used to explain the Cavaliers’ new logo suite, there was not one word given to the most important question of all. How are people going to know that the Cleveland Cavaliers are a basketball team?
The Cavaliers’ original logo was a silhouette of a sword-wielding Cavalier in front of a basketball. In the 1980s, they switched to a “CAVS” wordmark, with the V forming a hoop and an orange ball dropping in. In that Shawn Kemp era, it was a basketball going into a rimless net. Since 2003, the Cavs have used the words “CLEVELAND CAVALIERS,” pierced by a sword, in front of a basketball. While Cleveland’s new secondary shield does have basketball lines, not including a basketball as part of the primary logo surely will serve to confuse fans who make their way to northern Ohio expecting to see LeBron James engage in a jousting competition.