In today's Logo Evolution I wanted to take a look at one of the unexpected surprise team's in this year's NBA playoffs, the Denver Nuggets. One thing that makes the Nuggets logo history unique is that they are a team originally from the ABA who made the transition to the NBA, so their logos span both leagues.
The team came into existence in 1974 after the original Denver Rockets were sold to new owners. In order to shake the old image of the Rockets, the new owners held a naming contest and chose Nuggets as the new name of the franchise. The team's first logo was "Maxie the Miner". The miner was a "Yukon Cornelius" looking prospector who was giddy to be holding the famous ABA ball and his prospecting tools. The new logo was meant to show the new excitement that the team would bring to Denver. The team's first coach was Larry Brown who also brought along Doug Moe as an assistant.
In the team's next and final season in the ABA, they added a logo with a pick and a gold nugget, with a cool 1970's style font. What made this logo unique is that the team used it on the front of their uniforms above the numbers. This was an interesting look that strayed away from the traditional arched or script team name on a jersey. Some famous names to wear this look include Dan Issel and David Thompson.
After the demise of the ABA, the Nuggets joined the Spurs, Pacers and Nets in the NBA. The team continued to use their "Maxie the Miner" logo until the 1980-81 season. For the 1981-82 the team decided to go all Astros with their new look. The Nuggets font made the transition to the new logo that featured the Denver skyline in a rainbow colored design. This rainbow look was implemented around the team's jerseys as well, in an Astros style NBA look. This logo and uniform set was definitely one of the mosy unique in NBA history.
In 1993, the team decided to do a complete overhaul of the rainbow look and completely redesigned the teams logo. The new logo featured a mountain peak over a gold arched Nuggets typeface. The original colors of this logo were navy and gold with a hint of red. This logo design is still used by the team as their primary logo, although it has gone through a few color changes over the years. In 2003, the team switched to a new color scheme of light blue and bright gold, ditching the darker navy and gold. The logo evolved again for the 2009 season with the reintroduction of navy to the previous color scheme.
The Nuggets are an interesting study in logo evolution, mainly because the team spanned both the ABA and NBA. The team has had many diverse looks over the years. I would also say that the current Nuggets team probably has the largest selection of "personal designs" that the NBA has ever seen. Can the Nuggets pull off the surprise of the season and knock off the Lakers? Who knows if that will happen, but their playoff success has given us an opportunity to take a look at their unique logo history over the years.