With its 75th anniversary season getting down to crunch time, the National Basketball Association has reintroduced a familiar logo from its past for the championship series.
The NBA announced on Wednesday, April 13, that it would bring the iconic script font back to a reimagined NBA Finals logo this year. A cursive font was used in variations of the Finals logo from 1986 to 1995 and from 2004 to 2017.
“The NBA Finals serves as the culmination of our 75th Anniversary Season as we celebrate the league’s past, present and future,” said NBA chief marketing officer Kate Jhaveri in a press release on the league’s website. “Highlighted by the return of our familiar Finals script font, back by popular demand, our new logo pays homage to our league’s history and looks forward to what’s ahead.”
The modernized Finals logo puts the script font front and center, with a rendering of the Larry O’Brien Trophy behind. Unlike past iterations, the new script font does not feature a shooting star crossing the F and forming the dot on the I in “Finals.” It does, however, have some small gold flourishes at either end.
The new logo “honor[s] the league’s 75-year history while looking forward to the future,” according to the press release. “The identity also includes an updated black and gold color palette to complement the trophy and celebrate the pinnacle of the NBA’s season.”
The Larry O’Brien trophy in the new Finals does bear some differences from the trophy that has been given out up to now. The trophy in the logo has a circular base (as opposed to rectangular), and it appears to have a longer cylinder with more netting details and a different orientation for the basketball. There has been no word yet from the NBA if the trophy itself is being revamped this year; it could just be artistic license in the end.
The 2022 NBA Finals will tip off on Thursday, June 2.
The board is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals ending in June again as has been in the case for many years, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no plan has been finalized, said the possibility of fans being at games would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.
There are other options, such as waiting until later in the season to begin play with the hope that more arenas would be able to have fans. But starting in December instead of mid-January or later could generate a difference of roughly $500 million in revenue, the person said.
Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.
The NBA appears to be back, as both players and owners have approved the league’s 22-team proposal to resume play in Orlando, Florida on July 31 — but the games we eventually see will be much different than anything we’ve grown accustomed to. There will be social distancing, masks and smaller, non-NBA arenas. The most immediately noticeable difference, however, will likely be the lack of fans in the stands.
So what will the NBA do? Well, the league is considering using crowd noise from the popular video game, NBA 2K, to simulate fans during games in Orlando, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. He added that the league and the NBPA are still discussing creative options.
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