The History and Evolution of the Denver Nuggets Logo

The current Denver Nuggets isn’t the first basketball team to bear that name. Instead, that would be the National Basketball League version, which played a single season from 1948 to 1949 before the National Basketball League combined with the Basketball Association of America to create what is now the National Basketball Association. As such, the first Denver Nuggets played a single season from 1949 to 1950 as one of the charter teams of the NBA before folding.

In 1967, the second version of the Denver Nuggets came into existence as one of the charter teams for the American Basketball Association. Initially, the plan was to put it in Kansas City but that fell through because there wasn’t a place where the basketball team could play. As a result, the basketball team was relocated to Denver where it became the Denver Larks and then the Denver Larks. Eventually, the basketball team received one last rename to become the Denver Nuggets in 1974, which was followed by it being absorbed into the NBA along with the rest of the ABA in 1976. Ever since that time, the Denver Nuggets have remained the Denver Nuggets.

How Has the Denver Nuggets Logo Changed Over Time?

There is no logo for the Denver Larks. This is because the basketball team had its name changed to the Denver Rockets before it had the chance to play its first season. As a result, the very first logo borne by the basketball team that is now called the Denver Nuggets consisted of “Rockets” stamped over an orange basketball situated inside a red and white ring. In the white section, there is “Denver” on the top and “Ringsby System” on the bottom.

Soon enough, the Denver Rockets switched over to a new logo that was a better representation of their name. In short, the new logo featured a cartoon rocket dribbling a basketball over a series of mountains, with “Denver” on the top and “Rockets” on the bottom. Said logo saw use until 1974, which was when the Denver Rockets became the second version of the Denver Nuggets.

The first two Denver Nuggets logos were very different from their more modern counterparts. After all, they bore the image of the basketball team’s mascot Maxie the Miner, who is such a joyous figure that he is jumping in the air with his arms and legs splayed out to the sides. On top of this, his mouth is open with a shout of joy, so much so that it is possible to see his tongue with perfect clarity. The first version of the logo had “Denver” on the top and “Nuggets” on the bottom. In contrast, the second version of the logo saw Maxie the Miner situated over “Denver Nuggets.”

In 1982, the Denver Nuggets decided to go with a new logo which made for a very unusual and thus very memorable look. This time, the logo consisted of a semi-circle that encompassed the Denver skyline rendered using rainbow blocks while being backed by the Rockies in a stand-out shade of white. Beneath the whole thing was “Denver Nuggets” in simple but nonetheless very noticeable black lettering. With that said, this logo saw use in just 1982 and 1983 before being replaced by a logo with more staying power.

From 1994 to 2018, the Denver Nuggets logo consisted of the word “Nuggets” presented front and center with an increased size befitting its place of prominence. Over it, there is a much smaller banner bearing the word “Denver,” which in turn, is backed by the image of a snow-capped mountain. In total, there were three separate version of this logo that looked much the same in the broad strokes but nonetheless stood out from one another because of their different color choices.

Very recently, the Denver Nuggets introduced another new logo. This one boasts a pair of crossed pickaxes, which frame a mountain peak on the top and a basketball on the bottom between them. Moreover, the whole thing is encompassed in a black circle, which bears the words “Denver” on the top and “Nuggets” on the bottom. The whole thing makes extensive use of black and gold, which is a classic combination of colors that makes for a very stately impression, though it is interesting to note that it has been complemented with the subtle use of red here as well.


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