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Thread: Ranking the team name Raptors vs others in the NBA - an attempt at objective science

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Default Ranking the team name Raptors vs others in the NBA - an attempt at objective science

    The whole name change thread got me thinking about NBA team names as a whole. Some names I hate for a multitude of reasons (Pelicans), some just do nothing for me either way (76ers, Suns), some make no sense but are so ingrained into history that they should never change (Lakers) and some are awesome.

    I tried to come up with a more tangible method than simply saying, "this is cooler" - so here is my evaluation criteria:

    Imagery (including cool factor and logo) - /10
    City/Area Applicable - /5
    Uniqueness (Brand identity) - /5

    Imagery is scored out of 10. I think what a name evokes when it is said says a lot about its quality. The cool factor is definitely a big part of a team name because it is hard to take it seriously when you break a team huddle and yell "Go Pelicans". This gets the highest weight in my evaluation.

    City/Area applicable is good but not necessary. You can get by without it as long as your team wins (again, the Lakers), but bonus points for teams that have "it" and are locale applicable.

    Uniqueness is another factor that I think is really good if you can have it, but you can get by without it. Being instantly recognizable in the wide world of sports by your team name is great, but successful teams can share names across sports (New York Football Giants & San Francisco Giants of baseball) but a unique name can still be awful (Pelicans).

    I then multiplied the subtotal by 5, to give a score out of 100 points.

    Bonus: I am giving a 2 point bonus to teams that have won multiple championships in recent years. Winning changes everything, including the success of a team name but if you don't keep it up, the shine will start to fade.

    Top 5:
    Pistons 85 - I was surprised that this came out on top, but it's clearly unique in sports and fits for the city of Detroit and its moniker of "Motor City". The imagery of a piston firing gives a strong, manly, hard-working feel to it, which fits so well with the blue collar town of Detroit.

    Bulls 82 - the Bulls are the team that I thought would be #1 before I started this. Jordan's Bulls changed this a lot in the 90's, but the team's logo does a lot for this name's success. The angry bull's head is strong, aggressive and iconic.

    Rockets 80 - another surprise, but a rocket is still fairly badass, applicable to the city and it's history.

    Timberwolves 80 - basically the same deal as the Rockets. While timberwolves aren't exclusive to Minnesota, the icon definitely fits and is unique to their team.

    Heat 77 - definitely unique, but fitting for Miami. Hard to picture though, so they lost some points on imagery. I know it's cool, but when all you can use is the word for your logo, you are limiting your options. * - the net with ball aflame logo is pretty cool, but it doesn't necessarily tie directly to the name. It could just as easily mean "flames" or "flamers" or "flaming balls"


    Bottom 5:
    Wizards 25 - I very much dislike this name. Especially since "magic" was already in the league when they changed from Bullets. Wizards can be cool, but in sports is not one them. With the capital of USA, I would expect better than a childish, non-applicable team name.

    Bobcats 35 - Futility definitely lowers their score, but I think the logo has as much to do with it. The big cat imagery can be done much better (NFL's Panthers and Jaguars have cool logos) and while Bobcats is unique in the world of sports, at the end of the day it's still another big cat team name.

    Pelicans 40 - what I thought would score the lowest. I sadly had to give them points for the locale applicability since it is the state bird and (some) people in New Orleans must feel some tie to it. Personally I don't get it and maybe if I lived in New Orleans I'd score it different but from afar, this looks like the worst team name ever (if they wanted to be ridiculous then they should have went completely out of left field like the Japanese Baseball team "Nippon Fighting Hams"). Logo turned out better than I expected, but still.

    Supersonics 40 - Lower than I thought, but when you consider, what exactly does a Supersonic (or non-super for that matter) look like? Did Seattle experience a lot of these?

    Bullets 40 - The image of gun violence in (what was and could very well still be) the murder capital of the US per capita made this name awful. Imagine the jokes that would have been in the headlines if the team still had this name when Arenas pulled his gun out in the locker room?


    So where do the Raptors fit? They scored a 75, tying them with the Warriors for 6th. Unique and badass imagery and branding. In all of sports, there is only one Raptors and I think that counts for a lot. Does it matter if they aren't scientifically accurate with their portrayal of what velociraptors looked like? I don't think so. They are their own entity and have their own identity, science be damned.


    Name Imagery Area App Brand Sub Total /100 Bonus Total
    Heat 5 5 5 15 75 2 77
    Knicks 4 5 5 14 70 2 72
    Pacers 4 3 5 12 60 0 60
    Nets 5 1 4 10 50 0 50
    Bulls 10 1 5 16 80 2 82
    Hawks 7 2 1 10 50 0 50
    Celtics 4 5 5 14 70 2 72
    Bucks 5 2 3 10 50 0 50
    76ers 2 5 5 12 60 0 60
    Raptors 8 2 5 15 75 0 75
    Pistons 7 5 5 17 85 0 85
    Cavaliers 5 2 4 11 55 0 55
    Magic 5 1 3 9 45 0 45
    Hornets 6 2 2 10 50 0 50
    Thunder 5 3 3 11 55 0 55
    Spurs 4 5 5 14 70 2 72
    Nuggets 3 5 5 13 65 0 65
    Clippers 4 4 4 12 60 0 60
    Grizzlies 7 1 3 11 55 0 55
    Warriors 8 3 4 15 75 0 75
    Lakers 4 1 5 10 50 2 52
    Rockets 7 5 4 16 80 0 80
    Jazz 4 1 4 9 45 0 45
    Mavs 5 4 4 13 65 0 65
    Blazers 4 5 5 14 70 0 70
    T'wolves 8 4 4 16 80 0 80
    Kings 7 3 1 11 55 0 55
    Suns 5 5 4 14 70 0 70
    Bobcats 2 2 3 7 35 0 35
    Wizards 2 1 2 5 25 0 25
    Pelicans 1 4 3 8 40 0 40
    Sonics 3 1 4 8 40 0 40
    Bullets 3 1 4 8 40 0 40


    If I were to do this again, I'd probably bump up the Celtics and Knicks on imagery despite the fact that you can't really draw either in your mind. They get by on legacy. I also like Spurs more than Warriors, so this just shows that objectivity is hard to capture on a very subjective topic.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    I tried to fix the table, but to no avail.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    The SuperSonics name came from the deal Boeing had in place with US government in the late '60s (at time of franchise inception) to build super sonic transport aircraft. The project was cancelled a few years later but the name lived on.

    I imagine this was suppose to be the US answer to the Concorde.
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    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    The SuperSonics name came from the deal Boeing had in place with US government in the late '60s (at time of franchise inception) to build super sonic transport aircraft. The project was cancelled a few years later but the name lived on.

    I imagine this was suppose to be the US answer to the Concorde.
    If they chose their team name based on a promise from the Government, then they got the "WTF factor" they deserved. Jets (which is essentially what they'd be) isn't really any better. I acutally like the name, it just seems totally random today though.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    If they chose their team name based on a promise from the Government, then they got the "WTF factor" they deserved. Jets (which is essentially what they'd be) isn't really any better. I acutally like the name, it just seems totally random today though.
    Boeing had been a part of Seattle for decades and continues to be a big part of Seattle.

    I would put the name on par with the Pelicans in terms of local relevance.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    meh...looks like a lot of work...but it still is pretty much completely arbitrary and subjective. You're deciding how much you like the imagery or believe the brand is unique. So it is still subjective. The fact that you break down the scores into 3 categories doesn't change that.

    And then the local relevance....I'm sorry, but the Raptors should have a 0...why do you give them 2? Why do they have more than any other team? Yeah, there are no lakes in LA. But there are no Raptors in Toronto. No fossils even. LA is closer to a lake than Toronto is to a raptor.

    And why does Toronto get such a high mark for imagery? Because of the claw logo? Everything else about their image is pretty awful, from the saturation of red in the imagery to the Barney-esque dinosaur that needs to be taken out back and shot. I doubt anyone other than a Raptors fan would give them suck a high mark. It's certainly not twice as cool as the Celtics imagery with the leprechaun and shamrock logos. Probably not even equal to them.

    Teams I think are cooler just on the imagery that you gave lower marks to:
    Celtics, Hawks, Bucks, Pistons, Hornets, Grizzlies, Mavs, Rockets, Clippers, Nuggets

    I also think that a few teams definitely have been shortchanged on the area relevance category. Seattle being the most obvious one. Charlotte as well. And then a lot of scores why I just don't understand why they're low...Bulls, Hawks, Bucks, even the Thunder (in storm country, btw) should have more than a 3... But in general, I think no team should have an equal or lower score to Toronto. They should be at 0. Why are they more relevant than the Lakers? Or Magic? Or Wizards?

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    meh...looks like a lot of work...but it still is pretty much completely arbitrary and subjective. You're deciding how much you like the imagery or believe the brand is unique. So it is still subjective. The fact that you break down the scores into 3 categories doesn't change that.

    And then the local relevance....I'm sorry, but the Raptors should have a 0...why do you give them 2? Why do they have more than any other team? Yeah, there are no lakes in LA. But there are no Raptors in Toronto. No fossils even. LA is closer to a lake than Toronto is to a raptor.

    And why does Toronto get such a high mark for imagery? Because of the claw logo? Everything else about their image is pretty awful, from the saturation of red in the imagery to the Barney-esque dinosaur that needs to be taken out back and shot. I doubt anyone other than a Raptors fan would give them suck a high mark. It's certainly not twice as cool as the Celtics imagery with the leprechaun and shamrock logos. Probably not even equal to them.

    Teams I think are cooler just on the imagery that you gave lower marks to:
    Celtics, Hawks, Bucks, Pistons, Hornets, Grizzlies, Mavs, Rockets, Clippers, Nuggets

    I also think that a few teams definitely have been shortchanged on the area relevance category. Seattle being the most obvious one. Charlotte as well. And then a lot of scores why I just don't understand why they're low...Bulls, Hawks, Bucks, even the Thunder (in storm country, btw) should have more than a 3... But in general, I think no team should have an equal or lower score to Toronto. They should be at 0. Why are they more relevant than the Lakers? Or Magic? Or Wizards?
    Of course the entire exercise is subjective, but even I was surprised by my own findings when I attempted to make it more substantial and not just listing the team based on how much I like them. I think you're hatred of the team name (for, imo, stupid reasons) has it pegged in your mind forever and nothing will change that. That's fine, but I happen to think you are wrong.

    Maybe the Raptors should be lower in local relevance but I had them at the same level as Hawks, Bucks, Cavs, etc. I'm sure there are Hawks in Atlanta, but they aren't exactly unique to the area. I'm sure Raptors existed in the geographical area at one point in history, but they aren't exclusive. I think I'm allowed to be a homer for a point here or there.

    I think Toronto gets strong marks for imagery for a couple of reasons. First, the name invokes a strong image. Whether you like it or not, the name creates a picture of a cool creature that is strong, aggressive, agile and fierce. That is a strong image and assimilates well into the idea of sports (a Raptor would probably be the team's best player if we had one on the roster). I don't think the choice of red, or purple or any of that really changes that what-so-ever. As for the mascot, mascots are more designed for kids, so the fact that he is more Barney than terror doesn't bother me. If you need a fierce mascot to get behind your team, then I don't think you should follow any sports team.

    The Celtics are an idea. Sit down and tell a bunch of 6th graders to draw the "Celtics" - you get nothing. It's more obscure and abstract, which is fine, but the fact is that the name doesn't have a strong tie to anything tangible. I was evaluating the name on a tangible image that you could rally behind. When someone draws a Raptor, everyone knows exactly what it is. Celtics, you could end up with a hundred different images and none of them all that great.

    I really don't understand how someone can be a fan of a team and hate their identity so much. Perhaps you had a bad experience with a dinosaur once, but for whatever reason you seem really quite beyond jaded. I probably took about 20 minutes out of my day to try and do something different for a topic that has been recently discussed. Of course I am a Raptors fan, so the whole thing is going to give them a boost in their rankings, but I did try to be objective as best I could. I didn't do a ton of research of each city or why they chose their name because that would have taken a lot more time, but with my general knowledge of the world and years following the NBA I felt I could do a decent job without it.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran NoPropsneeded's Avatar
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    I honestly don't know why people freak out so much about mascots and whether or not it is relevant to the city. You can walk down the streets of Toronto or any part of the GTA and ask any raptors fan about the logo and they will most likely say its good. If you give them all the scientific description of how Raptors didn't even exist in Toronto and all that shit, they most likely will not even care. No sports fan is going to go so in depth with the cultural significance of a logo or mascot, some people just have too much time on their hands. I really liked your post tho

    We just need to calm down with the "historical significance" stuff because this isn't history class. Its a sports team for god sake. But then again i don't blame you guys, 5 months without raptors basketball is a nightmare
    "You never heard of DeMar just google him, the defense don't know what to do wit him"

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    Of course the entire exercise is subjective, but even I was surprised by my own findings when I attempted to make it more substantial and not just listing the team based on how much I like them. I think you're hatred of the team name (for, imo, stupid reasons) has it pegged in your mind forever and nothing will change that. That's fine, but I happen to think you are wrong.

    Maybe the Raptors should be lower in local relevance but I had them at the same level as Hawks, Bucks, Cavs, etc. I'm sure there are Hawks in Atlanta, but they aren't exactly unique to the area. I'm sure Raptors existed in the geographical area at one point in history, but they aren't exclusive. I think I'm allowed to be a homer for a point here or there.

    I think Toronto gets strong marks for imagery for a couple of reasons. First, the name invokes a strong image. Whether you like it or not, the name creates a picture of a cool creature that is strong, aggressive, agile and fierce. That is a strong image and assimilates well into the idea of sports (a Raptor would probably be the team's best player if we had one on the roster). I don't think the choice of red, or purple or any of that really changes that what-so-ever. As for the mascot, mascots are more designed for kids, so the fact that he is more Barney than terror doesn't bother me. If you need a fierce mascot to get behind your team, then I don't think you should follow any sports team.

    The Celtics are an idea. Sit down and tell a bunch of 6th graders to draw the "Celtics" - you get nothing. It's more obscure and abstract, which is fine, but the fact is that the name doesn't have a strong tie to anything tangible. I was evaluating the name on a tangible image that you could rally behind. When someone draws a Raptor, everyone knows exactly what it is. Celtics, you could end up with a hundred different images and none of them all that great.

    I really don't understand how someone can be a fan of a team and hate their identity so much. Perhaps you had a bad experience with a dinosaur once, but for whatever reason you seem really quite beyond jaded. I probably took about 20 minutes out of my day to try and do something different for a topic that has been recently discussed. Of course I am a Raptors fan, so the whole thing is going to give them a boost in their rankings, but I did try to be objective as best I could. I didn't do a ton of research of each city or why they chose their name because that would have taken a lot more time, but with my general knowledge of the world and years following the NBA I felt I could do a decent job without it.
    It's actually not that much hatred, it's misunderstanding of why fans like it. I've lived most of my adult life outside of Toronto...I am also a basketball fan who tends to find other basketball fans when he lives in other places. I have never met any person from outside of Toronto who thinks Raptors is a cool team name. Most ridicule the name and image associated to it, and make endless fun of the fact that the team name was taken out of a movie.

    This included when I was living in Montreal, where again, only Raptors fans defended the name. I'd go to a bar to catch some games, where they had lots of tvs, so fans of different teams would show up as well, usually Americans. One guy was a hardcore Spurs fan. The Spurs might not be the coolest image, but man is he proud of how relevant it is to the area and culture. He liked it, thought it was a nice indirect way of referencing the culture of Texas/the west. A bunch of Celtics fans who were always incredibly proud of their team name and cultural significance. And you know, it's really easy for them to make fun of the Raptors name, because it has nothing to do with anything about our city or country. I can tell you, it would be great if every time someone said the team name, it actually evoked a response about the city or region. There's no way Raptors does that for anyone.

    BTW, I think if you asked most 6th graders to draw a Celtic, you're right, they might not know wtf to do. But if you asked any 6th grade Celtics fan to draw it, I'm 100% sure they'd draw either a shamrock or a leprechaun. I'm sure there are plenty of 6th graders who wouldn't know to draw a raptor either. The thing is, the image is supposed to appeal to everybody, not 6th graders.

    On the bold, this is just why your argument is such garbage...You're clearly unwilling to see anything negative about the name even in the face of evidence. You're basically a religious fanatic, but for the Raptors. You just want to believe something that fits the best with what keeps you happy and comfortable. So far, all existing evidence about all species related to velociraptors shows no presence in what could be called Toronto's geographical area. Most raptors are found in East Asia, with velociraptor being found in Mongolia. A couple of species have been found in the western parts, but in places like Utah and Alberta. I mean, you can hope and believe that they had a wider range, or you can accept available evidence of what their range limits were, which also includes the role of continental drift and changing seas. For some pictures to help visualize why there may have been no overlapping ranges between the East and West parts of the continent, I suggest this site....Raptors come from the cretaceous period, so the early- and late-Cretaceous pics should help out.
    http://australianmuseum.net.au/A-world-in-motion

    I doubt a discussion of re-branding is an excuse to ask the team's blindly hardcore fans about the name. I'm sure they want to know if there are things they can do, minor or major, that would make the brand of the team more appealing to everybody. Fans old and new and yet to be discovered. And I have followed the team for 20 years, and still don't like the name. So you might think that your view represents fans, but if it was so obviously and hands down a consensus favorite, there would be no need for the discussion. Many fans on this site have expressed how they'd like the name and/or image changed.

    Oh, and this bad-ass stuff is such nonsense. Everyone loves animals, me included, and fierce imagery. But it doesn't have to be so forced, and basically totally dependent on an imagined image from a single movie-franchise. A Buck can be a fierce animal. If one charged you head/antlers down, it could fucking kill you no problem. A fictional movie doesn't need to tell you that. If it does, go back to school. Heck, many animals can potentially lethally attack you, it's part of the reason they've survived the evolutionary process. But on the flip side, the most dominant species on the planet for killing others is humans. We are the most well adapted species for killing by far because we don't depend on fierce physical attributes, and the reason that when most animals see something approaching on two feet, they run like hell in the other fucking direction. Also is why animals became extinct so fast in previously isolated areas, because they weren't genetically embedded with fear of us upright apes. So if you want the fiercest, most bad-ass member of the animal kingdom, we are it, and we should take someone's suggestion from a thread weeks back, and call ourselves the Toronto Human Beings.

    It's nice to have a bad-ass image, but it can't be the most important thing, and I'd rather an image based on fact(ie. Mammoths, Wolverines, Owls), or even a well-established fiction (ie. Dragons, Giants, Gryphons), than one based on a single isolated trend that totally distorts reality. And it would definitely be a big plus if the name/image did trigger thoughts about the area.

    Oh, and finally, about the "winning cures everything" argument. That is true, but winning is never guaranteed. What if it takes a few years? There's no reason they shouldn't have this discussion in the meantime. Nothing wrong if they decide a name or image change is good for the team, especially with the 20th anniversary coming up.

    For minimum changes, I would at least like to see them dial down the red (and modify the colour scheme accordingly if they have to in order to do that, but not to blue and white). I would also really like a new image for the Raptor. Really, I understand the mascot is for the kids, but the actual image doesn't have to 100% reflect the mascot. The logo can look like something more in line with what a Raptor was, and that would even make it a better match for the claw. The jackass in the dinosaur costume can keep wearing the same thing. I, for one, think this is a pretty bad-ass picture of what a Raptor may have acutally looked like, and can see something similar (obviously with less detail) serving as the basis of an awesome logo.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Tue Jun 18th, 2013 at 12:36 PM. Reason: moved second image new reply

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Or here's another image of what a Raptor may actually have looked like, that again, could be the basis of a pretty cool logo.
    http://wakuwaku.webnode.nl/images/20...lociraptor.jpg

    Wouldn't let me post the image, so there's the link instead.

    Bottom line, there are lots of more realistically inspired images of a velociraptor that would make a much better logo than the Barney dinosaur. And again, the image on the logo doesn't have to 100% match the mascot's costume. Heck, some mascots are just totally random, like the PHX gorilla.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Tue Jun 18th, 2013 at 12:33 PM.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    It's actually not that much hatred, it's misunderstanding of why fans like it. I've lived most of my adult life outside of Toronto...I am also a basketball fan who tends to find other basketball fans when he lives in other places. I have never met any person from outside of Toronto who thinks Raptors is a cool team name. Most ridicule the name and image associated to it, and make endless fun of the fact that the team name was taken out of a movie.
    That makes 0 sense to me, as I live in Nova Scotia (look to the left and see it on my profile info), but have lived in Toronto, Ottawa and over-seas, and have never heard anyone really complain about the name.

    Also, nobody really cares about the science. Unless your name is Dr. Sheldon Cooper, then being that literal is just obscene.

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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    That makes 0 sense to me, as I live in Nova Scotia (look to the left and see it on my profile info), but have lived in Toronto, Ottawa and over-seas, and have never heard anyone really complain about the name.

    Also, nobody really cares about the science. Unless your name is Dr. Sheldon Cooper, then being that literal is just obscene.
    Well then we've had very different experiences.

    And also, not caring about the science is a problem. It's willful ignorance. I hope you don't take that approach to every aspect of your life. I'm not making anyone take a college degree on paleontology. It's two pictures. The parts where the fossils have been discovered in North America were completely isolated from Toronto, which was on a separate landmass. Thus species inhabiting the two areas are likely to be different, and so far there are no raptors found (albeit with less exploration) in the East.

    Basically, by your logic, I can say that just about anything once lived in Toronto and thus would make an appropriate name. Which again just emphasizes that your attachment to the name is completely subjective and emotional. You'd probably hate to see the name changed even if it was something obviously awful like the Toronto Pidgeons, or Toronto Shitstains.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Jclaw's Avatar
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    Not exactly the same issue but I remember reading an article years ago (before the last expansion) that properly rearranged the names in the league so they made sense. No renaming, just trading names. Ie, no more Utah jazz. Does anyone remember a similar article? Google has let me down so far.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote Jclaw wrote: View Post
    Not exactly the same issue but I remember reading an article years ago (before the last expansion) that properly rearranged the names in the league so they made sense. No renaming, just trading names. Ie, no more Utah jazz. Does anyone remember a similar article? Google has let me down so far.
    i don't know, but most of the first results were all bleacher report articles. Not a good sign.

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