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Iconic Utah Jazz logo designer reflects on creative process

Posted at 7:02 AM, Jun 26, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — The new Utah Jazz look pays homage to the iconic 90s mountain logo and colors. FOX 13 News sat down with the man behind that iconic look to learn about his process as he created what is now one of the most well-known team looks.

In 1990, Tom O’Grady was tasked with creating looks for the NBA as a whole and working with teams to create individual styles. Part of his work brought him to Utah to design everything, including the logo for the 1993 All-Star game.

“I remember flying into Salt Lake City and seeing the Wasatch Mountains in the distance," O'Grady reflected. “It was like late afternoon, and I was so impressed by their colors and the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains.”

Three years later, when he was tasked with redesigning the Utah Jazz look, he returned to this mountain look.

“The mountaintop that you see here is the same mountaintop of use for the jazz uniforms,” O'Grady said looking at the old and new designs.

The other colors in the 90s logo are also inspired by O'Grady's trip to Utah. He said the light blue was from the skies reflecting off the Park City sky slopes and the copper ring was a nod to the Kennecott Copper Mine, which he also saw as his flight came into Salt Lake City.

When asked what he thinks about the new logo and what it means for the team to pay homage to his design, O'Grady said he feels a sense of pride knowing that his idea has become so popular.

"They tried to move away from it, and then they did the throwback uniforms a couple of years ago, and it was so wildly popular and the fans wanted it back,” O'Grady said while reflecting on the new look. “I'm very excited, I take a lot of personal pride.”

While it’s not a replica, O'Grady said he likes the new style the Utah Jazz added to the classic look.

“It's it looks like a Jazz uniform...looks like a kind of a simplified version of it, and it seemed like the fans are ecstatic about it,” O'Grady said. “That gets me the most excited when I heard that fans love what was done then and what was done now."

Besides the Jazz, O'Grady has also worked with the Raptors, Grizzlies, Hornets and many other teams to create styles that are still used today.