This one's a fun read. In reality, "Swamp Dragons" as a name doesn't seem so far-fetched in the context of international basketball's logo and design schemes.
The New Jersey Swamp Dragons? It almost happened, by Zach Lowe (ESPN)
Over the summer, I enlisted several design experts, including Tom O'Grady, the NBA's former creative director, to help me rank all 30 team logos. O'Grady sifted through his archives, and unearthed a treasure: mock-ups of all the proposed uniforms, court designs, logos, shooting shirts, and warmup jackets -- most of which have never been made public -- the New Jersey Nets conjured when they nearly changed their name to Swamp Dragons two decades ago.
Yes, this happened. It was a flashbulb moment for any NBA geek growing up in the Tri-State area -- a goof only the sad-sack Nets would try. Recovering O'Grady's trove of lost designs was the only excuse we needed to take a trip down memory lane with all the key players ...
... In 1993 and 1994, the expansion Toronto franchise was choosing its name. Dragons was among the finalists, along with Huskies and Raptors. Spoelstra liked the "Dragons" name, provided Toronto went another direction.
SPOELSTRA: The Dragon came up right away, but we needed something to identify it locally. I was sitting in my office with Jim Lampariello, our vice president, and I just said, "Every time I look out the window here, I see this swamp. And every time I think of swamps, I think of swamp rats. What about that?"
He just said, "I don't think that's very nice. What about Swamp Dragons?" I loved it. Dragons are mythical, and fun.
BILLY PAIGE, FORMER NETS DIRECTOR OF MERCHANDISE AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Everybody likes dragons. Dragons are cool. They always will be.
ALAN AUFZIEN, CO-OWNER/CEO: I thought it was a very good idea. It was different.