I'm not a big fan of pro sports nicknames that don't end in an "s". I don't like those spiffy names like the MLS does and have the Crew, Fire, Impact, Galaxy and several others. I can work in college (Fighting Irish, Orange, Minutemen, Wolfpack) but I'm just not a fan of it in my major pro sports.
There are nine teams who fall under this umbrella in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. The NFL actually has zero teams who don't have an "s" ending their name (only the Providence Steam Roller of the 1920s qualify) but the NBA has four. Let me rank which ones bother me the most and the ones I actually like.
9-OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
There are several reasons why I hate this. First off, thunder isn't scary. Yes, it is loud and can scare you in a "boo" kind of way, but there isn't much more to it. Plus, when the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and turned into the Thunder, it took away one of the best nicknames in sports and replaced it with a rushed one (the logo is equally bad). I know that the Thunder team is good and Kevin Durant is the cat's pajamas but that doesn't exempt their team from having a bad nickname. The "Thunderbirds" would have been a better option.
8-TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
More weather naming. At least lightning is pretty scary and Tampa is the lightning capital of the world, I guess. Still, it is a really bad name when you try to nickname the nickname. The "Ning"? Really? The Bolts? Well, that makes me think of the San Diego Chargers which does the whole lightning thing better. Their blue lightning logo isn't horrible, but it isn't that great either.
Let's get this out of the way: the Utah Jazz sounds funny because you don't think of jazz in Utah very often. We all know that the New Orleans Jazz (sounds great) moved to Salt Lake City and kept the nickname. That has happened a lot and why we have Los Angeles Lakers and the like. Who cares. But the Jazz nickname is snazzy although misplaced. The best thing about the Jazz was their old school logo with the J being a note. I would have liked if when the New Orleans Hornets turned into the Pelicans that we would have had a big time nickname change where the Jazz went back to N'Awlins and Memphis lost their nickname to Utah. Yeah, the Utah Grizzlies sounds nice. Let Memphis name their team the Blues or something and we're all set.
This name really sits on the fence with me. The Orlando Magic rolls off the tongue pretty well. There is an obvious connection with Disney on this one. Magic can be used to make all kinds of entertainment options to the franchise. On the down side, it just sits there and doesn't really have a point. What is magic? Also, the Disney thing is neat but also seems like a bad corporate shill ... which Disney already has across the country with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. It could've been worse. We could be calling this team the Orlando Juice.
I will say that the Miami Heat logo, font and color scheme are (ironically) cool. In a league where we have the Phoenix Suns, we need to make sure the Heat is known as being bad. It rolls off the tongue but it is quite a weird name. Heat? Heat is also subjective. It doesn't mean desert heat or a heat wave ... it could be just a hot day or the heat that comes off a candle flame. At least the Miami Floridians didn't win out.
4-CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Here is a horse of a different color. It sounds like it has an "s" at the end and in reality should have an "s" on the end but it doesn't The White Sox (like a team ranked ahead of them) is an media version of the White Stockings name they originally had. Sox was better for the papers to print, you see. Sure, if you think about it white socks aren't very scary. In fact it is amazing to have white socks when you're playing a game on grass ... and the fact that virtually every team in the majors wears white socks. I will say that the White Sox have some great nick-nicknames like the ChiSox, the Pale Hose and the notorious Black Sox.
Like the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Colorado Avalanche are a franchise that moved and decided to change their name. If you think the Utah Jazz is bad, then the Colorado Nordiques would have been worse. The Aves is a great name. Not only does it tie into Colorado's mountainous region but there isn't much more devastating than an avalanche. The fact they throw in a yeti footprint and the cool swooshing snow in their logo makes it all the more awesome.
2-BOSTON RED SOX
A lot of what I said with the White Sox can be rewritten here. The BoSox .. or Sawks ... are one of the premiere franchises in all of sports. What makes them a bit better is the fact that the name just seems to fit the area. Again, "sawks" is a great use of the Boston accent.
Admittedly, on its own the "Wild" isn't the greatest nickname. But unlike most on this list, it actually does mean something and it means something menacing. The wild is everything. The woods, the lakes and rivers, the outdoors. That's Minnesota in all its beauty. Then you check out that logo and you realize that it is one of the best in sports. On the surface, it is a wild animal that could be anything. A wolf? Some sort of wildcat? Bear? Then you see the sun, trees, the north star as the eye and the river forming the mouth and it is one of the most stunning logos in sports. Unlike many logos nowadays, this one actually makes the nickname so much better.