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Players of the New School: Interview with WNBA marketing mastermind Thomas O’Grady about the creation of logos and more!

Jasmine Baker is back with the second episode of the “Players of the New School” podcast. This time it’s a conversation with the WNBA’s first head of marketing, Thomas O’Grady, who tells the behind-the-scenes story of how the WNBA ball, team names and logos came to be.

Ever wonder how your favorite WNBA teams were named in the first place? Turns out the NBA had a marketing team working on it all years in advance of the 1997 launch of the W and Thomas O’Grady, who Jasmine Baker interviews in her latest episode of “Players of the New School,” was in charge of all of it.

Indiana Fever v New York Liberty
The New York Liberty logo.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

O’Grady had a great deal of sway when it came to the original eight teams before yielding some control to the ownership groups of expansion franchises. With Baker, he gets into the story of how everything related to WNBA marketing began — including the development of the first ball design — and then also discusses some of those expansion teams, including an interesting story about the talented artist who drew the logo for one of them. You’ll be intrigued in discovering the well-known men’s sports logos that same artist drew.

O’Grady also elaborates on how his crew got team names and color schemes to match NBA counterparts, what it was like to market the WNBA’s first dynasty in the Houston Comets, his role in designing Team USA jerseys, his and Baker’s shared desire to see vintage WNBA jerseys sold and how the great personalities of early WNBA players helped the league grow.

Tune in for another great episode of Players of the New School: