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It’s Fauxtime! Lakers Introduce ‘New’ Uniforms

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken

To the surprise of exactly no one, the LA Lakers introduced three “new” uniforms yesterday — more like hybrids or fauxbacks really — that evoke the great “Showtime”-era uniforms of days past. The leaks of prior days were legit, and, to paraphrase Dennis Green, they are what we thought they are.

While the jerseys, especially at first glance, appear to all be identical (save for color swaps), they are in fact, not quite. We’ll get to that in a second. Let’s first look at each jersey. Of course all of them carry special names coined by Nike, but we’ll simply be referring to them by color here.


The jersey combines elements of last year’s jersey (the wordmark) and blends it with the Showtime jersey (the arm and sleeve piping) and adds a new block shadow font effect (similar to the Magic Johnson-era unis), but rather than slanting at a right-center angle, the block shadow falls directly beneath the number.

You can see these two effects that Paul highlighted nicely below:

One other jersey fauxback effect is the elimination of the side panels, which were present on the 2017-18 jerseys, but not in the Showtime-era unis (again, Paul had this one tweeted):

Note also the pants (only visible on the gold) have a new striping pattern from last season: the old purple/white/purple/white/purple has now become white/purple/gold/purple/gold/purple/white. One may infer the white pants will take on a similar pattern, with the gold and white swapping. The purple jersey (which we will see below) contains a side panel — one may also infer the pants striping pattern will follow this.

Also — the back of the jersey wasn’t shown in the pub photos, but if the on court version is the same as the retail jersey shown below, it appears as though the shoulder piping will go all around the arm holes. As you’ll recall, teams with sleeve striping had those had those stripes truncated in the back of the jersey. Perhaps Nike has “fixed” that for 2018-19.

However, we were treated to some side views, and it looks like the arm hole striping will be truncated on the on-court jerseys. As you’ll see below with the purple jersey, it looks like the retail and on-court jerseys have a few differences.



The white jersey (and shorts) are basically identical to the gold, except for the color swap. Simply substitute gold accents/piping on the white jersey for the white accents/piping on the golds. Of course, there was no white uni set during the Showtime era, but this is a nice set.


Here, for reasons only Nike can probably explain, a black side panel has been added to the purple jersey. The Lakers Showtime unis had no side panel. That’s pretty much the only thing that sets the purple template apart from the gold and white (aside from the color swap, obviously).

The black stripe is an odd choice (though they did have the BFBS uni last year) and its incongruity with the gold and white jerseys doesn’t seem to make much sense. There were a billion reactions to this on SM yesterday, most of them negative.

One tweeter even noticed what appears to be a mistake (well, not so much a mistake as a difference between the retail jersey and the player version, though this is not a minor ‘error’):

Nike attempted to explain changes to the new jerseys in the graphic below. Note, they use the term “drop shadow” rather than “block shadow” (which is actually the correct term for the effect generated; the 49ers used this same misnomer when they unveiled their white 1994 throwbacks earlier this year). It’s really a vertical block shadow element.

The difference between block shadow and drop shadow is shown graphically below (a graphic created by our own Scott MX Turner). Drop shadow is meant to convey what is literally a shadow whereas block shadowing creates a 3-D effect, showing thickness and depth of a number or letter.

Based on the angle of the shadow, one could argue that what the Lakers are using is, in fact, a drop shadow; however, the fact that their Showtime unis were clearly block shadow leads me to believe the new ones are meant to be as well:

I’m pleased with the changes, although if they wanted to go back to the full Showtime look, or at least gone for a better effect, they should have made the blockshadow more angular (and a tad heavier/fatter). I do prefer the newer wordmark to the “classic” one, so I’m glad they kept that.

You can read the Nike-speak here and see some additional photos (closeups of certain jersey elements as well as a swoosh), and Paul’s ESPN take is here.

The Lakers, like the Celtics, will always have a classic light and dark set, and despite the minor tweaks over the years, retain a great overall appearance. It’s a good thing they’ve stuck with (basically) the same look for decades.

It’s Showtime again in LA. What say you, readers: How’d they do?

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MLS All Star Game Tonight

For those of you (like me) who aren’t soccer guys, unless it’s the World Cup or Olympics, we love to have the soccer guys around to keep us apprised of the latest kits and unveilings. Well, tonight is the MLS All Star Game, and Kyle Evans is here to give a quick rundown on this year’s special ASG uniform. You may recall last year Kyle did a very detailed rundown of past ASGs and this is just a quick update for this year.

Here’s Kyle:

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MLS 2018 ASG
By Kyle Evans

Thanks Phil! Happy to be back and add this year’s game (the 23rd edition) to its uniform history. The game will be played tonight in Atlanta, with the MLS All-Stars taking on Juventus in a friendly.

Here’s the ensemble that will be worn by the MLS All-Stars (click to enlarge):

Similar to this summer’s World Cup, Adidas draws inspiration from 90’s-era kits, as seen in the colored chevrons on the jersey sleeves and the shorts. The jersey is white with blue and red chevrons while the shorts are blue with white and red chevrons. The All-Star patch will be on the right sleeve and following the recent All-Star jerseys, I would expect each player’s club team to be represented with a patch on the left sleeve. Finally, the jock tag logo is meant to represent Atlanta’s history with transportation.

In their first two summer preseason matches, Juventus has worn their new primary kit, once with white shorts and once with black shorts. Due to the lack of contrast of the primary and their (not yet officially released) secondary kit with the MLS white jersey, I expect Juve’s new third kit to make its on-field debut. Fun fact: Juve’s third kit is made from plastic recovered from the ocean.

In my opinion this should be a nice game visually, and we’ll see for sure tonight…thoughts on these kits?

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And now a few words from Paul: I know, I know, it’s the first day of my annual August break and I’m already making a cameo here on the site. But there are a couple of things I wanted to make sure you’re aware of:

• The Uni Watch alternate cap is now available for ordering. Full details here.

• I still have a bunch of cool stuff for sale. If you’re interested in any of it, please get in touch.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great August!

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What Phil Did Yesterday Last Weekend

I don’t get out much, so there probably won’t be any more many of these this month, but taking a page from Paul’s book to tell you about what I did last weekend. It was actually a four-day (Thursday through Sunday) affair. I participated in my first Curling “bonspiel.”

Simply put, a bonspiel is a bunch of curling teams (called “rinks”) who play a tournament — each spiel has a theme (the one I was in was called the “Last Dance” and it was for curlers with 5 1/2 years or less of experience. I won’t bore you with any of the details, but suffice it to say several of the rinks had uniforms, and a couple had uniforms that coincided with the “dance” theme. My rink (I played vice) was the “Electric Sliders” and here’s how we looked:

Yes, I’m wearing shorts. I played my first game Thursday in shorts and we won (and I was pretty warm) so I kept the theme for our Friday match. We lost (which is why we’re not the happiest looking group of campers) and I was freezing. I played the remaining games in long pants and a turtleneck under the team shirts.

But here is the thing. Everyone went with a nickNOB. I don’t really have a nickname, so one of my teammates suggested I simply go with…

…just for shits and giggles. So I did.

But here’s the other thing: Before I even put on my team shirt, literally upon checking in at the club, not one but TWO people came up to me and said, “are you Phil with Uni Watch?” I was like, “uh, yeah.” Turns out both curlers are BIG fans of the site and they saw my name on the team list and knew I was on the way. With 31 other teams (so well over 100 curlers), at least two of the other players throughout the tournament came up and identified themselves as readers. With the nickNOB, maybe 20 or 30 more inquired about our little site. So that was kinda cool, and we had a shit-ton of uni-discussion throughout the four days I was there. Who knew there were so many readers amongst the curling set?

Anyway, that’s my little story and I thought it was kinda cool. Just one more reason to say… “Curling Rocks!”

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The Ticker
By Paul, pinch-hitting for birthday boy Alex Hider

NFL News: The Panthers, to their credit, are among the handful of teams that always release their annual jersey schedule. Here it is for 2018. … 49ers WR Victor Bolden Jr.’s helmet is missing, apparently because a fan took it from a practice field.

College Football News: Colorado’s 2018 season tickets feature artwork from hospitalized children (from @7_8_9_Orten). … Gee, ya think Houston might have just a few too many helmets? (From Ignacio Salazar.) … Longtime reader/pal Michael Princip scored a 1939 Goldsmith football uniform catalog with this spectacular fold-out spread.

Hockey News: New uniforms for the Newfoundland Growlers (thanks, Phil). … NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis has a new Capitals-themed helmet (from Andrew Eierman). … New fifth-anniversary logo for the Indy Fuel (from David Craske). … The Golden Knights have sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Vegas gun shop that put the team’s logo on a fucking Glock (from John Muir). … In a vaguely related item, the NHL wants an Illinois company to stop selling beer mugs that look like the Stanley Cup. … The Bruins will retire Rick Middleton’s No. 16 on Nov. 29 (from our own Anthony Emerson, who also provided a list of all the Bruins who’ve worn No. 16 since Middleton retired in 1988).

Basketball News: And so it begins: The NBA is now the first major American sports league with an official betting/gaming partner. This is the special hell that now awaits us. … LeBron James approves of the Lakers’ new uniform set. … TCU’s court design is being refinished, which initially had people freaking out because it looked blue instead of purple (from Phil and Kris).

Soccer News: “Forest Green Rovers released their kits on Tuesday and actually committed to wearing them for two seasons,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “Usually if a team is keeping a kit for a second season, they won’t say anything and it’ll just show up again, or less frequently they’ll say, ‘We’re keeping it for this season.’ Also, the press release has this interesting line about the NOB: ‘A star is printed above the player name to signify the club’s promotion to the Football League in 2017, with two stars greyed-out to represent the chairman Dale Vince’s ambition to reach the Championship in the coming seasons [i.e., that requires two more promotions].’ They don’t have a picture of this, unfortunately.” … Also from Jamie: “Here’s the kit for the MLS team in the MLS Homegrown Game, which is the warmup for the All-Star Game. A ‘homegrown’ player basically means that they’re from a team’s area and spent at least one year playing for that team’s youth teams. The game is the MLS team against usually a Mexican team’s youth team, which this year is Tigres UANL’s under-20 team.”

Grab Bag: Cross-listed from the hockey section: NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis has a new Washington Capitals-themed helmet (from Andrew Eierman). … South Korean athletes participating in the Asian Games later this month will avoid wearing corporate makers’ marks on their uniforms, so as not to run afoul of sanctions against North Korea. … The Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections has changed male inmates from grey uniforms to bright orange. … Attention sneakerheads: Nick Santora has published the latest issue of his Classic Kicks digital magazine. “This issue is focused on vintage sneaker collecting,” he says. “I interviewed a great group of guys with some ridiculously rare pieces and interesting stories to go with them.” It’s available for $3.99 for desktop, iOS, and Android. … Here’s Deadspin’s take on the worst logos in sports (from our own Anthony Emerson). … New logo for the North Carolina Apple Festival. … The Mets lost to the Nationals 25-4 last night; it was so bad renowned mop-up man Jose Reyes came in to pitch, creating the single-digit pitcher alert (from mo mutterperl).

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Comments (66)

    Uh yeah, so a sports team logo on a “fucking glock” is bad for copyright violations but why do you insinuate it’s worse because it’s a gun? Do certain sports logos make people shoot other people?

    I think perhaps because the Golden Knights’ success was tied somewhat to the city’s healing process after the mass shooting last October, they’re a bit more sensitive to such issues? Surely there are Raiders branded firearms out there or something that isn’t raising as many eyebrows.

    Personally I find a little bit of schadenfreude in this situation, what with the team being named for a group of professional killers.

    Putting the insignia on a gun of a team that calls the site of our country’s worst mass shooting home shows a remarkably tin ear, if you ask me.

    “The Panthers, … always release their annual jersey schedule.”

    I find it ridiculous that any team in any sport needs to have a jersey schedule!!

    Yeah, it’s pretty silly. I mean with football its basically color at home, except in early season games when it is hot out, and white on the road. You know what to expect. If teams want to announce during the week of the game that they are wearing an alt color jersey encouraging fans to all wear the alt color in the stands, that’s fine. No need to announce a month before the season starts.

    I didn’t expect them to be wearing black in Detroit in November, considering the Lions have only worn white at home twice in their history, and not since 1970. It could mean the Lions are planning to go with their gray Rash unis for that game, though.

    Of course, the Lions could also wear blue against the Panthers’ black and still have plenty of contrast.

    How about there just never be a need for a uniform schedule. It’s a color jersey at home and white for the road. DONE!

    Forgot to put the “sour face” logo over the Lakers W*** uniform advertisement.

    Pretty sure Paul only does that when the advertisement is what is being announced. The focus isn’t on that this time.

    *facepalm* What is it with Nike and using the color black? Mainly with teams that don’t have black in their color set. Hopefully they get enough backlash on the the purple set and fix it.

    Sadly Nike probably does stuff like the black panel on the purple jerseys for the young fans that think “Them jersey’s are Lit, on FIRE”

    Haha, I just see Nike sounding like that when they pitch these ideas like black side panels.

    The Lakers (white and gold) uniforms are better than what they had, but still inferior to the Showtime era. The purple uniform is a downgrade, however, due to the black panels. Also, I know that way more people are going to buy jerseys than shorts, but I hate how most reveals are more jersey reveals than actual uniform reveals.

    Agree…I think if you took a poll on here, it would be pretty universal agreement.

    Indeed. I personally am more of a fan of their previous set than the Showtime-era unis, but these are definitely worse!

    In that jersey schedule, it is interesting that they are wearing black on the road for two late season games, at Detroit and at Cleveland. I wonder why those teams are wearing white at home for those games.

    Heh. Thanks — our skip (the lady on the right in the photo, w/glasses) designed and printed those. She used one of the “Metallica” fonts — actually both “S’s” in Sliders had the more extreme (almost SS-like) which looked like the link, so we tweaked it. But that was totally the “theme” she/we wanted.

    As a huge metallica fan, I like the shirts!
    Also yea smart choice using the lower cased s from the pastor of muppets font :D

    I know I said it several weeks ago on this site when the Growlers logo was revealed, but there is a hidden Golden Knight in the mouth of the Newfoundlands face…

    Aside from the incredibly stupid side panel, the new Lakers purple jersey also differs from the Showtime era jersey in that the numbers are gold and not white.


    One of my favorite features of the Lakers’ jerseys was the way the numbers were colored to contrast with the words, and I think they made a mistake coloring both the same with the white suits. In the minority here, but I thought they got it right the first year of the just-retired uniforms. Also, no ads!

    I am assuming that Houston was merely showing all the iterations of stripes and logos they can unleash on the world. They probably only have a white shell and a red shell. Right? If I were a UH parent, I would be pissed to pay tuition if the school is spending that kind of money on pretty headgear, no matter how it’s getting paid.

    Paul: I hate corporate named stadiums, let’s come up with a new name for the Milwaukee arena, I’ll make a t-shirt and profit from it myself. LOL!!!!


    I love ya, I love your site. But at the end of the day, we are all just trying to make a buck. That’s why I imagine you sell your hypothetical t-shirts (what does espn think about that btw), your naming rights shirts, and why you sell ads on your webpage. Who am I to question if you need this income in addition to what you get espn? Business means trying to get trying to get every penny possible and sometimes that means bad things like corporate named arenas. Please for the love of god just let it go because it aint going away. Which you should be glad about because that’s more t-shirt profits for you lol. You may be leaving for vacation but I hope you read this.

    ‘Look, the corporate interests here are doing what corporate interests always do — privatizing the profits, socializing the expenses — but this is a particularly scummy example of it.’

    And there isn’t anything you can do about it. Except not give Fiserv your money or attend events at the Fiserv Forum. (how many of you are willing to do that?) See, that’s making a difference.

    I guess I won’t be working on that White Sox piece with Phil after all lol.

    I don’t think Paul is against making money. I think he’s against people fishing for every last dollar at the expense of design and sports tradition, which is why he’s against ads on jerseys and against corporate arena names that replace locally significant arena names. He’s explained his perspective on this several times before, and while you don’t have to agree with it, I don’t think it’s as hypocritical as you’re portraying it.

    Business doesn’t have to mean “trying to get every penny possible.” Arguably, it’s more sustainable and more profitable in the long term for a business to keep a strong and consistent brand, rather than selling bits and pieces of its identity to the highest bidder.

    And fighting back against this corporate influence doesn’t have to mean an outright boycott (although that’s certainly one way to do it). Expressions of dissatisfaction or subversive counter-advertising can be effective as well.

    Then don’t follow the NBA at all.
    With the NBA now getting a piece of the “integrity fee”, get the hell out of here…we all want a piece of the pie.

    It’s about sales…how you market it and Paul, Phil…this site with its ads, get their share how they decide.

    ESPN pays Paul with their gains and we all get ours however we can.

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds…

    The stupidly named new milwaukee arena is not replacing a locally significant arena name, its a new building.

    Exactly, which is why I am against the shirts like “I call it Shea” um no, shea was a cookie cutter stadium. Citi Field was born as Citi Field, and guess what if it didn’t get a corporate name, do you really think they would call it Shea stadium again? I know it does happen (new Comiskey Park, new Yankee Stadium) But Shea Stadium wasn’t a classic stadium from the early 1900s.
    Now the shirts for “I still call it the Skydome” I get, because yea I’d probably refer to it still as the skydome too if I was in Toronto.

    And that is the one problem I think most have with corporate named stadiums is the name changes. Look at the Wells Fargo Center, was first Corestates then First Union and then Wachovia and for now Wells Fargo, I guess we are just lucky here in Philly that Lincoln Financial Field and Citiens Bank Park have stayed the same.

    Trying to stay clear of this one, but when you go after Shea…

    I don’t think you understand the logic behind that one (after all, that was the ORIGINAL shirt, and never intended to spawn a line of corporate wrongs). It wouldn’t matter if the new building were called “Shea.” It could have been called Mets Ballpark. But the fact that it was named for corporation (or rather, said corporation spend $20M/year to have the ‘naming rights’) after all the other tax breaks and inducements for the team owners, that’s just a whole lotta wrong there.

    Shea may have been a dump, but it was our dump. Citi Field has never had that sort of feeling or connection. And other than wider concourses and some (arguably) better sightlines, it’s no great park.

    “Here’s a simple proposition: owners can decide what is the name of their stadium and you can do the same for your stadium (if you have one). Deal?”

    “Here’s proposition: owners can decide what is the name of their stadium and you can do the same for your stadium (if you have one). Deal?”

    “But at the end of the day, we are all just trying to make a buck.

    Is that all we’re trying to do?

    I’d like to think that’s just one element of what I try to do in the world.

    Surely you recognize the difference between one independent contractor trying to make a living wage and a corporation slapping its name on an arena that was funded by the taxpayers.

    Not really, Paul chose to live that life (and has repeatedly mentioned it on this site).

    A major corporation can and does provide jobs that many people rely on.

    Also, as an independent contractor, Paul likely does itemize MANY tax deductions that the normal individual does not (just like ANY business, whether it is a small OR large would do).

    Besides, any business, whether an indie contractor or major corp can go under at a moments notice.

    So, when the company I work for does something like that, I am proud and it does show stability and I know it means more work for my company and an advantage for us.

    I’ve been on the other end where Paul is, and it sucked. It’s hard work, and after several years of it (TV production), I said no more and joined the professional work force again.

    I couldn’t be happier. Am I thrilled with all the corporate smearing ? No, but that’s how this world works.

    “So, when the company I work for does something like that, I am proud and it does show stability and I know it means more work for my company and an advantage for us.”

    But when a company needs government funds to stay afloat, then uses those funds to secure naming rights to a basketball arena, something is off.

    Assuming your female your husband is a lucky man lol. If your a guy your a good man lol.

    “Please for the love of god just let it go because it aint going away.”

    Just because something isn’t going away doesn’t mean we all just have to sit here and take it without complaint.

    The black side panels on the purple Lakers’ jersey are horrid. They look awful and have zero connection to the team. Please, please, please let this be a jersey that makes a “Worst One Season Uniform” soon.

    Black side panels on a purple uniform just feels more like the Sacramento Kings than the Los Angeles Lakers to me.

    Good morning all,

    By any chance, does anyone know who makes the embroidered helmet decals the Cubs use?

    A hoops team with PURPLE as its primary color unveils new uniforms…

    …on the same day Paul begins his vacation.

    COINCIDENCE?!?!?! ;)


    Purple Lakers jersey…

    I don’t like the way the “L” and the “A” sort of meld together with the white outline. I guess it’s always done that (looking at old photos), but I just noticed it; and it bugs me.

    Hey Phil, if this keeps up you’re gonna have to wear sunglasses and camouflage yourself out in public… use an assumed name when checking into hotels, etc…. just don’t let all this fame go to yer head, brother… ;)


    LOL. Yes I’m a legend in my own mind, and maybe a small corner of the curling world. Thanks for the laugh Pete!

    Quick note that the Nats in their 25-4 win also wore their new “Nationals” script navy jerseys with their navy crown/red brim hats for the first time; they’d only previously worn their jersey with their red crown/navy brim hats. Given the result of the game, not to mention the fact that it looked way, way better than usual, I’d expect them to start using that hat a little more frequently when they go with this particular jersey.

    The NBA is now the first major American sports league with an official betting/gaming partner.

    Of course the league most suspected of being rigged would be the first…

    Well, just as LeBron is a step or two short on the GOAT ladder beneath Magic, the new unis are a step or two below the Showtime ones. Good (except for the ad and the BFBS…c’mon Nike, it’s getting really old) but they could be better.

    Are we doing the Griffins jersey design contest like we have been the past 2 August’s?

    Yeah, I told y’all about the Lakers wacky font a while back – link

    I approve of the new unis – other than the stupid black stripe.

    As a general rule, I like black panels on dark-colored jerseys. Something about the subtle contrast appeals to me. So I’ll proudly stand up for the minority who think the black side panel on the Lakers’ purple jersey is an upgrade. The overall effect reminds me of the black shoulder/sleeve panels on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 2003-04 alternate jersey, which I also liked.

    I know it’s BFBS and all that, but from a purely aesthetic perspective, it looks good IMO.

    The Lakers gold and white get an A. Can’t give any uniform with ads an A+. The different shading on the numbers doesn’t bother me. I’m glad they got rid of the white numbers. The purple is a big miss having BFBS side panels. The white uniforms have usually been limited for Sunday home games. Thinking this might be expanded. I hope they wear the yellow/gold for most games. They can wear these against teams wearing white, and against most colored jerseys except where the contrast isn’t good, like orange.

    Major kudos to the Lakers for going retro. Although I could do without the white uni; I love when pro teams pay homage to their glory days.

    Major kudos to the Lakers for going retro. But WTF with the black side panel on the purple Jersey? Way to F up a classic!

    Suggested amendment to the Uni-Watch glossary: Lakers new uniform numbers exhibit “droop shadow,” distinguishing it from “drop shadow” because of it’s vertical-only orientation.

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