[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site (although he’s still writing his weekly Bulletin column and may pop up here on the blog occasionally). Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month.]
Good morning, Uni Watchers. I hope everyone had a good Monday.
Yesterday was a relatively yuge day for uniform watching, as the Cubs and Reds unveiled uniforms for their “Field of Dreams” game this Thursday (I updated yesterday’s earlier post with lots of new photos and information, so if you didn’t see the updated version, you should check it out), and over in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors unveiled a throwback “classic” edition uniform set as well.
Also yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers unveiled their own “classic” edition
uniform jersey. In honor of their 75th season, the jersey harkens back to the Lakers days in Minneapolis.
It’s a beautiful jersey. It’s also a bit of a hybrid of the uniforms they wore from 1948-1951 and 1951-1958. The jersey itself is white, with gold and powder blue trim around the neck and arm hems, the word “LAKERS” in slightly arched vertically aligned letters, and a small front uniform number, both rendered in powder blue.
Here’s a closeup of the wordmark (which unfortunately focuses almost as much on the makers mark and the advertiser):
When I mention the jersey is a hybrid, it’s because the team have blended two eras (as mentioned above). Here’s a look at the 1947-1951 uniform:
That jersey and pants featured no gold elements, with “LAKERS” and front uni number rendered in powder blue. Small powder blue piping was present around the arm and neck, and the shorts also had thin blue piping down the sides and at the hem. Pants were belted. Here’s how the original jersey looked:
The uniform the team wore from 1951 through 1958 featured additional gold striping around the arm/neck, as well as on the pants, and the wordmark and number were both in powder blue, outlined in gold. Those pants had a drawstring waistband which was in powder blue as well.
So the new “classic” jersey takes the gold/powder elements of the later Minneapolis jersey, while the wordmark and uni number more closely resemble the 1948-1951 jersey.
According to the NBA, “In honor of their 75th season, the Los Angeles Lakers have unveiled a Classic Edition jersey that recreates the team’s first-ever home uniform in a nod to the franchise’s journey from the Midwest to the West.” This is not quite correct, as the jersey is more of a mashup of the two early Minneapolis jerseys.
I’d love to show you pictures of the full uniform, or at least the shorts — but as far as I can tell, the team hasn’t released any. If you clicked on that NBA link above, you’ll note another link for additional photos. Those can be found here. That gallery spends more time focusing on the makers mark and advertiser than on showing the full uniform. The only photo I could find showing the shorts was a closeup:
Shockingly, the promos for this focused almost solely on the retail element of the uniform. But we do know what the uniforms will look like, since the Lakers did post this…
That trio of course is LeBron James, former star George Mikan, and Anthony Davis. I’m not sure if the waistband will be powder blue, but we can see powder blue stripes running down the sides, with a blue/gold stripe on the hem (matching the stripe pattern on the jerseys). The pants closeup shown above confirms this.
This is a gorgeous looking jersey (and I’m sure the pants, when fully revealed, will be as well). I’m looking forward to seeing it on the court.
The Lakers classy jersey also hearkens back to John Wooden’s UCLA dynasty. (Which was actually a dynasty. Dynasty, superstar, and great in reference to a player or play might be the three most misused words in sports.)
Looks sharp, but I would have much prefered powder blue with white/gold details.
It is a nice homage but it is not a throwback. They could have done a throwback. I actually like this better than an actual throwback. Definitely a UCLA vibe.
Sidebar: the Minneapolis Lakers played 1 season in the NBL (1947-48) and 1 in the BAA (1948-1949). 1949-1950 was their first NBA season. This is their 75th anniversary if we use 1947-48 as the origin of the franchise but it is their 76th season as a franchise.
Sidebar 2: using the same criteria, the Sixers started play in the NBL in 1947-48 as the Syracuse Nats. This will be their 74th season as an NBA franchise but their 76th as a franchise. Is the BAA considered the true ancestor of the NBA? What about the NBL? I guess the same issue holds for the Hawks, Kings, Pistons, and Knicks.
There is always some confusion regarding the three leagues and official NBA records and such. Wiki says “The Basketball Association of America (BAA) was a professional basketball league in North America, founded in 1946. Following its third season, 1948–49, the BAA absorbed most of National Basketball League (NBL) and rebranded as the National Basketball Association (NBA)” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_Association_of_America]. That article provides a pretty good explainer of the early years of professional basketball, the different entities, and the eventual mergers.
If I may be pedantic for a moment here – the Lakers started play as the Detroit Gems (1946-47) with the franchise sold to Minneapolis after one failed season. The Syracuse Nationals are technically the continuation of the Cleveland Chase Brass (1943-44)/Cleveland Allmen Transfers (1944-46) franchise which they purchased from the league after it failed in 1946.
Of course I still operate under the belief that the Charlotte Hornets/New Orleans Hornets/New Orleans Pelicans lineage stands, instead of the Charlotte Hornets/Charlotte Bobcats/Charlotte Hornets one the league tries to sell us.
More classic jerseys need the classic Nike logo
Looks like a knockoff Lakers jersey rendered in UCLA colors.
Every time I see the “MPLS” Lakers in California, I get a bit bummed. I wish the communities kept the rights to teams from their area. I would love to see the Timberwolves wear “MPLS Lakers” as a throwback. Yes, they are two different franchises, but the physical location did not change. The team’s location changed. The Timberwolves cannot claim “75 seasons,” but why not participate in the history of basketball in that location?
In the same vain, I’d love to see the Wild break out a full North Stars jersey rather than just the green and gold homage they did with the RR unis. Hopefully the Wolves can at least wear a powder blue and yellow uni at some point, similar to the Wild’s RR
Exactly. Again, I am not opposed to LA Lakers wearing throwbacks due to the franchise connection, but I am advocating that teams can have fauxbacks or throwbacks with the historical geographic connection. The MLB sort of does this with Negro Baseball League throwbacks. The Kansas City Royals do not have a franchise connection o the Kansas City Monarchs, but they do have a historical geographic connection.
UCLA called and…
I think it’s very nice as a hybrid faux-back. Usually, I can ignore the advertiser mark but it’s especially egregious on any throwback. Even just the swoosh w/o the Nike wordmark would’ve been slightly better.
Just like the Reds Field of Dreams jerseys I pointed out yesterday, the Laker font is inconsistent. The 3 shown on top has angled corners on the inside of the 3. All other numbers shown have squared edges. Even the drawing shows Anthony Davis with a 3 that has squared edges. What is going on with throwback font design Nike?
The arched letters get smaller and flatter, like the Knicks. As if to match the cost-cutting measures used on mass-produced jerseys for retail. When they sewed the letters by hand, they made them wrap halfway around the body.
Totally agree. These smaller letters are cost cutting, for sure, but also look cheap.
It’s not a maker’s mark, it’s an ad patch from Nike. The league isn’t paying Nike to make its jerseys. Nike is paying the league to put their logo on the jerseys, thus that’s an advertisement.
Nice jersey but my gripe is with the size of the wordmark (just look at the original jersey and compare the size of lettering). Too small. It has been a continuing trend in both football and basketball to downsize wordmarks/ team names and numbers. It is cost reducing and it is being sold as modern, minimalist and appealing to the youth. I think it looks very cheap and boring. Practice wear being elevated to the status of sports haute couture. I am not buying it.
First we see the Warriors bust out a Cal-Berkely uni and now the Lakers with UCLA garb. Could this be a theme league-wide?