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Let’s Take a Look at the NBA’s New City Edition Uniforms

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Good morning, and happy Veterans Day! For those of you who are veterans — and I know there are quite a few of you out there — please accept my sincere thanks for your service to our country. And for those of you in the Commonwealth countries, happy Remembrance Day. Please accept my condolences if you’re mourning a fallen service member.

Busy day yesterday, as the NBA unveiled all 30 City Edition jerseys (but, in most cases, not the full uniforms). As I mentioned when the NHL’s new Reverse Retro jerseys were revealed last month, I kinda hate it when leagues throw so many designs at us all at once — it’s just too much to process. The best thing about MLB’s City Connect program is that the releases are staggered, so each design gets a chance to breathe a bit and we can take our time to see how everything looks.

For today, I’ve put together a roundup of all the designs, formatted like so:

  • For most of the teams, I used jersey photos that Nike provided to the media. Since some teams have posted additional (and better) photos on their websites, whenever possible I swapped in pics that show the full uniform.
  • For the text, I used the bullet-point descriptions from Nike’s press release, complete with all the marketingspeak. (For what it’s worth: Nike’s promo text was much cleaner and better-edited that Adidas’s RR text.)
  • When possible, I added an extra bullet point linking to the dates when a given team’s RR uniform will be worn, but some teams haven’t yet posted that info.

I’ll have more to say about all this next week. But for now, here’s the full City Edition set for 2022-23:

Atlanta Hawks

  • This year’s Atlanta Hawks Nike NBA City Edition uniform is a fresh take on the team’s orginal Peachtree uniform, which launched three years ago — the same amount of time it takes to grow a fruit-bearing peach tree from a seed.
  • It is a nod to the city’s roots as a cultural trendsetter.
  • The jersey and short colors — a gradient from Electro Peach to Sunset Haze — and design represent the high energy and awesome diversity of the city, based on the foundation of what makes Atlanta great.
  • With a peach/basketball hybrid symbol on its belt buckle, the uniform pays the ultimate respect to Georgia, “The Peach State,” while uplifting the Hawks’ mantra of being “True to Atlanta.”
  • Additional info here and here.

———

Boston Celtics

  • The Boston Celtics 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform pays homage to a true “Champion of Gold,” Bill Russell.
  • Russell’s legacy spanned the “Golden Era” of Celtics basketball, which included an unmatched and unstoppable 11 championships in 13 years.
  • And while Russell broke barriers on the court, as a member of the first all-Black starting five and then as the first Black head coach in the NBA, it’s the ones he broke off the court that truly defined him as “The Gold Standard” — what it truly means to be a Celtic.
  • The stylized script wordmark is inspired by typography from the decades when he dominated — and the anthem is emblazoned with the phrase “Champions of Gold.” [Oddly, the Celtics previously said that the script was inspired by Slade’s Bar & Grill, a Boston spot that Russell once owned, but there’s no mention of that in yesterday’s press release. — PL]
  • The belt buckle features Russell’s retired number “6,” surrounded by 11 diamonds, celebrating each of the championships he won with the team as a player and a coach.
  • There are 11 gold diamonds on the side panels (jersey and shorts) as well.

———

Brooklyn Nets

  • The Brooklyn Nets 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform brings back an instant fan-favorite with a new twist.
  • With a flip from black to white this year, the Nets once again pay tribute to legendary Brooklyn- born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat with lettering and designs inspired by his signature work.
  • The front of the jersey reads “BKLYN NETS” with colorful side panels, while the shorts feature Basquiat’s distinctive crown motif with continuing side panels and the “BROOKLYN, NEW YORK” lettering.

———

Charlotte Hornets

  • A tribute to the city’s rich financial history — as home of the first U.S. Branch Mint and the Carolina Gold Rush of the early 1800s — the Charlotte Hornets 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform returns to the mint gold and granite color scheme from the 2020-21 season.
  • Most notably, “CLT” appears on the uniform for the first time, embracing the familiar abbreviation used throughout the city of Charlotte, including the airport.
  • The letters, along with the numbers on the front and back of the jersey, are gold with mint trim, while the player‘s name on the back is gold with no outline.
  • The uniform also displays pinstripes, which are designed to look like the ridges on a coin, alternating in gold and mint.
  • The shorts offer a gold “C” with mint trim in the team’s font across the waistband, as well as secondary logos (in gold and granite, with mint outlines) on each leg.
  • Additional info here.

———

Chicago Bulls

  • The Chicago Bulls 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform is an ode to Chicago’s iconic architecture — through the lens of the Chicago Municipal “Y” symbol, which was introduced back in 1917.
  • It’s a symbol of unity, representing the three branches of the Chicago River that go throughout the neighborhoods and eventually come together at Wolf Point, in the heart of the city downtown.
  • The Municipal “Y,” which can be found all over the city (although not everyone notices it!), is reflected in various elements of the uniform — the most striking example is on the sides, with two sets of five lines running downward and branching off at the shorts. The five lines also represent each team’s players on the court.
  • On the uniform, the “Y” is front and center — it’s woven throughout the printed pattern, and it intersects with the “C” of Chicago on the belt buckle.
  • There’s also a beautiful rust color integrated throughout the uniform, which is a nod to the bridges that cross the Chicago River downtown.
  • Additional info here.

———

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform draws inspiration from the physical makeup of Northeast Ohio.
  • It showcases the wordmark “The Land,” Cleveland’s most popular nickname, further connecting this uniform and team back to the city.
  • The graphic is reminiscent of vintage Cavs logos from the ’80s, with a blue ball that represents the sunny shores of Lake Erie and tiered brown tones that take inspiration from the area’s bountiful soil.
  • The phrase “For the Love. For the Land” is displayed on the anthem, symbolizing what basketball means to the region.
  • Additional info here.

———

Dallas Mavericks

  • The Dallas Mavericks 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform bridges the gap between old and new — looking to the past to inspire the future of sport.
  • Back in 1973, Dallas luminaries saw the promise of North Texas, but they needed a catalyst. They took out a 2-page spread in Fortune magazine dubbing Dallas and Ft. Worth as a new industrial complex and metropolis in the middle of the country, a “Metroplex.” This started the boomtown days of success and prosperity, which paved the way for the possibility of an NBA franchise to exist in North Texas.
  • Fast forward 50 years, and the Metroplex is now going through a financial, business, cultural and social boom, becoming a bigger and brighter version of its former self.
  • To celebrate this history in their uniform, the Mavericks graphically rewind the clock to the retro fashion aesthetic of the late ’70s and early ’80s.
  • By incorporating the team’s legendary color pallet with an inline groovy wordmark, the team achieves a modern take on a nostalgic design.
  • Additional info here.

———

Denver Nuggets

 

  • The Denver Nuggets 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform is inspired by the team’s hometown — a city that’s proud of its past but always driving forward.
  • Its design draws from the mile-high city’s iconic architecture, such as the bold “DENVER” lettering on the front of the jersey, a tribute to the revered neon sign at Union Station.
  • The Nuggets will use this City Edition uniform to recognize several civic organizations that contribute to the continuing evolution of Denver into an even better place to call home.
  • Additional info here.

———

Detroit Pistons

  • The Detroit Pistons 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform tells a story bigger than local basketball.
  • Designed in collaboration with Pistons Creative Director of Innovation Big Sean, whose childhood in Detroit inspired much of his music, this uniform pays tribute to the gym at Saint Cecilia’s (a.k.a. “The Saint”), where many legends have played.
  • “The Saint” has served as a beacon of hope for many Detroiters and created a safe place to play basketball.
  • The uniform is colored green, matching the gym’s historic logo. And the quote inscribed on the court floor at “The Saint” — “Where stars are made, not born” — is featured on the anthem, along with Big Sean’s signature. A trio of stars on the jersey and shorts also alludes to this message, while symbolizing the Pistons’ three NBA Championships.
  • The shorts are adorned with a replica of The Saint’s storied stained-glass window and sport white and blue side stripes.
  • Additional info here.

———

Golden State Warriors

  • The Golden State Warriors 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform sits at the intersection of court, community and culture.
  • Designed by Bay Area artist Allison Hueman, the uniform incorporates several unique design elements. The centerpiece of the jersey is a yellow rose representing women who change the game and lead fearlessly.
  • The chest emanates rays of sunshine, symbolizing the power of uplifting women and the side gradient represents the diversity of the Bay Area.
  • The rose is symbolic of the women who are champions of our community.
  • The result is an eye-catching uniform that speaks to the Warriors’ deep roots in the community, and their commitment to helping it continue to bloom.
  • The Warriors type face is inspired by the historic Art Deco signage from historical landmarks in the Bay.
  • Additional info here.

———

Houston Rockets

  • Bringing back last year’s design, this year’s Houston Rockets Nike NBA City Edition uniform reminds Rockets fans of the rich history of the franchise while pushing the team into the future.
  • In celebration of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary, the 2021-22 on-court collection was designed to showcase the iconic moments of each franchise, so the uniform brings together different details from past Rockets’ uniforms worn throughout important eras, such as Yao Ming being drafted and the strong 2017-2018 season.
  • The font across the chest draws inspiration from the road jerseys worn during the team’s back- to-back Championships.
  • And the shorts blend the double-arch design with the Rockets logo, which the team wore during its 22-game winning streak.

———

Indiana Pacers

  • Amongst the cathedrals of basketball throughout the state that grew basketball, the Indiana Pacers 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform celebrates the past and present of Gainbridge Fieldhouse with the theme “Built for Basketball.”
  • Consistently noted as an architectural crown jewel and the premier venue in the country to experience live basketball, this year marks the official completion of a multi-year renovation.
  • A renovation that elevated the building to provide players a distinct home-court advantage and an unmatched game night experience for fans.
  • The uniform honors Gainbridge Fieldhouse’s iconic elements with a sleek design that also celebrates the new. A glimpse of the future, with a nod to the past.
  • The nearly black pitch blue base is a striking departure from previous uniforms and serves as a foundation for a modern team and building. The gold truss spanning the chest and down the legs of the shorts mimic its distinct structure. The jock tag featuring “We Grow Basketball Here” harkens back to the flipper board fashion that was a staple for communicating game schedules at the older fieldhouse and beloved by fans.
  • The shorts feature a new Built for Basketball badge honoring the state’s rich basketball history speaking of both the building itself and the building of a team ready to pace a new legacy for the Indiana Pacers.
  • Additional info here.

——

LA Clippers

  • The LA Clippers 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform celebrates the team’s deeply rooted bond with the South L.A. community.
  • It includes design elements honoring the heritage and passionate spirit of the renowned Drew League, the city’s most beloved community basketball league.
  • The colorful mosaic design on the chest is inspired by the iconic Watts Towers, and the wordmark combines classic scripts from the Clippers and the Drew.
  • Green, a prominent color within the Drew League’s story, is used to line the inside bottom of the jersey.
  • The Drew League’s motto, “No Excuse. Just Produce,” is the City Edition Anthem, with dates celebrating the Drew League’s 50th anniversary adorning the sides of the motto.
  • Additional info here and here.

———

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Los Angeles is a city where artists know how to transform a blank page into a world of possibility — and that’s the spirit behind this year’s Lakers Nike NBA City Edition uniform.
  • Rather than including details that tell a story, the uniform has been intentionally stripped back to its most simple design. So unlike in years past, the uniform is not the story — it’s a vehicle to tell the stories behind individual Changemakers around Los Angeles.
  • The concentric circle design symbolizes bringing all of Los Angeles together.
  • The anthem has a simple message, inspired by the contagious conviction of the changemakers who walk this city’s streets: “Leave a legacy.”

———

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Highlighted by chrome-inspired detailing, diamond textures and Memphis’s unapologetic and unique style, the Memphis Grizzlies 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform serves as a tribute to the artists and albums that define Memphis hip-hop and its raw sound.
  • The design was inspired by local hip-hop album art and pulls in colors and textures that resonate with the city, like the traditional Beale Street Blue framing “Grizzlies.”
  • As with the asymmetrical uniform silhouette, the oversized bear icon on the shorts connects to uniform systems in the past and present.
  • The stylized “M” on the buckle, represents Memphis’s iconic ‘M-Bridge,’ highlighted with the chrome detailing and diamond texture seen throughout the uniform.
  • Just above the jersey tag, a Grizz grill, along with “For The M” is emblemized to represent the fierce pride Memphians rep for their music, their team and their city.
  • Additional info here and here.

———

Miami Heat

  • The Miami HEAT 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform, a follow-up to last season’s groundbreaking mashup concept, swaps black for white as its base color, while keeping all the other original design elements intact.
  • The uniform once again features mashed-up renderings of the team’s “MIAMI,” “HEAT,” and “ball and flame” wordmarks. It also includes the “15 STRONG” anthem mark, yellow rope trim, Championship years’ belt buckle and satin-striped side panels.
  • And building on the innovation of its predecessor, it’s putting the personalization possibilities into overdrive, unlocking four new HEAT number sets — ViceVersa, Floridians Home, Association and White Hot — with which players and fans can use to customize their jerseys, raising the total possible number combinations from 5,256 to 12,656.
  • Additional info here.

———

Milwaukee Bucks

  • The Milwaukee Bucks 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition embodies the spirit of Bronzeville, one of the most diverse and distinctive neighborhoods in the city.
  • Historically, Bronzeville was the African American economic, social and artistic hub of Milwaukee, and it has remained an integral center for the community’s culture and arts.
  • Home to a tapestry of vibrant and unique murals, including the patchwork that’s adapted into the jersey’s side panels, the iconic neighborhood is honored with every stitch of this year’s uniform.
  • But the real storytelling will not come from just the uniform, but rather from the actual people and artists who live there.
  • The Bucks will show many public art murals and city scenes around downtown. And in the arena, closeups of the jersey will be juxtaposed with sights and sounds from the neighborhood, including footage from the annual Bronzeville Arts and Cultural Festival and soundbites from Bronzeville Collective’s resident artists.
  • The team will shine a light on the entire patchwork of the city, sharing what makes Milwaukee “The Gathering Place.”
  • Additional info here.

———

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • An artistic statement, the Minnesota Timberwolves 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform is a colorful representation of the diverse, creative community that resides across the state.
  • This city is not just where the Timberwolves play — it’s a landscape where everyone who is passionate about their craft can thrive, whether they’re an athlete, performer or artist.
  • Every single uniform is one of a kind, featuring a unique multi-colored pattern, emphasizing the importance of leaving a distinctive creative mark, no matter the medium. It’s a testament to all the talented creatives throughout the state who are united by the arts.
  • The stylized Minnesota wordmark and jersey number were designed by a Minneapolis-based type designer and pay homage to an iconic building in the city’s skyline.
  • The shorts mirror the pattern on the jersey and feature a black and white primary logo.
  • Additional info here.

———

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Purple, green, and gold are the official colors of the Mardi Gras season and can be seen all over New Orleans on flags, floats, and traditional king cakes. Now, with the 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform, they’re the Pelicans’ colors, too.
  • Striping details feature these colors throughout the uniform, and three matching fleur-de-lis appear on the shorts.
  • The deep Purple Dynasty base color represents an evolution from past Mardi Gras uniforms and pays respect to the royalty that Mardi Gras Krewes elect each season to preside over their parades and festivities.
  • From head to toe, this uniform is a celebration of the city, the rich culture behind its carnival season, and the greatest show on earth, Mardi Gras — all part of a unique place the Pelicans are proud to call home.
  • Additional info here.

———

New York Knicks

  • The history of the orange and blue is full of memorable players — but there’s something special about those teams from the late ’90s and early 2000s. That’s why they’re the inspiration behind this year’s New York Knicks Nike NBA City Edition uniform.
  • Designed in partnership with Kith, this uniform is a throwback to the teamwork displayed by those legendary Knicks, bridging the gap between the past and present.
  • The jersey features a V-neck that’s inspired by this iconic era, while also showcasing inverted colors from the team’s 1998-2012 seasons.
  • There’s an updated New York workmark on the chest, and the Nike NYC can be spotted on both the jersey and short, another tip of the cap to the mecca of basketball.

———

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform honors the people of Oklahoma and represents the collective experiences of what it means to be an Oklahoman.
  • Oklahomans are driven by a distinct set of values called The Oklahoma Standard, which is built on a foundation of service, honor and kindness. It’s who they are. It’s in their DNA. And it’s as uniquely Oklahoman as the red soil that makes up the foundation of the state.
  • That very Standard (Service. Honor. Kindness.) is printed inside the uniform, right over the heart of those who wear it.
  • The “THUNDER” across the chest unifies the state, from the Red River to the plains to the panhandle.
  • The belt buckle features a map of all 77 counties in Oklahoma, and seven stripes down each side panel also represents those counties — and everyone who lives and works there together.
  • Oklahoma’s historical terrain is featured along the side panels as a cultural signifier, symbolizing the grit, perseverance, sorrow, pain, spirit and resilience they were founded on and continue to embody.
  • Additional info here.

———

Orlando Magic

  • The 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform for the Orlando Magic celebrates the team’s strength and fortitude, its ability to protect its kingdom.
  • The team’s goal is simple — to conquer the basketball world. But the path to victory is arduous. It takes great discipline and the heart of a champion. As a legion of one, the Orlando Magic put on their armor and go to battle on the court.
  • This all-black uniform may appear unassuming at first glance, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it reveals a metallic gray accent, evoking a suit of armor.
  • A diamond pattern covering the jersey and shorts adds texture and signifies a knight-worthy line of defense.
  • They wear the Magic star like a badge of honor and the pinstripes with pride, with the kingdom’s name emblazoned across the chest wordmark of the jersey.
  • They’ll fight for the honor of Orlando with a full court press toward the future now.
  • Additional info here.

———

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Inspired by the Greek translation of Philadelphia, meaning “City of Brotherly Love,” the Philadelphia 76ers 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform recognizes that the game of basketball extends far beyond any single era, league or team.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers are a storied franchise — with every generation comes a set of icons, stories and indelible memories that all come to love and are inspired to share.
  • This city has always embraced the spirit of kinship and rivalry, through long-tenured high-school and concrete showdowns, 1v1’s, 3v3’s, 5v5’s and more.
  • The minimalistic design of the uniform and hand-drawn script lettering on the front chest honors that classic basketball — and celebrates a look embraced throughout all leagues and levels of play.
  • A Circle of Stars logo on the waistband and the Bicentennial inspired “76” on the shorts reference Philadelphia’s role in our country’s history as well.
  • Additional info here.

———

Phoenix Suns

  • The Phoenix Suns, Arizona’s first professional team, and the 22 indigenous tribes that have called this region home for thousands of years have a shared respect for family, community and the environment — and a shared love for basketball.
  • The team’s 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform celebrates those Native American cultures and the passion for the game that connects us.
  • The uniform’s turquoise base color represents the protection, or living, stone, which carries special meaning among the local indigenous community.
  • The jersey features the Suns’ primary sunburst logo, centered on the chest, and a red trim that represents the color of the land and soil found across the state.
  • The uniform’s side panels, which highlight a traditional stairstep pattern commonly depicted in regional indigenous art, are bordered by a black tape feature that directly translates to “the sun” in all of Arizona’s native tribal languages.
  • The belt buckle displays a new logo, featuring the PHX wordmark and a basketball surrounded by 22 red, yellow, white and black feathers — the colors of the traditional medicine wheel, depicting the four directions and cycles of life — to represent Arizona’s tribal nations.
  • The waistband is designed to replicate sashes worn by some of the tribal nations, and the shorts give another nod to the indigenous community, with 22 arrowheads along the hem line.
  • Additional info here.

———

Portland Trail Blazers

  • The Portland Trail Blazers 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform falls respectively in the “Uniquely Portland” category. No other team would be as confident and quirky as to model their design around an airport’s carpet, but this one proudly pays homage to the signature PDX pattern, which reached local icon status in the ’90s.
  • The distinctive, vibrant geometric pattern displayed over a bright teal base took on a cult following as it became tradition for travelers arriving and departing out of PDX to take photos of their feet safely planted on the colorful airport carpet.
  • The carpet’s quirky pattern streaks diagonally across the black jersey, with a familiar “Blazers” sash featured across the chest.
  • The city’s airport code (and a common nickname) — “PDX” — is emblazoned on the chest, while the belt buckle showcases the team’s mantra, “RIPCITY.” (#RipCityCarpet)
  • The gold trophy icon on the back neck is in honor of the team’s 1977 Championship win.
  • Additional info here.

———

Sacramento Kings

  • As this season will mark the 10-year anniversary of the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento, the team’s 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform is a tribute to a team and a city that are committed to staying — and rising — together.
  • The design pays homage to fans who rallied and refused to back down with a passion and connection to their team that is unmatched in the NBA.
  • For the first time in franchise history, the Kings have a gray uniform, a color inspired by the iconic Golden 1 Center.
  • “Sacramento” is on the front of the jersey for the first time since 2016 — and set in a 10-year tin anniversary bevel.
  • The purple trim on the sides of the jersey and shorts resembles the architectural elements of the state-of-the-art arena located in the heart of downtown. And the phrase “Sacramento Proud” within the trim reminds everyone what connects the Kings to their team, their city and one other.
  • Its anthem includes the late, former NBA Commissioner David Stern’s signature, as well as his famous proclamation: “We’re going to keep this team in Sacramento.”
  • Additional info here.
  • I have a more detailed assessment of this one here.

———

San Antonio Spurs

  • The San Antonio Spurs 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform is inspired by the unforgettable style featured during the 1996 NBA All-Star Game in San Antonio. It’s like déjà vu, decades later as the team currently celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
  • The jerseys and shorts created for that contest were as bold and colorful as the basketball superstars who wore them.
  • With a rich, primary turquoise color, along with retro accents of pink, orange, and black on the taping and waistband, this uniform provides a festive look.
  • The team’s iconic cowboy boot spur is displayed on the shorts, and it’s front and center on the jerseys.
  • Reviving this style is a fun way to honor the Spurs’ rich history, while shining a light on its inevitably bright future.
  • Additional info here.

———

Toronto Raptors

  • The Toronto Raptors 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform is a celebration of the team’s city and culture.
  • With classic black and gold styling and subtle details, the Raptors’ uniform nods to the diversity and unity of Toronto.
  • Toronto’s six boroughs are deconstructed to make a dynamic, embossed pattern on the base of the uniform.
  • On the vent is the chant that carried the team to their 2019 Championship, “We the North.” The same phrase is displayed in languages from around the world on the neck, arm and short trim — representing the diversity of the fans who surround the game.
  • The “Welcome Toronto” sign-off is embellished in gold, a greeting for those who visit and those who call it home.

———

Utah Jazz

The Jazz’s City alternate this season is a throwback. It was released way back in June, which perhaps explains why it wasn’t covered in yesterday’s press notes.

———

Washington Wizards

  • With a pink base and white accents throughout, the Washington Wizards 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform, “Bloom,” pays tribute to the city’s iconic cherry blossoms.
  • Falling petals down the sides of the jersey blend with a pink-to-blue gradient that symbolizes how the cherry blossom petals from the trees that famously line the Tidal Basin drift into the water below.
  • The team’s brand new logo across the chest dots the “i” in “Washington”with a cherry blossom, putting a fresh, floral spin on the uniform.
  • Three distinct cherry blossoms sitting just above the official NBA tag are meant to mirror the three-star design of the Washington, D.C. flag.

———

Phew! That’s a lot to process, right? Here are some quick stats and notes:

  • The word “iconic” appears 12 times in the marketing text.
  • You know how teams are always saying their uniforms “celebrate the past while pointing toward the future,” or “bridge the gap from past to present”? That type of phrasing appears six times.
  • Gotta like how Nike went the extra mile by getting team-colored clothes hangers for the promo pics.
  • You can see the new court designs that go with these uniforms in this Twitter thread.

What were your favorite whoppers from all that marketingspeak? Here are my top four:

  1. The Nuggets design “is inspired by the team’s hometown — a city that’s proud of its past but always driving forward.” Wait, you mean the team’s City uniform is inspired by the city it plays in? Whoa, groundbreaking!
  2. From the Magic text: “The team’s goal is simple — to conquer the basketball world. But the path to victory is arduous. It takes great discipline and the heart of a champion. As a legion of one, the Orlando Magic put on their armor and go to battle on the court.” As opposed to, you know, the other 29 teams.
  3. This bit from the Lakers text is an instant classic: “Rather than including details that tell a story, the uniform has been intentionally stripped back to its most simple design. So unlike in years past, the uniform is not the story — it’s a vehicle to tell the stories behind individual Changemakers around Los Angeles.” That is definitely the most creative way of saying, “We got nothin'” I’ve ever seen.
  4. From the Timberwolves text: “Every single uniform is one of a kind, featuring a unique multi-colored pattern.” In other words, the uniforms are literally the antithesis of uniform.

As an honorable mention, I like how the text refers to the Knicks as “the orange and blue” while promoting a black jersey.

As for the actual designs, the Mavs’, Spurs’, and Celtics’ are probably the best, and a few others are at least interesting. But most of these are either miserable or, even worse, just pointless nonentities that have no compelling reason to exist. And by next summer, they won’t! Such is the nature of the City program’s revolving door, whee!


 

Black Panthers

The Panthers debuted their new black alternate helmets last night (lots of additional photos here). Reader Gabe Cornwall, who’s a serious student of the team’s visual program, checks in with this reaction:

In general, I love the look of the uniform as a whole, but I still contend that using a standard logo – with white eyes and teeth – would add just enough contrast to make the helmet logo more visible. Also, we could split hairs as to whether matte or polished would look better.

Also, this was the first time the Panthers have worn anything besides white jerseys this season. It ended the second-longest white-jersey streak to start the season in the team’s history.

Meanwhile: People have been asking why the TV numbers have become so (comically) small. Part of the problem is that the shoulder striping has moved up a bit on the shoulder, closer to the collar. For two decades, it usually wrapped around the edge of the shoulder pads (think more UCLA stripe style). Now it’s more up on the shoulders as if they were suspenders, which shrunk the area between the stripe and collar. Hence the silly-looking TV numbers.

Thanks, Gabe!

One other thing: Each Panthers player last night wore the initials of a military veteran on the back of the helmet:


 

Motown Signal Flare

Are you a Uni Watch reader who’s also a Pistons fan? Do you live in Detroit?

If you answered “Yes” to both of those questions, I’d like to talk to you for a story I’m working on. It will involve being on a Zoom call with me either on Sunday evening or sometime on Monday.

Interested? Shoot me a note and I’ll fill you in. Thanks!


Orange Reminder

In case you missed it on Wednesday, my latest Premium article on Substack is an all-time ranking of the 20 best orange uniforms. You can read a good chunk of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Premium content on Substack, which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!

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Comments (73)

    The Lakers went with a writer’s block theme this year it seems. I wish they’d stop trying to shoehorn black and white into their color scheme.

    This is a great description of the yearly bullshit they have to come up with to sell fans on buying these.

    I like the look of some of these, especially some of the ones with a retro flair, but I find I flip the channel if I don’t immediately recognize the teams playing.

    I was inspired to open my notebook and jot down anything positive about this jersey and/or the whole Nike program.
    The page is still blank.
    I need a shower after wading through all that marketing sludge.

    Something I just noticed about the Lakers’ blurbs:
    “The concentric circle design symbolizes bringing all of Los Angeles together.”

    … WHAT concentric circles? Are… are they talking about the piping? Because that’s the only thing I see that could possibly be forming anything resembling a circle on the jersey. Unless they’re talking about a detail on the shorts, which their official release is lacking any imagery of. I feel like I’m losing my mind trying to parse that line of BS!

    And this, once again, goes back to one of Paul’s – and many of ours – pet peeves: show the whole uniform, especially if you’re talking about an element that’s on a part other than the jersey!

    The Lakers and Celtics both should simply stop participating in these programs. It’s obvious they don’t want to water down their brand recognition, and good for them, but they are not succeeding at that or at the novelty programs.

    White elements missing from the Panther helmet logo aside, this is what the team should’ve looked like all along.

    I know most of the readership on here didn’t grow up in the 90s, but for those of us who did…the ones who were influenced by Jordan’s Bulls and Griffey’s Mariners and Charlotte Hornet Starter Jackets…if the Panthers had trotted this uniform out in Week One of 95 season, what would’ve been the first mono-color uniform in modern NFL history… my generation would’ve collectively and absolutely lost its damn mind.

    The team would be as popular as any team in the NFL today, because of how many folks that are in their 30s today would still be a fan of them JUST from the uniform. I’m virtually guaranteeing this.

    BLACK panthers!!! I loved this treatment. Interesting that the jersey sleeves had the white teeth- shows how much better it would have looked in the helmet. The striping on the pants is too wide in my opinion- detracts from the BLACK panthers.

    It sounds like we are of the same generation, and while I agree that the sports fan world would have gone bananas for this in the 90’s, I’m not sure if there would be a lasting fan base with a lack of actual success on the field. See: the charlotte hornets. Everyone I know was clamoring for hornets gear and hornets colored things. The parkas and windbreakers and jerseys and warmups and sweats and the LJ shoes, and while people still have a nostalgic fondness for the look of that team, I don’t think they have a national or international fan base any more, particularly one based on the jerseys.

    That’s the folly of building a fan base on something besides athletic performance: it’s structurally unsound.

    At this point what is the purpose of TV numbers? You can’t easily see them when the are on top of the shoulder pads. I can see why some uniform designs have eliminated them.

    LOL @ Lakers. I mean, most of these are terrible, but the Lakers one looks like it was made by a kid with no design skills who started 10 minutes before it was due. Jebus crisp!

    Please, I’m begging. Can the NBA (and Nike) stop churning out these endless (and mostly horrible) uniforms every season? Enough already. Way too many uniforms, way too few ideas.

    The oversaturation of these alternates just cheapens their value as the years go on.

    The NHL’s third jersey program seemed to succeed because they would keep a third jersey for a few years and you got to look forward to seeing them and grew attached to them. I was sad to see last year’s reverse retros get swept aside so quickly. If they’d fixed the bad ones and kept the good ones for a few years I think fans would enjoy that promotion all the more.

    That’s a valiant effort to pull of of that together. Appreciate you putting the time in and reading each and every one of those. I hope your dinner stayed down. I made it to Detroit then couldn’t put myself through the rest of the torture. Yesterday’s Memphis story should have come with a warning of what was to come today!

    Do you ever envision there will be a time when leagues and companies say, “We’ve gone too far, there are just too many uniforms” or are we too far gone in to the money grab that is merchandise? The next team to wear strictly home and away uniforms will be a trend setter.

    I can’t help but think of ESPN’s old show “Playmakers” every time I see the Panthers uniforms. It’s the shade of blue they use and the combinations they use it with that just throws me off and makes me think they are wearing movie wardrobes. At least they did the glorious throwback field earlier this year.

    ‘Do you ever envision there will be a time when leagues and companies say, “We’ve gone too far, there are just too many uniforms” ‘

    This is starting to remind me of the 90s, when almost every team switched to a garish, 12-year-old boy’s idea of what a “cool logo” looks like uniform for a few years. Eventually people got over it and the pendulum swung back. The pendulum will swing back from maximalism to minimalism eventually.

    You are right I can watch highlights and have no idea who is playing. The Nets are my team and what bothers me is that when they get a design like it’s only for a season. I really liked the gray alternates and the blue ones from last year. The ones this year are ok. It was inevitable to bring the old ABA uni back but I dont think I will buy that. I dont buy jerseys but do buy merchandise with the logos I like.

    Hey Paul, quick note on the Raptors: the 6 boroughs you talk about are not boroughs. They’re 6 former individual cities – Scarborough, Etobicoke, York, East York, North York, and the old city of Toronto – that were formerly a part of Metro Toronto and amalgamated into one city in 1998.

    This isn’t entirely accurate. East York was known as the Borough of East York pre-amalgamation. The other four (excluding Toronto itself) were all known as boroughs at some point in their history. It’s an easier way to refer to them as a group.

    You’re right. That was a lot to take in all at once. Most are meh, some are terrible and some are fine. The marketing speak is eye-rollingly atrocious though. Plus I counted only 11 teams with the Bill Russell memorial.

    Another facet we can look at is the design program as a whole. Was it a good idea? This gave designers a chance to flex their creative muscles and showcase their ideas on an international pallette. Setting aside the dreadful marketing babble and some questionable designs I think it’s a fun annual project.

    Not sure people are going to think of Charlotte’s airport code when they see a gigantic “CLT” on the uniforms. Either that or I just have the mind of a 12-year-old.

    Whether or not “CLT” is the city’s official signifier, “CHA” is better-recognized from its usage as a score bug. And yes, people will giggle at “CLT”; I did.

    Why they need to wear an abbreviation at all is beyond me. But CLT is 100% the correct one if they have to do it. Most locals viewed the CHA CHA jerseys as out of touch and lacking any local input. Besides seeing it on the scorebug, you’d never see it anywhere. CLT is always what’s used as an abbreviation anywhere else.

    Seriously, how does a major league team uniform made by a very well resourced designer get to this stage without somebody noticing what half the internet noticed yesterday. Or do they not care? Is any buzz about it good buzz? I would think the team might be embarrassed to wear it.

    Best response was by the account Art But Make It Sports, which paired the jersey with a Georgia O’Keefe painting.
    link

    Then I guess you really flipped at Portlands PDX. I am a aviation geek so using airport codes are really cool.

    I love the Spurs Fiesta unis (much better than the camo ones) but I’m sad that they didn’t put the chili pepper on it, it could have been a cool way to incorporate the ad patch, put the ad in the pepper

    Also, no regular person here who calls this place “The Land.” The nickname is not popular at all, let alone “most popular.” The only people who use it are marketing types and media hypes.

    I don’t mind the mono-black Panthers uniform.

    For some time, I have been thinking it the Panthers ever did a redesign, they should go with a black/light blue/black combo as the main look. We don’t have a redesign but we are partway there. This uniform would be a step above if they wore the light blue jerseys with the black helmet and pants.

    Well-suited for occasional use…absolutely not a look I’d want to see week in/out.
    The helmet would look better if the logo had the white touches mentioned in other comments, but it really could use a splash of silver somewhere too (or the Panthers could just strip that away from the jersey and pants).

    Also, not commenting on the new NBA uniforms. Too much. New uniforms here for a season and gone the next. I, like all of us, have huge excitement when new uniforms unveiled. I could care less now about these NBA releases as they have diminished the enthusiasm with all this crap. I really miss the days when I was excited about an NBA uniforms release. When a new NBA basketball uniform meant something and held value.

    No two words have been beaten to death worse than the Santoro brothers in “Casino” in the last five years more than icon and iconic. They are utterly devoid of meaning now.

    My favorite TV show is “Eight is Enough”, starring the iconic Grant Goodeve. My daily driver is an iconic Subaru Justy. My alma mater is the iconic Westchester Business School. I root for the Maryland Mansons and their iconic kneepads. This is getting to be more fun than Cards Against Humanity!

    Damn, that’s a whole lot of ugly.

    Bold move by the Celtics to use all that gold accent like, no, we actually won the title.

    My top five:
    1. Dallas – great retro look & color scheme.
    2. Washington – love the pink & blue.
    3. S.A. – fun take on their fiesta colors.
    4. Boston – I like the Russell tribute.
    5. Chicago – At least they look like the Bulls.
    – All the other teams unis are varying degrees of awful.

    When I want a story, I read a book.

    When I want a ballgame, I watch basketball.

    I don’t need a story when I watch basketball. I can multi-task on my own. Put the bullsh*t marketing to rest.

    Paul it seems that there are only *29* showing in the NBA provided graphic at the top. Is there one missing or one that hasn’t been rolled out yet? Or did the NBA/Nike just completely botch the landing here?

    Also some appreciation for the moment that the Knicks, Blazers, and Wizards show no ads on the jerseys (aside from the Nike logo at least).

    Paul – “What were your favorite whoppers from all that marketingspeak? Here are my top three:” You then list 4 items. :)

    The oddest thing about all these City uniforms is how little most of the designs register any level of emotion when I see them. The Wizards Cherry Blossom set is nice, but so many of these (ORL, LAL, BKLYN) are just so bland to the point of being inconsequential.

    I get that Nike has merch to move, but with some teams wearing damn near 5-6 uniforms, at some point the whole concept of “brand” falls by the wayside.

    Maybe just keep it to home/road and make this City uniform the alternate.

    I was going to comment further yesterday regarding the Pistons reveal mentioned in the comments, but didn’t get around to it, just replying with the “official” reveal and noting how much of a downgrade it was from the Detroit Free Press article for calling very detailed attention to the damned ad patch. But I wanted to say (and will thus say now) that I like how the Pistons gave the Freep first crack at the reveal, and how the writer didn’t call attention to the ad patch at all. As a reminder, the article is here: link

    I don’t think the Pistons’ City uniform is bad, it’s just weird for being green. It’s better than their BFBS “Statement” uni, I can tell you that much.

    The Atlanta one is SO clean. Love that. And love the callback to the first ones they did with “how long it takes a peach seed to grow”. Very clever.

    The Panthers definitely look like what my favorite minor league football team would look like if I was born about 12 years ago.
    But it doesn’t look like an NFL uniform. Though that no longer seems to be a priority for the NFL anymore.

    Lee

    Actually looking hard at the Nuggets uniform, the color arrangement on the DENVER on front and the numbers makes me think of their 1990s look, just with a different font – one I think I might like better than their 1993 font. And I think they look way better than their current “Association” and “Icon” jerseys.

    These nba uniforms are so garbage I don’t even know what else to say. Does their target audience even like this trash??? There is zero creativity or artistry. They have made it into some sort of art factory.

    And I am just delighted that FTX went down. Wonder what the next sponsor will be for the umpire billboards. And just a thought, if the MLB goes to robo umps, they will lose that sponsor money.

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