In what seems like a tardy April Fools’ joke but appears to be actually legitimate, the Brooklyn Nets have gotten a jump on next season’s City Edition program by revealing a new uniform that looks like, well, nothing ever seen before on an NBA court.
Like so many NBA designs these days, this one was created by a street-associated artist — in this case, the Brooklyn-based artist Kaws, who’s known for his large figural sculptures, toys, skate decks, and more. His characters usually have “X” marks for eyes, which explains the new uniform’s waistband:
In case you’re thinking this might be a hoax: ESPN has written about the uniform’s release and the team is letting fans sign up to be notified when the jersey is available for sale, so it appears to be legit.
This isn’t the first time that the Nets have based a City uniform on the work of a Brooklyn-based artist. In 2020-21, their City design was a black uniform inspired by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat; this season they’ve worn a white version of that same design. So if nothing else, Nets fans are learning a lot about art in recent years.
The Basquiat uniforms seemed pretty far out there, but the new Kaws uni takes things ever further, at least to my eyes. Seems like a weird way to build a visual program, but this is the uni-verse we live in now (or at least the NBA does).
I already know this is going to be a an against the grain opinion, but I kind of like(?) them. They’re very different, but (to me anyway) in an appealing way. Better than most of the typical City Edition uniforms. (And yes, the NBA is a mess, and yes alternate uniforms are wildly out of hand, but if they de forced to exist I prefer stuff that stands out like this as opposed to “insert shortened nickname of city or team with bland design)
The number font completely ruins it. If number font complimented the text more it would be fine.
It’s an improvement over the usual crap KAWS puts out, that’s for sure.
I dont understand what there is to like. It is suppose to be a professional basketball team uniform and it looks like a 5 year old went crazy with a crayon box. Watching the games next year will be painful.
I’m sure it’ll sell great (which is the whole point), but it does nothing for me. Getting too old for this endless parade of jerseys.
This team’s visual identity is lost in the weeds. Evidenced by the fact that they are called the Nets. Somehow a team called the Athletics (possibly the most generic current team name) has maintained a better more distinctive and far more enduring visual identity. Even one of the nets “greatest” uniforms is just an east bay catalogue Stars and Stripes template.
The NBA has waaaayyy too many “alternate” jerseys. Or city connect, or whatever they’re called. That said, I think this is what alternate jerseys should be: crazy, risky, fun. Pretty? Maybe not, but at least it isn’t safe.
I am a street art and KAWS fan. I like traditional sports uniforms, but I am still open to innovation. But somehow this clash of street art and pro basketball does not work for me. For an in-game uniform this feels as a desperate attempt to get the young Brooklyn hipsters to like the team. Note to Nets: young hipsters are not into pro team sports. Ignore them as much as they ignore you.
From what I know of KAWS, he does mostly versions of the weird grey-head elephant-eared guy looking bored, sad, or angry at the world.
Since you’re a fan can you speak to whether this uniform actually reflects any of his other stuff, if there is any other stuff of note?
Much like the Basquiat uni, near as I can tell this doesn’t look anything like the artists work save for the XX (or the crown, in the case of the Basquiat uni, which looked more like the back of an NBA2K box).
Also KAWS was born and raised in New Jersey, but I guess so were the Nets sort of, so it fits.
The only details here that make it KAWS are indeed the XX and the NETS lettering. On the other hand, he might have thought: for this one I do something completely different. As any artist should at one point in his or her career. I still like KAWS but I do not like this uniform design. No connection with Brooklyn or the team or the game itself at all.
Seems more like an attempt to appeal to the hypebeasts who wait in line for 8 hours to buy an Oreo with the Supreme logo stamped on it. I don’t think Brooklyn has been home to “young hipsters” since the Strokes were still cool.
Hypebeasts is indeed more appropriate. The fact that I use the term hipsters betrays my well over the middle age. And yes, the Strokes were genius. And still are in my dusty and donkeyeared book.
There was a time when rap and hip hop and breakdancing were just starting to break into the mainstream zeitgeist in the late 80’s and early 90’s. At that time it seemed like every movie or tv show had to shoehorn in a cameo by a rapper, a hip hop dance number, a joke where a white “square” character had to prove he was “down with the street culture” by speaking in urban jargon often in a “black guy voice”. Like this:
“Who’s Mr. Fancy over there?”
“Oh, hello. I’m Shock G. I’m an MC from the hip hop musical ensemble Digital Underground. You might know my hit song The Humpty Dance.”
“The Humpitty Dumpitty Whatnow? Anyway, what are you doing in Petosky, Michigan?”
“I heard there was a party but all I see is a bunch of honkies”
“Hey I’m no honky, my main man. I’m down with my brothas from another mother”
“Oh yeah? Prove it”
*cue record scratch and a beat boxer emerges from the crowd*
“Weeeeeeeeelllllll, my name is Dan Aykroyd and I’m here to say, I love white bread and my 401K!”
“Damn, you crackers really do know how to party!”
This jersey is that scene, but for basketball uniforms.
This is pure gold. I actually read it multiple times because it’s so spot on.
Shock G was also a genius.
The first I’d heard of KAWS was this past fall, when while grocery shopping I saw the Monster Cereal boxes on display,, and while I appreciated the retro look of the boxes from afar, once I got up close and saw the mascots’ eyes X’ed out, I thought that was super creepy. I took a look at the back of a box and found out what it was about, this collaboration, and I just shook my head.
I bought all four boxes.
I don’t find KAWS’ themes all that compatible with the image professional sports is trying to project, but they went all in on the Dios de los Muertos designs, so perhaps this is more about me being clueless.
No, it is about the Nets desperately proving that they are trendy to the young creatives in their borough. The people the Nets try to reach are not interested in them, maybe in buying this jersey, wear it twice and that is it. The Nets appeal to…yes, to who, actually? Who is your typical Nets fan? I believe old school New Yorkers from all over the city still root for the Knicks (not just Spike Lee).
I am 62, from Brooklyn and was a Knick fan until 2007 when I decided to switch to the Nets. It got even better when they decided to move and the idea of wearing something with Brooklyn across my chest was very appealing. This uniform is an embarrassment.
I glossed over this until I saw it was done by Kaws. I was then reminded of the creepy AF sculpture in Detroit that generated some controversy a few years ago.
Wait, there’s a statue of his at Campus Martius?
There’s a statue of his at Campus Martius. Huh. Didn’t know that. Then again, I really never go by Campus Martius when I’m downtown.
I buy city edition merchandise every year. I will not be doing it next year. The Nets should be embarrassed .
So a uniform like this is somehow better than a standard uniform with an advertising patch on it?
Actually, Tim, this uniform also has an advertising patch on it.
They look like the intro to a 90’s basic cable sketch comedy show.
Nike is smart. They are selling to the youth, not disgruntled middle aged uncool men.
Uncool? No, I simply have taste.
Very Flinstones-ish. Yabba Dabba Do!