Greetings and good Saturday morning, Uni Watchers. I hope everyone had a good week.
A few months back, I ran a pair of league-wide “crossover” concepts from Danny Kaufmann (Part I and Part II) in which Danny imagined Major League Baseball teams in soccer uniforms. Today Danny returns with the first part of a related project — only this time giving the soccer treatment to NBA unis.
In those MLB/soccer concepts back in February, I wrote, “each and every jersey contains an advertiser. I struggled with actually running these, but obviously there was a lot of time and effort put into each concept kit, and the advertisers selected seem to make sense for the teams. That’s not an endorsement of the advertiser (and I wish Danny hadn’t included them).” That holds true for these as well. In fact, Danny addressed this in his submission to me:
I was so overjoyed with the response to my MLB Soccer Kit Concepts project that I decided to do the same with the NBA. But first, a note about jersey ads: I am opposed to the prevalence of advertising on sports uniforms (and otherwise) but a key element of this project, like the previous one, was to consider how teams would look in soccer uniforms. Part of that entails working with an undesirable ad just as I would with a logo or color scheme I disliked.
So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at Danny’s …
by Danny Kaufmann
With the primary kit, I wanted to mimic the hawk’s outstretched wings from the late-’90s jerseys. I’ve always loved light blue uniforms so I combined the Hawks’ ’60s and ’80s designs.
Naturally, Boston channels Scottish club Celtic (but with stripes instead of hoops for differentiation). The away is my interpretation of the Celtics’ City unis. I like the irony of a basketball court being the main design element of a soccer jersey.
The chevron pattern allows Brooklyn to keep it as plain as they want without it looking like a white t-shirt with a logo ironed on. I went with the Basquiat graphic for the change strip.
The Hornets’ teal uniforms transfer so seamlessly to the kit medium that I didn’t feel the need to change anything about them. This hexagon design is a little more out there than what they have tried and it works even better.
The Bulls’ home kit speaks for itself. The away kit has a few more layers (pun intended). Art Deco design naturally inspires this look but the gold elements also reference Chicago’s etymology.
I didn’t have much to go on so I opted to recreate the basketball netting from the V in the Cavs’ jersey logo. Cleveland’s away kit throws back to the late ’90s.
I replicated the facade of the Mavs’ arena, which stands out in a league where most arenas look like a certain NHL team logo. I poached this design since stars (and green) felt like an obvious choice.
As soon as I began working on Denver’s primary kit, I knew I had to use the 1980s Adidas zig-zag to create snowy mountains. The iconic rainbow design was also an easy choice.
While the current Pistons set is too plain for the NBA, it gave me enough to work with on the home kit. Flames and teal hopefully breathe some life into the away uniform.
For my favorite team, I had to base the first kit on my first Dubs jersey, the blue uniform that has been a part of a couple of decent moments in the past few years. With many considering “the City” jerseys the best in basketball, I didn’t think too hard about the second kit.
The key element of the home kit is the stripe details, which come from the Rockets’ Statement jersey. That detail carries over to the away kit, where an abstract version more closely resembles the current City and late ’90s jerseys.
The Pacers have experimented with a variety of different striping designs, any of which would work here.
For a nautical (but not pirate or sea creature) theme, blue and white hoops were the first thing I pictured. The away kit goes the graffiti route, which is the only interesting thing the Clippers have been able to do with their current set.
I was pleased with how the Lakers cleaned up their look a few years ago so I kept it simple for the home. Since Kobe Bryant was such a big soccer fan, I honored him with the second look.
I chose the home kit pattern because it reminded me of the trim on the 2020-21 City jersey but had enough character to stand on its own. I’ve always liked the “MEM” logo so I used it in my recreation of their Statement uniform.