Remember when the NBA unveiled all those ridiculous-looking court designs for its inaugural In-Season Tournament? The league’s insistence on using an “innovative” court format has just resulted in a uniform controversy.
Here’s the deal: As you may recall, the idea has been for the home team in each Tourney game to wear its City uniform. Naturally, teams made sure that their City designs would provide enough contrast against their Tourney courts. The Lakers, for example, have a BFBS City uniform this year, which provides enough contrast against their yellow-and-purple Tourney court design (although it’s not great against the purple):
The Lakers reportedly like the black uni and have even become a bit superstitious about it (which is understandable since they’ve gone 4-0 in the Tourney, making them one of only three undefeated teams). There’s just one problem: The Tourney semifinals and finals are being played in Las Vegas, and those games have their own court design. It’s similar to the 30 team-specific Tourney courts — bold colors, a center “runway” — but without any team branding:
The NBA has decided that the Lakers’ BFBS City uniform won’t provide enough contrast against that court. So, as first reported last night by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the league has decreed that the Lakers will instead wear their primary yellow uniforms for tonight’s Tourney semifinal game against the Pelicans, even though the Lakers are the higher-seeded team and will thus be the designated home team.
According to McMenamin, an unnamed Lakers player, when informed of the league’s decision, replied, “That’s ass.”
It’s hard to argue with that assessment, at least as it pertains to the entire City/Tourney visual program. Most of the uniforms are awful, the court designs are even worse, and the Tourney itself is a big “Who cares?” This situation with the Lakers seems like a perfect encapsulation of how silly it all is. Nicely done, NBA!
Update: Several outlets are now reporting that the Pacers are being hit with the same restriction:
As is the case with the Lakers, the Pacers will be wearing their gold Statement Editions (0-3) in Vegas rather than their black City Editions (5-0) due to visibility issues with the league-designed court. pic.twitter.com/WmGpy89NTw
— Pacers & Fever Uniform Tracker (@PacersUniTrackr) December 7, 2023