Last weekend, I ran a set of concepts designed by Uni Watch reader/contributor Walter Helfer in which he concepted NBA “Tournament Uniforms” to replace those “City” editions introduced by the NBA this past fall. Those designs covered the NBA’s Eastern Conference. If you missed that, please refer to the above link to check out that first set of designs.
Walter returns today with Part II, which encompasses the Western Conference. I’ll add in the introduction Walter provided to the previous post below.
NBA Tournament Uniforms Redux: Part II
by Walter Helfer
Frequent visitors to Uni-Watch know I’m not one to suffer in silence when professional leagues who ought to know better foist misguided and ugly uniforms on consumers of its product. I took on the City Connect project of Major League Baseball some time back, and now I turn my attention to the NBA’s in-season tournament. I tried to draw on what I find to be team’s trademarks, as well as their appearance when they enjoyed their greatest success. A hefty chunk of B-ball teams have never grabbed the brass ring, which gave me a degree of freedom not found in football and baseball. And, for your pleasure, I included the shorts and the backs; I’m nothing if not thorough. I can’t wait to read your input, and when necessary, correct my mistakes.
Pretty close to the uniforms worn when the team won its title, and not all that different from now. The fans can’t get enough of the green uniforms, but multiple shades of blue I see as a “Dallas” kind of thing.
They wore a sensational powder blue uniform with shimmery fabric a few decades ago. That deserves an encore. The Nugs have oodles of great uniforms to choose; the rainbow design got plenty of consideration.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
This was a joy to design, taking heavily from the ’70s look which the team wisely reprised in the 2010s. My favorite detail is the white pinstripes on the gold shorts.
Two NBA titles were won in the solid red uniforms, so that’s how we’re gonna roll. I always thought they could’ve used more color, so here’s some mustard with your ketchup.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
A team still waiting for its ship to come in. I used the first San Diego uniforms with the current color scheme; it’s distinctive, which you can’t say about their current get-ups.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The NBA’s most glamorous team takes the black well, so much better than the white home uniforms which look pale and dull. Certainly a team that calls for brash and inspired ideas. It is literally the face of the league.
I was tempted to roll with their Vancouver uniforms, the ones with the Haida-designed trim. But that really doesn’t apply to Memphis, so I doubled down on their warp+weft pattern.
Someday this team’s going to amount to something… but perhaps not during my lifetime. A motif I liked were the repeating evergreen trees on their cuffs.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Well, of course there are going to be fleur-de-lys. I think of New Orleans as having plenty of ironwork and it is reflected in the lettering and side panels.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The only thing I saved was the color scheme. It’s hard to fit OKLAHOMA CITY on the front of a jersey, so I used a treatment employed by Illinois State in the 1970s.
Your team is named after the King of the Solar System: Go bright or go home. I thought long and hard about putting the 1977 PHOENIX lettering on the jersey, but it seemed a shotgun marriage with the vivid color scheme and pattern.
One glorious year. Of course, a redesign was in the pipeline beginning the Blazers’ trademark diagonal jersey graphic. But if they had it to do over, might they have stayed with the vertical word? Let’s assume yes. Jack Ramsey’s sport coat lives on in the side panel.
They had very distinctive SACRAMENTO lettering and I was happy to bring it back on what amounts to a Reverse Retro uniform.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Very much in the spirit of the Reverse Retro NHL program. This is based on my favorite San Antonio uniform, and only the background color is changed.
Sadly, this team really has no golden age. So I took the expansion year uniform and simplified the jersey graphics. A multitude of redesigns hasn’t improved on the Mardi Gras colors. I really like their red, orange, yellow, and black suits of recent vintage, but ultimately they were indicative of the flailing the Jazz have done. Purple, green, and gold make me think of their honeymoon, and Pistol Pete.
Thanks Walter! Another fantastic set of designs! We’ll have the final part very soon.