Last weekend, I ran a set of concepts designed by Uni Watch reader/contributor Walter Helfer in which he concepted NBA “Tournament Uniforms” for the Eastern Conference to replace those “City” editions introduced by the NBA this past fall. Yesterday, we looked at the proposed uniforms for the Western Conference.
Walter returns today with Part III, which looks at “vintage” teams. I’ll add in the introduction Walter provided to the previous posts below.
NBA Tournament Uniforms Redux: Part III
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.
The Vintage Years
Okay, so my favorite Baltimore uniform was used for the Wizards. I still relish long locator adjectives (yes, that’s what I call them; you can thank Golden State).
A memorable team, thanks to Ernie DeGregorio and Bob McAdoo: One that tinkered ceaselessly with their uniforms during their brief tenure. But the circumstances of their ending up in Southern California are byzantine… and they’re still tinkering.
Neither hockey nor basketball of the professional variety lasted in the Queen City. That’s a shame. But it was fun putting CINCINNATI on those classic jerseys.
FT. WAYNE PISTONS
That’s ZOLLNER Pistons to you, buddy. A reminder of pro-basketball’s beer-league origins. Coming up with the Z-shaped thunderbolts on the shorts was the product of a brainstorm.
KANSAS CITY KINGS
The NBA’s most-traveled team stops in the City of Fountains. Remember, after coming to rest in Sacramento, they attempted to bolt to Anaheim. This is a team on roller skates.
This one was a bit of a stretch, but it’s also one of my favorites. Nebraska’s only major league team, and they had to share it with Missouri! Had they opted to go all-in on Omaha, they could have kept the old name.
The NBA has passed through a lot of New York burgs, hasn’t it? Teams from 70-80 years ago had tiny lettering, especially when city names were long; I took it upon myself to make it less tentative.
ST. LOUIS HAWKS
I guess Missouri doesn’t like basketball of the professional variety. But the uniforms are cool and that’s what counts! I don’t think anyone will tire of Columbia Blue and red.
SAN DIEGO ROCKETS
I chose the Rockets over the Clippers because of the colors, and the novelty factor. The Clips were more of a let’s-try-this-again effort. All I can say is, I’m glad the Celtics didn’t end up there.
There’s a lot of 1979 in those uniforms, and I was naive enough to think a title would keep the team in place. It didn’t work for Rochester, either. It’s a matter of time before the NBA returns to the Emerald City, hope I’m still alive. Climate Pledge Arena needs another tenant!
The team that would become the Seventy-Sixers had an interesting palette, but the uniforms needed some tarting up.
Their stay in the Pacific Northwest was brief, but DAMN! Those uniforms come alive with that tribal-inspired trim.
Thanks Walter! Another fantastic set of designs! I loved them all, but especially this vintage set — the NBA would do well to return to some of these designs pronto.