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Decoding the NBA All-Star Game Warm-Up Jacket Patches

Whatever else you can say about last night’s NBA All-Star Game (and most of what was said was not kind), it certainly provided an entertaining set of warm-up jackets, which featured lots of information for fans to process.

On the back, each jacket featured the player’s name, his flag of national origin, and a star-shaped patch with a number indicating how many times he’d been selected as an All-Star:

There were lots of sleeve patches, mostly related to awards tied to past All- Star weekends. For example, nobody wore a patch for having been named the league’s MVP, but there were patches for past All-Star MVPs, with the patches shaped like the trophy for that award:

There were also sleeve patches for past winners of the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Contest, both of which can be seen in this shot of Steph Curry:

See that other patch on Curry’s jacket, above the Jordan logo? That’s for winning the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Trophy as the league’s annual Social Justice Champion, an honor Curry notched in 2023.

Curry also had the All-Star MVP patch, so I’m pretty sure he led the league in patches last night:

The one patch I’m unsure about was this one, worn by Kevin Durant:

Is that for being the league MVP? No, that’s not what the trophy looks like (and besides, as we’ve already seen in an earlier photo, Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t wearing this patch). Is it for being the NBA Finals MVP? Nope — again, it doesn’t match the trophy (and neither Giannis nor Curry was wearing this patch). Hmmm.

A few people have suggested to me that this patch could be for Durant having won the Rising Stars MVP award in 2009. That’s plausible, because it’s connected to All-Star weekend, but the patch design doesn’t match the trophy. Someone else said it could be for Durant having been named MVP at the 2016 Tokyo Olympics, but that’s not an NBA award, so it seems unlikely. Anyone know more?

It sure would’ve been nice if the NBA had published an explainer piece regarding all these patches. Did they do so and I just missed it?

One other note from last night’s game: In what I’m assuming is an All-Star record, the Eastern Conference’s starting five included three different players wearing No. 0 — Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum — plus they had another zero-clad player, Tyrese Maxey, on the bench:

That’s a whole lotta nothing!

Comments (17)

    They changed the rising stars MVP trophy within the last few years. If you look at the one from 2009, it seems to resemble it much closer. Also on the topic of ASG, Jaime Jaquez wore the Miami Heat’s city edition jersey but with a custom front saying “El Heat Cultura”. First time a player has had an alternate/custom specifically for the ASW?

    Juan Toscano-Anderson had a custom Warrior jersey with the logo in the colors of the flag of Mexico in the dunk contest a couple years ago.

    That’s true! I guess I was thinking more like changing the full script/wording. Especially interesting since they’ve done El Heat jerseys in the past.

    It was a sloppy practice game at best with the no dribble Jokic-Doncic exchange as a high/low point of the game. This game needs something to play for, like home court advantage in the Finals or a high draft pick. It is nice that the players all like each other but it has nothing to do with sports. Having said that, the uniforms and these warm up suits looked much better than expected.

    Four players wearing 0 was appropriate since that’s the amount of defense and effort shown last night.

    I used to love when the players couldn’t duplicate numbers, so you got a sense of the player hierarchy- like when Patrick Ewing couldn’t wear 33, because Larry Bird had seniority.

    The patch on Durant’s sleeve appears to have a star with an up-arrow (so a “rising star”), so I think the Rising Star MVP theory has a lot of merit.

    Absolutely loved the retro-style shooting shirts with the collar. Gotta bring those back! Also love the patches, one of the few All-Star uni traditions that is phenomenal.

    I think the mystery patch on Kevin Durant’s sleeve refers to his 4x NBA scoring titles.

    Is it possible the Durant trophy is for him winning the old HORSE competition? Doesn’t look like that trophy either, but he is the only one to ever win it

    Still talks a lot to beat the warm ups for an All Star game in Houston where they had the patches for all the All Star Games they had participated in on the sleeves like mission patches on a space suit

    Here is a photo of the Rising Stars trophy Kevin Durant won in 2009


    I think that may be what is being replicated with via the aforementioned patch.

    I think the Big 5 just need to retire All Star Games. Even MLB’s gold standard ASG has been diluted to nothing with interleague play and now every team playing every other team every year. The various skills challenges (HR Derby, hardest shot, 3 pt contest, etc.) are much more entertaining to watch than the ASG themselves.

    Considering the KD patch has a star, with an upward facing arrow on it, signifying that it is “rising”, i believe the rising stars MVP hypothesis is correct

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