Several NBA teams unveiled their City Edition jerseys while some alternates leaked elsewhere online. There aren’t many radical updates from last season’s collection of hometown tributes and throwback uniforms, but the ones that do definitely catch the eye — and not always in the best way.
1. Golden State Warriors
This is an improvement over last season’s “The Bay” tribute to Chinese heritage, and that alternate wasn’t bad at all. This season’s yellow-and-charcoal-gray combination creates an interesting departure from the Dubs’ everyday look, and the Chinese-themed accents invite closer inspection.
2. Detroit Pistons
The “Motor City” takes both a simple approach to a City Edition jersey and a bold move to go black-and-gray at the risk of looking boring. And it works. The silver piping and dark highway stripe play well off each other and give a subtle nod to the city’s automotive tradition. Take note, Brooklyn Nets.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
That an NBA team would fashion its look around Prince shows the late Minneapolis native’s pop-culture impact. The Prince theme also will extend into the game experience. The “Purple Rain” font on the uniform pays tribute to the singer’s masterpiece, but there is an odd coincidence: It’s also reminiscent of the script in one of the 1985 “Teen Wolf” movie posters.
4. Chicago Bulls
It makes a bolder statement than last season’s nod to the city’s flag that some felt was too subtle. This time Chicago’s red, six-pointed stars and blue stripes are front-and-center on the chest, but they’re made to compete with a stark black backdrop. It would have been interesting to see how the jersey looked with the flag’s traditional white background.
5. Brooklyn Nets
What a missed opportunity! If you’re going to honor Brooklyn-born Biggie, you go Coogi down to the socks. The Nets limited the Notorious B.I.G.’s signature sweater pattern to the uniform’s trim when they should’ve gone all in and used the wild multicolored swatch as its base. It’s bold, bordering on loud, but that’s the whole point of the look, and Biggie knew this. You’re hashtag may be #WeGoBig but your uniform says #NoWeDidn’t.
6. Orlando Magic
The Magic went from a dark-blue celestial pattern last season to a black base with starry piping on the side. Not particularly imaginative but not offensive either.
7. Denver Nuggets
If you’re a fan of the 1980s, rainbows and Tetris, the Nuggets’ throwback — with its blocky rainbow skyline — will appeal to you. Is the faded-line style of this modern version a tacit admission that the full-color originals were garish?
8. Los Angeles Lakers
Like the Magic, this Lakers night-glow pinstriped number looks like it merged Shaquille O’Neal’s Magic and Lakers uniforms from back in the day. (It’s actually a Showtime era tribute.) Guessing here that fans will either love or hate this version but there’s no threat of it going unnoticed.
9. Philadelphia 76ers
You usually can’t go wrong with gray (see the Lions and Pistons) but the Sixers’ nod to “Rocky” (and the upcoming “Creed” movie) with its 13 stars and ash-colored sweatsuit somehow underwhelms.
10. Charlotte Hornets
“Buzz City” went from black letters with a white outline to a predictable teal lettering with teal outline. It’s not a radical departure from last season’s sleek look but somehow takes a step back.
11. Phoenix Suns
Eh. If this leaked image really is the Suns’ look, this is the athletic apparel industry’s equivalent of a punt. The color scheme harkens to the Charles Barkley-era Suns and it really doesn’t try for anything more than that.
12. Miami Heat
Shades of “Miami Vice”? Because that’s never been done before (including the fact this is just a tweak from last season). Sensing a recurring theme here from teams that are running out of ideas.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder
Why can’t the Thunder get their alternate unis right? Each year they come up with a cartoonish concept that resembles a “Simpsons” parody of an NBA uniform, and each year they’re held up to fans’ ridicule. The “OKC” script here is a bit reminiscent of the Diamondbacks logo. The team details (in a press release and a video) how the colors and graphics pay homage to the “state’s Native American communities,” but if you have to do that much explaining …
14. New Orleans Pelicans
Mardi Gras much? You get no beads for this half-hearted effort, Pels.
15. Milwaukee Bucks
What fresh hell is this? As Sportslogos.net noted, this red, yellow and (yellowish?) orange collaboration likely was inspired by the “Return to the MECCA” court design from when the Bucks played at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena last year. Bright, clashing colors aren’t necessarily bad, but this is a bit much.