I’ve always made it a point at the start of each season to observe which teams have sported a new look - more so than a player sporting new kicks. If you’re a heavy jersey buyer like me, than new NBA uniforms are always an eye-opener. Yes, a new uniform, logo or colour has absolutely no impact on the way a team performs, but it does ensure scrutiny will be at its highest.
Since 1990, 29 of the 30 NBA franchises have either changed logos, colours or modified their respective jerseys to reflect the ever changing culture of the modern age. Most teams nowadays, if you haven’t noticed already, sport a third alternative jersey and in some cases, teams have customized jerseys honoring St Patrick’s Day to the Latin community across America. Some have completely overhauled their look of the past for the better (Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento etc), or for the worst (Cleveland, Minnesota etc), while some have tweaked it slightly (eg LA Lakers, Chicago, Portland, New York). Some teams even changed their look entirely and then backpedalled seasons later to show off a more modern look of their original uniforms (eg Detroit, Utah, Golden State), others have changed in the last decade due to franchise relocations (Grizzlies- Vancouver to Memphis, Hornets- Charlotte to New Orleans & Seattle Supersonics – Oklahoma City Thunder), or otherwise changed to promote a better image (Washington- Bullets to Wizards), while some just can’t make up their minds on what looks and fits right- we’re looking at you Philly! (who have changed their kit four times in the last 20 years).
Then of course there’s the Boston Celtics who have (with all due respect) stuck with their rich tradition and have steadfastly maintained their look that goes without saying is- for the ages. Hey, it’s worked for them 17 times in 64 years, why would you change at all?
Thankfully, we all live in an era where long shorts is the go, while the short stuff is best left to the footballers (unless if it’s the LA Lakers on New Years Eve ‘07 wearing retro short shorts against Boston). Should we be thanking MJ for this? Either way uniform ‘change’, like trades and free agency around the NBA, is where it happens.
The List this week takes a look at the six teams that decided to change the makeup of their kits this season. This will be followed by a top 5 list of teams that really should change for fear of retina molestation.
Note: Teams + number of times team has changed kit since 1990:
1. Dallas Mavericks (3)
Ditched the navy blue and went with the aqua. Hopefully this doesn’t encourage Dirk to wear anymore headbands. I wonder if Diddy had a hand is this version?
2. Los Angeles Clippers (2)
Give the Clippers credit, this new re-traditional look reinforces two things- 1) Their franchise status as LA’s ugly-looking stepbrother and 2) Owner Donald Sterling as the NBA’s all-time greatest cheapskate.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (3)
At this point, they’ll do anything to wash themselves clean of LeSouth Beach. Given the bland and lame look of the new version, I’m surprised Cavs fans aren’t burning this jersey.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (3)
The look is neat. But the reality is the T-Wolves can change kits all they want; no one will ever get to see it. And we wonder why?
5. Utah Jazz (3)
Have gone old school somewhat with the purple and green. The return of the music note on the chest was a nice touch. While they’re at it, they may as well stick Jerry Sloan’s face on it since he’s surpassed five US presidencies, potential hair-loss and 22 seasons of The Simpsons.
6. Golden State Warriors (2)
Brought back the royal blue and gold and changed the uniform to a modernized version of the 60’s outfit with the Golden Gate bridge. Glad the orange alternative kits were given the arse. Orange associated with anything Golden State just smells.
Teams that require change (in no particular order after Boston):
1. Boston Celtics
Severely outdated. Nuff said.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
The current look reflects the city, just ask Joakim Noah.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
With the talent they have now, KD and company deserve to be better represented.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
Maybe they’ll be set on a design once they reach 76.
5. Washington Wizards
What a bizarre franchise. From MJ owning it, to MJ drafting Kwame Brown, to MJ actually playing in it and then there’s Gilbert Arenas. The moniker would be just the beginning.