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NBA uniform roundup for 2016-17 season

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With adidas’ reign as NBA outfitter coming to its merciful conclusion, let’s pick apart the 2016-2017 uniforms with first-world abandon.

I don’t know about you all, but my favorite part of the NBA offseason is in full swing: the revelation of new and alternate uniforms for the upcoming season! In an effort to deter you from immediately closing this tab, I’ll start out with what promises to be most relevant to you, loyal GSoM reader: the Golden State Warriors’ “Crossover” alternate:

http://www.warriorsteamstore.com/

Before Chris Cohan wrapped the Warriors in his Thunder-era duds—which maybe were supposed to make them look like comic book heroes instead of the comic strip punchlines that they were—we had the beautifully plain Run TMC uniforms. You’ve got “Warriors” running across the chest, a player number, some nice five-layer collar striping action, and that’s that. What could be easier to throwback-ify?

But noooo ... these new alternates aren’t throwbacks, they’re ”crossovers, which combines elements of both the Run TMC era and the current era.

In other words, “we had to scrap our ‘Back-2-Back Champions’ uniform idea that we hatched when the Warriors were up 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals and replace it with something else in 12 hours because that’s when the manufacturers in China start their day.”

The result is what appears to be an identical uniform to the current roadies, except with the diagonal nameplate in place of the bridge-circle, and enlarged and downshifted numbers. The uniform double-stripes might also be replaced by the adidas triple-stripe, if one were to believe the promo image on the Warriors’ site.

Like the very first Warriors/adidas sleeved jersey (among other league-wide head-scratchers over the years), the idea was maybe half-baked. The execution was missing the baking soda altogether. Let’s zoom in:

Comparing Warriors uniforms
2016 Crossover on left; Run TMC-era on right

First, they went with white lettering (the numerals sans gold outline), rather than gold lettering and numerals with a white outline. I think this looks okay, though, I do wonder why they veered away from the original look.

Second, they kept the Copperplate Gothic numerals of the current uniforms. Look how dopey those numbers are! They don’t look any better on this alternate design than they do on the standard design. The fact that they don’t have a gold outline feels entirely circumstantial to materials / manufacturing limitations, which I think is pretty weak.

Third—what is going on with that gold outline? The logotype looks like an eight-layer mustard sandwich where a few layers got too much mustard and now it’s all squishing out. The old version on the right has a much lighter and consistent outline. This again seems likely to be a manufacturer-specified requirement: they needed a way to connect all of the letters, so as to apply the wordmark to the jerseys in one piece. (They were probably also concerned about tearing or stretching the more detailed character elements, like in the valleys of the W, which they just filled in with extra mustard to be on the safe side.) I mean, I understand if you have to get creative to make it work, but it still has to work. This doesn’t.

It’s also possible that this anomaly is specific to the Swingman jerseys, and that the authentic uniforms will be of a much higher quality. Luckily, you’ll forget that you read this and won’t remember to “well, actually...” me on Twitter.

Anyway, these will probably look great from the stands and on television, so who cares? Go Warriors!


2016-2017 Sacramento Kings Uniform http://www.nba.com/kings/NewUniforms

The only team to enter the season with a completely new identity, the Sacramento Kings did the unthinkable: they finally moved on from their decidedly 1990s lance-crossed crest logo. While it had some nostalgic cachet—the uniform of the Webber / Divac / Peja era, a personal favorite of mine—it painfully harkened back to a time when garish cartoonishness was cool, despite being decent by comparison (like the aforementioned Warriors bolt logo, which was introduced after that Kings logo). While Sacramento didn’t keep that same wordmark on their jersey for the entirety of the identity design, its decade-long interim replacement was unspeakably heinous.

This new design is a much cleaner, contemporary look—certainly tip-toeing the line between noble and boring, but undeniably an improvement. The crown logo is an homage to the franchise’s first years in Sacramento (and its earlier years in Kansas City). I’d have liked to see a more regal gold as a secondary color, rather than a rather dull silver. Sure, having two purple and gold teams in the same division wouldn’t have been a good look, but neither is ceding gold to the Lakers and settling for silver. Where’s your Olympic spirit, Sac?!?!

Lastly, speaking of Sac: I wonder if anybody’s second-guessing the choice to associate the city abbreviation with ... a ball. Like. You know. Um. Well, any publicity is good publicity I suppose.


http://www.nba.com/sixers/gallery/photos-spirit-champion-hardwood-classics-jerseys

The Philadelphia 76ers are rolling out these beauts: their 'Spirit of the Champion' Hardwood Classics manage the task of looking simple but somehow also expensive. They nailed the details that a throwback should. Simple striping and piping on the shorts, leading into that big white waistband; clean, bold “PHILA” and numbers; plain rounded neckline; and a nice commemorative patch to boot. They make those Warriors’ Crossover jerseys look like a Champs Sports special.


http://www.nba.com/nets/news/2016/09/14/nets-unveil-brooklyn-remix-uniforms

I want to love these “Brooklyn Remix” unis. I’m a sucker for stars on the side panels, and the Dr. J-era Nets jerseys that these refer to are Top 3 all-time for me. And there are some beautiful details in the jersey’s construction ... check out the gallery on the Nets’ site.

But why why why couldn’t they treat the logotype like they did the numbers, with hard corners and a black outline? It just kinda looks like they forgot to finish, like they spent all this money to make it look good but it still continues to fall flat. You know what I’m saying.


http://www.nba.com/magic/news/jerseys/orlando-magic-unveil-new-stars-alternate-uniforms

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


The crème de la crème of this season’s new NBA uniform class comes from a different country, naturally. The Toronto Raptors have a couple of awesome alternates coming up:

http://www.nba.com/raptors/1617-uniforms

These throwbacks commemorate the first professional basketball team in Toronto: the Huskies, a 1946-47 Basketball Association of America (BAA) team that should have automatically be given a championship for their logo alone:

sportslogos.net

While the shorts and jersey have contrasting blues, it still translates as true to throwback form, as those early uniforms used cotton shirts but satin shorts. I’m a fan.

http://www.nba.com/raptors/1617-uniforms

And then we have this gem: Toronto’s Chinese New Year uniform. The logo translates to “Toronto,” assuming it’s actually legible considering glyph components were replaced by the Raptors logo and a freaking dragon’s head. They should just wear these every game.


Others:

  • The Wizards will have a stars’n’stripes alternate this year, which looks pretty good as far as these things go, and is simpatico with their standard uniform design aside from the fact that they are actually still called the Wizards. (The Warriors aren’t one to talk.)
  • The Grizzlies’ MLK Day alternate is a gorgeous and well-considered design, albeit possibly with some macabre exploitative undertones.
  • Denver will wear their rainbow cityscape jerseys for Dikembe Mutombo number retirement day, about which there is absolutely nothing snarky or cynical to say:
  • And I probably missed a slew of others. I believe the Warriors may introduce a variant of their slate Chinese New Year jersey but in sleeved home white. We’ll keep you updated as we know more!