As we saw last year, the NBA City Edition uniforms act as a way for Nike and all 30 teams to pay tribute to the state or region represented by the team. The City unis allow teams to get very creative and think outside-of-the-box when it comes to their alternate uniforms.
We’ve already seen a wide variety of City unis that deviate from traditional looks, and many of them have been received quite well. Others? Not so much. With this year’s crop starting to trickle out one-by-one in recent weeks, we’re going to highlight (and rank) them all here.
Here are the uniforms that have been officially unveiled, ranked from worst to best.
9. Orlando Magic
The Magic basically took last year’s City jersey and removed (or scaled back) the best part of it — the sky pattern. This just feels like a lazy, less appealing reprise.
8. Charlotte Hornets
The best part of the Hornets’ uniforms is their color scheme, so not having purple to pair with the teal here is pretty disappointing. This uniform isn’t terrible, but it’s rather boring, unspectacular and safe. I feel like the entire purpose of the City uniforms is so that teams can really go for it and get creative, so I’m not a fan of this play.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
I’m not typically a fan of gray uniforms, and these “Rocky”-inspired ones may end up looking like a sweatsuit out on the court. Overall, the minimalistic design is pretty solid … I just wish they had gone with literally any other base color.
6. Detroit Pistons
This is the best “Motor City” that the Pistons have had to-date, but that’s also not really saying much. The racing stripes down the middle is a pretty neat touch, but I hate that they went black and silver here. Detroit’s red, white and blue color scheme is great, so I wish they had incorporated it here … or at least thrown it back to those weird teal jerseys from the 90s.
5. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets’ skyline jerseys are their always their best, so it’s a shame that they don’t wear them full-time. I’m very excited to see the rainbow design come back with these City jerseys, which seem like a modern interpretation of the classic rainbows. I’m not overly crazy about the navy blue collar and no arm stripes, but overall I like these a lot.
4. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls approached their City look with a minimalistic approach and came away with a pretty surprising winner. Chicago’s flag is awesome, so it’s very cool to see them use it as the City jersey’s inspiration for the second straight year. This rendition is infinitely better than last year’s.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
Like most people, I was extremely excited to find out that the Wolves were going to unveil a “Purple Rain”-inspired jersey to honor late hometown hero Prince. These jerseys are very good and will likely be very popular both in Minnesota and league-wide, but it feels like they fall just short of being great and that’s frustrating.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have the worst uniform set in the league and, frankly, it’s rather staggering that their primary look has survived for so long. That being said, this is the best jersey that the team has ever had. Not only is it gorgeous and vibrant, it’s also the first turquoise NBA uniform to pay tribute to Native American culture. That rules.
1. Brooklyn Nets
Pop culture tributes have clearly been a popular theme for the City unis this year, but the Nets have the best of the bunch. Honoring the late, great Notorious B.I.G. with the Coogi sweater pattern in the trim is such a subtle but incredible move that turns their typical, somewhat-bland primary uniforms into a work of art.
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