Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 4:44 pm  |  31 responses

The NBA’s Newest Jerseys

A fashion expert’s take on the League’s brand-new threads.

by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack

The mistakes of the mid-’90s NBA jerseys feel about as far in the past as the memories of a Glove-to-Rainman alley oop. (Here’s one for old-time’s sake in their first SuperSonics uniforms.)

Truth is, NBA teams have done a better job of reigning in some fashion sense over the last decade. Fans will get an opportunity to check another group of new uniforms this season, as six teams will unveil new jerseys for the 2010-11 season.

I’ll provide my thoughts on each jersey, but my opinions don’t do them justice. That’s why I recruited fashion writer Sabrina Alexis Newman to give her evaluations on the League’s newest threads. Sabrina founded the fashion and lifestyle website anewmode.com, so she knows her stuff. And she has strong opinions about what went right and wrong with the design of each jersey. Let’s get it going:

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs’ new motif, which the club calls a “new expression of wine and gold,” is similar to last year’s version; still, it has its own flavor. The new expression is meant to harken the Cavs’ unis from the 1970s, and it resembles a color scheme worn by the Cavs last year in one of their many alternate uniforms.

The ‘Cleveland’ and ‘Cavaliers’ font were changed to a more standard block, but the ‘C’ with the sword going through it still lives on each side of the home and away shorts. Better yet, there is apparently a “DNA statement,” as the team calls it, that is printed along the back of the inner-collar of the crew neck. It reads “All for One. One for All.” If only they had that sort of team camaraderie during last season’s playoffs.

Sabrina says: “The Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys are a definite step up from last year. The new version is less flashy, (maybe they couldn’t afford the flash anymore after losing Lebron!) and the basic font they went with is a huge improvement over the old one.

I really like that they went with a simpler, more classic style — it’s a lot more professional and less costume-y. However, now their jerseys look more collegiate than professional, which may be representative of the team’s skill level this year, as well. Hopefully, they will prove us wrong by showing us less is more.”

Dallas Mavericks

Eccentric designs are nothing new for the Mavs, who’ve even let P. Diddy put the design touches on their laundry. Yet the Mark Cubans have shown more conservatism than normal in their new design. The number is back below the team name on the front and the white piping on the road jerseys have been removed. (Full disclosure: I am going off of these Mavs uniforms, which wasn’t necessarily their normal road look.)

Sabrina says: “The old Dallas Mavericks jerseys looked like a throwback to the styles from the 70′s…in fact, John Travolta may have worn that under his butterfly collar jacket and bell-bottoms. The new version may be more modern, but has much less personality and looks like it was modeled after a scuba suit. And I could definitely do without the curved v-neck, it’s way too dainty looking. I want to be able to see as much of Dirk Nowitzki’s chest hair as possible!”

Golden State Warriors

Warriors Suns Basketball p8516529reg

The Warriors took it back old school with their drastic logo change. Orange was dropped from the color scheme as G-State went with a traditional yellow and blue combination, which is a scheme you’ll find in some variation among many California sports teams, past and present (UCLA, San Diego Chargers, Cal-Berkley, Los Angeles Rams). The popular “The City” uniforms are spun off here as the Warriors become the only NBA team to contain an architectural element in its logo. It’s a dazzling uniform that meshes old school cool with new school hip. However, others are less impressed.

Sabrina says: “What is it with the curved v-neck? I didn’t know there were fashion trends in basketball but apparently there are and this one definitely needs to go. Ugly neckline aside, the colors are ugly, the font hardly makes a statement, and don’t even get me started on that ridiculous bridge they stuck in the middle.

I’m not even a sports fan and I actually feel kind of angry by these egregious changes. All of the elements of the old one worked perfectly together — cut, color, font, size — creating a style that was bold without being too obnoxious. The new jersey makes them look a lot less like warriors and a lot more like someone working for the San Francisco board of tourism.”

Los Angeles Clippers

Modest revisions were made by the Clippers for their new uniforms over their old ones, which I’ll mostly let Sabrina explain. One fantastic alteration is that they changed the handwritten script on their road uniforms from ‘Clippers’ to ‘Los Angeles.’ That’s what the Dodgers carry on their road unis and it’s what the Lakers used to rock when they wore blue road jerseys in the 1960s. It’s a classy look.

Red remains the primary color with blue taking a backseat. Perhaps the first alternative to the home/road unis will be primarily blue, as it’s been the last few years.

Sabrina says: “I definitely like the old one more but even if the new one was amazing, no amount of stylistic modification can change the fact that it still says ‘Clippers’ on the front. They kept the concept pretty much the same but turned down the volume a bit with the new one, replacing the big blocks of blue running long the sides with small stripes that remind me of the ribbons Rainbow Bright wore in her hair. The script, which looks like it was written by a 3rd grade girl, also looks a little smaller on the new version. Maybe the players made a special request so they’re not as easily identified as part of the team.”

Minnesota Timberwolves

Green is gone from the T’Wolves old jerseys, which lasted all of two seasons. The look now is much colder — no green, no trees and mountains, just silver and the same shade of blue. Between the lack of green, the prevalence of silver and the dagger-like font of the ‘Wolves’ on the front, I think of this jersey as the Serial Killer of NBA uniforms. Dexter would rock this.

Sabrina says: “The new Timberwolves jersey is a major upgrade from last year’s, even though the players are gonna look like they’re perpetually dealing with bright blue pit stains. That aside, the new neckline is a major improvement over the old one, which was pretty cool, but too fashion-y and artistic for a sports jersey. I’m also happy to see that they banished the unnecessary and hideous pops of green, keeping the color palette a lot cleaner and more uniform. However, if Dr. Freeze saw this, he would sue for copyright infringement.”

Utah Jazz

Jazz Nuggets Basketball p7411734nm

Love the new look for the Jazz. Perhaps their fans will be a little less angry now that their beloved club has made a seismic shift in its uniform. A return to the roots of their team’s identity, similar to the Warriors and, to a lesser degree, the Cavs, reminds me of how well the dark purple and pure green play off each other. The inclusion of baby blue into Utah’s color scheme never made sense to me; too many teams rely on that color anyway. What the Jazz have now is a jersey any team fan should be proud to sport.

Sabrina says: “I give props to the Jazz for ditching the 3D lettering and going for a smarter play on their team’s name: a musical note. However, I don’t like the bottom of the note representing a basketball. I know it’s part of their old logo; it’s definitely clever but way too cutesy. I really like the new neckline, too. It’s a lot sleeker than the old one which spilled out way too far. Overall, the new style is a big improvement. Although, it still doesn’t vanquish the irony of a Salt Lake City team being dubbed the ‘Jazz.’”

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  • Darius

    So much for a fashion expert. She bashes the Warriors jersey and theirs is the only that is an improvement

  • Tim

    There is a lot of history that Sabrina doesn’t know about.. Good commentary though, for someone with no knowledge of the NBA, it gives you a different aspect of the design. always a good thing

  • serevei

    i wholey agree wit hyou

  • Argo

    This is ridiculous, how is she going to bash the warriors jersey? Themes jersey is amazing- she obviously knows nothing about the warriors- warriors fans love the change..

  • http://www.twitter.com/retepadam RetepAdam

    As little as Dexter cares about sports, there’s no way he’d rock a T’Wolves jersey.

  • Young C

    The Warriors jerseys are really a love it or hate it style. They are definitely the most unique jerseys in the league but theyre alright. The Jazz probably have the best jerseys in the League now. Im not mad at the Cavs or the T-Wolves jerseys. Dallas and Clippers…meh.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    If anything, Dexter would rock a red Heats jersey. Rep his city, and you gotta think red is probably his favorite color.

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    you are straight trippn if you think the new warriors jersey is an improvement. i’m from the bay and i havent spoken to anyone who likes the new design yet. honestly, the small number inside the logo looks whack as hell. and why is the logo so big while the name of the team so small? plus, they put the supposed new bay bridge design in the logo, and the bridge is far from being finished.
    i’m expecting jersey sales to go way down, while sales for retro jerseys go way up.

  • unagi

    Warriors have the best jerseys in the league now! They are reppin’ their logo and that’s cool!

    What is it with 90% of the league taking on that “college style”: plain lettering + number below it? That’s boring! That trend makes all jerseys look identical – except for their colors. I mean it’s cool for “traditional” teams like the Bulls, Celtics and Knicks (those teams have had their jersey design for ages – except for small tweaks). But other than that I hate it how most of the teams took on that boring look and removed logos from their chest.

    NBA jerseys were much cooler in the 90s…

  • Cameron Jones

    Truthfully I hate them all. Honestly the Clippers uni was terrible they need a complete overall just to try to wie the stink of all those years of mediocrity off of them. All the Cavs uni’s did was make me think “why did LeBron get to rock the cool unis while they are stuck with something that a high school team would be ashamed to wear.” The rest of them besides maybe the T-Wolves and Mavs took a huge step backwards to either boring or throw up inspiring.

  • eMaleMe

    Uhhhh…Sabrina, Totally not meaning to be disrespectful to you and your fashion expertise but…really?…jazz logo “too cutesy”? Uniform neckline analyses? Cavs new uni is an improvement? (by the way what’s wrong with flashy?). And someone please school her on “Jazz” history (they used to be in Nawlins…New Orleans).

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I love how Sabrina clowned the Clips. That was cold.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I gotta admit, both Warriors jerseys look good to me. And the old dark/baby blue Jazz jerseys were better than the ones now, in my opinion.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    the Cavs jerseys were very nicely done but the lebron-era home whites are still the best.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    The Warriors 90′s Spreewell era jerseys are dope.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Whether classic or modern approach doesn’t matter. If it looks good it looks good.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Technically my Nuggs changed their jerseys up a bit. The collar is completely different. Check it out! Means I gotta spend on new swingmans :s

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Those Clipper jerseys purely suck. Wots with that weird thing at collar? It looks like a rip-off from the streets of Bangkok. Trust me, I’m pretty confident I can design something equally bad for a fraction of the fee. Plus the old ones were decent anyway. Love the new Warrior and Jazz ones though! T’Wolves should just go retro, they do on some nights anyway.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    the dubs jersey´re awsome, the “expert” knows jacksh1t bout it

  • Sam J

    Warriors fan, and I love em.
    So glad they ditched the orange, now they look more like the mid-90s sides which made me a fan in the first place.

  • Chris

    Not a Cavs fan, but even I would have considered buying their navy blue road jersey with the morse-code collar.
    These ones do, as has been said, look like college jerseys.

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    shows you how much a woman would know about basketball jerseys.. warriors and jazz are the hottest new unis around

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    very surprised at your guys’ takes on the warrior jersey’s. personally i think they look terrible on the players, but to each his own

  • Maya Laku

    Sabrina is very ignorant,the reason why they had that bridge put on their jersey is because of the golden gate bridge that was built in SanFrancisco andplus,it’s a throwback,dumbass,and why would you care about the curved v-neck?I think Sabrina should look at the history of the warriors and then learn why they changed their jerseys.

  • will

    ^calm down, sabrina doesn’t have to know about the history that’s what kyles for she’s for the fashion perspective. Also, why do people defend things that are old, it doesn’t give an excuse to be ugly

  • park

    I think this is the first article I ever cringed at reading on SLAM…ever.

    Is Sabrina serious about those Warriors jerseys? Why did they stick a ‘ridiculous bridge’ in the middle? ughhhhhhhh IQ level droppingggg. Cutesey? Costumey? Please never write in SLAM again..

  • http://www.kylestack.com Kyle Stack

    See a lot of negative reaction to Sabrina, so I should reiterate what will just posted. Sabrina is a fashion expert, meaning she gives her opinion from a fashion perspective. I’m here for the background info and NBA knowledge. If you think of it from that perspective, the story might make more sense.

  • teamjacky

    Warrior fans who like the new jerseys are just living in the past when the team actually had some success, as the jerseys remind them of a time before they became one of the laughing stocks of the NBA.

  • Twilight for Sabrina

    More jerseys need to incorporate pinstripes. My critique aside, Sabrina is largely right. Except for her bit against curved V-necks. That is the best look for a pro.

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