Nike has released its new “City” uniforms for (almost) all of the NBA’s 30 teams, and they range from visual delights to, uh … let’s just say “missed opportunities.” The uniforms were designed to honor the cities, and the fans, of the various franchises, and there are some definite artistic successes here. Twenty-seven teams—everyone but the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and Toronto Raptors—released their jerseys on Tuesday.
Without further ado, the complete rundown; pick out your favorite and start saving your pennies right now.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder: Sadly, this is about as generic as these jerseys get. This looks like the default jersey you get when you create your own team in a video game.
26. Brooklyn Nets: Nice nod to the Brooklyn Bridge on the sides of the jersey, but an underwhelming design overall.
25. Detroit Pistons: Going minimalist with a nod to the old lines of automobiles produced in Detroit (“Motor City”), but again, safe when others went bold.
24. Denver Nuggets: Mining regalia, sure, but not exactly shattering expectations with this one.
23. Washington Wizards: Another missed opportunity. There are notes of the Washington Monument, and “The District” is a sweet touch, but overall, plenty of potential D.C. design elements didn’t show up here.
[Yahoo Sports Store: Get the NBA’s new “city” jerseys]
22. Cleveland Cavaliers: “The Land” has always been a forced nickname, and this uni, with its hints of area tire manufacturers, is as forced as an early-career LeBron James heave.
21. Utah Jazz: This is … well, this is a bold color choice, that’s for damn sure.
20. Charlotte Hornets: Rolling with the “Buzz City” moniker, which may or may never have been used in the real world. The neon blue piping is straight out of the ’80s and “Stranger Things,” a fine touch.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves: This could double as the official jersey of the King of the North from “Game of Thrones.”
18. Los Angeles Clippers: A nod to the old-school ’70s San Diego origins of the team.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Focused on the neon of the skyline rather than, well, anything else about Texas. Interesting choice, but an eye-catching jersey nonetheless.
16. Orlando Magic: This looks like a lost Disney cast member uniform, which is appropriate.
15. Indiana Pacers: A nod to the Indy 500 and the region’s racing tradition, a sharp blend of recognizable visual elements.
14. Milwaukee Bucks: “Cream City” is a peculiar nickname, but if we’re going to roll with that, then this is a pretty solid cream-and-forest combo.
13. Boston Celtics: Traditional Kelly green with a parquet floor design. Implies that all of Boston revolves around the Celtics, which sounds about right.
12. Chicago Bulls: A clean, classic feel for a sort-of-clean, classic city.
11. Portland Trailblazers: Best detail is the plaid notes within the uniform.
10. Phoenix Suns: The “Los Suns” pays tribute to the city’s Hispanic heritage, and the deep purple is one of the more striking colors in this entire lineup.
9. San Antonio Spurs: Gotta love the camouflage notes here. It also looks like a thousand miles of bad road, which is also appropriate for San Antonio.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Splits the difference between the city’s ’70s basketball history and present-day music scene.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: A nice nod to Kobe with the Black Mamba styling, and 16 stars to represent the team’s championships.
6. Sacramento Kings: This is a sweet callback to classic threads of the ’80s. Any uniform with a lion on it is a quality uniform.
5. Memphis Grizzlies: At first glance this appears an oddly monochrome choice, but it’s a subtle, powerful nod to the “I AM A MAN” signs that striking workers carried during the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968, one of the key moments of the Civil Rights era.
4. New Orleans Pelicans: This could’ve been peeled right off a Mardi Gras float, and we mean that as high praise.
3. Philadelphia Sixers: An absolute classic throwback. This will be the jersey of choice for hipsters in 2018.
2. Miami Heat. A “Miami Vice”-inspired jersey. It (almost) doesn’t get any better than that.
1. Golden State Warriors: Now that the Warriors are winning, the entire Bay Area wants to claim them. Funny how that works. Cool touches: the Bay Bridge accents on the shorts, the Chinese characters for “prosperity” on the beltline.
The Knicks, Rockets, and Raptors have plenty of source material for their uniforms. It’ll be interesting to see the choices Nike designers make when they finally reveal those uniforms.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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