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Volume 25 No. 89
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NBA Unveils "City Edition" Uniforms With Heavy Emphasis On Culture, City Locales

The NBA new Nike "City Edition" uniforms are "like nothing the league, nor pro sports, has seen before," according to A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA TODAY. The majority of the new uniforms were unveiled yesterday, and each version "dives deep into city and team culture, referencing everything from monuments to franchise legends, to shed light on what makes one organization different from the next." Nike designers "worked directly with the league and each NBA team, with the objective of 'owning' both franchise and city pride in mind." Nike Senior Graphic Designer Elesban Montoya: "We felt like we had to define the fabric of the city. Every detail on that uniform truly became a reflection of what their narrative was to be." Neuharth-Keusch notes the uniforms will be "worn sporadically throughout the remainder of this season, then Nike will start all over again" for '18-19. The Celtics' uniform "may look like a typical gray and green alternate at first glance," but it "ventures further into the past." Details include a pattern "resembling the Celtics' parquet floor" and Red Auerbach's signature above the jersey tag. The gray color scheme is a "tip of the cap to the black and white photographs that define much of the franchise's history." The Nets' uniform "focuses more on the history of New York City's most populous borough, featuring a graphic wiring pattern inspired by the suspension cables of the Brooklyn Bridge." The Pacers went with a "vertical checkered flag on the left side of the jersey to represent Indiana's tradition of auto racing," while the Grizzlies' uniform will feature a "black and white color scheme to mimic the look of the 'I Am A Man' signs from the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968" (USA TODAY, 12/28).

CULTURE FIT: In San Jose, Mark Medina reports the Warriors will "pay tribute" to the Bay Area's Chinese culture on their uniforms "in a few ways." The Chinese characters for prosperity is located "on the waistline of the shorts," and the chest logo "combines the Golden Gate bridge and classic Chinese symbolism." The team will "keep the suspension bridge detail on their shorts," while “'The Bay' appears on the front of the jersey in homage to entire Bay Area, which boasts the top three out of five Asian populations in the United States in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 12/28). Warriors CMO Chip Bowers said the team "worked closely with Nike on what could be a cool, more edgy reflection of Chinese culture in the Bay Area." Bowers: "Nike and us went through a lot of the imagery and iconic images around China Town, going back to the gold-rush era" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/28).

: NBC SPORTS CHICAGO's Mark Strotman notes the Bulls' uniform is an "ode to Chicago's flag." It features "four red stars down the right side and the jersey features a red, white and blue colorway throughout." The "iconic 'Chicago' script adds another personal touch, as do the words 'Sweet home' toward the bottom tag of the jersey." The jersey "represents the city perfectly" (, 12/27).'s Paul Lukas said, "At some point someone ... decided, and it sort of caught on with people, that the Chicago city flag is a strong design and it can be leveraged in all sorts of ways. And to see the Bulls doing that sort of fits into that. And it is a nice design" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/28).

: In Miami, Jordan McPherson notes while the Heat's "City Edition" uniform "won’t officially be unveiled until January," it "pays a fitting homage to the team’s past." The team will "wear white jerseys with pink, black and powder blue accents -- a color scheme synonymous with that of the TV show 'Miami Vice.'” Player numbers will be "powder blue, and the word 'Miami' will be written in the same pink color and script that appeared on the front of the old Miami Arena, which served as the Heat’s home" from '88-99 (MIAMI HERALD, 12/28). THE RINGER's Paolo Uggetti wrote, "The 'Miami Vice' inspiration, the colors, the font -- it’s all perfectly Miami, the version of Miami we see in the movies" (, 12/27).

: The Knicks' uniform will honor the city's Fire Department, as the jersey "features an FDNY crest that says 'Knicks' and 'N.Y.C.' along with ladder and fire hydrant symbols (N.Y. POST, 12/28). The Wizards' edition "might top the rest." It "pays homage to the District of Columbia" with "marble patterns on the side, which are supposed to replicate the Washington monuments" (, 12/27). The Pistons' edition is "navy blue with chrome lettering and striping down the sides." The chest reads "Motor City," and a "D" logo "appears on the waistband as a nod to the Pistons' return to downtown Detroit this season" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/28). Nike is "employing an outer space theme" for the Magic’s jersey. It "features a star field on its front and back, in addition to a gray-and-black Magic logo on its front" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/28).

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: In San Antonio, Madalyn Mendoza notes the Spurs' edition is an "ode to San Antonio being 'Military City, USA.'" However, some fans "weren't impressed because the camo design looked too similar to the Adidas jerseys the Spurs have worn for past Military Appreciation Nights." Some of those fans were "hoping for a revival of the team's retro 'Fiesta' colors" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 12/28). Additionally, Nike "went with the simple 'Los Suns' approach" for the Suns (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/28).'s Maloney & Skiver noted Phoenix has a "vibrant Hispanic community, so the 'Los Suns' lettering is a nice touch (even if that jersey has existed in the past as part of Latin Heritage kits)" (, 12/27).

REPORT CARD:'s Lukas wrote several uniforms are "excellent and several are awful, with most falling somewhere in between." The Grizzlies received an "A" grade for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a design "based on the protest signs from the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike." An "excellent history lesson, and kudos to the team for sticking to the minimalist design approach." The 76ers received an "A-" for the "instant classic" inspired by the Declaration of Independence. The Bucks also posted an "A-" for their "all-in" cream-toned uniform (, 12/27).'s Kevin Arnovitz called the 76ers' jersey "beautiful." Arnovitz: "I like the off-white. 'Phil' is a great abbreviation. You've got a lot of airport codes -- ATL, PHX. This is a real abbreviation" ("The Jump,"
 ESPN2, 12/27