Uniform design is one of the most accessible ways that teams and fans stay unified. Not only do spectators don the jerseys of their favorite players, but the best uniforms in the league also reflect the fans and city that the franchise calls home.
At its best, a well-designed uniform adds an element of flash that can make a team feel stronger—and every squad is looking for an extra edge. Nike’s City Edition uniforms (and even new court schemes) have been released, as well as updates to classic uniforms.
While some teams have opted for style, like the Memphis Grizzlies with their tribal-print collars, others have sought to incorporate city- or franchise-specific symbols into their new kits. Here are the top seven uniform designs heading into the 2020-21 season.
Brooklyn Nets Go Abstract
The Nets City Edition design includes a throwback to the early 90s tie-dye, as well as a locally-sourced design that plays with color and texture. The edgier, non-tie-dye design comes from Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. However, the team’s promotional photo features Kyrie Irving—not James Harden.
Though Harden was rumored to be heading from Houston to Brooklyn, the deal fell through after an insufficient offer from the Nets. With the MVP stuck in Houston, NBA betting odds this season will take a close look at whether Harden is willing to perform well for the Rockets—as well as how Irving does carrying the Nets.
Working in Irving’s favor isn’t just a flashy new design, but also a revamped court. The City Edition court includes stylized, colorful boundary markers, and dyed wood inside the box.
Atlanta Hawks Team Up with MLK
The Hawks opted for a classic re-design of their original uniforms that highlight their red, yellow, white, and black color schematics. What makes their Nike City Edition uniform unique is their inclusion of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
The gold-and-black uniforms read MLK across the front, highlighting the partnership between the Atlanta Hawks, MLK estate, and the NBA as a whole. While the uniforms may not be as flashy, they represent an unprecedented partnership that may help introduce and link more social justice causes with the sports league.
Golden State Warriors & Miami Heat Go Retro
Rakuten teamed up with Nike to help revamp Oakland’s uniforms. The orange, gold, and navy scheme are fitted with retro typeface and a 70s-style cut. As one of the most colorful arrangements on Nike’s City Edition roll-out, the Golden State Warriors will have a perfect backdrop to re-introduce Steph Curry.
After a year of injuries for Curry and the loss of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, the Warriors will need a clean start this coming season. Ideally, a revamped uniform will help them return to their former Dubs glory.
Meanwhile, across the country, Miami Heat has also revealed a retro design for their Nike City Edition uniforms. Branded as a ‘Vice Versa’ format, an ode to the 80s Miami Vice days, the Eastern Conference champions will have a flashy and trendy uniform to help them kickstart the season.
This is the second edition of their Miami Vice aesthetic, which has proved popular amongst fans. Will it be enough to send Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, and Jae Crowder to the Finals again?
Toronto Raptors Keep it Classic
Much like the Atlanta Hawks, the Raptors have kept a minimalist design for their 2020-21 uniforms. Even the team’s colors of red, white, and black, closely resemble the Hawks’ design. Additionally, the Nike City Edition uniform is composed of black and gold, which also mirrors Atlanta’s MLK ode.
However, the Raptors’ scheme is centered around an arrow in the center of the jersey, which alludes to the NBA’s northernmost team. The clean design also features a maple leaf, also representative of Toronto and Canada as a whole, near the string pulls of the shorts. In the future, the Raptors may incorporate an ode to the team’s players that are connected to the UK—after all, Canada remains a Commonwealth.