NBA Lifestyle

NBA Cloth Talk: Breaking down the 16 "Earned Edition" uniforms for last season's playoff teams

The earned uniforms for Orlando, Los Angeles and Milwaukee (NBAE/Getty Images)

Welcome to Cloth Talk! An ode to the phrase coined by DJ Khaled,'s Gilbert McGregor and Kyle Irving delve into all things style in the NBA. From uniform reveals to sneaker choices and everything in between, the two experts give their takes and provide clarity on concepts that are impossible to ignore.

In the latest edition, the two react to the official unveiling of "Earned Edition" uniforms for the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason in 2020.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): At long last, we've got a chance to officially set our eyes on the "Earned Edition" uniforms for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Like always, there was a leak here and there before the official unveiling but there's nothing quite like the glamour shots of the uniform that allow you to get a true look at them.

Before I ask for your initial thoughts on this year's collection, it probably makes sense to explain that the "Earned Edition" is a uniform created exclusively for the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason in the previous year.

Introduced in the 2018-19 season, the concept was scrapped in 2019-20 but makes its return this season. With the explainer out of the way, have a look at the full set of jerseys, courtesy of the league.

Now I can ask … KI, what are your initial thoughts on this year's set?

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I think per usual, when it comes to any sort of jersey release, there are some that are great, some that are "eh," and others that missed the mark. I certainly have my favourites and least favourites lined up, though.

What about you? How'd you think the NBA did with the designs this time around?

McGregor: Yeah, you hit the nail on the head there.

Before I ask you which ones stand out the most, I'll start by saying can we get the Spider-Man meme going for the Thunder and Mavs?

Irving: If my photoshop skills were stronger, I'd throw that together for you right now. It's funny how things work out though because OKC just happened to debut these "Earned" uniforms against the Mavericks in their first game back from the All-Star break.

That picture definitely gives off intrasquad scrimmage vibes.

McGregor: Haha you definitely wouldn't be able to tell who's who if names weren't on uniforms. Especially since Dallas debuted its Earned uniforms just the day before against the Spurs.

It's crazy we went from not seeing any of the uniforms at all to the grand reveal and then seeing them in action in a matter of a few days. That being said, Milwaukee's looked awesome in pictures and even better in action.

Irving: When you originally sent me the Twitter thread of all of the new uniforms, that was the first one that stuck out to me. The deer antlers on the sides are really unique and I think it single-handedly makes the Bucks' Earned uniforms one of the best of the bunch.

We haven't seen my favourite one on display yet, though. The Orlando Magic's uniforms take home that honour for me.

Maybe it's just that royal blue colour, but the star pattern looks clean on the sides.

McGregor: Absolutely. In the case of the Bucks, anytime you can seamlessly integrate elements of your logo and identity in a uniform - you do it. Hopefully, we see other teams follow suit.

As for Orlando, I'm BIG on the star pattern. It's a nice little ode to the uniforms I associate with T Mac getting buckets in the early 2000s.

I might have scaled back on the size of the logo on the front but that's just nitpicking.

Irving: What's your favourite uniform of the group?

McGregor: When it comes down to it, I think I gotta go with the Lakers. They remind me of a dark gray version of the "Hollywood Nights" uniforms from a few years ago and the "Rewind" uniforms that were made just for retail but Kobe wore on the cover of a SLAM magazine a few years ago.

I also have to point out the gold details on the uniforms, reserved specifically for the defending champs, while the other 15 teams got silver.

I personally think they were executed really, really well.

Irving: The Lakers have done a great job of keeping all of their special edition uniforms simple this season, and it goes a long way aesthetically. Nike giving the defending champions gold accents and all the other teams silver accents is a cool touch on these Earned edition uniforms too.

McGregor: All true.

I won't put anyone on the spot and flat out ask "who has the worst?" but I will ask you this: Which uniform would be on that "great" level if there were just a few changes here and there?

Irving: I think the Trail Blazers' uniforms fit that description perfectly. Grey jerseys can be difficult to nail because if they're done too simplistically, they just look lazy. I think if Portland used even a slight pop of red, those uniforms would've been perfect. Instead, they kind of just look like the printer ran out of ink.

McGregor: Yeah … just a little bit of red would really set those off. Speaking of needing red, I think the Raptors' set adding red would have actually made them a much better tribute to the VC era.

As for gray uniforms, the Clippers? 😴

Haha, I'm on my third uniform now but … I really think the Nuggets would have been next level if they replaced the pickaxe with a wordmark. The logo is cool and all but I don't really associate it with their brand, a nice script wordmark would have made it exceptional.

Irving: I'm definitely with you on the Raptors uniforms. I feel like they missed the mark there because those VC-era jerseys were one of my favourites growing up. But at the same time, Toronto's new jerseys grew on me fast this season once we saw them in action, so maybe these Earned ones will have the same effect.

And if we're talking about missing the mark... it's not that I don't like the Heat's Earned uniforms, I just don't understand why they wanted to be the Pacers so badly.

McGregor: Yeah, they tried for the "Trophy Gold" thing and … yeah … I don't know.

Shoutout to the Pacers, too, for bringing the pinstripes back. Reminds me of Jermaine O'Neal and Reggie Miller.

By the way, if you're wondering when the rest of these uniforms debut, head to NBA's LockerVision site.

All in all, it's safe to say it's a good thing that the Earned uniforms are back, right?

Irving: That's definitely safe to say. No matter what you think of these installments of the "Earned Edition" uniforms, it's always cool knowing that beyond the new jersey releases at the start of each season, there will always be more new jerseys coming at some point throughout the year to reward teams for their success in the previous season.

It's one of the many nice touches in the partnership between Nike and the NBA.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from

Preview: Raptors look to keep rolling vs. Blazers
Kyle Irving
Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel
Davis (knee) upgraded to questionable vs. Heat
Kyle Irving
One Play: Giddey's no-look pass deserves another watch
Kyle Irving
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
Where LeBron ranks all time in statistical categories
Nick Metallinos
Stephen Curry
Every game-winner of Curry's NBA career
Nick Metallinos
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are undefeated in 2021-22
Bucks Big 3 improve near-undefeated 2021-22 record
Kane Pitman
More News