Olympics

NBA Cloth Talk: Discussing Team USA's uniforms, sneakers and more for the Tokyo Olympics

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Cloth Talk: Team USA uniforms, sneakers [NBA Getty Images]

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): It took an extra year of waiting, but the Summer Olympic Games are upon us.

Good things are often worth the wait, right?

That being said, the United States Senior Men's National Team is set out to compete for its fourth-straight gold medal, while the Women's Senior Team is looking to make it seven (!) in a row.

Of course, Nike has seen to it that these teams go for the ultimate prize in style, outfitting Team USA with new looks for the Olympic Games.

Originally unveiled last year, we're finally getting to see them on our athletes and in action this year.

So, what you think? You rocking with the new looks?

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): For sure. I think you were the one that said it to me, but the fade from light blue, to royal blue, to navy blue with the red at the bottom, it gives off a similar feel as the Utah Jazz's alternate altitude jerseys, which I've always really liked. I think the plain white lettering with no outline is crisp, too, tying it all together nicely.

What about you?

McGregor: I'm a fan. I look back to the uniforms from the 2019 World Cup, which, in my opinion, weren't great! Like, at all.

I look at these as major upgrades.

I'm not even quite sure how to explain it, but the blue fade on the uniforms reminds me of, like, the Nike Flyknit gradient that I've seen on certain sneakers in the past. It's new, it's unique, and I think it works.

The white uniform is a bit plainer but, as suspected, looks much much better in action.

As for the Women's look, I always appreciate how they hold it down with red uniforms while the Men's teams wear blue. This year's uniform contains some elements that pay homage to the 1996 team that got the Gold medal streak going.

Funny enough, that team had Dawn Staley running the point. This team has Staley leading the way on the sidelines as the head coach.

Irving: I'm not sure I ever even realized that until you brought it up, that the Men's National Team always wears blue and the Women's National Team always wears red. It's cool and it works, though.

But you're 100% right about those 2019 FIBA World Cup uniforms failing to meet expectations. They remind me of a practice pinnie. It's no wonder they finished seventh in that tournament, the lowest USA has ever placed, hahaha.

McGregor: Hey, if nothing else, nuggets of info like that are what I'm here for! A cool way to make sure the red, white and blue are equally represented by the top-ranked program on both sides.

As for 2019, Deion Sanders was onto something. You look good, you feel good, you play good! I mean, honestly, the uniforms in 2004 when the United States took home the Bronze were … underwhelming. Maybe that had a hand in it?

Here's to thinking Prime Time's words hold true again this year, with improved threads resulting in a finish much higher than seventh place.

Ah! And I figured it out. The blue uniforms remind me of the knit pattern on the Kobe 11s…

…a perfect segue into the footwear choices we'll be seeing at the Olympics. The Player Edition (PEs) sneakers are already out in full effect.

Irving: I knew exactly what you were talking about. In fact, the King of Kobes himself, DeMar DeRozan, rocked the Olympic version of those Kobe 11s when Team USA won Gold in Rio in 2016.

But enough about the past. There's plenty to talk about in the present when it comes to kicks for this year's Olympic Games. I want to get the ball rolling with a pair that I had never seen before until they came across my Twitter timeline.

Shoutout to Kevin Love for debuting the Nike "Greater Than" (GT) Runs during one of Team USA's first open practices.

I don't know what it is about these that's drawing me in, but I really like them. I think they're insanely unique, looking unlike anything else that Nike has put out recently. Plus, they could not look more comfortable to play in. The little Nike swoosh within the big Nike swoosh, even the red accent on the squiggle that outlines the bottom.

They just do it for me, and I might look into purchasing them for my next basketball shoe.

McGregor: The little Swoosh within the big Swoosh is the detail that stood out for me when I got a high-quality look at the shoe itself. I think the splashes of colour on a predominantly white base just work.

On top of that, they do look comfortable as hell.

You pointing out Love's debuting a Nike sneaker got me thinking about the sneaker affiliations of this year's Team USA. It's actually pretty interesting, at least to me.

We know Nike's gonna have their guys laced from head to toe, but I think it's pretty cool that there are three Jordan Brand athletes on Team USA (and even more worldwide), all debuting their own PEs of the Jordan 36.

From Bam...

...to Beal and Tatum...

...they've also got Canada's Kia Nurse, Slovenia's Luka Doncic and Japan's Rui Hachimura covered.

I'm personally not the biggest fan of the 36's silhouette, but it looks like it performs well and the presence at these Olympics reiterates that Jordan Brand has got a hold on the next generation of stars in the NBA and in the W.

As for the Nike guys… I think D-Book is gonna try to give DeMar a run for his "King of Kobes" title once he joins Team USA. Who else you got an eye on, shoe-wise?

Irving: Well, first off, I said "wow," out loud when I saw Nurse's Jordan 36 PEs for Team Canada. Those are dope. By far the best out of the group you just sent. I also really like how Jordan included each player's personalized logo on the left tongue. It gives each pair its own flair.

And I'm not going to argue Book challenging DeRozan for that title at the Olympics, either. You know he's going to come with flavours we've never seen before.

But as for other pairs I've had my eye on so far, another one that stuck out to me was the Dame 7 EXTPLY's.

Simple and clean, yet the splattered red, white and blue on the sole and on the shoelace holes adds a pop of colour. And again, they look extremely comfortable to play in. 10 out of 10, would rock on the court.

McGregor: They're not represented much, but the Adidas guys are holding it down, and for Dame, it means even more to wear a shoe that bears your name. He's one of two players on the team with their own signature shoe, the other being KD, of course.

It's crazy that KD is up to the 14th iteration of his signature shoe. I won't get too far into it, but I do remember playing in the Triple Black KD3s during my AAU circuit a decade ago and now he's still among the league's best and the strap is back on his sneaker. Is it just me, or could these double as a PE for the Brooklyn Nets tie-dye retros?

Irving: If you told me those were rolled out with the release of those tie-dye retros, I would've believed you. I have to be honest though, I'm not a huge fan of the silhouette of the KD 14s. They're kind of clunky and the strap seems like it was just slapped on there.

McGregor: I think I'm with you on that, the return of the strap is appreciated, but they're far from my favourite in his line.

Still, I don't think the clunkiness will hold KD back from being the purest scorer at the Olympic Games, with men's basketball getting underway on Saturday, July 24.

From the sneakers to the uniforms and the high-level competition, there will be plenty to keep an eye on. I can't wait.

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

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