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NBA Lifestyle

NBA Cloth Talk: Discussing the newest 'Classic' edition uniforms for the 2020-21 season

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Where we dive into all things style in the NBA (NBA.com Illustration)

Welcome to Cloth Talk! An ode to the phrase coined by DJ Khaled, NBA.com'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.

If you missed the first edition of Cloth Talk where McGregor and Irving familiarize the reader with the different uniform terms, as well as discussing a handful of new primary uniforms, you can find that here.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): KI, you ever seen "Back to the Future?"

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): This is a tough start to today's edition of Cloth Talk but I'm really not a big movie guy. I know Marty McFly's Nike Mags are one of a kind but no, I've never seen "Back to the Future."

McGregor: You know, it's crazy, I almost got going based on the assumption you'd seen it before so I'm glad I asked but still, I'm pretty sure you get the premise of it.

I won't spoil it for any other readers that haven't seen it but basically, in the first one … he goes to the past and in the second one … he goes to the future. I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. By my count, four teams are gonna be wearing "Classic" looks this upcoming season, either to commemorate an anniversary or honour a specific team.

Last year we saw the Raptors and Grizzlies pay homage to their inaugural teams with the 1995 looks, which are hard to top but this year, they've got a rival.

Of the classic uniforms we've seen thus far, we gotta start with Brooklyn, right?

Irving: It's only right... these jerseys are perfect. They couldn't have done a better job mimicking the ones from the early 90s Nets teams. The late Hall of Fame sharpshooter Dražen Petrović would be proud. Are these the best "new" uniforms we've seen yet?

McGregor: You know, I think they might be at No. 1 right now. There's so many outside elements that add to it, too. Like the video they used to unveil the uniforms:

And the fact that they're playing on a retro court:

The uniforms alone would have been enough to win me over but they pulled out all the stops and really brought it back to the early 90s. Like, it's crazy these are from before either one of us were born but the way they rolled it out makes me feel connected to them as if I'd seen them before, if that makes sense.

Irving: It definitely makes sense. And that's been one of my favourite parts about all of these new uniforms since Nike's taken over. It's not just new jerseys - we see new courts to match them, sometimes new team warmups, too. Franchises are going all out to make everything come together and it's great for the consumer.

The buzz around new uniforms have never been more popular than it is today in the NBA.

McGregor: That Nike piece shouldn't go unnoticed, either. This Nets team has two of the brand's biggest signature athletes in KD and Kyrie, so we even get coordinated sneakers as an added bonus.

Irving: Exactly, all the elements work together to give fans so much more than just, "here's a new jersey, buy it!"

The players seem to love it, the fans definitely love it and it makes for special regular season games on nights where it may typically just be an any day-type matchup.

Another newly released "Classic" uniform that's really grown on me is the Golden State Warriors tribute to the "We Believe" era.

At first, I think I was just disappointed that they didn't copy the We Believe-era ones verbatim but the more I look at it, the more I like it.

McGregor: Those have grown on me a lot, too. It's a reminder to hold off on judgment until you see the uniform in a photoshoot like that, the way it's meant to be unveiled.

You know what the blending of elements reminds me of? Remember back in the early 2000s, Nike had the "Rewind" swingman jerseys? They weren't made for on-court use, but there would be throwback uniforms in team's current colours, or something like that.

Best example I can think of is the Jerry West-era Lakers jersey that was black, purple and gold instead of blue. Kobe wore it on the cover of SLAM magazine I wanna say. I remember a Hawks one styled like the green "Pistol" Pete Maravich-era unis except it was black, red and gold and said "Reef" on the back for Shareef Abdur-Rahim… and I feel myself going down a rabbit hole.

I say all that to say, this is like a modern day "Rewind," created for on-court use and showing love to Oakland, where the team played for so long. It checks a number of boxes.

Irving: I do remember those. Maybe it's just because our age group was the prime demographic for them at the time they dropped but I feel like that version of a Kobe jersey was just as common as the regular Lakers jersey. That's also coming from someone from Boston though, where Lakers jerseys are few and far between.

But the tribute to Oakland on those Warriors jerseys are a nice touch and I think the anticipation to see Steph and Klay back on the court together in those uniforms makes me like them all that much more, too.

McGregor: That's a big fact. Basketball is just way better and more fun when the Splash Brothers are involved. Also, it's crazy I was going to say that it feels like we get multiple retro looks from the Dubs every year and, well, it's because we do. Last year they had two classic looks and this year, not only are they wearing the Oakland Tributes, but they're also rocking these, worn by Baron Davis and co. a few years ago:

Which look gets the nod from you: "Oakland" or "The City?"

Irving: I'm sticking with the "Oakland" ones just because they pop a little bit more. "The City" ones are classic classics. And by that, I mean they're just a little too plain.

McGregor: Yeah, I get the plain knock. The one thing that stands out about those is the number on the back being inside a cable car which, in retrospect, was pretty ahead of its time for the 70s but still, it's more traditonal than anything.

It'll be interesting to see how it looks once we see those guys model them, whenever that may be.

Now … that's two down and two to go for these "Classic" looks that have been unveiled. And, sense we're now both letting the takes fly on the older looks that steer to the plain side, I might as well keep with it and talk about the Mavs, who are celebrating their 40th season in the league.

The look is also simple but I have to admit the inclusion of Adam Sandler in "Uncut Gems" here helps out some.

Irving: Those are even more plain than the Warriors "The City" ones, but I've always liked the Mavericks green jerseys. I'm sure you remember the green alternates that Dallas wore back in 2004:

I had that same Dirk Nowitzki jersey when I was a kid and while I wish they were throwing it back to those, I still like their 'Classic' edition for the 2020-21 season. Colour aside, the font is what does it for me.

McGregor: The font is very uniquely Mavericks, as is the green. I get the choice to take it back to Year 1 and go with green, rather than white, since it's more indicative of the identity.

With a player like Luka, there's no doubt it'll be a best-seller, either. And it's also crazy we're looking at one of the league's best young talents that rocks 77 like a nose tackle and he's so good that he actually gives the number some swag.

Irving: At the near-MVP-level he's playing at, we'll see a wave of #77's hit the NBA after like... 2030, when an only 31-years-old Luka starts playing against players that have grown up idolizing him.

McGregor: Whoa… no lie, that's actually pretty mind blowing when you put it that way. It's the truth, too.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are led by two 21-year-olds in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. After taking it back to 1995 last year, the team is wearing a look from 2001, as the franchise is celebrating its 20th season in Memphis.

I vividly remember seeing these in action in the early 2000s, meaning it's crazy to think it could be considered "Classic" now but I'm excited to see them in action. That colour combo of black, teal and red is pretty sharp.

Irving: That's how you know we're getting older, when uniforms we grew up watching end up being throwbacks - just like the "We Believe" Warriors ones, too.

But yeah those jerseys may as well be called the "Pau Gasol's" in my mind. They're super clean, everything about them. Just a hint of red, I also like the teal band on the waist and at the knee with the logo on the side on the shorts, too. Those are great, but the court to go with them is even better.

McGregor: Right, the fact we remember those can make us feel (relatively) old, and the fact that guys like Morant and Jackson might not be old enough to actually remember those uniforms. They were like five when Memphis switched up to the navy and "Beale Street Blue" colourway we're accustomed to them wearing now.

That might be more wild than guys wearing 77 in honour Luka in 10 years time. Both mind blowing. Geez, this really is like "Back to the Future."

On the jersey front, I agree. It's nothing too loud but also has some elements that kind of make it a blend between the plainer Dallas and Golden State looks and the tie dye Nets look. And with the season potentially right around the corner… we could be seeing these in action pretty soon.

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

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