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.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): Since Nike officially took over as the NBA's official outfitter in 2017, they've done a great job at keeping things interesting. Doing away with the traditional concepts of "home" and "away" uniforms and giving teams a minimum of four uniforms with the "Association," "Icon," "Statement," and "City" editions makes it feel like we see at least a dozen uniform reveals on a yearly basis.
This offseason has been no different.
Before we get too deep into that, though, it would make sense to explain each of the uniform designations, wouldn't it?
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): For sure. Otherwise, it's easy to get lost quickly since the names aren't as commonplace as home, away and alternate. A nice and easy breakdown for you:
- Association: White
- Icon: Primary colour
- Statement: Alternate
- City: Second alternate, paying homage to something unique to the team's city
McGregor: Come to think of it, there's only one - well two - other wrinkles to factor in.
I made sure to say minimum of four uniforms since there are a select few teams that get "Classic" editions, which are pretty self-explanatory in the fact that they're throwbacks to different periods in time. Finally, the 16 teams that qualify for the postseason get "Earned" uniforms, which, more often than not, are a recoloured version of the team's "City" edition. So, yeah, there are teams that'll have six uniforms to choose from this upcoming season.
Now that that's out of the way… Let's get to the uniforms. We've seen several pretty noteworthy reveals this offseason. Where should we even start?
Irving: Since it's a city - and team - that you and I are more than familiar with as current and former residents, respectively, let's start with the new Charlotte Hornets jerseys.
🔥 Double pinstripes are BACK! 🔥https://t.co/VhNF0emDvc | @LendingTree pic.twitter.com/EGc7zeaSUI- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) August 31, 2020
What do you think here? The pinstripes are back!
McGregor: I'll be honest. I've got mixed feelings.
Love the double pinstripes, it's an ode to my favourite era of Hornets hoops with Baron Davis, David Wesley and Jamal Mashburn but I'm a little iffy on the execution. The white uniform has balance but the teal set needs more purple, like such:
You see what I'm saying?
Irving: Completely see what you're saying. It's funny ... where multi-coloured pinstripes were practically unheard of prior to that Hornets jersey, now just the regular pinstripes make their Icon jersey look blah. I realize they're trying to switch it up from the past, but if you're going to go pinstripes again, may as well go with the original multi-coloured.
McGregor: Exactly. I would've even been good with a compromise to only have purple stripes … or a purple neck … or waistband … or something. It just gives off the false sense that the team's colours are teal and white which, we know, they're not. But I guess there's time for redemption once we see the Statement and City uniforms.
Speaking of, Charlotte's divisional rival … can we call them that? Well, Charlotte's nearby divisional opponent in Atlanta has switched things up, too, and we've seen all four of their uniforms but let's start with the traditional three.
🌊 🌊 🌊- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 10, 2020
Pre-order your new jersey: https://t.co/IJ9mKRZpjv
Forever #TrueToAtlanta pic.twitter.com/c5EGTjLUsY
Irving: I loved these when I first saw them, and seeing them again, I like them even more. That Statement jersey is tough. That colour combination of black, red and yellow looks great, and man, I'm just happy they went back to it instead of that weird neon yellow they've been trying to use these past few years.
If we ranked the top uniforms in the league, the Hawks are working their way back up the ladder with these, in my opinion.
McGregor: I'm with you 100%. I like that these have elements of classic uniforms blended in with modern elements. It's pretty hard to mess that up. Going back to that athletic gold/true yellow reminds me of the "old" days with Josh Smith winning dunk contests.
As for that neon yellow, it was definitely unique but … unique ≠ good and I'll always associate it with something we should never ever ever ever ever ever see on an NBA court ever again.
Irving: I'm not joking - those are the worst uniforms an NBA court has ever seen. The neon yellow (or is that green?) doesn't even match the yellow in the shorts. It looks like someone grabbed the wrong equipment bag before a road trip and they were forced to play with mismatched uniforms. How did that ever get to the point that they actually wore those in games?!
McGregor: And to think, if I remember correctly, it was supposed to be a groundbreaking innovation to have interchangeable road jerseys and shorts.
Very thankful that didn't last long. But also surprised they did it more than once. Before I continue to go off on those, let me shift back to Atlanta's newest set.
The Statement uniform is my favourite of the bunch, too. Reminding me to point out that this year's Statement uniforms for all 30 teams will feature the Jumpman. Here's why:
"Giving the brand a ubiquitous presence across the league, the logo will appear on the right shoulder of the jersey and left leg of the short for all 30 Statement Edition uniforms. Each season, the Statement Edition designs set the tone for key matchups and are inspired by NBA teams making a bold statement every time they step onto the court - a natural connection to Jordan Brand's namesake and his approach to the game."
I get it for the Hornets, the Bulls and to a lesser extent, the Wizards but how do you feel seeing Michael Jordan's logo on your team's uniform if you're a Pistons or Jazz fan?
Jumpmenhttps://t.co/xoRmNMyMWN pic.twitter.com/eX3ORE3WMM- Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) July 21, 2020
Irving: Well, first off, the Jumpman is such a sharp logo and it looks awesome on the Statement jerseys.
But to your point, if my favourite franchise went to war against MJ back in the day and now we're rocking his logo on our uniforms, I'd probably be pretty iffy on it. I think you'd get more of an argument out of the Isiah Thomases and Karl Malones than you would from a fanbase, though. It gives me real "old man yells at cloud" vibes.
McGregor: Hahahaha you make a fair point.
It's definitely something that the traditionalist - and NBA legends - are probably scratching their heads at. That being said, relatively newer teams like the Grizzlies and Raptors were fortunate enough to miss the bulk of MJ's wrath, so I doubt their fans or former players will have too many qualms about the inclusion of the Jumpman.
Speaking of, the Raps are the most recent team to unveil a new set of uniforms, Jumpman and all.
Which North are you? #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/xmATeh0AaD- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 15, 2020
You and I broke it down on the Raps Podtable, where we weren't all the way on the same page. I wonder if that's changed at all now that we've had some time to assess them more.
Irving: The jerseys themselves are solid. It's hard to mess up a colour combination of white, red and black. I'm sticking with it that the Association whites with that crisp red chevron are the best of the bunch.
The black on red is a little too much colour on colour, but as we said on the podcast, they had to differentiate from the Earned jerseys they won their first NBA title in.
As for the new Statement jersey - I'm going to miss the old one because I thought their black alternates were one of the best in the NBA. But I can appreciate the homage paid on the jagged pinstripes, the floating letters still throw me off, though.
After you've had some time to digest them, how are you feeling?
McGregor: Now that some time has passed, I'm realizing that it's not even a matter of me disliking the new set as much as I was such a big fan of the previous set of uniforms.
They were simple, yet had some slick elements that made them sharp. There were the somewhat subdued chevrons on the side of each one and I loved the black statement uniforms as well as how the blend of the silver and red accents on the white uniform really made them pop.
That being said, I get it. These are slowly, but surely growing on me. I understand the desire to truly embrace the "North" branding with the chevron that we'll always associate with the 2019 title-clincher but, as I said on the pod, worked a little better because "North" is a shorter wordmark than "Toronto," making this chevron seem a bit more jumbled.
Funny enough, the floating letters and ode to the pinstripes are keeping the Statement in first place for me, with the Association a close second and the Icon a far third. But those silhouettes on either side…
Irving: The OVO City Edition jerseys cannot, and will not, miss. The black and gold ones from last year were untouchable with the "Toronto" script from the classic dino jerseys. I'm amped to see what they're going to do with those next. Plus when you add the Welcome Toronto court into the fold, too... it's always special when the Raps suit up for those nights.
McGregor: Right! I've said it before and I'll say it again. The execution on those is the perfect way to make the most of a partnership that none of the other 29 teams in the league have anything close to.
That purple silhouette has got me thinking of plenty of other possibilities as well.
Now that teams are beginning to unveil their respective city uniforms, it's safe to say it'll only be a matter of time before our curiosities are satisfied.
Irving: We'll have to do a deeper dive into some of those City Edition uniforms on the next edition of Cloth Talk.
Some of those are special, you won't want to miss it.
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