For the fourth year in a row, Nike and the NBA have brought back the City Edition jerseys. The goal of these uniforms is to evoke city-wide pride for each franchise, showcasing aspects of their city that fans can relate to and identify with. While each team and its fans have their sentiments about how the 2020-2021 jerseys turned out, so do we. We are giving you the story behind each team’s jersey and ranking them.
Yes. Just, yes.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are bringing back a piece of franchise history as they don their classic fiesta colors. These colors became popular between 1989 and their first championship in 1999. The Admiral, David Robinson, even approves.
A modern take on franchise history
Philly is back in black. Their infamous black jerseys were their road game uniform and marked the beginning of a uniform collection that lasted from 1997-2009. The black is most remembered as a part of their Finals run in 2001. Also, on the jersey is the city’s iconic Boathouse Row outline, and if you look close enough, you might see the letters “TTP” hidden as a nod to the Sixers famous “Trust the Process” slogan.
The Brooklyn Nets continue to celebrate Brooklyn artists with their team gear. Last year it was Biggie Smalls; this year, the Nets honor Brooklyn native Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat was born in Brooklyn in 1960 and became known for his graffiti in the 1970s.
Pinstripes are in this season
After just one year without, the Hornets reintroduce “BUZZ CITY” to the front of their fresh mint-colored city jerseys. The mint is complemented by gold and granite ridged trim, which celebrate the city even more. Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States, and the ridged trim and pinstripes represent the edge of a coin.
When creating this jersey, the Kings looked to weave together aspects of older uniforms fans loved over the years. Hoping to evoke a sense of nostalgia, the Kings gained inspiration from their 1985 Baby Blue Road Uniform, 1994 Checker Alternate Uniform, 2000 Black Road Uniform, and their recent 2019 Sactown City Edition Uniform.
The Orlando Magic mixed old with new as they unveiled their second orange jersey. The original Orlando font with pinstripes brings in the old, while the orange color brings a new-age vibe to their threads.
Loving all the colors
Like Philly, the Suns are also back in black, but that’s not the biggest story behind their city jerseys this year. The focus is on the word “The Valley”. From the South Mountain range to Cave Buttes and beyond, the Phoenix Valley culture runs deep. In these jerseys, Suns celebrate “The Valley” as its franchise’s home and the youthful culture that the young core, the “Valley Boyz,” have built.
Represents their city well
The Atlanta Hawks pay tribute to one of the city’s most iconic and revolutionary natives, Martin Luther King Jr. The legacy of the late civil rights activist permeates the city with deep roots from the King Center to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and beyond. As the Hawks look to preserve his legacy, proceeds from this jersey will support various economic empowerment programs for communities of color in Atlanta.
The gold and red “CHICAGO” letters across the chest of the Bills’ jersey are a nod to the recognizable marquee at the Chicago Theater. The Chicago Theater is an iconic piece of the Windy City as it often represents Chicago in culture through films, television, artwork, and photography.
This year, the Memphis Grizzlies pay tribute to their soul-filled city as they honor a Memphis native, Isaac Hayes. Isaac was a singer/songwriter, best known for his Oscar and Grammy-winning theme song from the movie Shaft, and his work for Stax Records, which was based in Memphis. The alternating striping on the black jersey represents the grooves found on the Stax’s vinyl records. The Grizzlies even worked in the Stax logo as part of the design.
I’ll pass on these
Portland Trail Blazers
Our 2020-21 uniform celebrates the unique beauty of Oregon’s landscape as well as acknowledging & honoring the tribal nations throughout what is now considered Oregon who have called this land their home from the beginning.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) October 29, 2020
The Trailblazers’ jersey is a nod to the scenic landscape and topography of Oregon, as well as a tribute to the tribal nations that have existed throughout the region since the beginning.
Golden State Warriors
Oakland is and will always be a part of our team’s identity.
“Oakland Forever,” presented by @Rakuten, is a nod to the We Believe era and its turning point in Oakland’s basketball history.
To honor the Town, we partnered with Nike to put a spin on these classic uniforms. pic.twitter.com/d7nUAJLbzM
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 2, 2020
Inspired by the team uniforms worn from 1997-2010, the Warriors celebrate 47 seasons in the Bay with their Oakland Forever jerseys. These jerseys focus on the We Believe era that included a playoff run in 2007. That year, the Warriors, an eight-seed, beat a one-seed, the Dallas Mavericks, for the first time in a best-of-seven playoff series.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC looked as though they teamed up with Love’s, one of their corporate partners, to create this jersey. The stripes give the uniform a raceway-gas station kind of look, and you guessed it, Love’s is a travel truck stop company.
We’ve seen these before
For the fourth year in a row, the Pistons are coming out with another “Motor City” jersey. Yes, another. At least they’re consistent.
Denver didn’t get too adventurous when designing this year’s city jersey. They brought back the skyline design that made its debut in 2018-2019 when the Nuggets sported their beloved rainbow design. This year the jerseys are red as a nod to Colorado’s landscape. The flatiron red color is also the universal color for goodwill, which is something the Denver franchise looked to capture in the meaning behind their jersey.
We’ve seen this before, but not on a previous Celtics’ city jersey. This year they made their jerseys look like their championship banner from 2008. If you can’t hang a new banner, you might as well wear one.
That’s our review of the 2020-2021 City Edition jerseys so far. Which teams do you think had the best ones?