Nike's new NBA looks keep on coming

The Minnesota Timberwolves went with more of a makeover than most with their new Nike look. Timberwolves

It's been a frantic week for the uni-verse, as the NBA's changeover from Adidas to Nike has led a slew of teams to unveil their new uniforms -- sometimes with a few days' notice, sometimes with none -- all of which has resulted in a frenzy as fans try to keep up with the latest news.

On Thursday alone, three teams have unveiled new uniform sets. We're going to take a look at those new designs here. Before we get started, a few quick reminders:

  • Remember, there are no more home and road uniforms. Home teams can now wear any uniform they like, with the road team required to wear a uniform that provides sufficient contrast.

  • All teams will be unveiling two additional uniforms -- one in the fall and one in the winter, in most cases.

  • In addition, eight teams will be unveiling throwback uniforms. Sportslogos.net has reported that the eight teams will be the Bucks, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Lakers, Pacers, Suns and Warriors. One of those teams -- the Bucks -- has confirmed that it has a throwback design on the way.

  • Starting this season, all teams are permitted but not required to wear a corporate advertising patch. So far 12 of the league's 30 teams have revealed plans to go ahead with a patch (including one, the Bucks, who announced their patch partnership with Harley-Davidson on Thursday), though others could follow before the start of the season or even after the season has begun.

Now then, let's look at today's unveilings, one team at a time.


The Bucks are one of several teams that have chosen to stick with their basic uniform set -- not surprising, as they've been wearing their current design for only two seasons. Like virtually every team that's unveiled so far, they've made some tweaks to their collar and some other very minor adjustments, but for the most part their look is unchanged.

The Bucks also used today's unveiling to announce that they'll be wearing a Harley-Davidson advertisement. That, along with the addition of the Nike logo on the jersey and shorts, is the most significant alteration to their look.

Additional photos and information are available here.

The Bucks' current set has been a Uni Watch favorite since it was unveiled in 2015, so it's good to see they aren't making any significant changes. But too bad about the Harley ad, which clutters up the look, especially when combined with the Nike logo. Grade: B+


Full disclosure: The thinking here at Uni Watch HQ in recent years has been that the Suns have had one of the best uniforms in the league. The diagonal rays of light, the round basketball (or, if you prefer, a sun) formed by the negative space, the way the whole package hearkens to the Charles Barkley era -- it's a great design.

Alas, that design has been scrapped:

Additional photos and information are available here, but why even bother? Man, what a mistake. The new trim on the collar and armholes is nice, but everything else here is a huge downgrade. It's like going from a name brand to a generic. Very, very disappointing. Grade: C-


When it comes to uniforms, the Timberwolves had nowhere to go but up. The franchise's look over the years has ranged from bland to illegible but has always been mired in the lower echelons of NBA designs.

Say this much for them: They're not afraid to try something new. Take a look:

Additional photos and information are available here.

A few thoughts:

  • When the Wolves unveiled their new logo back in April, there was a lot of fuss about the addition of neon green to their color palette, so it's surprising to see that the new designs are nearly green-free. Maybe they're saving it for the alternate uniforms.

  • The chest stripes seem somewhat arbitrary (and have already drawn comparisons to soccer uniforms, Finland's hockey uniforms and old-fashioned bathing suits on social media), but they do a good job of anchoring the space for the Nike logo and the ad patch, both of which feel less prominent here than on the other NBA uniforms we've seen so far.

  • The thick striping around the base of the shorts feels like -- uh, what's the opposite of "sleek"?

Is this uniform set a masterpiece? No. But is it an improvement over what they had? You bet. And while it might look jarringly different from what the team had been wearing, the hunch here is that this might turn out to be one of those designs that start to feel more normal and likable over time. Consider, for example, MLB's Miami Marlins. When they introduced their current uniform set in 2012, most observers (including a certain uniform columnist) reacted negatively. Five years later, that Marlins design has aged quite nicely. The same thing could happen with this uniform set, if the TImberwolves are smart enough to stick with it. Here's hoping they do. Grade: B+

And there's more

Several other teams, while not holding formal unveilings, have provided hints about their new uniforms via social media, video game screenshots and other channels. Thanks to Josh Hart's Snapchat feed, for example, we can see that the Lakers don't appear to be making any significant changes:

Similarly, a promotional video for EA Sports' "NBA Live 18" suggests that the Rockets' uniforms will be largely unchanged:

But some screenshots indicate that bigger changes could be coming for the Clippers, especially on the shorts:

We won't have to wait long to see what the Clippers have in store because they're scheduled to unveil their new set on Friday. The Spurs have also said they'll be unveiling "later this week," which would seem to point toward Friday. Stay tuned -- for a league that isn't even playing at the moment, the NBA is turning out to have a very busy August.


Just as this piece was about to be published, the Pelicans unexpectedly joined the party, posting photos of their new jerseys -- but not their full uniforms -- on social media.

As you can see, they've addressed their biggest problem, which was that their chest lettering was too small. Of course, now it may be too scrunched together, but let's wait and see how it looks when it's extended across the chest of a very large athlete (and also how it looks when it's paired with the new shorts). Grade: Incomplete

Paul Lukas is bracing himself for the avalanche of alternate uniform unveilings this fall and winter. If you like this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, check out his Uni Watch merchandise, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.