Never a dull moment in the NBA, which has become the pro league with the most active uniform scene. Alternate unis, throwback unis, "pride" unis, sleeved unis, holiday unis -- you name it, the NBA's got it. It's all a bit of a mess, but it sure isn't boring.
With the season set to tip off Tuesday, here's our annual Uni Watch season preview, with a team-by-team look at all the new designs you can expect to see on the court this season. There's a lot of ground to cover here, so let's get crackin'.
Jump to a division:
• Celtics: No announced changes or news.
• The Knicks will be trotting out a very cool 1950s throwback for selected games. No word yet on specific dates:
Very cool 1950s throwbacks in the mix this season for the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/iOyxgm6LQL— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 16, 2015
The Knicks have also made an adjustment to their court. The key, which had been orange, is now blue (further info in this discussion thread):
MSG key changing from orange to blue this year. pic.twitter.com/iVrY8gpZGK— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 14, 2015
• No new uniforms for the Nets, but the team has made an interesting modification to its court design, using lettering that evokes New York City subway signage tiles:
New Toronto Raptors uniforms 🔥 pic.twitter.com/sxmuUEeCWt— Hoop Classics (@HoopClassics) August 9, 2015
Also, the Raptors are the hosts of this season's NBA All-Star Game, so they're wearing a commemorative jersey patch (additional info on the all-star logo here):
Raptors' new home/road set, with this season's NBA All-Star Game patch. pic.twitter.com/XXQZflpeqo— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
And, of course, the new identity system includes a new court design:
• Nice job by the 76ers, whose new uniform set looks sharp (further info here):
76ers' new set has looked good during preseason action. pic.twitter.com/fBYnWNs8pO— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 14, 2015
There's also a red alternate design, which you can see in this group shot from the unveiling:
76ers new court. pic.twitter.com/UWvKXNFmcq— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 14, 2015
• It's a big year for the Bucks, who've gotten a full makeover, beginning with their new home and road designs (lots of additional info about the design process here):
Good looks at Bucks new home/road sets. pic.twitter.com/wRSfjBMekC— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 14, 2015
In addition to the new uniforms, the team also has a new court design:
• The Bulls are commemorating their 50th season with a jersey patch:
Bulls wearing 50th-season patch this year. The six stars stand for the team's six championships. pic.twitter.com/YKhAVR5zGN— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 14, 2015
The Bulls will also revive their old black-script design, originally worn from 1973 through 1985, as a throwback option. No word yet on the dates when it will be worn:
Bulls will be wearing these throwbacks, originally worn from 1973-85, this season. pic.twitter.com/8DukSB4o5f— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 16, 2015
In addition, the Bulls have a new court design this year (further info here):
Finally, expect the Bulls to unveil a new alternate uniform -- probably gray, probably with sleeves -- at some point this season.
• LeBron James has said that he doesn't care for sleeved jerseys, but that isn't stopping the Cavaliers from adding a new sleeved black alternate, which looks more like a T-shirt or a pajama top. They're also reviving their old "Miracle of Richfield" design as a throwback and adding a wine-and-gold version of their 1980s "Cavs" design (further info here):
• Very cool news out of Indiana, where the Pacers are marking the 30th anniversary of the movie "Hoosiers" by wearing Hickory throwbacks based on the uniforms worn in the film (additional info here and here, plus here's a photo gallery and the schedule of when the Hickory uni will be worn):
• The Pistons have a new gray alternate uniform, which they're calling "chrome," but come on -- it's gray (additional photos, info and the alternate unis schedule are all available here):
• The season's most audacious new look comes out of Atlanta, where the Hawks are going with a weird "feathered" jersey fabric pattern and lots of neon green accents (here are some additional photos, details, background info and Uni Watch's take):
Preseason views of the Hawks' new home/road set. pic.twitter.com/jWJKOuuqq7— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
In addition to the white home and black road designs, there's also a red road alternate -- and the team is threatening to mix and match the various elements:
While the new unis will no doubt garner most of the attention, the Hawks also have a new court design:
And hey, how about new cheerleaders' uniforms while we're at it:
New uniforms for the Hawks' cheerleaders, too. pic.twitter.com/kU6mZejrkP— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
• The Heat are bringing back their inaugural home uniform -- originally worn from the franchise's 1988 inception through the 1998-99 season -- as a throwback option. No word yet on specific dates when it will be worn:
Heat reviving their original home uni as a throwback option this season. pic.twitter.com/efcSAqD5zP— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 16, 2015
In addition, the Heat have several new alternate uniforms in the works, including a military tribute design (plus team owner Micky Arison has floated the idea of a Miami Vice-themed uniform). It's not yet clear when these new designs will be revealed. Stay tuned.
• The Hornets have a new sleeved "Buzz City" alternate uniform, which will be worn six times this season (additional info here):
• Magic: No announced changes or news.
• Remember the Baltimore Bullets' old racing stripe uniform from the early 1970s? OK, so you probably don't remember it, but the Wizards have reinterpreted it into a new sleeved alternate uniform anyway. Look for it to be worn half a dozen times this season (additional info and the team's alternate jersey schedule are available here):
The Wizards new Baltimore pride alternate jerseys pic.twitter.com/mgKCUfJHgA— The double double (@saucesportsnba) October 1, 2015
In addition, the Wizards have a Chinese New Year alternate this season:
FIRST LOOK: The official Wizards Chinese New Year alternate uniform pic.twitter.com/cRV4sh0ktY— Conrad Burry (@conradburry) August 19, 2015
• Lots of unhappy campers in L.A., where the Clippers have unveiled a new visual identity that nearly everyone agrees was a poorly conceived rush job (further info here and here, plus here's a Uni Watch critique and a look at some vastly superior redesign concepts by Uni Watch readers):
Here's how the Clippers' new home/road set has looked during the preseason. pic.twitter.com/ikTFuQJDIT— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
There will also be a black alternate uniform. It hasn't yet been officially unveiled, but an early leaked mock-up and a more recent image of guard Lance Stephenson taking part in a promotional photo shoot suggest that it won't be pretty:
As is usually the case, the new uniforms are being paired with a new court design:
New court design for the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/mfDgiD5Y6v— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
• The Kings are adding a baby blue throwback, which can't help but be an improvement over their standard home and road uniforms. It will be worn for Friday home games and also for the last home game of the season (further info and the throwback uniform schedule are here):
• Lakers: No announced changes or news.
• The Suns have a new black alternate uniform, which will be worn 13 times this season, beginning with opening night on Oct. 28 (here's some additional info, a photo gallery and one observer's assessment):
Also, the Suns' orange alternate uniform that previously had sleeves is now sleeveless:
Suns orange alternate, which had sleeves, is now sleeveless. pic.twitter.com/JZCk7w5hWn— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) September 9, 2015
In addition, the Suns have a new court design (additional info here):
Suns new court design. pic.twitter.com/h8OHWJvxze— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) September 9, 2015
• The Warriors will mark their 2014-15 championship by wearing a Larry O'Brien Trophy patch and gold-accented uniforms for their opening night game against the Pelicans on Oct. 27:
Warriors to wear special championship jerseys on 10/27 to open season, get rings pic.twitter.com/t7YvgJJv05— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 1, 2015
And in one of the season's best developments, the Warriors' classic "The City" design -- thought by many (including a certain uniform columnist) to be the greatest uniform in NBA history -- is once again being resurrected as a throwback option. No word yet on dates (for more on "The City," look here):
Golden State once again using history's greatest basketball uni design as a throwback option this year. pic.twitter.com/vhR54BQgsW— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 16, 2015
• Very cool move by the Grizzlies, who are reviving the ABA's old Memphis Sounds uniforms as a throwback. The design will be worn for five games (details in the fourth paragraph of this page):
• Remember when Mavericks owner Mark Cuban invited fans to help design a new alternate uniform for the team? The winning design, which was unveiled more than a year ago, will finally make its way into the team's on-court wardrobe this season:
Mavs' fan-designed skyline alternate, unveiled more than a year ago, will finally make on-court debut this season. pic.twitter.com/DTDfNArjQR— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
In addition, the Mavs will be reviving their green road design, originally worn from 1981 through 1992, as a throwback uni for select games. No word yet on the specific dates:
Mavs reviving 1980s green uni as a throwback for select games this season. pic.twitter.com/H375eCkdhg— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 16, 2015
• The Pelicans have a new sleeved Mardi Gras uniform, which they'll wear six times (additional photos here):
• Lots of activity in Houston, where the Rockets have unveiled three new alternate uniforms. First up is a sleeved "Clutch City" design, which will make its on-court debut on Nov. 14:
Eleven days later, on Nov. 25, the Rockets will debut a new uniform that combines two of the biggest trends in basketball uniform. Gray? Check. Sleeves? Double-check:
And in an unusual move, the Rockets have also unveiled a black uniform that won't be worn until next season. Here's a look at that one, along with a group shot of all three of the new alternates:
And in a subtle move that most fans probably won't even notice, the Rockets' jerseys are being tailored for a trimmer, less baggy fit this season.
• The Spurs have a new alternate uniform, which will make its on-court debut for the home opener against the Nets on Oct. 30 (additional info here):
FIRST LOOK: New alternate uni for the Spurs. pic.twitter.com/3yeB4aO29W— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
• Jazz: No announced changes or news.
• The Nuggets have changed the font and colors for their jersey typography:
Before/after comparison of the Nuggets' jersey typography. pic.twitter.com/TSerPRyGYZ— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
Before/after comparison of Nuggets alternate uni. pic.twitter.com/8A9fRfLBbu— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 15, 2015
Nuggets fans will also notice a new court design this season (additional info here):
And here's something we don't often get to see -- a new locker room design:
In addition, expect the Nuggets to unveil a new alternate uniform, probably including sleeves, at some point this season.
• If you've been wondering when the Thunder would finally put "OKC" on an alternate uniform, you now have your answer:
Thunder to wear sunset-colored alt uni 18 times this season including all Sun. home & road games beginning Nov 1. pic.twitter.com/1hS4YKgzjd— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) September 25, 2015
The orange design will be worn 18 times this season, which leaves 64 games to be divvied up among the team's four other uniforms:
Meanwhile, here's something to keep in mind: When Nike takes over as the NBA's new uniform outfitter in 2017, the Thunder may get a new logo. Stay tuned.
• Nothing new on the design front this year for the Timberwolves, but they do have the first No. 88 in team history:
• Trail Blazers: No announced changes or news.
• The referees have new uniforms this season, including alternate white jerseys that will be worn when one of the teams on the court is wearing gray. They look OK from the front but are a bit problematic from the back:
New NBA Ref Unis, including alternates, new pants (flat front), Jackets stay the same from last year. pic.twitter.com/RiGsq6t8au— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) August 20, 2015
Black panel on back of new NBA ref jerseys kinda make it look like the refs have long hair or ponytails. pic.twitter.com/Kbknvd6CkY— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 14, 2015
• For years now NBA players have worn either plain white socks or plain black socks. But that will change this season, as Stance is now the league's official sock provider and will be providing team-specific home and road designs for all clubs. In addition, there will be "special event" socks for games played on Christmas Day and for Black History Month. Here are some of the designs you can expect to see on the court this season:
• There are five games scheduled for Dec. 25. And after years of disappointing Christmas Day uniforms, this year's template is surprisingly nice:
• Speaking of holidays, select teams will once again wear green uniforms for St. Patrick's Day. Word through the grapevine is that the jerseys, which in recent years had been sleeved, will be conventional tank tops this time around:
This season's NBA St. Paddy's Day uniforms should be, thankfully, sleeve-free. pic.twitter.com/5X1eRIZhs1— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) October 16, 2015
• Expect several teams to once again wear Spanish-language jerseys as part of the league's Noche Latina program. No confirmation yet on specific teams, designs, or dates.
• NBA commish Adam Silver keeps saying that advertising on NBA uniforms is "inevitable," but another season is upon us and it still hasn't happened. Maybe it's not so inevitable after all.
• Some of you may be thinking, "Wait a minute, isn't Nike taking over as the NBA's uniform supplier?" Yes, but not this year, or even next year. The Nike deal kicks in for the 2017-18 season. Here are some details about what it might or might not mean for the league.
And there you have it. Did we miss anything? If so, you know what to do.
(Special thanks to Conrad Burry for research assistance.)