Last month the Philadelphia 76ers unveiled their new logos, and most of their changes were subtle but still qualified as small improvements. Now they've unveiled new uniforms to match, and the changes are once again subtle.
At first glance, the biggest change to the uniforms is the addition of stars on the side panels (a shout-out to the team's Dr. J-era uniforms). But a closer look reveals other changes -- let's go one uni at a time:
The home whites: If we look at the old and new designs side by side, the biggest change is to the chest insignia, which is now "Phila" -- an old-school abbreviation for Philadelphia and a nod to what the team wore back in the days of Wilt Chamberlain. Uni Watch likes the abbreviation but wouldn't have minded seeing a new typeface, just to change things up a bit.
In addition, the front uni number has changed from red to blue (which feels like a downgrade), the collar and armhole piping has been tweaked (an upgrade), and the 13-star logo now appears on the waistband (nice). Toss in the stars on the side panels and this feels like a modest improvement. Grade: B+
The road blues: If we make another side-by-side comparison, you can see that this is essentially a color-swapped version of the new home uni, including the "Phila" chest mark. All the small improvements on the white uni -- the collar/armhole trim, the side panels, the waistband mark -- look good here as well. Grade: B+
The red alternates: Third verse, same as the first, but in red, and with "Sixers" on the chest instead of "Phila." This one feels disappointing -- if your home and road designs are classic and conservative, why not be more adventurous with your alternates? That's what alternates are for! Why not do something with the stylized "Sixers" lettering from the 1970s? Most of all, why not include the awesome new dribbling Ben Franklin logo? A major missed opportunity. Grade: C
One additional note: The hemline of each jersey has a small upside-down label that reads "Phila Tough." These little inspirational messages are becoming increasingly common in the NBA (the Bucks' new uniforms have "Fear the Deer" in the same spot), but they're just a little gimmick to appeal to fans who like to buy jerseys. You can be sure that the players -- whose jerseys are tucked in anyway, so the little messages don't show -- don't need a fine-print label to feel motivated on the court.
Bottom line: Fans who expect every uniform redesign to be a radical makeover will be disappointed in these unis. But sometimes less is more, and sometimes it's fine for a team to make small, incremental changes instead of attempting something more drastic. It would have been nice if the Sixers had been a bit more adventurous here with their typography, and the alternate jersey feels like a wasted chance to create something more exciting, but overall this will continue to be a good-looking team.
Paul Lukas looks forward to seeing the Hawks' and Raptors' new uniforms, which are due to be released soon. If you liked 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 or his Uni Watch T-Shirt Club, 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.