Slowly but surely, the Sacramento Kings are getting there.
The Kings, longtime NBA cellar dwellers in regard to their uniforms, unveiled a new uniform set Wednesday that qualifies as a major upgrade. The new look might not rank among the league's upper echelon, but it at least puts the franchise back on the road toward aesthetic respectability.
Video game leaks of the new designs first appeared Tuesday afternoon. The team essentially confirmed the legitimacy of those leaks a few hours later by posting a teaser video of the new home uniform in advance of the official unveiling.
The Kings began showcasing their makeover in late April, when they unveiled a new logo -- basically an updated version of their old "crowned ball" mark, the original version of which dates back to the franchise's early incarnation as the Cincinnati Royals.
The new uniforms -- timed to coincide with the team's move to a new arena this fall -- represent the next step in the makeover, beginning with a lot of addition by subtraction. The Kings' clownish chest mark? Gone. The goofy number font? Gone. The embarrassingly spiky side panels? All gone.
In their place is a look that, while not particularly groundbreaking or innovative, sends a clear message: "This is no longer a novelty act. We are adults. Take us seriously."
Here's a uni-by-uni look at the new designs:
The home whites. After more than two decades of gimmicky designs, the new look is refreshingly straightforward, with strong chest lettering, a little crown at the base of the collar, gray side panels and the new logo on the side of the shorts. This won't win any design awards, but it's a solid NBA uniform. Grade: B
The road purples: A color-swapped version of the home uni. One quibble: The collar crown would look better in white instead of gray. As it stands now, that detail gets swallowed up by the purple background. Grade: B-minus
The purple alternate: This design -- a view of which was teased on the Kings' website in April, when the new logo was unveiled -- is the weakest of the bunch. The gray lettering on the purple background is not a good look, and the shorts logo -- combining a ball and "Sac" -- is destined to be the object of endless juvenile jokes on social media. Grade: C
The black alternate: It's rare for the black alternate to be the best design in a team's portfolio, but that's the case here. The fabric is imprinted with an "S" pattern that looks a bit like chainmail but was actually inspired by the Sacramento city flag. It gives this uniform a nice sense of texture. Grade: A-minus
Overall, not bad, especially compared to the team's previous look. The Kings will also continue to wear their baby-blue throwbacks as part of their uniform mix. A new court design will be unveiled later this summer, completing the team's visual overhaul.
Additional information about the new uniforms is available here.
Paul Lukas managed to get through this entire piece without mentioning how much he dislikes purple. 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 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.