Nike is the new uniform sponsor of the NBA, and this week they released the new “Statement” jerseys for every NBA team. Marketing gibberish aside, what that really means is this is the third alternate for most teams.
We’ve now had a few days to process what the new jerseys look like for these squads, and it’s time to figure out which teams got a good deal and which are going to look ridiculous next year.
Yes, it’s time to rank the best Statement jerseys for every NBA team. However, it would be hard to put them in a strict numerical ranking, so instead I’ve decided to put each in one of three different categories.
The first are teams with a patently dope colorway or uniform combination. These are the good ones. The second are the openly awful, which seems to have forsaken a large swath of franchises this season, even after Nike took over for adidas. Finally, we have the boring. These teams sit in the middle of the pack, with no real impact. Some teams also landed there because they didn’t debut new alternates with Nike.
So without further ado, here are how the new Statement jerseys shook out for every NBA team. If you don’t like these, you still have the fourth colorway yet to be released here this year.
The Patently Dope
Boston Celtics: The Celtics went with a cool black and green colorway here instead of going with some of the weirder combinations that were similar to this jersey in years past. Teams either go with too much black or not enough black, and this is just the right amount with some green still on it.
Charlotte Hornets: Look, the Hornets have had a new purple uniform for a few years but just how dope this rebrand has been from top to bottom is enough to put it in this category. Plus, how do you not love a jersey with the Jumpman logo on it?
Chicago Bulls: These black joints came back like Jordan wearing the 45.
Denver Nuggets: Let this be a notice to teams with cities whose skylines are not interesting. That is, make the whole thing a scene and not just some squares that nobody outside your market will recognize. This means you with your water stain/skyline floor, Cleveland.
Houston Rockets: Just about anything is an improvement for Houston, who have had some of the worst jerseys in the league since the Bobcats turned back into the Hornets. If Portland is any indication, having a black and red jersey will always be timeless.
Milwaukee Bucks: This is similar to jersey designs of years past for Milwaukee, but this is just too fresh to dismiss. That black, cream, and forest green colorway is incredible.
Philadelphia 76ers: Do I even have to explain this one? That script is legit.
Brooklyn Bkyln Nets: They’re black and white and have letters missing. Not exactly inspiring design work.
Cleveland Cavaliers: This one looked better as a concept than it did in person. The number and logo being the same size looks a little awkward, but the nod to the sponsor (and history) in Goodyear is cool.
Golden State Warriors: The tree logo is nice and of course it has its roots in the city. However, it doesn’t really look like it belongs on the front of a jersey. This is a cool t-shirt design.
Indiana Pacers: Indiana’s kit here is sort of hard to call but it is at least a move in the right direction for the Pacers, who have had a terrible streak of design missteps over the last two decades.
Memphis: Abolish the sports bra / shoulder pad thing. It looks weird. This goes for Washington, too.
Miami Heat: Same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Give me black, orange, and pink already.
LA Lakers: It’s purple.
New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans don’t have good colors. They need to go full French Quarter and stop coming up short. This one is also similar to jerseys from years past.
Toronto Raptors: Repeat. Pretty cool, but again black-and-red really only belongs to one team in this league.
Washington Wizards: I know everyone loves these jerseys but I think they are pretty boring. It’s fine, it’s grown on me.
The Openly Awful
Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta’s rebrand continues to be hilariously terrible. This is Steve Nash Phoenix Suns bad.
Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas skyline isn’t nationally recognizable and we have to stop putting city outlines on courts and jerseys. These have a strong Team Blue From A Detergent Commercial vibe to them.
Detroit Pistons: Have you ever seen something this aggressively gray?
LA Clippers: The Clippers need to go back to their old script immediately.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Say it with me: Go Seahawks. Did Minnesota learn nothing from Atlanta rebranding with bright, neon colors? We might have to rethink watching a lot of Timberwolves games this year like we all planned.
New York Knicks: For as much as orange and blue is an “uncool” colorway, the Knicks have typically done their uniforms pretty well. This one misses the mark so bad it looks like I designed it.
Oklahoma City Thunder: These have to be gone after next year right? They are so hilariously bad it really gives Minnesota a run for their money. The schism in the front contrasted with the WordArt-style gradient on the back is a huge clash in design language. Not a great showing for the team who might already have the worst uniforms in the league.
Orlando Magic: There are two problems with the Orlando black alternate. First, there aren’t enough stripes on it. Just go back and look at some photos of what these are mimicking from the mid-90s. That’s why these look so weird, they have half the striping. Second, the jerseys are too wide at the shoulder and neck, making them look like a sweater vest. They say black is slimming but weird shoulders and wide set stripes actually make Orlando players look fatter somehow. These have to go, they are so close to getting it right.
Phoenix Suns: Right Click > Blending Options > Bevel & Emboss > Inner Bevel > Chisel Hard > OK.
Portland Trail Blazers: It’s pretty hard to find a way to mess up a red and black jersey, but the Blazers did it this year. It’s a double whammy given that Portland took the best alternate jersey in the league from last season and turned it into the worst. This uniform literally has tire tracks on the side of it. Hard pass.
Sacramento Kings: I am all for the Kings really leaning into their mascot and namesake, but loose weave chainmail isn’t doing it for me here.
San Antonio Spurs: Everyone likes to make Boring Spurs jokes but it is time somebody said it: we have to get rid of gray jerseys. They look like someone forgot to design anything. We can’t stand for this in the best sports league on Earth.
Utah Jazz: Two blues and one purple will forever be the best Utah Jazz color combination. You can’t tell me otherwise. Yellow and green is great, but you can’t stick navy blue in there and expect me not to point to a color wheel, eyebrows up and mouth agape. I’ve got no nostalgia for the old school Jazz colors, they need to ditch ’em ASAP.
(h/t Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports)