Style is becoming an increasingly important part of today’s NBA. Players like Russell Westbrook, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and Nick Young are now known for their flair off the court as much as their flair on it. With the introduction of the new sleeved jerseys (whether you like them or not, they seem to be here to stay), the NBA looks like it’s trying to capitalize on this increased interest in style.
There are teams that have been able to perfect the uniform. The Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls have classic jerseys that have seen minimal, if any changes over the years.
Still, this summer a few team’s decided to go with a different look. The Phoenix Suns unveiled a brand new set that included an alternate orange, complete with the sleeved jersey. The New Orleans Pelicans debuted their first uniform set under their new moniker. Lastly, it’s being reported that the Lakers will add sleeves to their traditional “Sunday White” jerseys (as well as possible black jerseys).
With so much change happening in a short time, I compiled a list of the 10 teams that are in desperate need of a new set of cloths.
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Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks, a man who is known to be almost an ATM when it comes to handing out cash in order to better his squad. However, after winning the 2011 NBA championship, Cuban has been reluctant to dig into his deep pockets. What better way to spice things up in Big D than brand new uniforms to make people forget about the last two lackluster seasons? The Mavericks last changed their jersey design in 2001 and after 12 years, its time to give the team a new fresh look.
Luckily for all of us, Cuban is already thinking ahead. The team plans to redo their unis for the 2015-16 season… if they get a cool design. That’s where you come. This spring, Cuban posted an opportunity for fans to help out by submitting their own creations.
In 2002, the Houston Rockets changed just about everything with their organization. Back then, the new uniforms that they debuted looked futuristic and were one of the best sellers of the year — thanks to having Chinese megastar Yao Ming on the roster. However, through the years the look has lost its appeal. I don’t know how Rockets fans feel about the look, but for me personally, it just reminds me of all the injuries that derailed the careers (and potential titles in Houston) of both Tracy McGrady and Yao.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The Oklahoma City Thunder is one of the most young, exciting and successful franchises in all of sports. Led by 24-year-old superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are going to be title contenders for many years to come. Yet, you wouldn’t be able to tell the excitement they bring to the court by looking at their jerseys. The Thunder sport one of the most boring, bland and basic uniform designs in the NBA. And don’t get me started on those awful, godforsaken alternate jerseys they unleashed on the world last year. Sam Presti has made numerous great decisions as the man in charge, but he and the rest of the organization missed when it came to the team’s look.
The Toronto Raptors aren’t a very popular team among NBA fans, and I think there are two reasons for that. First, they aren’t based in the United States; no disrespect to Canada but there isn’t anything Americans love more than America. Second, they have some simply horrid jerseys. They took a good step forward when they dropped the purple from their team colors, but they can do better than “TORONTO” or “RAPTORS” in an everyday font and black or red side panels.
Toronto is listening though. There were reports earlier this year that the organization is considering not only a name change, but also a new uniform.
The Sacramento Kings haven’t really had much going for them in the last decade, the 2002 Western Conference Finals and an inordinate amount of fourth-quarter fouls as the starting point. However, the team now brings in a new owner, Vivek Ranadive, new GM Pete D’Alessandro and new coach Mike Malone. With young talent like Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore and DeMarcus Cousins things could turn around in California’s capital. It’s been a few years since the Kings updated their gear (and we won’t even mention those NASCAR-styled joints from last year that screamed ’90s). With a name like the Kings, there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into a uniform.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Yes, the New Orleans Pelicans JUST got their jerseys, but those things Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson and others modeled need to be done away with quickly. The font is too small; nothing about it really screams New Orleans or even Pelicans for that matter. With a name as laughable as the Pelicans, this team was in desperate need of something cool and hip to get hecklers off their case. Their colors of navy, gold and red are a good combination and could lend themselves to a pretty good-looking jersey.
This is technically cheating, as the Charlotte Bobcats will no longer exist by the 2014-15 NBA season. Nonetheless, Jordan‘s boys could use an improvement in the style category, even if they brought out some new digs for last year. For the past nine seasons, the Bobcats have worn three different uniforms. I’m anxious to see what the brain trust in Charlotte puts together once the team adopts their new/old — and better fitting — nickname of the Hornets. However, I don’t have much faith that whatever it is they choose will be something I like. (If they want to hear my two cents, I say they use the EXACT jerseys that Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues and Larry Johnson used to wear in the early-to-mid ’90s.)
The Atlanta Hawks are a team in transition. In the past two years, they have seen their two best players — Joe Johnson and Josh Smith — traded or walk away, respectively. Somewhere between 1972 and 2007, the Hawks decided that instead of their classic red and yellow color scheme, they would replace yellow with navy blue. What a lot of good that choice has brought them. The Hawks should return back to their original colors and start all over again from scratch. Atlanta’s “Highlight Factory” will certainly be seeing less highlights from the home team with the athleticism of Smith departing, so instead they should give the fans a jersey worth looking at even if they can’t field a roster worth their eyes.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
The Portland Trail Blazers have had a similar-looking uniform since 1978. That’s an awfully long time to stick with one style. In the world of fashion a look can become old news in a matter of days now. While the Trail Blazers have been (overly) dedicated to the two stripes across the jersey look, even debuting a red uniform (that was actually pretty dope) last season, there are other ways that they can express “blazing.” Their “Rip City” jerseys from a few years back were a good diversion from the norm as well as a way of paying homage to the championship team of 1977. The team is set to bring back a “Rip City” alternate jersey this year, similar to Detroit’s new “Motor City” joints. But that’s not enough.
After disappointment and injuries shredded Greg Oden and Brandon Roy‘s short careers, Damian Lillard and company definitely deserve a look that separates them from Portland’s past.
The Philadelphia 76ers essentially hit the reset button this offseason. They traded away All-Star and face of the franchise Jrue Holiday during the draft and let last season’s big acquisition Andrew Bynum walk in free agency. It seems now that Sam Hinkie has handed over the team to new head coach Brett Brown and rookie newcomers Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. With Andrew Wiggins and one of the strongest draft classes in recent memory available next year, it’s not a bad time to try to start anew. This whole rebuilding project should also include the team’s jerseys. Ever since Allen Iverson last suited up for the Sixers, it seems as if the team’s sense of style departed with him. Their latest uniform is simply atrocious. Even having three different looks couldn’t save it — last season, the team switched their main road uniforms from red to blue. Philadelphia used to constantly have one the league’s best uniforms and that is something they should strive for once again.
Which teams need new uniforms right now?
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