When Nike and the NBA formalized their partnership earlier this year, both brands focused on bringing change to game day.
With the introduction of uniform Editions, Nike and the NBA shook up tradition. Rather than fall to home, away and alternate conventions, each Edition has a purpose: celebrating elements of the league’s 30 franchises.
Following the reveal of the Association, Icon and Statement Editions, Nike unveils the fourth uniform category, The City Edition. These designs honor the fans – those who, 41 times a year, take pilgrimage at their local arena, and whose passions help define each respective team’s identity.
The Nike NBA City Edition uniforms represent insights and emotion from the court to the upper deck to the cities’ streets, in pursuit of a unique way to capture each team and its city in a way that respects the past and present of the clubs while also positioning them for the future.
The following is an in-depth look at a few of the City Edition uniforms for this season.
Since 1960, the Lakers have propelled countless athletes to stardom, each helping to rally the city around the purple and gold. With this in mind, the franchise has turned over the City Edition designs to honor some of its most famous players as part of the “Lore Series.”
Kobe Bryant is the first Laker legend to inspire the team's City Edition design. The uniform features a signature Black Mamba print and LA/24 on the belt buckle. The organization’s winning tradition is referenced by the inclusion of 16 stars on the uniform's side panels to represent every NBA Championship the Lakers have won.
Since 1957, the Boston Celtics have won 17 NBA titles, more than any other team in the league. Whether led by one of the game’s most dominant big men ever, a sharp shooting “legend”, or a clutch scorer who always told the “truth”, the Boston Celtics define the word “dynasty.” While Boston has seen many different leaders and legends, all of the franchise’s success happened under the same roof. The parquet floor of “The Garden” has become synonymous with the Celtic green and white.
The Celtics City Edition uniform pays tribute to this unique hardwood floor and the man credited with starting the dynasty, Red Auerbach. The belt buckle is accentuated with the iconic banner design to match the crowded TD Garden rafters and highlights the Celtics’ most recent NBA Championship in 2008. Gray, the color of unity, was incorporated in the uniform to signify the large regional fan base spread across New England that rallies behind the Celtics year in and out.
It is safe to say the basketball gods have smiled on the Golden State Warriors. The franchise has prospered more than any other club in recent years, thanks to a coach with a championship pedigree and a collection of new age stars.
Proud residents of Oakland, the Warriors have represented the entire Bay Area since their arrival on the West Coast in 1962. The Warriors relocation coincided with the birth of San Francisco’s Chinatown, a population that brought diversity to the city and quickly grew in size and impact — and is a central influence for the team's City Edition uniform, which pays tribute to Chinese culture in the Bay Area and icons of prosperity. The Chinese characters for prosperity are proudly placed on the belt buckle while the chest logo combines the Golden Gate Bridge and classic Chinese symbolism. The suspension bridge detail is shared with the club's other uniform Editions.
The Cleveland Cavaliers represent what hard work can achieve. Inspired by the pride and spirit of an entire community, the team is united by an all-for-one-and-one-for-all attitude to protect and “Defend The Land” and its home court together.
For more than 75 years, the iconic giant “Guardians of Transportation” sandstone sculptures have stood guard over Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge to protect travelers entering and leaving the city. The side panels of the Cavaliers City Edition uniform represent the Guardians but with a team-specific twist: The Cavs shield logo is inset as the head of each sculpture. Further graphic inspiration from the Guardians’ robes and a belt buckle featuring the silhouette of the state of Ohio symbolize the team's stature as a regional protector. If those features aren't clear enough, “The Land” is emblazoned across the chest to offer direct tribute to the entire Northeast Ohio area.
Milwaukee is defined by two things: the cold winters that roll in off the edge of Lake Michigan and Cream City brick, formed from the clay found in the Menomonee River Valley. While the latter is a hallmark of the local area's architecture, the former is responsible for fostering the unique grit and determination of its populace. The city's current Bucks, young, ambitious and fittingly idiosyncratic, know that these characteristics are critical to their success.
Just as the distinctive clay is the foundation upon which Milwaukee was built, the color is the foundation for the Bucks Cream City Edition uniform. The uniform draws additional color inspiration from the full palette of the city and its surrounding region. The Cream City rainbow pattern brings the blending of the urban landscape, with a green ode to Wisconsin’s lush landscapes and a blue that pays tribute to Milwaukee’s etymological designation as a gathering place by the water, to the forefront. There is no escaping the Buck head proudly displayed on the jersey, while a silhouette of the state of Wisconsin appears on the belt buckle graphic. All of the elements combine to honor the hardworking and passionate fans that have supported the team since 1968.
The Memphis Grizzlies, who revealed their City Edition uniforms as a part of their Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration earlier this month, will be one of the first teams to wear their uniform on court when they face the Los Angeles Lakers on January 15, the birthday of the Civil Rights icon.
All 30 teams in the NBA will get a new City Edition uniform every year, with influences coming from a myriad of places, but always focused on the fans and city that support them. As you will see from the full lineup below, each team’s uniform honors an important part of their lineage.
The Atlanta Hawks City Edition uniform pays homage to the city’s rich past while looking to the future. Asymmetrical lines and volt accents nod to the team's uniforms from the '70s, while the design and font take inspiration from the city's cutting-edge music scene.
The Celtics City Edition uniform pays tribute to the club’s unique parquet floor and the man credited with starting its winning legacy, Red Auerbach. The belt buckle is accentuated with the iconic banner design to match the crowded TD Garden rafters and highlights the Celtics’ most recent NBA Championship in 2008.
The Brooklyn Bridge is more than a roadway; it is a lifeline connecting busy and diverse communities. With a graphic wiring pattern inspired by the bridge's steel cables, and the mantra ("Brooklyn Unite") written above the jock tag, the Nets’ City Edition uniform celebrates the bridge the team has built with its fans and its neighbors.
Like their namesake, the Charlotte Hornets stick together — and work hard. The franchise's City Edition uniform features a hive-inspired pattern, colors that mimic iridescent hornet wings, and the team's anthem ("Enter the Swarm") above the jock tag.
The city flag of Chicago and the Bulls logo have become iconic symbols of greatness in one of America’s most recognized cities. The Bulls City Edition uniform brings together the city’s pride and strong history to create a legendary look for one of the NBA’s most historic teams.
The Cavaliers City Edition uniform symbolizes protection of The Land through reference to a city landmark — the giant “Guardians of Transportation” sculptures that stand guard over Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge.
Only in Dallas will you feel the energy the downtown skyline brings to its Dallasites. Marked by the neon glow on the letters, numbers and piping, the new Mavs City Edition Jersey reflects the swagger of the Big D and the vibrancy of Dallas nights.
More than a mile above sea level, Denver's altitude presents a unique challenge to opponents. The design of the Nuggets City Edition uniform is inspired by their elevation, and features metallic gold accents to symbolize refinement in the club's journey to new heights.
The Detroit Pistons City Edition uniform features chrome details and sleek design lines that create a modern and clean look to these automotive-inspired jerseys and shorts. Motor City is prominently featured across the chest and a D logo on the waistband is a nod to the team’s move back to the city and represents the civic pride of the fan base.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors City Edition uniform pays tribute to Chinese culture in the Bay Area. The Chinese characters for prosperity are proudly placed on the belt buckle while the chest logo combines the Golden Gate Bridge and classic Chinese symbolism.
The City Edition uniform of the Indiana Pacers uniform is inspired by the rich tradition of automative racing in Indiana. The checkerboard flag and finish line come to life on the front of the jersey, and the player number mimics the numbers on classic race cars.
Los Angeles Clippers
Commemorating the 40th season since the team moved to California, the LA Clippers City Edition uniform celebrates the team’s history in San Diego with colors and nautical details inspired by the era.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers’ City Edition uniforms will pay tribute to franchise legends. The first star athlete honored by the club, Kobe Bryant, is referenced by a Black Mamba print that forms the base of the design.
The uniform is inspired by the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike ‘I Am A Man’ slogans and reflects on the events, circumstance and losses surrounding the movement, including the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Bucks City Edition uniform draws its base color Milwaukee's famous Cream City bricks. With a Buck head proudly displayed on the jersey and silhouette of the state of Wisconsin on belt buckle, the full look serves as celebration of the teams hardworking and passionate fans.
The Minnesota Timberwolves City Edition uniform follows the theme of “Bold North”. The primary color celebrates the tonal gray winter coat of the wolf, while the white mimics the snow-covered land that is the North. The color allows the Wolf to reflect its surroundings and be an apex predator while camouflaging and protecting the wolf, which is reflective of the “New Era” of Timberwolves basketball – hungry and determined to break through and establish a winning culture.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans City Edition uniform celebrates the vibrant life of NOLA during Mardi Gras. Bold colors represent power, faith and justice, and "dancing" numbers reproduce the city's energy. The neckline takes inspiration from classic Carnival ducal decoration. These uniforms are only worn during the Carnival season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The logo and colors of this City Edition uniform symbolize the Oklahoma City Thunder's playing style — fast, bold and dynamic. Familiar sunset and blue twist around the jersey to represent the coming of a storm and the forces of nature that exist both on and off the court.
The edges of light bordering our universe reveal a vastness greater than our imagination. Emblematic of the desire to achieve more, the Orlando Magic City Edition uniform is the will to break boundaries, push our outer confines and find something greater than our individual selves. Go higher. Go farther. Go deeper. Be limitless.
This Philadelphia 76ers City Edition uniform celebrates American freedom with a parchment paper-inspired base color and script that mimics the original Declaration of Independence. The “76” on the shorts nods to the Bi-Centennial celebration held in Philadelphia.
The Phoenix Suns City Edition uniform pays special tribute to the Hispanic heritage of the community the Suns have proudly represented for 50 years. The “Los Suns” uniform features shades of Phoenix purple and the back of the jersey includes a design detail inspired by the Phoenix constellation.
The Portland Trail Blazers City Edition Uniform features a plaid pattern inspired by legendary coach Jack Ramsay’s unique wardrobe and the historical fashion trends of the Northwest. The Rip City mantra proudly represents the community, culture and fans, while the city flag creatively influences the red graphic embellishments.
Inspired by the Kings 1985 baby blue uniforms, the new City Edition design blends our storied past with our bright future. The new uniforms feature the beloved baby blue and red, with the fan favorite lion emblem emblazoned on the chest. The City Edition uniform marks the first time this logo is featured on the team uniforms.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs City Edition uniform honors the servicemen and servicewomen of the U.S. Armed Forces. With a camouflage print that pays tribute to the U.S. Army Combat Uniform, the jerseys show San Antonio’s pride in the nickname Military City USA.
The cascading colors of this Utah Jazz City Edition uniform are inspired by the natural beauty of its home state with the famous red rock formations, stunning arches, and breathtaking canyon lands. The sides of the jersey represent the roadways to adventure with the travel routes from Salt Lake City to southern Utah.
The Washington Wizards City Edition uniform celebrates the District of Columbia and our capital's team. It features a marble pattern on the side panels that from the Washington monument and a beveled effect on the numbers that resemble the styling of iconic Washington D.C. monuments.
Editor’s Note: The Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors will unveil their City Edition uniforms for the 2017-18 season at a later date.
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