Ranking Proposed NY Knicks Jerseys with Each NBA Team's Current Uniforms
New York has always had a classic feel about its uniforms, and that counts for something. Though of course, a familiar jersey is not necessarily the best jersey. In the inexact science of comparing team fashion statements, it comes down to an ambiguous blend of aesthetics, history and personality. The only universal truth is that you know a good jersey when you see it.
So let's start with some not-so-good uniforms and work our way up to the best.
Unranked: Brooklyn Nets
The days of the New Jersey Nets are officially over, but we still haven't gotten a look at what they will be wearing in Brooklyn.
Until Jay-Z and the powers that be make that known (or until there's another leak), we're going to have to table the Nets' ranking until a later date.
29. Toronto Raptors
Part of what makes fans identify with team uniforms is that the jerseys are, you know, uniform.
Not the case with the Toronto Raptors, who seem to just be throwing out flashy colors to see what sticks. Gone are the purple duds of the Vince Carter era, as well as the goofy cartoon dinosaur. Instead, we have these blood red jerseys, I guess because the Bulls, Heat and Hawks proved in the 90s that red sells.
Not this red, though. The brightness and the juvenile, rounded font make it seem more like a 10-year-old's rec league uni than an NBA jersey. Granted, the arrows and black along the sides draw attention away from the intense redness, if only because they comprise one of the worst jersey sides in the league.
Very little about these uniforms smacks of attractiveness, and even less reminds you of the Toronto Raptors. That's enough to make these the worst uniforms in the NBA.
28. Charlotte Bobcats
It's a head-scratcher how the Charlotte Bobcats got here.
With the vibrant orange of the original unis banished to the trim, navy blue is now the primary color, because why not? The lettering also comes off as unoriginal but unoffensive; it's not bad, but it's something we've seen before.
Need proof? Well, the 'Cats are following this Mavericks formula almost exactly. The only unique flair to it is the obtrusive side panel, which is still using the neon color scheme of years past and completely clashes with the new subdued style.
This is a bittersweet attempt for the Bobcats. They needed to have a sweeping image change with this new version, but they still have a long way to go.
27. Dallas Mavericks
If the Bobcats were going to copy a jersey, why not copy a good one?
The Dallas Mavericks need to hire someone who knows basic color theory. Royal blue is already a tricky base color to begin with. It's not that the navy lettering is such a problem, nor the silver numbers. The combination, however, is just nonsensical, and it comes off as such.
It's unfortunate that Dallas has ditched the green. It once gave a soft, light touch to the jerseys, even when it was the primary color. More importantly, it was a shade of green that was specific to the Mavericks. What is left now is much less interesting.
26. Sacramento Kings
Simplicity is good, unless you're trying to be complex. Then it's a failure.
That's what we're seeing here with the Sacramento Kings jersey. The jaggedness of the lettering, the side swooshes and the logo on the leg scream for a certain modern vibe. More and more every year, we realize this movement is not cool, especially when the Kings don't invest themselves in the new-age look.
The solid purple betrays the rest of the jersey. It's not that the color is bad, it's just that the sides are too busy for the center to be so empty. It's a bold move to go with the all-purple look, but maybe this uni was doomed from the start. The adorably askew numbers certainly aren't helping.
25. Orlando Magic
Between the unimaginative font, the curvy blue panels that try to be more interesting than they actually are, and a modernized Heat knockoff for a logo, the Magic don't own much of their look. They're all products of the movement to bring jerseys to the space age, which more or less amounts to stripping them of any history and leaving them looking modern, but dull.
The black with pinstripes look is a holdover, but the bright blue prevents it from popping the way the old threads did. Even though basketball players don't need the slimming capabilities of black and pinstripes, at least the Magic still have that one small link to the past.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves
Make no mistake: Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio sell Timberwolves jerseys, not the uniforms themselves.
The color is fine, but the other elements at work are just bizarre. The black and silver siding on both the torso and the shorts are better than Toronto's siding, but not by much.
Even worse is the font, and this picture of Michael Beasley displays it best. Not only is the lettering silly-looking and the MinnesotA capitalization perplexing, but the smoothness of the number does not seem to belong on the same jersey as the faceted letters.
If Love and Rubio have spearhead an unlikely dynasty in Minnesota, maybe years from now we'll remember these jerseys more fondly. Right now, they're just pretty goofy.
23. Milwaukee Bucks
With the Milwaukee Bucks, we have some more fun with capitalization, and some well-intentioned trimming gone bad.
With a shorter word, the BuckS presentation fails even more so than the Timberwolves' folly. Tack on the red trim around the lettering but not the number, and Milwaukee suffers a similar font crisis to the one Dallas has. When the number shines with a brighter white, it doesn't seem to belong with those letters.
Then there's the red-and-white trim going along the sides. It seems the idea is to make the middle of the jersey pop. Instead, it provides an awkward frame, as if the player wearing the jersey can only exist within that rectangle of space.
The green/red color scheme is not tried too often, and it works out decently here. It's the rest of what's going on that makes a solid uni less so.
22. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets had a good thing going, and then swooshes happened.
Their red is a dimmer, more natural tone than the Raptors' color. Yet the silver curves along the sides diminish the classic look. By investing heavily in the rocket motif, the jersey is robbed of any sort of timeless feel to it.
On the other hand, it doesn't appear Houston went completely space-age. The font has a sort of typewriter appearance to it, which seems to just be a misfire. If the lettering had some more contours to it, maybe this could be salvaged. Instead, this is a jersey with sky-high potential that fails to get off the ground.
21. Atlanta Hawks
It's not that the Atlanta Hawks jersey isn't nice; it's just not really an Atlanta Hawks jersey.
This uni does a lot more with the navy-blue base than the ones that preceeded it on this list. The white/red trim and white lettering is a great touch. While the sides make a lot of the same mistakes with random curves that other jerseys have, that touch is salvaged by the similar style of the latest Hawks logo.
Unfortunately, the aesthetics of this jersey do not really make you think of Atlanta at all. The gold touch of the Dominique Wilkins era is gone, and the replacement is pretty generic. It's better at being unspectacular than some other NBA jerseys, but that backhanded compliment is basically the best you can offer this.
20. Detroit Pistons
If there's an inconsequential, unmemorable uniform in the NBA, it belongs to the Detroit Pistons.
There's really nothing wrong with this jersey whatsoever, save for the "P" logo on the shorts. As a standalone letter, it's both a completely different font and coloration. It's also probably the most boring logo in the league, and that hurts this uni.
Beyond that, there's a lot of above-average things going on. The colors are good, but they're the most generic uni colors possible. The font is alright, not great. The red-and-white stripe down the legs is a classic touch, but the lack of trim is an odd choice.
This isn't a uniform to hate, nor one to really like. At the end of the day, you just nothing it.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers
Kudos to the Cleveland Cavaliers for trying to go throwback here, but the success is limited.
The triple-striped trim is a great touch from a bygone age in uniforms, and the burgundy coloring provides an aged feel as well. However, that is where the vintage ends and the bland begins, since that's about the only thing of note that's going on with this uniform.
There's not much going on with the lettering here. The font is boring, save for another instance of last-letter capitalization, though the gold is a nice complement to the deep red.
It's nothing special, and pretty sparse, but it's a very clean look. Cleveland could do far worse.
18. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers' uniforms aren't as bad as Charlotte's, but they are also contrived.
The script lettering on a red jersey immediately calls to mind the early days of Michael Jordan in Chicago, but the Bulls' black works much better than the Clippers' blue in making the red pop. We also have another instance of the odd color difference between the lettering and the numeral.
Though it doesn't match Chicago's historic gem, LA's current version still does a solid job. One last nit to pick would be the "LA" logo above the city name. It's redundant, and it skews the positioning of the lettering lower on the torso. Not the biggest problem, but still something the Clippers should look into changing.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
From a color perspective, the Memphis Grizzlies got right everything the Mavericks got wrong.
Using the navy blue as the base to accent the powder blue lettering is exactly the way to go. The dull yellow is not a color often seen in jerseys, but it works very well as a trim without overpowering the blues.
While this uniform is well-executed, it's also unspectacular. It's greatest success is that it's a very low-key look, but it also produces an unexciting result. The shiny siding isn't terrible here, but they could limit how it flays out.
The uniform is ultimately a lot like the team: It doesn't do anything really special, but it gets the job done.
16. Phoenix Suns
I'll just come out and ask it: Why are the Phoenix Suns so gray?
There's a lot of good going on with this uniform. The purple base and orange trim combination is great, the lettering is solid. Perhaps the orange oval through the numerals is a strange touch, but considering they're the Suns, it works.
Which is exactly why the gray siding is so strange: The design does seem to warrant a third color, but the gray doesn't particularly do anything other than limit the brightness. For many teams, that would be a positive, but the Suns should have some light to their threads.
One last note, the team-name waistline thing that's going on: Not entirely sure whose idea that was or why, but no. Just not doing anything for anyone.
15. New Orleans Hornets
There's a lot going on with these New Orleans Hornets unis, and it more or less works.
We've got a teal-ish color that hearkens back to the Hornets' pastel days in Charlotte. Then there's the golden lettering, the ostentatious fleur-de-lys logo, the svelte side stripe and two different tones of pinstripes. Logically, all these moving parts shouldn't make a great jersey.
On the other hand, they do. Looking at this uni, it seems like all the components fit together, but you can't quite shake the feeling that there's just a lot going on here.
Like the city itself, New Orleans has one of the most unique jerseys in the league. Once you get over the sensory shock, it is pretty nice.
14. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers' uni does a lot simply, and does it with its own personality.
Unlike the Pistons, the Pacers have a more interesting color palette that works better together. Everyone uses red, blue and white, but the white lettering with gold trim on navy creates a great contrast. Ditto for the two-tone stripes on the sides of the uniform.
That use of color is what sets Indiana's duds apart as the best of the NBA's generic uniforms. It makes the most of a basic, formulaic design, so there was a low ceiling on how good this jersey could be.
It's too bad, given how iconic Reggie Miller was in pinstripes, that this iteration pays little homage to the past. A uniform with no tradition can only be so good.
13. Denver Nuggets
Like their kindred spirit in the NFL, the Nuggets have cornered the market on powder blue. With a strong, identifiable base in place, they've established a strong three-tone dynamic between the powder, the white lettering and the yellow trim. Even the dark stripe down the side works, though it breaks from the general scheme.
Beyond the great colors, though, this uniform is pretty dull. The lettering has little character to it, and while it doesn't detract from the uniform, it also doesn't add anything. And it's surprising that such an underwhelming logo is featured so prominently on the leg.
The Nuggets' jersey does have a lot of great things going on, but it's making the most of a boring situation.
12. Miami Heat
Start with their commitment to the nickname. The black, red and white color scheme provide an identity well, but the logo and the font are key. The Heat fireball is up there for the title of best logo in the league, while the flaming "T" is one of the few instances of creative lettering in the league.
The rest of the font design is a bit dull, and the thick red stripe across the bottom of the legs might overplay the fire imagery. That's what holds back a very good uniform from being great.
11. Utah Jazz
Just wait until these Utah Jazz threads get some recognition.
The deep violet is a great base, and the gold and white complement it wonderfully. On top of that, the side panels fit well and the lettering is the most interesting one out there. The only thing that tops the Heat's unique letter "T" is the Jazz' "J" that doubles as a musical note, standing in sharp contrast to a particularly boring numeral.
What's holding this new Jazz uni back is that the team has not had a lot of national exposure recently. In the decade of anonymity that has followed the era of Stockton and Malone, the snow-capped mountains are still the symbol most equated with Utah.
If the Jazz launch a dynasty, though, expect to see a lot of these jerseys for a long time.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
Anything bad I've said about red, white and blue does not apply to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Like with the Suns, it's all in the name. The Sixers are the product of a city steeped in history and patriotism. That means America's colors can never be considered unoriginal in this context. Rather, it was the foray into black that was a mistake.
On top of a red that is bright but not neon, the white print needs no trim to pop. It's a wise choice to limit the blue and let the red be dominant, since they clash a bit in the few instances they touch. There's also a modern touch on the hem of the shorts, though it's a small inconsistency on an otherwise classic look.
The coloration of the Iverson era never made much sense. Now that the Dr. J design is back, everything is in its right place.
9. Chicago Bulls
If we're giving history its due, how is the Chicago Bulls' uni ranked so low?
Well, the jersey of Jordan definitely made a lot out of its simplicity. The black lettering with white trim on red is a textbook combination, but that's also part of the problem.
There's no doubt that the design is classic, but the color scheme is also played out. The degree of difficulty of making a red jersey look cool is just not as high as it is for other colors. So while the Bulls do put on a nostalgic image and have a nice pentagonal flair on the hems of their shorts, the red is just not that interesting.
For the rest of this list, the red/white/dark color palette will be sparsely seen. Just keep in mind that the Bulls have done as much with it as anyone.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
Give the Trail Blazers credit for sticking with the diagonal stripes.
They're the only NBA team that still has them, and that gives Portland an instantly recognizable image. Portland also manages to combine that quirky design with its singular logo. It all makes sense together because the logo informs the uniform, and vice versa.
But when you use the diagonal stripes like that, you're bound to run into a conundrum: How do the shorts match up? For the Blazers, it's a continuation down the left leg while the right remains stripe-less. Not the most aesthetically-pleasing choice, but it's what the Blazers have done before, and it is inimitably theirs.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
Here's another exception: The Oklahoma City Thunder can pull off electric colors.
The tones that make up the Thunder's jersey don't seem to exist anywhere else in the league. Perhaps the closest comparison for OKC's vibrant blue is the T'wolves' primary color, but the Thunder's iteration pops more on its own.
Then factor in the fantastic trim. It uses both orange and gold to emphasize the blue while still appearing bold themselves. Beyond that, the Thunder keep it simple, and it works like a charm. Of course OKC's young stars are a factor, but they're not the only reason the Thunder have one of the most popular new jerseys in the league.
6. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors get all of the points for originality.
Check out what's going on with the logo. It's the strongest symbol of city pride in the NBA, and it's not even close. Then there's the player number floating above the Golden Gate Bridge in a completely unique presentation style.
The double white stripe is also strong, and I can even give them a pass on the shenanigans going on at the sides of the legs, since the gold flaying forms the cables of the bridge. Not the prettiest appearance, but props for the commitment.
You could possibly argue for a Bulls or Nuggets uni over this, but credit this jersey for its uniqueness. Respect to the team that respects its home.
5. Washington Wizards
Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over. The Bullets design is back!
In their ongoing attempt to distance themselves from the Gilbert Arenas era, the Washington Wizards have brought back their beloved red, white and blue color scheme. We don't even have to give them the 76ers' patriotism corollary, either, this design is just that nice.
There's little reason why the tri-tone horizontal stripes work, but they do. They also allow the Wizards to use white lettering and navy numerals, which is a plus because the lettering font is outstanding. Top it off with the stars by the hems and the pride-filled DC logo, and you have a great new-age throwback look.
4. New York Knicks
Finally, the black-trim era in New York is coming to a close.
Though the black has already been removed from the Knicks logo, this is the first iteration of the jersey to remove it entirely from the color scheme. Instead, silver is set to take its place, making an already-classic Knicks' design even more timeless.
Whereas the black trim provided more contrast than complement, the silver looks like it will bring out more of the orange. It's evolution, not revolution, but it's a positive touch.
Additionally, it might be the video game graphics, but it appears that the Knicks will trot out lighter colors across the board. The Knicks have worn a dark blue since way back in the days of Clyde Frazier, but a slightly lighter shade could fit better with the orange and silver.
The Knicks would still have a top-10 jersey without this update, but these cosmetic changes look like they'll do wonders. However, they're still behind three teams that are defined by their colors.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Many teams have toyed with black over the years. The San Antonio Spurs have owned it unlike anybody else.
These unis really don't get enough credit. It all starts with the black, white and silver combination, which is then implemented on a very simple jersey design. The Spurs' look consists almost entirely of straight lines, and because of the stripped-down but bold color scheme, it works.
But the pièce de résistance of this jersey is the instantly-identifiable Spurs logo. It is the only logo in the league to exist in the middle of a team name, yet it fits in seamlessly. A holdover from the Iceman to the Admiral to Duncan today, it would be hard to imagine the jersey without it there.
2. Boston Celtics
You can't think about the Boston Celtics without thinking green.
How could a team with so much history change this look? There's very little that's visually special about the Celtics jersey: Green, with white lettering, white numerals, two thin white stripes down the legs. Perhaps the white waistband and clover are a quirky touch, but it doesn't stray from the stripped-down design.
However, no other team can even touch Celtic green. It's recognizable to just about any sports fan in the country; only one of those silly St. Patrick's Day alternates could possibly be cause for confusion. Boston may be working off of the same basic formula as the Bulls, but the Celtics used color better to make it their own.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
More than any other, the Los Angeles Lakers' uniform demands respect.
Of course, that's due to the cavalcade of legends who have worn the gold and purple through the years. From Wilt the Stilt to Kobe Bean Bryant, this jersey carries its history in a way only the Celtics could possibly match.
But while the Celtics are associated with dynasty and stars, the Lakers are defined by Showtime and superstars. There's a swagger about the uniform, drawn in no small part by the franchise's refusal to wear home whites. The lettering, purple and script, fits perfectly with basic white numerals with purple trim. There isn't really a reason why it works, that's just how the Lakers do it. Why would you think any differently?
When a uniform's quirks become beyond reproach, that's when you know it's in rarefied air. There are many good jerseys in the NBA, and the Knicks' just got greater, but nothing matches the Lakers' gold and purple.
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