Are the New New York Knicks' Uniforms Better Than the Old Ones?
The Knicks' active offseason was not limited to personnel. New York made several changes to their uniforms as well. However, unlike the updated roster, the new jerseys and shorts are not an improvement over last season's versions.
The Knicks have not announced any specific changes to the uniform and are set to unveil the new look this Thursday, but the unis were leaked in a promotional video released by the video game NBA2K13 last month. According to ESPNNewYork.com, a league source confirmed that the changes depicted in the game were accurate.
The most noticeable difference from last year's uniforms is the color scheme. For the first time since 1996, the Knicks will not have black in their uniform. In a move which began last summer, when the team changed the color of the triangle in their logo, silver has supplanted black in the trimming around the collar and the shoulders.
The primary colors, blue and orange, are a bit faded in the new look, as opposed to the deeper shades from last season's uniforms. The team also re-introduced the traditional white trim on the blue away jerseys, sandwiched in between layers of orange and silver.
Noticeably absent, is the piping which adorned the sides of Knicks' jerseys, from the under arm to the waist, for the past 15 years. Last year there was orange and blue piping on the white uniforms, and orange and black on the road jerseys.
The team name on the front and players' names on the back of the jerseys will be less arched than before and the Knicks will introduce a new secondary logo for the upper back of the jerseys. Last year's big black "Y" in between an "N" and "K"—which was based on the old subway tokens—will be replaced with a throwback blue "Knicks," on top of an orange basketball.
The strangest aspect of the new uniforms is the trim around the shoulders. Instead of forming a full circle around the armpit, the blue, silver and orange on the home jerseys and orange, white and silver on away jerseys, stop above the armpit on the front and back. The design, intended to look chic, appears as if it is incomplete.
With the new uniforms, the Knicks are attempting to embrace their tradition, while introducing a sleeker, more modern look with the new color scheme, flat lettering and interrupted trim. But the blunted orange and blue, with silver, is less stylish than the black trim and represents a further departure from the great Knicks teams of the past.
Deep orange and blue are the team's signature look. They have experimented with different shades of those colors in the past (the navy and burnt orange look of the early 1980's and lighter blue of the late 1990's can be seen on NBA.com's Knicks jersey vault) only to revert to the classic look associated with the two championship teams of the early 1970's.
The color scheme is a downgrade from the sharper black, orange and blue pattern from last season. The team likely opted for the faded orange and blue in order to incorporate silver, which would have been lost amidst the darker orange and blue.
The place to be creative is not with the primary colors, but with the logo. Logos are barely seen on the Knicks' uniforms, but are often prominently displayed on team merchandise, which provides an opportunity to build the brand without altering the basic look of the team.
There are some favorable aspects to the new jerseys. The Knicks upgraded their secondary logo. The token-style "NYK" never caught on on the streets of New York. Removing the piping on the side of the jersey—which had been there in some form or another since 1997—provides a more streamlined look.
Along with the secondary logo, the piping-free jersey serves as a nod to the "Old Knicks," but the team did not go far enough in honoring its past. The orange, blue and white Knicks uniforms with the simpler block-letter logo from the 1960's and 1970's looked as stylish as ever on Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire on throwback night during the 2010-2011 season.
More importantly, in their war with the Nets for the hearts and dollars of New Yorkers, the Knicks history is their greatest advantage. Instead of altering their color scheme to keep up with the chic black and white Nets' uniforms and logos, the Knicks should be tapping into fans' positive memories from the days of Willis Reed and Walt Frazier, and more recently, Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley.
The new uniforms represent a further break from the past.
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