Knicks' New Uniforms: Why Subtle Changes Were a Smart Decision

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2012

Photo Courtesy of CBS Sports
Photo Courtesy of CBS Sports

With subtle changes to a classic look, the New York Knicks hit a home run while unveiling the franchise's new uniforms this week.

In a day in which teams consistently strive for flashy wholesale changes, the Knicks instead went for an emphasis on attention to detail and minimalist style.

Debuted Thursday by Knicks stars Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, the new-look jerseys are starkly similar to the ones worn by the franchise in its two heydays in the late 1960s and mid-1990s.

Adorned with the classic blue and orange, the jerseys take all the unnecessary frill of their predecessors and throw it to the wayside. The solid-colored waistbands offer a fantastic contrast to the otherwise bare-bones look while the slimmed neckline helps emphasize the "New York" stitched across the front. 

Subtlety was the key, and it was the perfect decision. With that in mind, here's a look at the reasons why the Knicks' subtle changes were a smart move. 



Money-Making Tool Without Abandoning the Common Fan

Simply put, franchises only change uniforms for two reasons: to make headlines and to pad the pocket of its ownership.

And while these uniforms have already hit the front page and will undoubtedly be best sellers throughout the league, the small changes make it possible for middle class fans to keep their old jerseys without feeling antiquated.

It's unlikely that the designers of these jerseys were thinking about the common man when drawing up the design. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic side effect that other designers need to take into account in the future. 



Stealing the Brooklyn Spotlight

While many have speculated that these new uniforms had been influenced by the minimalist movement started by the Jay-Z-designed Nets logo, that's actually not the case (per ESPN).

There may be some truth to the implication that new jerseys were a result of the team's impending move to Brooklyn, but the changes had been in place for months before the Nets unveiled their new look. 

Whether intentional or not, this move will still take some shine off of the "other" New York franchise when it finally unveils its new jerseys.

Undoubtedly stark and minimalist, the Knicks' new look sets a high new standard that will unlikely be topped when the Nets uniforms officially debut. 

With the two teams now battling as much for media coverage as for a place in the standings, this one should go as a win for the Knicks. 



"Once a Knick, Always a Knick"

By far the best alteration made by designers was also the subtlest.

The Knicks franchise has always been among the league's most loyal, supporting even the most minor role player far past his playing days. 

And, with a small phrase etched on the interior of the neckline, the team's jerseys now signify that loyalty. 

The phrase "Once a Knick, Always a Knick" is not a silly etching on the interior but instead an attempt to show the world how the franchise views its employees.

It may be a publicity stunt, but like the new jerseys, it's a brilliant one.