Grades for Every New NBA Uniform Unleashed This Season

Curtis HarrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2013

Grades for Every New NBA Uniform Unleashed This Season

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    Every season NBA teams unveil new uniforms.

    Sometimes those uniforms are absolute overhauls of previous schemes. Consider how the Charlotte Bobcats went from an orange-heavy to a blue-dominant jersey this season.

    Other times these uniforms are merely catchy alternatives to break up the monotony of an 82-game season. Consider Russell Westbrook (above) in his dark blue Thunder road uniform. This jersey is like nothing else Oklahoma City has ever worn, but that's the beauty that destroys the monotony.

    Whether major or minor, all of these uniform changes will be graded. These grades will be on an A-to-F scale. The better the originality, creativity, and aesthetics, the higher the mark. The lower the flair, style, and awesomeness, the lower the mark.

    Of course, these grades are my opinion of the various uniforms. Feel free to concur or disagree in the comments.

Boston Celtics Christmas Uniforms

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    Monochromatic schemes are rarely good for NBA jerseys, and the bevvy of Christmas Day uniforms were no exception.

    Luckily, the Boston Celtics did suffer less than their compatriots on St. Nick's Day. Their road jerseys are already predominantly green, albeit a different hue. Unfortunately, these Christmas jerseys do expunge all the little white contours and stripes that give some distinction to the regular road jerseys.

    The only white to be found here is pencil-thin. It barely outlines the team's name and the player's uniform number. Not great. Not awful. Resoundingly mediocre.

    These uniforms deserve, ironically, a solid C grade.

Brooklyn Nets Christmas Uniforms

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    Suffering from the same problems as Boston's Christmas jerseys, the Brooklyn jerseys didn't offer any aesthetic pleasure. In fact, the Brooklyn players all appeared to be lumps of coal on Christmas Day. They played like it too, losing to Boston at home 93-76.

    Poor Avery Johnson just looks depressed knowing his job was on the line. Sure enough, he was fired two days after the disheartening Christmas loss.

    In any event, this is another jersey that took a predominant road color (black) and took it a step too far. At least the colors were easier on the eyes than Boston's green.

    Grade: C+

Brooklyn Nets Away Uniforms

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    Brooklyn's road uniforms are very simplistic: heavy on the black, light on the white trimmings. It's definitely not going to turn heads with crazy designs or awful color choices. If ever there were two colors to safely contrast, it's good old-fashioned black and white.

    However, there's nothing daring about the design. Nothing particularly remarkable about them aside from their "unremarkableness." Still, they could have been much worse. But they also could have been much better.

    Grade: B-

Brooklyn Nets Home Uniforms

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    Again, not particularly inspiring, but gets the job done. However, these home jerseys for Brooklyn will net a lower marker. Being home jerseys, you don't need to remind fans what team you're playing for. The home uniforms should have "Nets" tattooed across the chest instead of "Brooklyn."

    In addition to this, the font of "Brooklyn" isn't particularly stunning either. The jersey would have benefited from bolder lettering. Another case of could have been better, but could have been much worse. The definition of average mediocrity.

    Grade: C+

Charlotte Bobcats Home Uniforms

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    Charlotte's new color scheme this season moves away from the garish orange of years past and more toward blue. Not a bad idea in Tar Heel country.

    Furthermore, these jerseys stripped the Bobcats of their awful pinstripes. The Hornets franchise has been the only one to successfully pull that look off with class. The Orlando Magic doing so is debatable.

    Finally and most notably, these new jerseys beautifully omit the "Bob" in Bobcats. The terrible moniker is made somewhat respectable in the process.

    But this jersey benefits more from what it has omitted and not done rather than what it has done. Solid jerseys, but not breathtaking. Also, they're a bit too close to the Dallas Mavericks' jerseys for comfort.

    Grade: B-

Charlotte Bobcats Away Uniforms

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    These jerseys are an absolutely awesome upgrade for the Bobcats. The rich blue hue they've chosen is stunning. Definitely the best color blue a team has chosen for its uniforms in the NBA. Also, the slight touch of orange that occupies the hem on the bottom of the trunks and the shoulders of the jersey are nice.

    The one drawback is the awkward semicircle that runs along the side of the jersey and trunks. It's hardly noticeable except when a player raises his arms up.

    In any case, it's a quibble. These jerseys are a major upgrade.

    Grade: B+

Chicago Bulls Christmas Uniforms

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    These Chicago Bulls jerseys are awful. Not that Nate Robinson cares, apparently. He's so excited!

    Thin little black lines aren't exactly the best way to draw attention, or distinction, on crimson red uniforms. Similar to the Celtics' Christmas Day uniforms, these Bulls editions are simply overkill. Red is too rich a color to be presented unadulterated on its own.

    There really is no redeeming value for these uniforms.

    Grade: D

Denver Nuggets Christmas Uniforms

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    Still not great, but the Denver Nuggets wound up having the best of the Christmas Day uniforms.The solid color chosen wasn't too bright or blinding. The deep dark blue is probably the best choice possible for a monochrome jersey.

    But what really makes the jersey good is the color chosen to outline the team name. The gold successfully draws your attention to the team and player instead of leaving you squinting to figure out who the person is.

    Better yet, the gold plays in perfectly with the Nuggets' moniker and Denver identity. It makes for a solid connection between what you see, think and read.

    Grade: B

Denver Nuggets Alternate Uniforms

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    Denver's new alternate uniforms are a nice golden throwback to the 1980s Alex English prototypes.

    However, I don't think these new jerseys quite capture the pizazz of the originals in a pleasing fashion. The cityscape of Denver's skyline is replicated but everywhere else there are issues.

    In the 1980s jerseys, the wacky, crazy colors were confined to the cityscape in the middle of the jersey. So the rainbow colors got your attention, but weren't so prevalent they turned your eyes away after a while.

    These new uniforms do the exact opposite.

    The softer colors are confined to the cityscape while the sharp golden yellow that really grabs your attention occupies the rest of the uniform. A nice effort to bring back some of the unique style of the '80s Nuggets, but it's a flawed effort nonetheless.

    Grade: B-

Houston Rockets Christmas Uniforms

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    These Christmas Day Houston Rockets jerseys are honestly some of the worst uniforms ever unleashed in the NBA.

    These uniforms suffer from many of the aforementioned problems with the Christmas jerseys. However, at least all the other teams were using colors involved in their regular uniforms. Gray isn't even a color of the Rockets, but here they are with an all-gray jersey.

    This was the first, and hopefully last, time the Rockets ever wear gray. Really not digging the Johnny Reb look.

    Grade: F

Los Angeles Lakers Christmas Uniforms

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    I actually kind of like these Christmas Los Angeles Lakers jerseys. For starters, they give the amusing impression that there are snowflakes in Los Angeles. Secondly, the black trimmed lettering is prominent enough to stand out.

    The biggest perk, for me at least, is that these jerseys also give a bit of a wink to the Lakers' origins. There may not be much, if any, snow in L.A., but in the Lakers' ancestral homeland there is tons of it.

    Would have been kind of neat to see George Mikan or Elgin Baylor playing in these snowflake uniforms in Minneapolis.

    Grade: B-

Los Angeles Clippers Alternate Uniforms

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    The Los Angeles Clippers unveiled their new uniform scheme last year: red for the road and white for home. This season they've now unveiled the alternate blue.

    The Clippers actually had a blue uniform in the mid-00s, but scrapped them in 2010.

    The critique of last year's redesign still stands with these new alternates. The cursive "Los Angeles" on the jersey's front is much too small and jumbled. That aside, though, these alternates are pretty classy. I wish the blue jersey was the Clippers' standard road uniform just like in the good old San Diego days.

    Grade: B+

Los Angeles Clippers Christmas Uniforms

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    The Los Angeles Clippers' Christmas uniforms were basically the Chicago Bulls' Christmas uniforms.

    All red, no distinction. A bloody, horrific crime of a jersey. At least it has a Clippers logo in the top center below the v-cut of the neck. This gives the jersey some discernible attempt at style. Nonetheless, it still fails miserably and looks awful.

    Grade: D

New York Knicks Christmas Uniforms

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    Yeah.... no.

    Looking at Raymond Felton as an orange glob on the court was not my idea of a Merry Christmas. The New York Knicks felt otherwise, though.  At least we were spared these jerseys while Eddy Curry and Jerome James were with the club.

    Still, these things aren't particularly easy on the eyes. This orange is too bright a color to go unabated on a high-definition television.

    Grade: C

New York Knicks Home Uniforms

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    The New York Knicks may have gotten their Christmas jerseys all wrong, but I do laud their revamp of the standard home jersey.

    This season the Knicks removed the unnecessary, but harmless, blue sidings that ran down their jerseys since the 1997-98 season. In its place is a nice solid white top and white trunks.

    Only two quibbles I have with this new design. First, the awesome "NY" design wasn't re-introduced on the bottom-left of the trunks. Second, the solid blue waistband of the trunk doesn't quite work with the orange lettering of the top. Would have been better to have some orange in the waistband, too.

    Overall, a nice jersey.

    Grade: B

New York Knicks Away Uniforms

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    The Knicks' redesign of their away uniforms is even better than the home uniform remodel.

    Prior to this season, the Knicks had sported an awful black stripe down the side of their away jerseys. This redesign successfully expunged that marring feature.

    Better yet, they also chose to make the waistband on this uniform match the lettering of the top. If they had followed the logic of their home jerseys, a white waistband would have been thrown in. Luckily they didn't keep that logic, thus making these road unis a step above their home jerseys.

    Grade: A-

Miami Heat Christmas Uniforms

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    The Miami Heat are always quite experienced with monochrome jerseys. This experience paid off during the holiday season. Their Christmas jerseys are one solid color, but they wisely chose their singular chrome.

    For starters, their color red isn't a blistering crimson that diminished the Clippers' and Bulls' jerseys. Second, this softer red had a slight shimmer to it that helped redeem the quality of the jersey.

    Pretty enjoyable jerseys, so long as you're not the grimacing Kendrick Perkins.

    Grade: B

Miami Heat Alternate Uniforms

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    Last season Miami unveiled its "black heat" jerseys. The sinister uniforms were enough of a smash success that the Heat decided to unveil its polar opposite: "white hot."

    The jarringly white jerseys definitely capture your attention. Unfortunately, the glaring white is pure novelty. It doesn't beg to be worn more than once or twice a year.

    Hopefully, next season, the Heat unveil an all-blue uniform. It makes sense, trust me. Blue flames are the hottest flames possible. Hopefully, that'll mean scrapping these uniforms.

    Grade: C+

Oklahoma City Thunder Christmas Uniforms

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    These Oklahoma City Thunder uniforms follow the better patterns set by Christmas Day jerseys. The color is consistent with their usual scheme. It isn't too bright or jarring. The outlining color for the name and jersey number are easily distinguishable from the rest of the jersey.

    It's a passable jersey for an NBA game, but definitely more suited for a practice session. Still, it's on the better side of the holiday jersey season.

    Grade: B-

Oklahoma City Thunder Alternate Uniforms

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    Oklahoma City finally unveiled its first alternate jersey this season. It's not much to brag about unfortunately.

    The colors used aren't bad at all. The charcoal-hued blue is actually very nice. The white, of course, is standard fare. However, the design is where everything falls apart.

    Having "Thunder" run vertically is definitely a poor choice. The font on the uniform number isn't much better. The worst thing of all is that these "new" alternate jerseys are in fact a rip-off of an old Cincinnati Royals jersey.

    Grade: F

Philadelphia 76ers Alternate Uniforms

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    The Philadelphia 76ers also got on board with the alternate jersey bandwagon this season. Their new blue jerseys are actually a nice reintroduction of the color to their wardrobe.

    I am a huge fan of this development.

    From 2002 to 2006, the Sixers used an alternate blue jersey but it paled in comparison to these new jerseys. These are far simpler and have a gorgeous clarity. The light touches of red trim around the shoulders are excellent. Doubling the red with a white trim around the neck is a further subtle delight.

    Like the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers should make these blue jerseys their permanent road uniforms.

    Grade: B+

San Antonio Spurs Alternate Uniforms

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    The San Antonio Spurs do deserve some credit for finally introducing an alternate uniform after nearly three decades with practically the same home and away jerseys.

    The beauty of these gray alternates is that they harken back to the Spurs' mid-1970s home uniforms. Invoking George Gervin or James Silas is always great thing.

    Where these jerseys fall short is THE GIANT SPUR that dominates the front side of the jersey. Everything else about this jersey is wonderful and great. I just can't get over THE GIANT SPUR.

    Simply stitching "Spurs" across the top would have given this jersey a much better mark.

    Grade: B