Sunday's NBA All-Star Game will boast ridiculous amounts of talent on both teams, celebrities from around the world and an opportunity to showcase the unique style that makes basketball a fan-friendly sport.
This year's All-Star uniforms were publicly unveiled in December, with Adidas handling the duties of marrying All-Star hype with appropriate fashion for the location. The festivities are taking place in Toronto, leading to an integration of symbols associated with Canada.
Before diving into some of the little details of the uniforms that will be donned by Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Paul George, among others, at Air Canada Centre, lets's take a look, per BasketballTV:
Basketball TV @BTVHoops
.@adidas and @NBA unveil NBA All-Star 2016 Uniforms STORY: https://t.co/sN2Dlj4fmP #NBAonBTV https://t.co/k2v94LK35E12/17/2015, 1:04:14 PM
The different uniforms are paying homage to Toronto and Canada. The Western Conference's red-and-white jerseys represent the colors on the Canadian flag, while the Eastern Conference's blue-and-white threads depict the two colors on the Toronto flag.
Toronto-specific tie-ins don't stop at the flag, as the back of the uniforms feature an outline of the city skyline, per More Than Stats:
More Than Stats @MoreThan_Stats
@Adidas STYLISH 2016 @NBAAllStar uniforms honor Toronto https://t.co/vXIlkm2DJp https://t.co/rd8OXFA1gR12/8/2015, 2:39:09 AM
Adidas global basketball general manager Chris Grancio spoke to NBA.com about the design:
This is the first NBA All-Star Game to be played outside the United States, and it is a very exciting time for basketball in Canada. To honor this global celebration and pay tribute to Toronto -- the site of the NBA's first game -- we've incorporated design elements that are inspired by the city's basketball history, sports culture and unique fashion scene to make an All-Star collection that players and fans will love.
Grancio's comments also bring to mind the fact that the NBA got its start in Toronto nearly 70 years ago with a matchup between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers on Nov. 1, 1946, which New York won, 68-66.
The modern-day NBA is a different entity, but the spirit of the game was born in Toronto, making this year's All-Star Game a fitting tribute to one of the league's historical sites.
The shorts have their own individual stamp while honoring the host city, per NBA News:
NBA News @ooyuznbanews
adidas Unveils 2016 NBA All-Star Uniforms (PHOTOS) | SLAMonline.. Related Articles: https://t.co/zM2I4ZvGGS https://t.co/eWMuy4yX5W12/6/2015, 5:37:25 AM
The maple leaf is as synonymous with Canada as anything else, so it's fitting that Adidas found multiple ways to integrate it into the uniforms. It's one of the country's national symbols and sits in the middle of the national flag, after all.
Hosting an All-Star Game in any sport is all about representation. The NBA is putting its best foot forward as it tries to draw in casual fans who aren't sure if they want to watch a fun exhibition game.
Toronto is putting its best foot forward—especially since the city is obsessed with basketball as the 35-17 Raptors own the Eastern Conference's second-best record. It's rolling out the red carpet for the NBA's biggest stars, so the least it can get in return is a uniform that honors the city.
Fortunately, Adidas gave Toronto's All-Star uniforms a distinctive look that is both cool and indicative of what makes the city an excellent host for the event.