WORST TO FIRST: 2019-2020 Nike City Edition Jerseys
Nike is back for another round of City Edition uniforms: jerseys that should only last a year, causing every team to add a new jersey to their lineup annually. This year's crop is particularly lackluster, so this ranking is a bit more scathing than last year's review. Since HORSE is a podcast, an article was the only way to properly express our feelings. We worked together on ranking the jerseys scoring them each on style, originality, and "would a normal human being wear this in public" factor. Mike wrote the reviews for the even numbered teams (because his beloved New York Knicks scored an even ranking) and Eric wrote the reviews for the even numbered teams (so he properly dunk on his Celtics). Enjoy our second edition of Worst to First!
30. Memphis Grizzlies (DISQUALIFIED)
DISQUALIFIED, BUT FOR A GOOD CAUSE.
The Grizzlies opted out of having a City Edition jersey this year so that they could wear THESE FRESH THROWBACKS more often. A truly wise decision, but regardless, they are disqualified.
29. Dallas Mavericks
I have a theory that all massive CEOs started out pretty cool to their audience and then age into Lex Luther-style evil. For example, Jerry Jones was once a rootin’ tootin’ maverick of the NFL, and now is Skeleton. And now we’re seeing it with all the new tech bosses: Zuckerberg sold all our data to the Russians, Jack from Twitter is more invested in his chakras than stopping Nazis on his platform, and who knows what, where and why Elon Musk is doing what he’s doing. These jerseys are proof that Mark Cuban has jumped the CEO shark (and, you know, the massive sexual harassment scandal in his organization). RIP Mavs, your fun boss Harvey-Dented so hard.
28. San Antonio Spurs
Look, I get wanting to support the troops, but the Spurs do this literally every year and they are ignoring THIS ICONIC COLOR SCHEME. GIVE ME A FIESTA JERSEY TO CONTRAST YOUR BLACK, WHITE, AND GRAY JERSEYS, YOU COWARDS. [NOTE: this was copy/pasted from last year because the Spurs also copy/paste this jersey design every fucking year]
27. Boston Celtics
This is like someone overheard a friend of a friend talk about the Renaissance Faire and then turned that into sports apparel. This is like an Irish Bar outside of Penn Station turned into a jersey. This is what Seamus the leprechaun wore during the final basketball game in Luck of the Irish. I hate it and I hate all the guys named Sully who bought it. Go Kemba.
26. Charlotte Hornets
You have the best color scheme in the league, your city’s nickname is “Queen City,” AND YOU’RE MAKING FUCKING GRAY JERSEYS THAT SAY “CHA” ON THEM?!?! THE FUCK IS CHA?! People in Charlotte don’t even abbreviate Charlotte as “CHA” they us “CLT.” This is absolute trash.
25. Detroit Pistons
Someone needs it to tell the Pistons that, unlike the city of Detroit, they don’t need to prove that they’re doing fine and will still be good for the future. This is the “I dyed the grey out of my hair and now I’m fun and flirty!” of jerseys. We’ll get to the car imagery later when we get to the Pacers.
24. Washington Wizards
This DC logo that the Wizards have is fresh, but centering it on the jersey with nothing else around it just looks off. It looks like a knock-off jersey you buy at Kohl’s. The stars and stripes down the side are a nice thought, but their execution leaves much to be desired. If you wanna make America jerseys, GO FULL AMERICA. Put the stars and stripes on the front. Cover the entire jersey in stars and stripes. Do stars top and stripe shorts. JUST GIVE US SOMETHING.
23. Houston Rockets
Whatever happened to good nicknames? Like the Iceman, Dr. J, The Big Aristotle. Those are nicknames. Now it’s just a combo of last name and jersey number. That’s how I feel about H-Town. I know it’s a thing, but there was NOTHING better to put on the front? Nothing? Also, bring back the red and yellow color scheme. The throwbacks are killer!
22. Brooklyn Nets
As the noted Brooklyn-hater of HORSE, I had to google Bed-Stuy because the only thing I knew about it is that it’s in Brooklyn and there’s not much to do there. The first result on Google is “9 Reasons Not to Live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.” I then guessed that Biggie Smalls (the reason for the fun multi-color print on these jerseys) was from Bed-Stuy, and Google confirmed. So rather than just make a white version of the dope Biggie jerseys from last season, they also changed the lettering to read Bed-Stuy in a “hello fellow teens” font. Bed-Stuy is a neighborhood of a borough of New York City. It’s too specific and looks wack on a jersey. Also, Biggie Smalls was a Knicks fan.
21. Indiana Pacers
Hey, Pistons, Pacers, come over here for a second. Listen, the guys and I have been talking, and we’re just worried about you. Racing imagery? Again? It’s… it’s a cry for help. You know that basketball people and racing people are not the same people? You didn’t know? Well, at least a friend told you. Godspeed. And Pacers, hey, you can put down the flag. We get it, you’re a racing city.
20. Chicago Bulls
So close, yet so far… I absolutely love light blue, red, and white as a color scheme. The Bulls have made it into some solid jerseys and merch in the past before, too! But by making the bull kinda small compared to the numbers and transparent, this design just looks off. Much like the Wizards jersey, this looks like a knockoff your mom would get in a department store without realizing it wasn’t a true replica. But bless her heart, she’s trying her best and just thought you’d think it was neat.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder
This was our largest disparity of scores: I gave it an 11 out of 15, Mike gave it a 5. He hates black jerseys, not victims of the Oklahoma City bombings. I think the motivations are meaningful, but the font is... not great. Honestly, the thing that gets me is I can’t imagine someone willingly buying this. “Yeah, I copped that sweet memorial jersey. Gotta get that service, honor, and kindness drip.”
18. Orlando Magic
What is this font, Mission Space from EPCOT? The color scheme isn’t horrible, especially given that Florida has a bunch of oranges, but there is literally no design on the jersey aside form a horizontal strip on the shorts. Also “ORL” just looks weird as an abbreviation. The Magic should go full Disney and just make their city jerseys the jerseys from a different basketball Disney Channel Original Movie each year. OH FUCK, MAKE THE EAST HIGH SCHOOL WILDCAT JERSEYS OH MY GOD.
17. Golden State Warriors
You can’t just do the same thing over and over again if you’re starting Willy Cauley-Stein and Glen Robinson III. We gave you a pass when you’re trotting out the best three-pointers of all time. But NO LONGER!
16. Milwaukee Bucks
Cream City. CREAM CITY. You put CREAM CITY ON A JERSEY, AND THOUGHT NO ONE WOULD CLOWN YOU FOR IT?!?! The color scheme is fresh and the font is very close to being very cool. Bonus points for having it emulate the Milwaukee Tools font (which I used as inspiration for the Potterless/Wizard On font), but it looks like you downloaded a bootleg version of the font on a free font website. I will conclude with a paraphrased joke one of our listeners, Bilal, made on Twitter: “Where is Cream City, 5-7 minutes south of Pound Town?” This is the best possible joke to make.
15. New Orleans Pelicans
Please… please make the Mardi Gras colors your new colors. Please. AD is gone. Zion is still rehabbing. Please. Give us something. We’re dying here.
14. Phoenix Suns
The fact that these jerseys made it into the top half shows how horrendous the rest of the city jerseys were this year. These jerseys aren’t great, but they aren’t actively bad. “Los Suns” is dope because it appears that Nike axed NBA Noché Latina jerseys, so it’s good to see a team still supporting that movement. The collar is fresh and the shorts design is fun, but the jersey doesn’t have much life to it outside of those smaller details. TAKE A RISK! HAVE SOME FUN!
13. Los Angeles Lakers
Listen, gold and purple will always look good. The drop-shadow font, is awesome, but those “vortex-like” panels are some Word 2000 .docx word art bullshit. Um, what else... uh… fuck Kobe, let’s go Celtics.
12. Sacramento Kings
These jerseys are just a red version of the light blue SACTOWN jerseys the Kings already have, but oh man are they fresh. The red is SO. RED. The light blue accents look incredible as well. These jerseys are clean and LOUD and I love them.
11. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers are the same rank because they had pretty much the same jersey! I really love that off-white/paper white; it really stands out against the real white of most home jerseys. The crack on the side is a funny touch so I can remember National Treasure whenever I watch a Sixers game. Waiting for Joel Embiid to steal the Declaration of Independence.
10. New York Knicks
The fact that the Knicks made the top ten by simply recycling last year’s jersey is a testament to how weak the City Jersey class is this year. These jerseys get a bit of a higher spot than last year’s ranking because they looked so much nicer on the court than in pictures. The jerseys are actually a nice blend of old school and new school (I personally own the shorts and they are fire). BUT COME ON, NBA. DO BETTER NEXT YEAR. RECYCLING SHOULDN’T MAKE THE TOP TEN. If a second team made the top ten by simply recyc-
9. Utah Jazz
The Jazz didn’t change their jerseys AT ALL and still cracked the top 10. Who are these people making other jerseys? Is graphic design REALLY their passion? Is Nike forcing NBA teams to become soccer clubs and churn out kits just because unsustainable and not actually great? Who can say? I love sunrises!
8. Los Angeles Clippers
Sure the font looks a little Grand Theft Auto-y, but I love this jersey (and the court design the Clippers pair with it) because of how “fuck the Lakers” it is. This entire season, the Clippers have had various promotional material that essentially positions the Lakers as the team of the fake, gross side of Hollywood and the Clippers as the team of the people. These jerseys cement that with the simplistic design and the tattoo-inspired font. Also, it’s such a minor detail, but I love that the Clippers have consistently had one blue trim and one red trim on all their new jerseys, and they kept that with this one (even though you have to really search for it in the sleeves to see) and I love it. ASYMMETRY, BABY.
7. Denver Nuggets
I will always stan a rainbow on a sports jersey. I went to college at NYU, who changed their name from the Violets to the Bobcats because they needed a more fearsome name, but Bobcat was named after the library catalog. Toxic masculinity is poison! Anyway, love the classic nod to rainbow mountains. Points dinged because black is kind of a cop-out; bring back the powder blues!
6. Portland Trailblazers
What the Blazers have done here is truly fantastic, and more teams should mimic their approach for future city jerseys. First, this jersey is a throwback but also a remix, and it hybrids the designs of the frist two uniforms that the Blazers wore when they were founded in the 70s. Second, it pays homage to the city of Portland by using “Rip City” for the text. Third, the off-white gives it a unique and classic feel and it works so well with the red accents. This jersey is great and I hope this becomes a template for designs to come. Also, "BLAZERMANIA" above the tag is a nice touch. Next year? #StayMel00
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Hey! Cleveland! You learned from your mistakes and didn’t make a travesty this year! The CLE with a feather is stylish, the stripes are classic, and the dark blue pops against a sea of black jerseys. All you have to do is set Kevin Love free and you’ll finally be turned back into a boy after that mystical drifter polymorphed you into a dog.
4. Toronto Raptors
This jersey is pristine and the mix of old-school and new-school is fantastic. The font for “Toronto” is the same the Raptors used on their iconic 90’s jerseys. The piping down the sides of the jersey pays homage to the same throwbacks. The number font is the same as on their modern uniforms. The usage of black and gold as the color scheme incorporates a color scheme they’ve used in alternate jerseys in recent years, and also is a nod to the fact THAT THEY WON THE NBA TITLE LAST YEAR. I normally despise black jerseys, but this one works on so many levels and also makes sense because black is already in Toronto’s color scheme. Well done.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Yes yes yes yes yes. This has everything I want from a city jersey. Cool nickname referencing the city? Check. Different color scheme than usual? Check. Looks fly af? Check. Although I can’t imagine anyone outside of the players and Andre 3000 pulling this off, I want it so badly. Gimme that Vince Carter Peachtree, please!
2. Miami Heat
After Miami unveiled the white, black, and pink iterations of the vice jerseys, we all knew this design was coming, BUT MIAMI STILL KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. This particular shade of blue (cyan if you wanna get fancy/printer ink savvy) is pristine, unique, and screams Miami beaches. Miami earned the #2 spot in our ranking last year with the balck vice jerseys, and this template is just a recipe for success. This final edition of the vice lineup cements what we at HORSE have been clamoring for years: FULLY REBRAND TO VICE, YOU COWARDS.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
“When you come at the king, you best not miss.” - Omar Little and the T-Wolves design team. Last year, they knocked it out of the park by doing something fun with the full embrace of Prince. But this is a truly beautiful piece of work. The nod to the St. Paul, the clean font, the soft blue color -- the jersey is amazing. Put it in the Louvre.