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NBA Set to Unveil New Set of Alternate Unis Today

The Thunder yesterday became the fifth NBA team to unveil their second alternate uniform, revealing their (hideous) design via the video shown above. The other four that teams that have unveiled their second alternates are the Jazz, Grizzlies, Nuggets, and Hawks (plus the Kings have revealed the court design that will go with their alternate uni, although the uni itself hasn’t yet been unveiled).

The remaining 25 teams are expected to reveal their second alternates at some point today, probably by noon Eastern. Twenty-three of those designs have already leaked via video game screen shots (and the leaks match the five official unveilings that have occurred so far), so we have a pretty good idea of what the jersey fronts will look like, although it’s worth keeping in mind that there’s a lot more to a uniform than the front of the jersey.

Update, 9:15am: The 76ers have unveiled their design, and it’s a beauty. Bravo.

Once all 30 designs have been revealed, I’ll have an assessment over on ESPN. Link coming soon-ish. Update, 5:45pm: It’s finally up.

Meanwhile, the timing of this release is puzzling. Why would you release a bunch of new product two days after Christmas? Was that really the plan all along, or were there problems that resulted in delays? If anyone has good info on this, I’m all ears.

Meanwhile, lots of people have been asking why the NBA didn’t have Christmas Day uniforms this year. Aside from the cynical reason (most of the Christmas designs sucked) or the sensible reason (every team already has either four or five uniforms this season, which is more than enough), I think I may have some insights on this one: The Christmas designs put a lot of strain on retailers over the past several years. Store owners had to place their orders in the spring of a given year, several months before the following season’s schedule was announced, so in many cases retailers were ordering Christmas jerseys for teams that didn’t even end up playing on Christmas Day. I don’t know if that’s why they scrapped the holiday uniforms this year, but I do know that a lot of retailers were really pissed off about this situation, so maybe that’s why they abandoned the promotion this season.

I also heard a lot of people asking why the Celtics and Wizards went green vs. blue on Christmas Day, instead of the more Yuletide-appropriate green vs. red. It might be that the NBA learned something from the NFL’s experience with green/red games. Then again, before the advent of separate Christmas unis, the NBA had several green/red Christmas uni pairings (Mavs/Blazers in 2008, Knicks/Heat in 2009, and Knicks/Bulls in 2010), and I don’t recall anyone complaining about colorblindness issues regarding those games — hmmmm).

• • • • •

Stick of gum not included: I collected baseball cards when I was a kid, and naturally I’d end up with doubles or triples on some players’ cards. I’d save those and periodically sign my name on them. I figured I needed to practice signing my autograph in a baseball card-sized space, because I was definitely going to grow up to be a ballplayer and then I’d be signing my own card each season. (I made sure to practice signing on oblong cards too — you know, just in case they made my card in that orientation. I thought of everything!)

All of that practice finally paid off yesterday, when I received a letter in the mail yesterday from reader Paul Letlow, as follows:

Hi Paul,

Longtime reader of your blog here! I collect signed cards through the mail and sometimes create customs for that purpose. I made two similar cards of you [shown above; click to enlarge — PL] and would be honored if you’d sign the front of one and return it to me. Feel free to keep the other one for yourself.

Thank you!,
Paul Letlow

I was very happy to oblige. Thanks, Paul!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

NFL NewsWendy’s outlets at certain South Florida locations are selling commemorative cups featuring Dolphins players. Garrett Beatty noticed that S Reshad Jones’s cup shows him wearing a jersey with the NFL logo, while WR Devante Parker’s cup shows him without the NFL logo. … Speaking of the Dolphins, Patrick DiRubbo tried to order his daughter a Fins throwback jersey for Christmas but instead received a regular home jersey with throwback numbers. “Of course, I have had no luck trying to get through to return this,” he says.

College Football NewsDallas Police escorted the Ohio State football team to Cotton Bowl practice Tuesday morning while wearing motorcycle helmets with Buckeye decals and striping (from Tyler Backstrom). … Northwestern will go black/purple/black in the Music City Bowl on Friday. … It appears that Michigan State will be wearing white lids in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday (from Spartan Jerseys). … Virginia Tech has been selecting a different special teams player to wear No. 25 — the number worn by former Hokies coach Frank Beamer — for each game this season. For their upcoming bowl game, LB Andrew Motuapuaka has been selected to wear No. 25 (from Andrew Cosentino).

Hockey NewsTeam Canada’s uniforms for the Spengler Cup (an international tournament held in Switzerland) feature a double-maple leaf logo that no other Canadian hockey teams have used since the ’90s (from Wafflebored). … The refs at the World Juniors have giant ads on their jerseys.

Basketball News: Back in 1972, after the ABA’s Pittsburgh Condors folded, the team’s uniforms were donated to Attica State Prison in western New York State, in response to a request from one of the prisoners. The uniforms were used for prison basketball games (from Jerry Wolper).

Soccer NewsMarko Arnautović of West Ham United was were a jersey with a misspelled NOB yesterday in a match against Bournemouth (from @NoDougButDoug). … Lots of stripes in yesterday’s match between Huddersfield and Stoke City (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: Newport County of English League Two have apparently been wearing striped socks with their first-choice kit for the past month or so. They had been previously wearing all-black socks.

Comments (70)

    At least Paul Letlow had the good sense to use the 1987 Topps design and not the horrific 1986 design. Good grief I remember I was the first kid at my middle school who found them at the local downtown drug store when they came out. Took them to school the next day, Everyone hated the design but still interrogated me as to where I got them.

    1987 Topps were the first baseball cards I ever bought new in the packs, so they are still my sentimental favorite set design. I would also have to agree with you about 1986 Topps. Between the fact that I never bought those cards when they were new, and the way the black borders easily show damage, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1986 Topps card in mint condition!

    Typo in my second item: it’s Newport County, not Country (also, they’re the ones in amber and black, as it’s called, because both teams in that picture are wearing striped socks).

    “The Christmas designs put a lot of strain on retailers in over the past several years.”
    – Drop “in”

    Those Canadian jerseys at the Spengler Cup have always been an oddity. Here’s the reason thanks to message board.

    According to Scott Farley, Hockey Canada’s Director of Marketing Services & Events:
    “On the jerseys worn by the team at the Spengler Cup, there are 2 reasons why they are different. First, the jerseys are supplied by the Spengler Cup as part of their obligation to us at the tournament and second, there are a number of sponsors that you see on the jersey that would compete with long standing Hockey Canada partners.”
    Simply put – Hockey Canada’s corporate partners pay good money to be associated with Team Canada’s current identity, so Hockey Canada protects those relationships by using a different logo.

    Yep – all the teams, including club teams, have the uniforms supplied by the Spengler Cup to be worn for the tournament.

    I love the double maple leaf Canada logo. The logo has a throwback feel as that used to be the Olympic/National Team logo from the early 1980s to mid-1990s:


    Spengler Cup is described as the oldest invitational hockey tournament in the world. Held since 1923. We always get it on TV in Canada during the holidays.

    Fun fact I learned yesterday is that the tournament was played outdoors all the way until 1979. Kind of like a 1970s precursor to Winter Classics.

    Thanks, never knew the reason for the old logo but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the answer.

    The Spengler Cup jerseys, ads and all, are consistently more appealing than anything Canada has worn in the Nike era. I love the 80s/90s logo.

    I think a big problem with the NBA Christmas uniforms (aside from them being one day-only specials) is that at first glance almost any team wearing all green looks like the Boston Celtics.

    So my bands name is Goin’ Goin’ Gone. (we are going to play again)When I turned 50 I had to admit that I was never going to play CF for the Mets. We released a EP in 1988 and had a release party for a gig. A guy came up to me on a break, handed me a baseball and asked me to sign it. I told him: “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this”.

    I posted this ’65 Bruins pre-season video yesterday (lots of great uni tidbits)

    At 7:00 it shows the rare early 60’s BLACK “alternate” jerseys. I can’t find any game action or posed photos of these jerseys apart from this one pic on Chris Creamer’s site:

    The NHL Uniform Database shows them having this jersey for several seasons in the early 60’s. When was it used? Pre-season games only? This is a great looking jersey, can’t believe it wasn’t used more. Anyone have some info on this?


    So regarding the “City” uniforms, is the Miami heat gonna be the Red uniforms? In 2k18 they have all four uniforms as options, being the white and black jerseys as the normal jerseys, but the red uniforms and the throwbacks as alternates. As a Heat fan I’d kinda like to see something different for the City uniforms other than the normal Red uniforms that we’ve had.

    I can’t use the City edition Unis in 2k18. IDK if my game updates like its supposed to. I like The Dallas Uni!

    “Patrick DiRubbo tried to order his daughter a Fins throwback jersey for Christmas … ”

    From where I wonder??

    Speaking of the ‘Phins, here is a sleeve-stripeless Griese jersey available at NFLShop. (the stripeless sleeves were mentioned a couple of days ago here on U-W)


    The new Sixers uniforms are underwear with a bad Phila script font on the front. Less than zero capability. I mean try at least to have something unique to your brand.

    They look like they belong in a video game that didn’t want to pay for the rights to use NBA teams

    The Christmas designs put a lot of strain on retailers over the past several years.

    Xmas Day jerseys are online NBA Store promo items. Retailers wouldn’t want to carry such an anomaly item… has no extend-ability…

    Hi Paul. I am most likely very late to the party with this question, but didn’t you used to post a funny cartoon/pic/etc. on Christmas day’s entry? Not sure why it sticks in my mind, but I recall one with a drunken Santa that some folks didn’t like too much. Am I just losing it and don’t recall that you stopped doing that? I always found those amusing.

    Yes. I believe the last time I did that was in 2014. I stopped mainly because I ran out of good images of drunk/violent/suicidal/dysfunctional Santas and didn’t want to force it.

    Wow! Really late to the party (2014???) Time flies. Thanks. By the way, I’m going to chuckle all day after reading “ran out of good images of drunk/violent/suicidal/dysfunctional Santas”. Hysterical.

    Ugh. From the Sixers uniform reveal on Twitter: “Off-white color is based on parchment used for Declaration of Independence.”

    Between the video presentation, and the actual uniforms, I literally lol’ed at the Thunder’s new uniforms. Hideous indeed!

    Has any professional team done as little to unlock the potential of their nickname as the Thunder?
    From colors to uniforms to logos… Blah, straight down the line.


    Is the implication of the Kobe designed Lakers “City” uniform that there are going to be new “City” uniforms every year?

    “The “Black Mamba” design this year is in honor of Kobe Bryant”

    Every team will have a new second alternate every season.

    The Lakers have decided that their second alternates will honor a different player from their past. This season it’s Kobe.

    Unofficial as of now, but the Lakers’ second alternate has a subliminated LED pattern across the whole of the jersey. This makes the color a bit more like a really dark gray than a black. I honestly think it’s too much for the Lake Show, I liked the matte black of previous iterations. But at least they stay well within the realms of team colors… Even if the Hollywood Nights jersey is BFBS, I think it suits the Lake Show good.

    at least they stay well within the realms of team colors

    I must have missed the press release announcing that black (or dark grey) had become a Lakers team color.

    A pretty bad attempt at sarcasm. But hey, at least the Lakes don’t have any actual gray alts. Ugggh. The thought of it makes me want to throw up.


    And Lakers City alts… apparently Kobe designed these… And there’s a subliminated **snakeskin** pattern, not LEDs. And also, some sort of “Lore Series” thing. At least these are matte.

    Still cleaning the vomit up from the original leak and now seeing the official unveiling only makes things worse…

    Also wanted to give a thumbs up to the Paul Lukas baseball card. Totally legit. Phil needs a curling card.

    I’m more interested in the back of that jersey. Will it include the rail car and will it by multicolored?

    On a more technical note, Paul, I seem to be having issues with the site as of late. The page is constantly loading, apparently because of the ads, causing some sluggish behavior. Also, every time I go off to another tab and come back to this one later, it shows the browser crash screen and I have to reload.

    Okay, now I’ve had the site lock the browser up on me altogether, forcing me to close it out altogether… and now there are commercials playing in the vertical ad sidebars? link (my usual image host site is down right now, so I tweeted it).

    Missed the Blazers/Sonics going green and red in their 2007 Christmas Day matchup in what would have been the Durant and Oden rookie year showdown

    After reading the posts about the Jazz uniform design over on ESPN I have realized I’m in the minority of those who really like the uniform. I’m a big national park enthusiast so this design hit home for me, especially since it’s a southern Utah motif, which is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.

    Perhaps. I know it’s a matter of personal opinion/preference and regardless, it’s a heckuva title (RDMLKJ/DMRKJ).

    Thought this was a good explanation as to why I believe it should always be Reverend Doctor.

    I truly believe that MLK would choose Rev Dr as his title and that we should call him what he would/did go by.

    1) That’s not how editorial style works, Josh.

    2) While I admittedly don’t know this for sure, I am fairly certain you are not a mind reader, and I’m even more certain that you can’t read the minds of dead people.

    3) You yourself just called him “MLK,” so you violated your own position.

    This is silly. Please stop. Thanks.

    No, I am not a mind reader, and I never told you to call him Rev Dr. I used shorthand name b/c I was pressed for time and on a phone. He himself went by Rev Dr.

    However, I understand that this is a minute and minuscule detail and I will leave it be.

    “How is it possible that no major sports team has ever had a firefighter-themed uniform before?”

    I guess the Chicago Fire of the MLS doesn’t count, huh? ;)

    Yeah, I guess MLS and soccer in general isn’t “major” here. But the percent of MLS clubs with their own stadium , that they don’t share with a NFL team, is much higher than that of the NHL. The only MLS teams that don’t ( or won’t in a year or two) have their own stadium is New England, Atlanta, Seattle, and NYCFC.

    There are several, if not a majority, of NHL teams who share stadiums with NBA franchises, including Chicago, NYR, LA, Wash DC, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Colorado, NY Islanders, and Detroit. Plus, the NHL has several teams in debt and their television ratings are not so good.

    MLS is a much more successful and sustainable market but apparently isn’t a “major sport”. (Not a knock on UniWatch or Paul; MLS isn’t a “Big4” sport/league but should replace hockey. )

    There are several, if not a majority, of NHL teams who share stadiums with NBA franchises, including Chicago, NYR, LA, Wash DC, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Colorado, NY Islanders, and Detroit.

    That is (a) true, but (b) not a useful metric of what constitutes “major.” Indeed, why are you singling out the NHL for sharing buildings with the NBA? You could just as easily accuse the NBA of not being “major” because its teams share buildings with the NHL.

    The reality is that there’s no need for a city to have separate buildings for basketball and hockey teams. Sharing the building is good urban planning.

    Your other critiques (about hockey teams being in debt, and about the increasing viability of soccer) are valid. But don’t overplay your hand with bogus metrics like shared NBA/NHL arenas.

    -Don’t forget Josh, the Vancouver Whitecaps share a stadium. It is not their own.

    Yes, but the Reds have been playing there since it opened whereas the Argonauts and the USL team have played there since 2016 and starting in 2018, respectively.

    I had forgotten about the Whitecaps and understand that the stadium argument may not have been the best; the point I was trying to drive home was that the NHL was financially worse off than MLS.

    I watched a few minutes of the Canadian Spengler Cup game yesterday and counted 16 ads on every single Canadian uniform.
    3 ads on the helmet
    1 ad below the logo on the front of the jersey
    1 ad on each shoulder on the front of the jersey
    1 ad on each arm of the jersey
    1 ad above the player name on the back of the jersey
    1 ad below the number on the back of each jersey
    1 ad on each leg on the front of the pants
    1 ad on each leg on the back of the pants
    and 1 ad on the front of each sock

    What makes it even stranger is that I believe every ad is for the same company.

    Love the Sixers alt bit it’s too similar to what they wore on Christmas vs NYK (what I believe is their third kit but I’m not entirely sure of). Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, and OKC are awful. Wizards and Lakers would be great if not for the white on white/black on black respectively.

    Milwaukee’s wouldn’t be terribke if the Harley and was in Bucks’ colours. I know it’s not common yet here in America but most English/German/Spanish soccer teams’ ads are colored in a way that is either non-clashing with the kit or in the teams’ colours (Borussia Mönchengladbach aside).

    The Clippers’ jerseys for “City Edition” were launched today, with the announcement beginning like this:
    “This uniform celebrates the team’s history in San Diego…”
    Yeah, this totally makes up for L.A. stealing away our basketball and football teams. #BeatLA

    Hey Paul,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe on the Lakers portion of your ESPN column, you linked a picture of Kobe in a black Lakers jersey that they never wore before. It looks like a photoshop. The previous BFBS/Hollywood Nights uniforms had purple & gold lettering.

    That Hawks jersey may be the worst I’ve ever seen. Combining BFBS, neon green, and ghost numbers on one uni is like the bad look trifecta. Putting it over the top is that ridiculous illegible font. So glad that isn’t for a team I root for.

    Speaking of, I really don’t follow the NBA these days, but the Knicks were my team, and that FDNY salute is nice.

    And with some of those reveal videos, such as the Thunder one, you kind of get the feeling they are trying to make it hard to see! I hate those things…unless you actually have footage of players wearing them in game-like conditions, it’s just making me sit through tedious effects to get to the still photo I should be looking at.

    OK, enough ranting for one day!

    Hi Paul,

    You probably already said something about it, but, what do you think about the back of the Nike NBA jerseys? Don’t they look like bra straps sticking out of a sleeveless blouse?

Comments are closed.