The NBA’s release of this year’s Christmas uniforms were met with widespread applause as they chose a clean design with a script that put you in the holiday spirit without feeling the least bit cheesy. The design seamlessly combined basketball and Christmas without sacrificing equity in either one. This morning the all-star uniforms dropped and the NBA seems to be riding their hot streak. They are sticking with the minimalistic theme and cite the league’s first all-star game between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers, on Nov. 1, 1946 as the inspiration for the uniforms.
The main features include the maple leaf overlays on the front of the red-and-white Western Conference and white-and-blue Eastern Conference uniforms, in recognition of Canada’s national symbol. The Toronto skyline is across the back shoulders of the jerseys. Special star-shaped patches that combine maple-leaf flourishes with the NBA logo are on the back of the uniforms. Several bits from the Raptors’ current branding, including claw marks in the star on the shorts and black-and-gold tags on the lower front left of the jersey are cleverly slipped into the uniform’s design.
From an overall branding standpoint, these uniforms from the NBA and Adidas are immaculate. They were able to combine a number of elements that included historical nods, the city of Toronto, and the current Raptors team in a way that doesn’t feel crowded, jumbled, or non-cohesive. These uniforms from Adidas are truly a benchmark for clean and thoughtful design.
BUT… there always has to be a but. After embracing a wonderfully clean, minimalistic design and after incorporating a wide range of elements that paid homage to the city, the team, and even the NBA; they faltered. Everything about the uniform was thoughtful and authentic until they sold out. And even though they tried to include the sellout as seamlessly as possible, it’s still a sellout. I’m of course referring to the Kia logo plastered on the shoulder of the jerseys and despite what Lebron James and Blake Griffin want you to believe, nothing about Kia says NBA, Toronto, All-Stars, or basketball. And while the corporate inclusion isn’t severe enough to cause the overall design to be considered less than outstanding, they were so close to being perfect.
What do you think about the uniform design? Let us know in the comments.
The 2016 NBA All-Star weekend will take place in Toronto and starts on February 12th with the All-Star game itself being played on February 14th.