Walk-in Wardrobe Wanted

By Alex H.
Sleeved uniforms: Lucky, maybe. Ugly, definitely.

The Golden State Warriors broke out a new short-sleeved uniform last Friday night and promptly set about beating the league-leading San Antonio Spurs 107-101 in overtime.

Those new uniforms might have proved lucky on the court but they were certainly a hideous sight to see, especially considering those shorts just didn’t match those jerseys.

While we don’t profess to be style gurus here at BettingSports.com – we’d have a field day with Messrs. Durant, Westbrook, and James if we were – watching those jerseys for the better part of 150 minutes got us to thinking about NBA uniforms in general, and more specifically, just how many of the damn things there are.

Haven’t thought about it lately? Well, let us tell you, there are lots (and lots) of uniforms doing the rounds this year.

Go back some 20 years and almost every NBA team had just two uniforms; a home white and a road colored. Granted, with the arrival of the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets in 1989 and the Orlando Magic in 1990, teams began branching out and adding an ‘alternative’ uniform to their home and road threads, but most teams still had just two.

Fast forward to today and not only is it standard to have three ‘regular’ uniforms, but teams are branching out and adding even more variations on a theme. Some of these are based on league initiatives (Noche Latina, Green Week) but others simply appear to be whimsical at best.

Let’s take the Miami Heat as our example.

This season, the defending champions have taken to the court in no fewer than seven different uniforms, and will don the Noche Latina uniforms for three nights between March 6 and 10.

In addition to the three ‘regular’ uniforms, the Heat has worn a special gold trim uniform on opening night in celebration of last year’s NBA championship (fair enough, they earned this one); the ‘White Hot’ uniform which features white lettering on a white jersey (a nightmare for those in the rafters); the ‘Big Color’ red lettering on red jersey (a truly ugly kit); and most recently, a Mid-90’s throwback uniform celebrating the team’s 25th anniversary (this one we like, although wearing it for the entire month of February seems a little excessive).

The only uniforms we don’t recall seeing the Heat in so far this season (excluding the Noche Latina) are the black-on-black uniform that did the rounds last season and the throwback Miami Floridians kit that has featured on Hardwood Classic Nights. Come on, Miami. There’s still time to rock-up in those as well.

So, by the end of the year, the Heat will have worn at least eight different uniforms. Does that sound a little excessive to you?

Now, we’re not ragging on the Heat here. Far from it, in fact. The side won the NBA championship last season so they deserve a special uniform at least. We’re also a big fan of the Hardwood Classics Nights – although when you remember the ‘retro’ jerseys from first time around it can be a little disconcerting – and firm supporters of movements like Noche Latina – now in its seventh year – and Green Week. We even back Toronto wearing a camouflage uniform in support of Canadian troops, and we’re not opposed to those St. Patrick’s Day jerseys Boston, New York and Chicago break out.

We are however opposed to the ‘fashion’ uniforms doing the rounds.

On Christmas Day, the Heat, Knicks, Lakers and Thunder all wore specialist jerseys. None of them had Santa Clause on, and none of them looked good. Add to that jerseys like Miami’s ‘White Hot’ uniform and you have an overabundance of uniforms that are far too hard to keep up with.

Worse than that though, you have impossibly rich organizations that look like they’re fleecing everyday fans. Those jerseys are all available in the team store or on the NBA website, and none of them comes cheap. If there’s one thing people don’t want to see in the current economic downturn, it’s companies doing the dirty.

Now, Golden State is certainly not doing the dirty with its latest uniform. Firstly, nobody in their right mind would rush out to buy that hideous piece of work which may or may not rival the traditional Tampa Bay Buccaneers sickly orange uniform. Secondly, the Warriors are trialing the uniform for Adidas, who may look to alter all uniforms in the future.

Had Adidas come to us first, we would have saved them a truckload of money simply by telling them players and fans don’t want soccer-style jerseys. Basketball has always been played in a vest and there’s no legitimate reason that should change.

We’re sensible around these parts and we realize that this movement isn’t about to change. Au contraire, more and more teams will be looking at bolstering their wardrobes, and whilst we might be exaggerating a bit, it’s not a stretch to imagine teams donning so many different uniforms that the Lakers’ purple and gold starts resembling lilac and beige, or the blue and orange in New York becomes purple and gold.

After that rant, we’re off to find out how Oklahoma City fares against the stretch when wearing sparkly two-tone uniforms on a Wednesday.