General NBA

Ranking the 2019-20 City Edition Jerseys

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Since I was old enough to get into basketball, I have always loved jerseys.  When I was younger, it was the go-to gift for my parents to get me for birthdays or Christmas and I have built up a solid collection of most teams in the league.  The more random they were, the better for my enjoyment.  Given that, the City Edition Jerseys are one of my favorite recent additions to the league and I always look forward to seeing what the creative minds in the league will come up with.

 

https://twitter.com/nikestore/status/1199709719960662018

Not all teams nail this unfortunately, and we are here to discuss just that.  I will be providing my rankings of this season’s entry into the City Edition Jerseys.  In each ranking I will provide a composite ranking of those from The Lead Sports Media who wanted to weigh in as well.  Everyone likes something different, so let’s get into it.  Thanks to Jared Penna, Logan Collien, Brayden Todd, Charles Allen, Jordan Taylor and Cam Johnson for their rankings.

30:  Memphis Grizzlies (TLSM Average: 29.86)

The Grizzlies come in last by way of deciding not to participate.  It is a shame because the Grizzles have some creativity and their Vancouver throwbacks this season are amazing.  It is hard for those fans to have to see those beautiful stitches on a young sensation like Ja Morant, but as an unbiased viewer they are fantastic and I would have liked to see what else they would come up with.  This would have been a perfect 30 overall but my Stretch Three Podcast partner really dislikes the Mavericks jerseys more than not participating.

29:  San Antonio Spurs (TLSM Average:  24.43)

 

These were bad last year.  Sticking with them this year does not change that.  Do better.  I am all for what they stand in supporting the troops for, but there are more appealing ways to tap into this message.

28:  Boston Celtics (TLSM Average:  23.86)

 

As someone who tends to dislike the Celtics, I assure you this is not coming from the same place of hate.  One thing I have never criticized about the 17-time World Champions is their general aesthetic.  The standard jerseys are some of the cleanest in the game and honestly when I think of an ideal NBA jersey, it is them.  If they had pulled a Memphis and opted not to participate, I may have still put them on the list.  These are truly terrible.  The Gaelic script is a cool twist but the gold just looks so bad on the green.  They have tried gold and black on the green in the past and they just never work.

27:  Golden State Warriors (TLSM Average:  15.86)

I will say that I am much lower on these than our staff is.  There are only two that we disagree on more but I stand by my choices.  For me, another downer for the Warriors this season is the general lameness of their City Edition jerseys.  It’s not that they are ugly, because they are not.  They are just completely forgettable to me.  I do not even have much to say about them.  They are just bland.  And personally I would not include something related to Oakland on them in a season where you are taking so much backlash for leaving the city just months ago.

26:  Phoenix Suns (TLSM Average:  13.86)

I have seen a lot of love for these jerseys and it is lost on me.  These are the quintessential example of a jersey that you would not know was an alternate unless they told you.  Yes, they are a simple clean look.  Yes, Los Suns ties into the community.  But they are the complete opposite of special.  Devin Booker should be given a much sweeter look to rock when they are finally making progress.  Unfortunately it would probably cost Robert Sarver more than the base minimum to come up with something creative.

25:  Milwaukee Bucks (TLSM Average:  22.14)

These caught some people off guard and needed a little explaining.  “Cream City” comes from the cream or light yellow-colored brick made from clay found around Milwaukee in the Menomonee River Valley and on the western banks of Lake Michigan.  Apparently, the Brewers will be doing something along these lines as well.

These are ranked pretty low for a couple of reasons.  First of all, while I am on board with simple if you are going for a traditional throwback look, something like Cream City deserves something a little more interesting.  Second, it has already become a meme that this family-friendly website will not indulge, but know that it is there.  Finally, most people do not even know the reasoning behind this.  And if the reasoning is bricks, it is a poor connotation for a basketball team to be celebrating bricks.  I am sure Bucks fans thought they had left Eric Bledsoe’s playoff woes behind them, but they will all be celebrating bricks with this.

24:  Los Angeles Lakers (TLSM Average:  22)

These are just okay.  For me, they are too similar to the normal jersey you think of for the Lakers, which feels like a missed opportunity.  Especially when you have LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a team going for a title, it would have been really nice to see them in a unique jersey.  A callback to the previous glory years is okay, but to me it is not enough.  Especially for a franchise that mostly lives in glory years historically.  Alas, drip greatness is the only thing they are avoiding this season.

23:  Oklahoma City Thunder (TLSM Average: 15.14)

Any fault I have with these does not get away from liking the concept behind them.  It is really powerful to extol hope and remembrance and it makes me feel bad saying anything negative about them.  The Oklahoma City Bombing is one of the most devastating times in the recent history of our country as an act of domestic terrorism we have never seen the likes of before.  I cannot stress enough that this next part is not a slight on that in any way, shape or form.

They are just boring.  Oklahoma City has kind of always been a dull franchise aesthetically since they came into existence, doubly bothersome when considering how iconic the Sonics threads were.  Tying into the community overall is always good.  Just wish for once they would put out some cool merch.

22: Los Angeles Clippers (TLSM Average: 15)

In a twist where I think taking a swing goes wrong, these Clippers jerseys just do not resonate with me.  It consistently feels like a rebranding is in need for this franchise and this just is not it for me.  It is cool that they used the Old English font as a throwback to the culture of the city that is not talked about as much.  To explain, it is a reference to Mister Cartoon, a world-renowned artist who used black and grey designs and was famous for being an LA street artist.

Hinting at his style while using the red and blue of the Clippers is a nice touch, but the jerseys overall just fall a little flatter than I would like.  It may reflect the personalities of their current top two players being all business, but for a team looking to change its historical impression, I just would have liked more.

21:  Utah Jazz (TLSM Average: 9)

The Jazz are another team that decided to stick with last year’s options for the City jersey.  They did bring back the throwbacks with the Mountain imagery and those are spectacular.  I cannot put them any higher because I never really loved them last year and doubling down on them does them no good.  The rest of the site seems to like them a lot more than me.  Since I prefer the throwbacks and have taken points away from other teams that did not change from last year, here we are.  The throwbacks are sure-fire top ten though, so take solace in that Jazz fans.

20:  Washington Wizards (TLSM Average 16.57)

The Wizards’ jerseys are simple.  Nothing too egregious here, but also nothing really to write home about.  Simple color scheme for the capital city and it plays into the “Rep the District” theme they have had for a few years.  I do not see anything to really criticize here other than a lack of anything interesting.  For that, they stay below average.  They are a cleaner look than some of the disasters but do not stand above some of the true successes.

19:  Detroit Pistons (TLSM Average: 22)

I have come full circle on these.  As a biased Pistons fan, I initially hated these because I have never been a fan of the tire tracks to symbolize the auto industry.  I guess muscle car is better than just blue color auto industry?  But I have come around because the red is just too slick.  The team has not worn red since the end of the “Goin to Work” days, coincidentally the last time they had any sort of success.  They are still not that high on the list, but they are not the personal affront I initially labeled them as.  If they had gone teal over red, they would be much higher on the list.

18:  Orlando Magic (TLSM Average: 21.86)

I am in the minority for this site because I don’t completely hate these jerseys.  There’s nothing exceptional about them but it is kind of neat seeing a franchise that rarely goes out of the box to change it up with an entirely new color scheme.  Shouting out the citrus industry in their market is, in a word, different.  The blue pinstripe Magic jerseys are a thing of beauty, so these do not compare favorably to that.  But in terms of this list, they are definitely on the positive side.

17:  Dallas Mavericks (TLSM Average: 24.43)

These are probably the most polarizing jerseys on the list and will probably be my hottest take.  I low-key like these jerseys.  Are they cartoonish?  Absolutely.  Could they have done better?  100%.  But to me it is not even the biggest jersey issue with the squad.  Nothing will be weirder to me as long as a guy who has a chance to be one of the faces of the league is rocking the number 77.  And I give the Mavs credit because they took a chance.  I like that they are paying tribute to the graffiti culture in the city, even if many outsiders were not aware of its existence.  For years, they have been the same boring jerseys that would put you to sleep.  These are a bold swing.  I know most people will call them a strikeout; I look at it as a solid single.

16:  Houston Rockets (TLSM Average: 16)

They are nothing exceptional but I think the H-Town is a nice touch.  The space suit color scheme is a nice call back to NASA and the Rocket name overall.  They are not the best fit on this list, but they are nice in general.

15:  New York Knicks (TLSM Average: 15.29)

Not much to really say here.  These are a very clean look and the piping on the side is really cool.  The main reason why they are as low as they are for me is because they are the same as last year.  That is a demerit for any team on this list that chose not to do something at least slightly different.  Miami changes the color each year while sticking to a theme.  The Knicks could have done that too.  In general though, these are fire.

14:  Sacramento Kings (TLSM Average: 16)

These have a similar issue that the Bucks do, but not as blatant.  The colors are also just much prettier.  I am a sucker for the light blue, as you will see throughout my rankings and I think it goes well with the red.  I wouldn’t have Sactown on my chest even if it is a nickname for the city, but everything else about these jerseys is clean.

13:  New Orleans Pelicans (TLSM Average: 12)

These are a great fit.  I have always liked the Mardi Gras theme and New Orleans is one of my favorite cultural experiences in the country.  I usually do not love a white jersey, but these look clean.  The only thing holding them back is that they had them the previous season.  Another example of changing up the colors slightly holding them back in my rankings.  If these had not been the same jerseys as last year, they would have been a definite top-10 jersey for me.

12:  Indiana Pacers (TLSM Average: 10.43)

Racing is such a big part of Indianapolis and it is a fun addition to their jerseys.  I never had a problem with the Hoosiers-style they went with before, but the traditional colors pop more than normal on these.  Incorporating the sponsor so it looks like it’s part of the jersey instead of just an ad wins them bonus points.

11:  Charlotte Hornets (TLSM Average: 22.29)

I am always a fan of the color scheme the franchise has had in the Hornet years, so that will always leave them higher than they should be.  Purple and teal is just a wonderful aesthetic choice that it is hard to mess up.  That being said, they are really simple, despite the honeycomb piping on the side paneling.  This will rank above the dregs at the bottom, but will not blow you away if you are looking for something truly new.

10:  Brooklyn Nets (TLSM Average: 10.42)

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1200478141698969605

These are redoing the beautiful fits from the previous season, and honestly, I love them.  I think the multicolored trim is a nice touch that is a change of pace from the regularly-dull Nets uniforms.  Bed-Stuy is the nickname for Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Brooklyn neighborhood known as the nexus of hip hop culture.  Any time you can connect with something other than the name of the city or the mascot, I am interested.  This dalliance from the norm is a hit for me.

9:  Philadelphia 76ers (TLSM Average: 14)

https://twitter.com/alexsubers/status/1197192282027499521

These are nothing over the top, but the Sixers tend to get these right.  As one of the longest standing franchises in the league, they have rarely taken risks with their jerseys and just stuck to the classics.  Using the script of the Liberty Bell, the iconic landmark of the former nation’s capital, is perfect.  The gold trim with the bell logo really hammers it home.  Home run for them again this year.

8:  Toronto Raptors (TLSM Average 9.57)

The reigning champions keep getting it right.  Not only have young stars OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each taken a step forward in their progression in their title defense season, these jerseys are simply stunning as well.  Running back the font from their original jerseys in 1995 is a nice throwback in a celebratory season.  People will mock the Drake/OVO color scheme, but it looks good.  And unlike the Celtics mistake, the gold on black is the stuff of champions.  The North remembers how to do NBA style.

7:  Minnesota Timberwolves (TLSM Average: 12)

The Minnesota creative team needs to be applauded.  The Purple Rain jerseys last year were immaculate and these are not far behind.  Light blue is a staple of my high rankings and the MSP is a nice touch to call out the historic Lakers teams before they moved as well as the twin cities.  For a team that may be in need of a rebrand sooner or later, these entries into the City Editions should give fans hope.  They are willing to take chances and make great products.

6:  Portland Trail Blazers (TLSM Average:  9.86)

The Rip City theme is a cheat code when it comes to climbing up my rankings.  These are not my favorite editions of them, but they still rank higher than most other templates in the league.  This team really gets its fan base and it is a wonderful thing to see.

5:  Chicago Bulls (TLSM Average: 14.43)

These were so close to being the perfect jersey in my eyes.  I love the sky blue for the city flag and it complements the red so well.  The color scheme is really on point and I like them getting away from simply going with the traditional red and black.  But the big logo is such a negative to me.  There has not been a single team that has replaced words with the logo on the front of the jersey that I have liked.  If they had used words, this would be near the top for me.  Alas, it comes up short.

4:  Cleveland Cavaliers (TLSM Average:  6.86)

https://twitter.com/cavs/status/1197547909702705152

The Cavaliers decided to go with something similar to their inaugural season to celebrate their 50th anniversary, and these are a very clean look.  Something just always looks good about Gold, Blue and Wine.  During LeBron’s first run with the team, they continuously made dope throwback jerseys,and these are in the same league.  Good for them continuing at least that winning tradition if nothing else.

3:  Atlanta Hawks (TLSM Average 10.14)

I may be biased here, because anyone who knows me knows I am a big peach guy.  But I think these jerseys are amazing.  They are such a departure from the norm for this franchise and are the only team that comes to mind that has incorporated the peach coloring.  Tying into the state slogan and the trees that line the city streets always wins more bonus points for me, and not over complicating things with a black layout was a smart choice.  I honestly cannot say enough positive things about these jerseys.  The only reason why they are not at the number one spot is because I forced myself to check myself a little bit.

2:  Denver Nuggets (TLSM Average:  5.14)

These are beautiful jerseys. They were great back in the day and they are great today.  The rainbow rocky mountains are pretty impossible to screw up and the dark background really makes the colors pop.  It also should look slimming on the doughy Jokic as he rounds into shape.  I kid.  If they made the rocky mountain look their normal look again, it would be one of the smarter jersey choices in the league.  They are one of the retro designs that still look modern.  Many people will have these number one, but to me the debate was over as soon as the next jerseys were revealed.  Everyone else was just competing for second place.

1:  Miami Heat (TLSM Average:  4.43)

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1200586425156157445

When you are the best in the game, the bar is always hard to overcome.  And yet the Heat have done it again, at least in my eyes.  I am a sucker for pale blue jerseys and the pink has been a nice touch to bring out the Vice Wave theme.  Few teams could make references to show from the 80s cool, but the Heat keep succeeding.  It lends a part vibe to a party city.  It also keeps them younger than you would expect for a team led by Pat Riley and who has Jimmy Butler as their best player.  They are in a league of their own.

 

And we have finally made it to the end.  If you have made it this far, you love jerseys as much as I do.  The best part of these rankings is they are completely subjective so if you disagree with anything let us know in the comments below.  When the Earned Editions come out, we will try to do this again.  Until then, enjoy these sick new threads.

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