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A Very Scientific Ranking of the NBA’s 30 New “Statement” Jerseys

Most teams could have been more creative with their new alternate uniforms

Nike Unveils New NBA Partnership Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

This season, the NBA has made a grand event out of releasing the jerseys for every team. At an event in Los Angeles last week, Nike, the league’s new apparel sponsor, went all out for the release of its “Statement Edition” jerseys, which are alternate uniforms that are supposed to have more pop than just the home whites or away colors. Some actually made statements, others flopped, and all of them were roundly critiqued.

Here is our very official ranking of all 30. Don’t @ us.

1. Golden State Warriors

Haley O’Shaughnessy: Ahead of the franchise moving to San Francisco, Golden State honored its home since 1971 with the City of Oakland tree logo. It’s a sweet gesture, especially since the organization plans to keep the jersey in rotation for future non-Oakland years. (Conspiracy corner: This is all an elaborate pitch to Oakland native Damian Lillard, who has the logo tatted on his chest.)

2. Charlotte Hornets

Paolo Uggetti: Few people can pull off purple, and the Hornets do just that with this sleek shade. Charlotte isn’t discussed often because well, there’s not much to say about their impact on the court, but if you’re going to be the sixth seed in the East, you may as well do it in style.

3. Houston Rockets

Uggetti: Accents are great, and I can’t get over how good the red outlines look on the new Rockets’ threads. The smoke gray on the sleeves is also a nice touch. (Back to conspiracy corner: Picking Trevor Ariza as the model means he probably won’t be included in a hypothetical forthcoming Melo trade.)

4. Indiana Pacers

O’Shaughnessy: This, Utah, is how you do yellow. Look at how happy these jerseys make Myles Turner! He sure doesn’t look like someone about to go 31-51, Vegas, although if the Pacers do end up with that record, which would be Indiana’s worst since 1989, at least they’ll look clean doing it. Er, losing it.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder

O’Shaughnessy: Paul George and this jersey have a lot in common, both being solid new additions for OKC.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

Uggetti: Beale Street Blue. Much like the Chargers’ powder blue, this is a perfect color, and I hope the Grizzlies wear it all the time.

7. Los Angeles Lakers

O’Shaughnessy: OK, Los Angeles, these are pretty similar to the regular Lakers jerseys (which are also good). In fact, the biggest change in this picture might be Julius Randle, who spent the offseason getting into incredible shape.

8. Milwaukee Bucks

Uggetti: There’s a clear attention to detail here that’s gotta be commended. The black is sharp; the shades of green around the neckline and the ball on the shorts side paneling complement each other perfectly. Also, that logo is cool as hell. And no, I don’t mean the Harley-Davidson one.

9. Philadelphia 76ers

O’Shaughnessy: The script font and stars are fun and Philadelphian, exactly what an alternate “statement” jersey should be. NBA Twitter did point out that “Sixers” looks a bit like “Suxers,” though, and once you see it, it can’t be unseen.

10. Sacramento Kings

O’Shaughnessy: This sharp grey-link pattern also appears on the Kings’ new court design (sadly, they’re missing the giant Lannister-esque lion at half court).

11. Brooklyn Nets

O’Shaughnessy: LUV IT, BKLYN. GUD.

12. New York Knicks

Uggetti: Going the safe route instead of blinding the Garden with some bright orange shirseys, was the right move. Hey, the Knicks made a good move!

13. Chicago Bulls

Uggetti: The Bulls’ classics are irreproachable, but you can never go wrong combining black and red.

14. Los Angeles Clippers

Uggetti: The black is really sleek, but I still can’t get over that Microsoft Paint (RIP) logo.

15. Toronto Raptors

Uggetti: I like these jerseys. They are perfectly fine, good-looking jerseys. Are they the best? No. Are they the worst? No. In a hypothetical jersey contest can they get you into the playoffs? Yes. Will they get you into the Finals? Probably not. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017 Toronto Raptors.

16. Boston Celtics

O’Shaughnessy: OKC: “Let’s make a statement. Let’s send Paul to this event.”

Golden State: “We’ll raise you Durant.”

Minnesota: “Karl.”

Charlotte: “Kemba.”


17. New Orleans Pelicans

Uggetti: These are very red and very bright. The Pelicans already sported a version of these last season, and I guess if your brand of game isn’t exactly exciting, your jerseys gotta have some pop. Compensation 101.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves

O’Shaughnessy: These are like Lisa Frank meets the NBA, which I would have been extremely into in middle school. These jerseys did serve some good, convincing Enes Kanter that the new OKC threads weren’t so bad after seeing what the Wolves were working with: “Light green? OK, [the Thunder] have a good jersey.”

19. Washington Wizards

O’Shaughnessy: I mean, Washington did re-sign John Wall and Otto Porter Jr. without adding any major offseason free agents. Having a “statement” jersey no different from last season’s ordinary digs kind of works for the Wizards. Shall we call this the run-it-back jersey?

20. Denver Nuggets & Dallas Mavericks (Tie)

Uggetti: Why are we using the skylines of two cities with largely unrecognizable skylines?

22. Orlando Magic

Uggetti: Pinstripes are good, but for a “statement” jersey, I would have liked to see more of that bright blue.

23. Portland Trail Blazers

Uggetti: Really self-aware of the Blazers to put a tire track running through their jerseys to signify how they will get run over by the Warriors in the in the first round of the playoffs again.

24. Phoenix Suns

O’Shaughnessy: The lettering on these may be overly chunky, but at least Eric Bledsoe looks happy in this video (as opposed to the league photoshoot).

25. Utah Jazz

Uggetti: A lot of gold is a risky move. The cool green the Jazz have in their scheme barely stands out because the entire jersey looks like an already-used highlighter.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers

O’Shaughnessy: Are these pinstripes or Goodyear tire treads?

27. San Antonio Spurs

Uggetti: The Spurs don’t have a lot of options, but going with a matte grey that they’ve used in the past isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing.

28. Miami Heat

O’Shaughnessy: Miami opted to not stray far from its norm—the straight red is classic, but not much of a statement. They should’ve let Hassan Whiteside (whose artistic expectations are so high that he called the Louvre “not shabby”) design these jerseys.

29. Atlanta Hawks

O’Shaughnessy: There is no “statement” from these uniforms. They are exactly the same as last year’s uniforms (remember these guys?). For a mecca of culture and art like Atlanta, these are disappointingly forgettable. Maybe this season that is the statement for the Hawks.

30. Detroit Pistons

O’Shaughnessy: No flash, sharpness, excitement, or cohesion—maybe they do fit the Pistons after all.