During the 2017-18 season, basketball fans got their first look at the NBA City Edition uniforms that bring a unique twist to the jerseys they’re used to seeing in the NBA. Instead of teams having three uniforms to wear throughout the season – a home jersey, away jersey, and alternative jersey – they now had four.
“With City Edition, we felt like this could be really compelling to make a true connection of, still the organization, but the organization in reflection to their city and their community,” said Elesban Montoya, one of Nike’s senior graphic designers at the time. “We felt like we had to define the fabric of the city.”
The NBA City Edition uniforms are known for utilizing the various stories, narratives, history, heritage, milestones, and icons that make each franchise unique. They’ve debuted different uniform designs each season since their collaboration with Nike began – who has outfitted the NBA since the 2017-18 season.
What Are the Best NBA City Edition Uniforms This Season?
On November 10th, the NBA and Nike unveiled the newest NBA City Edition uniforms to be worn during the 2022-23 season – their sixth collaboration since debuting the NBA City Edition uniforms in 2017. The concept hasn’t changed, but the uniforms continue to push boundaries while telling a hyperlocal story.
“In our sixth year collaborating with the NBA, we’re putting court, community and culture at the center of our designs to tell the stories that make each franchise unique,” said Jesse Alvarez, Product Director for Men’s Basketball at Nike, adding it’s ‘an opportunity to bring people together and celebrate community.”
Much like we’ve seen with past NBA City Edition uniforms, some designs are better than others – though it’s a debate that often comes with a certain degree or level of bias. Don’t worry, we’re going to try our best to give you an unbiased list of the 20 best NBA City Edition uniforms during the 2022-23 season.
20. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks went with a retro design that’s reminiscent of the 1970s, while incorporating some of their historical color palette in the blue and green. The design takes you back to the 70s, before Dallas came to be what it is today. Back then, the city of Dallas wasn’t yet considered a ‘Metroplex.’
Nonetheless, the city started to boom in the late-1970s and it paved the way for a certain NBA team – the Dallas Mavericks – to be born. The Mavs joined the league in 1980 and would win their first and only NBA championship in 2011 – they had a shot in 2006, but lost to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
19. New York Knicks
The New York Knicks looked to bridge the gap between past and present with their NBA City Edition uniform. It takes us back to the late-1990s and early 2000s – more specifically the 1999-2003 era. It’s a clean design with inverted colors from the 1998-2012 era, as well as a swoosh on the jersey and shorts.
The uniform is reminiscent of the Jeff Van Gundy era in New York Knicks’ basketball history. He spent seven seasons as the team’s head coach and went 248-172 in 420 games. He led the team to the NBA Finals in 1998-99, but the team lost to the Spurs in five games. They haven’t been to the Finals since.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder paid homage to the fans they represent – the Oklahomans. The uniform honors its citizens in a variety of ways, most of which are tied to ‘The Oklahoma Standard’ (which is built on service, honor, and kindness) and the state motto, labor omnia vincit – meaning ‘work conquers all.’
On the belt buckle is an outline of the 77 counties located in the state of Oklahoma – there are also seven stripes down each side panel of the jersey, which represents the 77 counties. They even placed ‘The Oklahoma Standard’ on the inside of the jersey ‘over the heart of those who wear it,’ according to OKC.
17. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers decided to strip the jersey clean and start fresh with what they’re calling, ‘The Blank Canvas.’ The team took a different approach to their design this season. Instead of paying homage to the team’s history, which they’ve done in year’s past, they’re paying homage to the present and future.
“Rather than details that tell a story, the uniform has been intentionally stripped back to its most simple design. The uniform is not the story, it is a vehicle to tell the stories behind the individual Changemakers around Los Angeles,” the team wrote, adding that it’s intended to bring the city of LA together again.
16. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets took fans back to better times – when the team was good and there was a lot to be excited about. Their City Edition uniform was carried over from the year before (because it was that good). At the end of the day, they figured there’s no point in changing it if there’s nothing wrong with it.
The jersey takes inspiration from several different eras in Houston Rockets’ team history – including their championship seasons (1980s), the Yao Ming era (2000s), and the 22-game win streak during the 2007-08 season, and the impressive 2017-18 season 10 years later. The uniform is fun and unique.
15. Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets paid homage to their city being home to the first U.S. Branch Mint and the Carolina Gold Rush of the early 1800s – the uniform features mint green and gold accent colors with a granite base. On the front of the jersey are the letters “CLT,” which represent the airport code for Charlotte.
The shorts are a little busy as well, featuring secondary logos on the sides and the letter ‘C’ along the waist. The number is located right below the ‘CLT,’ both of which are filled in gold with a mint outline. It’s a sharp looking uniform that commemorates the rich history found in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
14. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons dedicated their City Edition uniform to Saint Cecilia’s Church, where several NBA greats would gather to play basketball in the gymnasium – including Dave Bing, Jalen Rose, George Gervin, and Magic Johnson. The church was seen as a safe place for basketball enthusiasts to play.
The green jersey is reminiscent of the green walls to Saint Cecilia’s gymnasium. The three stars above the ‘D’ in ‘Detroit’ represent the three championships the Pistons won. The shorts sport a replica of The Saint’s stained glass window and Big Sean’s signature – a Detroit native who helped design the jersey.
13. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are known for consistently having some of the best jersey designs and they certainly didn’t disappoint with their 2022-23 City Edition uniform. It’s their second edition of the Gathering Place series, the first edition debuting in the 2020-21 season. It pays homage to the city of Milwaukee.
The jersey is a Great Lakes Blue color with different shades of blue, green, cream, and black down the sides. It’s inspired by the town of Bronzeville in north Milwaukee as the franchise uses their platform to ‘showcase the interconnection between the communities that make Milwaukee special,’ wrote the team.
12. Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets didn’t surprise anyone when they honored legendary Brooklyn artist Jean-Michel Basquiat with their City Edition uniform – it’s what they’ve done in the past and they decided to bring it back, with a new twist. This design features a white base with colorful accents on the side panels.
The front of the jersey reads ‘BKLYN NETS’ in font that’s inspired by Basquiat, while the shorts have his signature crown and ‘BROOKLYN NETS’ on the bottom left. It’s a slick uniform that nearly mirrors the black version they used during the 2020-21 season. You have to wonder where they go from here.
11. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat made waves with their ‘Vice City’ themed NBA City Edition uniforms during the 2020-21 season and while they haven’t quite lived up to that hype over the past two seasons, their design is still worth noting. Some might say it looks like a ransom note, but it’s stylish, unique, and eye-catching.
The Heat have used similar designs during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons – the one last year was black, while this year’s design is white. Each letter in ‘Miami’ is taken from a different jersey design they’ve had through the years. In fact, the same goes for the flaming ball logo and ‘Heat’ on the shorts.
10. New Orleans Pelicans
I have to say, the New Orleans Pelicans have the coolest mash of colors – the official Mardi Gras colors – featured on their City Edition uniform. As you can expect, the fleur-de-lis makes several appearances on the jersey design, which pays homage to the city’s flag – sporting three matching fleur-de-lis symbols.
As for the deep purple base color throughout the jersey, it signifies the ‘evolution from past Mardi Gras uniforms and pays respect to the royalty that Mardi Gras Krewes,’ according to the team. The royalty are in charge of the parades and festivities that occur during the Mardi Gras celebration every year.
9. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards decided to paint a beautiful scene with their City Edition uniform design, largely focusing on the iconic cherry blossoms that bloom in the city every year. The pink base color represents the color of the cherry blossoms when they bloom – the flower’s most iconic and most beautiful color.
The pink base color transitions into a gradient blue near the bottom of the shorts. The blue represents the water of the tidal basin, which is where some of the city’s most iconic cherry blossom trees are found. Not only that, but there are cherry blossom petals falling down the side of the jersey, reminiscent of the basin.
8. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are taking us back to the 1996 All-Star Game, which was played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. It was during this game that Michael Jordan played his first game since retiring – spurring a second three-peat with the Chicago Bulls. He was named the All-Star MVP.
During the All-Star Game, the Eastern Conference wore turquoise-colored uniforms – which is where the idea came from for the Spurs’ City Edition uniforms. The design also features some historic and retro accents and/or colors to give it that ‘Spurs’ personal touch. It’s a fun uniform for those that like turquoise.
7. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors ended up with one of the coolest and most unique uniform designs of all – it’s definitely unlike any NBA jersey you’ve ever seen before. It features the iconic circle in the middle of the jersey, with a flower and the jersey number inside the circle. ‘WARRIORS’ is written across the chest.
The bottom of the jersey features another gold flower that takes up the entire width of the jersey. It was designed by Hueman, an artist from the Bay Area, who wanted to ‘represent femininity, friendship, optimism and diversity.’ The City Edition uniform design also celebrates the Bay Area’s ‘Warrior Women.’
6. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls wanted to honor the Chicago Municipal ‘Y,’ which is incorporated throughout the city and throughout the uniform design. For example, the letter ‘Y’ is randomly woven throughout the jersey and the Municipal ‘Y’ is found on the belt buckle – adorned with the letter ‘C,’ for Chicago, of course.
From a distance, the jersey looks a lot like the one Michael Jordan wore during the Bulls’ most exciting and successful era. The uniform is white, but the logo and lettering is a dark red, rust color – which represents the rust-colored bridges crossing the Chicago River into the downtown Chicago area.
5. Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers took inspiration from a legendary and iconic carpet design found in the Portland International Airport. The carpet features a bright teal base and geometric shapes throughout, which is brilliantly displayed across the middle of the jersey design – which deserves an A+, by the way.
Much like Charlotte did with their design, the Trail Blazers have ‘PDX’ written across the chest – the official code for the Portland International Airport. They also put a gold trophy on the back neck of the jersey, which represents the one NBA Championship the Trail Blazers won – which came in 1977.
4. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors stuck with the black and gold design that has woo-ed fans since day one. It offers a clean and subtle, yet elegant and classy look that represents the people that reign from Toronto. The base of the jersey showcases the six boroughs located in the city, while the word ‘North’ is found throughout.
The Raptors have used the black and gold color scheme for four years straight now – they used a white and gold design in 2018-19. There’s something about this design that makes me want to buy a jersey, even though I’m not a Raptors’ fan. And that’s why I have this jersey in the top-five this season.
3. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks understand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks Georgia as one of the four best producers of peaches. For the past two years, their NBA City Edition uniforms were peach-inspired and they’re doing it again this year. Coincidentally, it takes three years for peaches to grow on a tree.
It’s a simple design with a black base color and peach-colored accents. The number is a gradient peach that resembles the diversity found in the city. The concept is inspired by Peachtree Street, one of the most famous and iconic streets in Atlanta, Georgia. The ‘Atlanta’ across the front is written in a simple cursive.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the most exciting teams in the league, especially with Ja Morant on their roster. Not only that, but they have one of the sweetest NBA City Edition uniforms this season. It pays homage to the hip hop scene that continues to make waves throughout the Memphis community.
It features chrome-inspired detailing, diamond textures, and hatchet-shaped fonts often seen on hip hop albums – celebrating ‘the legacy and future of Memphis Hip-Hop, the neighborhoods and people from which the Big Memphis sound flows from, and the fabric of Memphis today,’ according to the team.
1. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have one of the cleanest NBA City Edition uniforms this season. It features a dark green base – more dark than we’ve ever seen on a Celtics’ jersey – and pays homage to one of the greatest basketball players both on and off the court, Bill Russell, who passed away earlier this year.
The jersey features 11 gold diamonds on the side of the jersey and shorts, which resemble the 11 titles Russell won in an impressive 13-year span. The belt buckle features the number ‘6’ with 11 diamonds surrounding it – Russell wore No. 6. It’s a stylish jersey that commemorates one of the best ever.
When Do Teams Wear the NBA City Edition Uniforms?
Many people remember the days when basketball teams had two jerseys – a white one for home games and a team color one for away games. In 1994, the NBA introduced a third jersey, known as the alternate jersey. That’s not the case today, where all NBA teams have four jerseys and some even have five.
The five different jerseys – Association, Icon, Statement, City, and Classic – are worn randomly during the season, meaning there’s no specified home or away jersey. Instead, the NBA gets to choose what jerseys each team wears on every given night and that schedule is configured before the season even starts.
The good news is we’ve already started seeing the NBA City Edition Uniforms on the court this season and they look awesome! It’s always cool to see teams wear unique jerseys during a real regular season game, especially when the designs tell a story about that franchise’s history – it’s such a great idea!
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