The 2023-24 Nike NBA City Edition uniforms were unveiled last Thursday. NBA fans will be treated to another season where alternate uniforms, according to Nike, continue to “represent the stories, history and heritage that make each franchise unique.”
The uniforms are now in their seventh season with the NBA, and they have been a big hit in the past. Home teams will wear the uniforms throughout the NBA In-Season Tournament, which tipped off last Friday and will run until Dec. 9.
The big question: How does this year’s collection of uniforms look?
The unveiling gave The Athletic’s team of Jason Jones, James Edwards III and Kelly Iko an opportunity to discuss the jerseys in depth. The trio conferred about all 30 City Edition jerseys and came up with its own power rankings. The writers ranked each team using a scoring system where 30 points were given to their favorite jersey, all the way to one point given to their least favorite. This explains the numbers in parentheses next to each writer’s name below.
Which jersey was the collective favorite? Here are the rankings and the writers’ thoughts of each, starting from worst to first.
(All images are courtesy of Nike and the NBA)
Edwards (5 points): This makes me want a Mountain Dew Baja Blast from Taco Bell.
Iko (2): Have you ever chewed, like, five Skittles at once and looked at it? This is that. Come on, y’all.
Jones (1): There’s a lot going on here. Doesn’t really work for me.
Jones (7): The artwork for “Nets” is supposed to give a graffiti vibe. I wish it would have leaned more into that, especially with this season occurring as hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Edwards (6): I’m all for trying to be creative and different; you take a risk when you do that. But the Nets took a risk, and they failed. Miserably.
Iko (1): It’s actually fitting that this was inspired by KAWS’ “Tension,” because that’s exactly the type of headache I get from looking at this for too long. This is a bad jersey. It’s actually baffling because KAWS makes some really dope art.
Jones (10): A mash between the early and modern Lakers. Not a big fan of the triangular shape of “Los Angeles,” but I understand its ties to the early days of the Lakers in the city. What would have been wild would have been something lake-related. That would have stood out more than another black jersey.
Iko (5): What’s going on in Los Angeles? I get it, Laker Nation rides hard for its team, but when I go to the store, I’m not thinking about the triangle offense. It could be worse though … like Brooklyn’s.
Edwards (4): I don’t really care about the reasoning for the placement of “Los Angeles.” It looks bad. Horrific. It’s like someone went to JOANN Fabrics and tried to make a custom Lakers jersey but ended up not measuring the width of the jersey correctly. For such a historic franchise, I expected better.
Iko (15): I once got lost on Beale Street trying to get to FedExForum in Memphis. These give me the same confused vibe. The font is a cool idea, but it wasn’t executed well enough. Back to the drawing board.
Jones (3): The Grizzlies had my favorite City Edition jersey last season. Not so much this year. It’s basic. Doesn’t have the same personality as last season when the jersey screamed Memphis swagger.
Edwards (2): Someone on social media said the Memphis jersey is a QR code to see the actual jersey, and I can’t stop laughing. Horrible.
NBA City Edition 2022-23: Every alternate jersey ranked from 29(?) to 1
Edwards (13): I don’t mind this, because it’s different without being too extra. The color combination is obscure, and while it doesn’t make any sense to me in terms of a connection to Indianapolis, it’s not an ugly jersey. Middle of the pack for me.
Iko (6): There is way too much going on. These are a mess.
Jones (2): When I think of Indiana, I don’t think vibrant, which is what this jersey is. I’ve been to Indianapolis plenty of times, but this just doesn’t connect with the city for me.
Iko (10): “Heat Culture” is one of those things that should be said and understood, not displayed on the front of a jersey. Miami has so many more things to offer as a city that could have been used with these jerseys. Missed opportunity.
Jones (9): Nothing “Miami Vice”-related? No vibrant colors? A red-and-black jersey seems pretty simple. Adding “Heat Culture” is a nice touch, but when it comes to Miami, I prefer the “Vice” theme.
Edwards (3): I don’t think saying “Heat Culture” is as corny as most people do, but a jersey that says “Heat Culture” … yeah, that’s corny.
Iko (14): This might have ranked higher if pickaxes were on the front and the mountains were on the back. They also could have done without the “5280” slapped across the middle. Three and four numbers on the front of a jersey is for AAU. Distracting.
Jones (8): I’m still not sure how I feel about “5280” across the chest. I understand the significance, but how many numbers do you need on the front of a jersey? It takes away from the Denver skyline in the background.
Edwards (1): Whoever came up with this jersey should be suspended (with pay, of course). I’m sorry. I like Denver as a city, and I love the Nuggets, but these are comically bad. Some players will have six numbers on the front of their jerseys when Denver wears them. Six.
Edwards (12): Do these glow in the dark? If not, that’s disappointing.
Iko (12): Somehow, some way, I blame (Pelicans writer) Will Guillory for these.
Jones (4): The perfect jersey to wear around Halloween.
Edwards (20): I like the color combinations, as well as the font of “OKC.” I’m a fan of these.
Jones (5): This scheme matches the “Love’s” patch. Maybe that was intentional. The orange jumps out, but it’s pretty simple overall.
Iko (4): This makes me think of McDonald’s. These are pretty blah, but they might look better framed.
Edwards (17): I wanted to knock it down some points for being so basic, but the ugliness of some other jerseys made it hard to penalize the Clippers for not trying.
Iko (7): Did Marcus Morris make this as a parting gift? Morris averaged 12 points as a Clipper. This is that, but in jersey form: I came to work and I did the job that was asked of me.
Jones (6): Nothing too fancy with this. No cool backstory or details in the description. Just a plain “Clips” jersey.
Edwards (15): I ended up with them in the middle of the pack because I don’t like the placement of “Chicago.” It should be a little bit lower. That messed it all up for me.
Jones (12): The intent is to be a nod to the old Chicago Stadium of the early 1990s. “Chicago” down the front of the jersey reminds me of the shooting shirts worn by a young Michael Jordan. It’s not the most imaginative, but it works.
Iko (3): I understand the reference to Chicago Stadium from the ’90s, and I’m sure the locals really draw to the style, but I’ve never been a fan of the vertical lettering. It just makes for an awkward space in the middle.
Jones (11): There’s a lot going on here. Pinstripes. Doubling up on “New York.” The black down the side. Just a lot.
Iko (11): I feel like the Knicks have had a version of this every year for the last 10,000 years. It’s like the printer lagged out.
Edwards (9): A drunk version of a Knicks jersey. That’s all I got.
Jones (15): Nothing will top the MLK jersey for me. I like the blue on this, but it’s pretty basic compared to some of the previous versions.
Edwards (14): They’re fine. They’re middle of the pack to me, which might not say a lot because there are some absolutely horrendous City Edition jerseys.
Iko (13): Maybe it’s the combination of the lowercase font on these and the peachy color that throws me off, but it just seems OK. There’s no story or anything that really speaks to me. It’s fine — nothing more, nothing less.
Iko (19): I didn’t expect the Spurs to go with the white base, but this will look really dope under the arena lights. Also, Ricky’s Tacos in San Antonio is the best place many have never heard of.
Jones (14): Would I wear this one? Probably not … but I like it. It’s very San Antonio. It definitely fits the city.
Edwards (10): The lettering is cool. That’s about it. This is too basic.
Iko (18): San Francisco is a unique city, from its transportation system to landscape. That matches the lettering of these jerseys. I’ve ridden through the streets for years, and each time, the hills surprise me. The black on the jersey also is really emboldened, if that makes sense.
Jones (17): The more I look at it, the more I like it. The cable car design of the “San Francisco” lettering works. The simplicity of the design with hints of the cable car history makes this a nice alternate jersey.
Edwards (11): The idea was cool, but the execution is meh to me. It’s an OK jersey with awkward lettering. Not the best, but not the worst.
Iko (20): Sweet threads. I love the cultural melting pot Toronto is, and that is reflected in the making of this jersey. These will be a hit in the city.
Jones (20): The gold and lightning accents make this one of the Raptors’ best jerseys. “We the North” also reminds everyone that Toronto truly is an international city.
Edwards (7): I don’t like gold uniforms at all. Just a personal preference. I love Toronto, though. It’s my favorite North American city. However, hard pass on the jersey.
Edwards (21): I want to first shout out Erykah Badu while we’re on the topic of Dallas and R&B. Legend. This jersey is one of the better ones simply because of the font, colors and simplicity. It’s clean, and it pops. Hard to not like this.
Jones (13): Tapping into the R&B history of the region makes for a cool backstory. The jersey itself is pretty simple, but the details via the input of Leon Bridges are a nice discussion point.
Iko (16): I was actually curious about how and where Dallas would draw inspiration prior to these coming out. Leon Bridges is awesome, especially tied with the city’s history of R&B (shout-out to Tevin Campbell). For some reason, I keep thinking about Michael Finley when I see these.
Iko (26): Loooove these. The way the white dissolves into the blue gives a chilling effect. My mind immediately jumps to rapper Lil Yachty: “Cold Like Minnesota.”
Jones (19): This gives off calm and soothing vibes, perfect for the Land of 10,000 Lakes. If the Timberwolves ran back the Prince alternate versions every year, I’d be happy, but this is a nice bounceback after last season’s version.
Edwards (8): I guess I’ll be Debbie Downer here. These are mid, at best. Everything is smooshed at the top — the change in color, the number, “Minnesota” and the sponsors. I don’t love how small “Minnesota” reads. These would be lower for me if it weren’t for some of the nastiness that we’ve already talked about.
Iko (21): You can never go wrong with teal and blue, and I really like how they incorporated the hornet influence. I can almost see Baron Davis crossing someone over in these. Nice work.
Jones (18): Charlotte’s colors are some of the best in the league. I’m digging the gold touch, too. Much better than last season’s edition.
Edwards (16): I agree with Jason. The Hornets have some of the best colors in the league. Hard to mess that up. These are clean, not too much.
Edwards (22): If you’re not going to be creative, then keep it clean. Boston did. For my Michigan people, this jersey looks like an ad for Vernors.
Iko (17): Maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually like the blending of the white on the front with the wood grain texture on the sides.
Jones (16): Who knew Boston had a history of furniture making? I sure didn’t. The wood coloring on the side is also a nod to peach baskets, the part of history I would expect.
Edwards (26): I’m going to sound like a hypocrite here, because the lettering doesn’t bug me nearly as much as the “Chicago” on the Bulls uniform, even though it’s just as high up the jersey. I think it’s because of the different colors. It breaks it up a little bit. These colors go together well. It’s sleek and clean.
Jones (22): I’d be in favor of the Kings rocking this full-time. We need something that connects the Kings to their history with Oscar Robertson, and this jersey works.
Iko (8): This is another one that James and Jason probably like, but I just can’t bring myself to it. Maybe it’s the width of the “Kings” stripes, but there’s a lot going on for me. I do like the colors, though.
Jones (25): Another winner for the Bucks in the City Editions. The blue pops, and the cream “wave” is a nice touch. I’m just glad they didn’t go for a black jersey.
Edwards (23): I like the colors, especially the cream design across the middle and down the side.
Iko (9): I’m definitely in the minority with these. I love the historical connection to water used here, but really … using the arch as an ode to Fiserv Forum? Didn’t the arena open, like, five years ago? Not a fan.
Jones (24): The plaid in honor of Dr. Jack Ramsay makes this a winner. It’s subtle, but it’s a great look. The Blazers kept it simple, but the history is in the details.
Iko (23): Black is always a good default, and the Blazers did well with these. You don’t have to go for a home run all the time: A simple base hit will suffice.
Edwards (18): Hard to hate it, easy not to love it. The plaid inside the lettering is a nice touch, visually and in terms of the backstory.
Edwards (25): I’m a sucker for navy blue, red and white. Those three colors go together so well for me. I also really like the font on the front. Two thumbs up.
Iko (22): It’s always hilarious hearing Philly associated with love, having spent quite a bit of time at 76ers games. But, really smooth color transition here, and the lettering is neat.
Jones (21): Navy blue was a good play for the red and white. The Reading Terminal Market lettering also is a great addition. I’m always going to like seeing “City of Brotherly Love” on a jersey.
Edwards (27): I like the connection to Phi Slama Jama. It looks classy. It’s not over the top.
Iko (24): If you’re not from the city, you probably won’t get the cross reference between the University of Houston and the old Rockets teams, but this is a classic blend. This will sell like hotcakes at the Galleria.
Jones (23): Phi Slama Jama gets some love with this design. Had to look up the shooting shirts worn by the University of Houston during Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon’s college days to truly appreciate the design. Going with “H-Town” across the chest is a nice touch.
Iko (30): My favorite. T-Mac. Penny. Shaq. Türkoğlu. All Magic legends, just like this jersey. It’s nostalgic. It’s smooth. It’s fire. This is how you do it. Take notes, Brooklyn.
Jones (28): Going navy blue with the chain-link stripes feels like a modern version of the early Magic jerseys — which I like. The star for the “A” in Orlando is placed perfectly and will look good on the court.
Edwards (19): I agree with the fellas. A modern twist on a ’90s basketball kid’s favorite jersey. Good job, Orlando.
Iko (27): These are really dope. There’s intricate detail around the edges, and using the gold to highlight Cleveland’s theater scene is exactly the type of historical tidbit we never hear about. Awesome stuff.
Jones (26): These jerseys work best when I learn something new. I had no idea of Cleveland’s connection to theater until learning about this jersey design. Cleveland has the largest performing arts center outside of New York? Wow. It’s simple, but the details make this one nice.
Edwards (24): I didn’t know that either, Jason. Shout-out to the Cavs. It’s basic, but it’s done well. Good story. Definitely a top City Edition jersey.
Edwards (29): The Karl Malone/John Stockton-era jerseys are some of my favorites of all time, and this is a great tweak of those. Give me any purple on a jersey. These aren’t as good as the Jazz uniforms from the ’90s — those are some of the best ever — but they are nice.
Iko (28): Can the Jazz keep these forever? These are perfect. It’s not too much mountain for Utah fans, I don’t think, and the purple rocks.
Jones (27): I’d take these over what the Jazz normally wear. The purple is perfect. The skyline works in paying homage to the best teams that played in Utah. I move that the Jazz stick with these jerseys.
Jones (30): One of the worst things from the late 1980s/early ’90s was that the Bad Boy Pistons didn’t play in black uniforms. Alternate jerseys weren’t the thing back then, but if they were, these would have been perfect. And how would anyone not like the crossbones here? The uniform captures the essence of the era perfectly.
Edwards (30): These are clean. The connection to the “Bad Boys” era makes sense. It’s different from what the Pistons have done in the past. Well done. Very well done.
Iko (25): I’d think Bill Laimbeer would rock these passionately. Everything about these screams Detroit Pistons basketball from back in the day — tough as nails, sleek and dark.
Iko (29): It takes real talent to make purple and pink go together. These are the jerseys that make people smile. Well done.
Jones (29): I love foreign languages on jerseys; the Suns hit a home run with this design. I also love the acknowledgement of lowrider culture. The design puts me in a custom ’64 Impala on a sunny day that’s bouncing down the street on switches.
Edwards (28): Purple is my favorite color. I also like pink and teal. So, yeah, I’d be first in line to grab this if I were a Suns fan. Also, like Jason, I’m a fan of foreign languages on a jersey.
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(Illustration: Sam Richardson / The Athletic; photos courtesy of Nike and the NBA)