When Nike took over as the NBA’s official jersey manufacturer three seasons ago, the company introduced the concept of “City” jerseys, new looks for each team that tied in to the local community in some way. Those jerseys have been refreshed every season (though there have been a couple exceptions), and this season’s batch has slowly made its way into the public eye and onto the court. This week multiple NBA teams officially unveiled their new looks for 2019-20, some of which will be familiar to fans, while others look completely different from anything seen before.
Introducing our 2019-20 City Edition uniforms ☘
On-court & at retail on 11/27 pic.twitter.com/PmNJoCUgkO
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 21, 2019
Celtics big man Enes Kanter mistakenly unveiled this look back in October. Now they’re officially here.
BREAKING THEM OUT: Next Friday. Celtics vs. Nets.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 22, 2019
As the Nets themselves tweeted, “Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the livest one. Representing BK to the fullest.” Brooklyn took last year’s homage to The Notorious B.I.G. to another level with these jerseys that dropped Thursday night. Just like the song from which that line was taken, these jerseys are “Unbelievable.” Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated called them the “winner of the NBA city jersey competition.”
Introducing this season’s City Edition uniforms, inspired by the Chicago Flag and the lake and rivers of Chicago. pic.twitter.com/Q0Yf3eoApO
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 20, 2019
For the second consecutive season, the Bulls’ City jersey takes cues from the Chicago flag, moving the stars that had been across the chest to the shorts, and swapping the base color of black for the flag’s more recognizable blue. It’s a major departure for a team that has worn almost exclusively white, red and black in its history. The blues will be worn on court for the first time Dec. 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies, who, coincidentally, have worn almost exclusively blue throughout their time in Tennessee.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) November 21, 2019
For Cleveland’s City jerseys, the Cavs are celebrating their 50-year history with a throwback to 1970 and the franchise’s journey since then.
Take a closer look at our 🔥 new uniform!
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 20, 2019
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Last season’s City jersey, which featured the Nuggets’ vintage rainbow skyline on a white background, was such a hit that the team mostly recycled the concept for 2019-20, changing to a black base. The team originally wore the rainbow skyline look from 1981-82 through the 1992-93 season. The Nuggets will break these out when they welcome LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers to Denver on Dec. 3
Inspired by the muscle car heritage of the Motor City.
Our 2019 City Edition Jersey is here 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/pGK4am4n3P
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 21, 2019
The Pistons decided to stick with “Motor City” and the overall design of their City jersey from a year ago, but swapped the black-and-gray color palette for their more traditional blue-and-red look. They’ll don this look for the first time next week, a day after Thanksgiving, when they host the Charlotte Hornets.
Los Angeles Lakers
Designed for dominance, inspired by legacy.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 20, 2019
While most teams have used their City jerseys to tap in to their city’s history or iconography, the Lakers have eschewed that theme, instead using the alternate look to pay respects to Lakers “lore.” The 2017-18 “Black Mamba” jerseys were designed by Kobe Bryant, the 2018-19 “Showtime” jerseys drew inspiration from Magic Johnson, and this season’s look shouts out Shaquille O’Neal, specifically his claim to being the “Most Dominant Ever.” In addition to the “MDE” striping, the side panels also include stars that highlight accomplishments from O’Neal’s career.
All the details on the return of the Cream City Jersey!!
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 20, 2019
Following the lead of the Pistons (Motor City), the Hornets (Buzz City), the Kings (Sactown) and the Warriors (The Bay) among others, the Bucks will be showing off an alternate name for Milwaukee on their City jerseys this season. Cream City refers to the cream bricks that give Milwaukee its distinctive look, and the Bucks leaned into that not only with the name, but by going with cream jerseys as well. Milwaukee will officially become Cream City on the court Nov. 30 against the Charlotte Hornets.
𝙇𝘼𝙎𝙏 𝘾𝙄𝙏𝙔 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙀𝘼𝙎𝙏, 𝙁𝙄𝙍𝙎𝙏 𝘾𝙄𝙏𝙔 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙒𝙀𝙎𝙏
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 20, 2019
The Timberwolves’ Prince-inspired jerseys were a huge hit last season, but the team went in a different direction this season, reaching back into the past. The light blue background and the “MSP” wordmark evoke the “MPLS” jerseys worn by the Lakers before they moved to Los Angeles. MSP represents the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, with the team’s shorts including a logo made up of the outline of the two cities. Fans from both cities — and the rest of Minnesota, and the world — will see the Timberwolves wear these for the first time Dec. 13 against the LA Clippers.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 20, 2019
Owing to the length of the city’s name, the 76ers have rarely worn “Philadelphia” across the chest over the years, more often going with the abbreviated “Phila.” But this season’s City jersey has the full name spelled out in script, along with multiple elements that pay homage to the Liberty Bell, one of the city’s most historic icons. The jersey has a lot in common with Philadelphia’s original City jersey from 2017-18, after last season’s significant departure with a Rocky-inspired look. Fans will get their first on-court look at this season’s edition Nov. 30 against the Indiana Pacers.
Blending old branding and new branding, the new City Edition uniforms feature red, baby blue, white and gray. pic.twitter.com/NAJmxepDgP
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 20, 2019
Kings fans will easily recognize this new jersey, as it is essentially an updated version of last season’s jersey, which itself was an updated version of the 2017-18 jersey. This season, the blue of last season’s look has been replaced by red, which the team says “represent[s] that passion and energy that has echoed through our arena.” The fans will get their first chance to show that passion and energy while watching these jerseys Nov. 30 against the Nuggets.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 #RepTheDistrict 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 20, 2019
Back in the 2017 playoffs, the Wizards wore a “Stars & Stripes” look that was so popular the team couldn’t keep the jerseys in stock long enough for fans to buy them. However, the look — which was originally designed for games in which the teams honored the branches of the U.S. military — was shelved when Nike took over for Adidas. Now it’s back, with the team’s Bullets-era-inspired DC logo taking the place of the “Washington” wordmark. This version of the jersey will first be seen on the court when the Wizards host the 76ers on Dec. 5.