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NBA

No More Black NBA Uniforms, Please

Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis look like crap in black Celtics alternate uniforms.
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty

There are really only four NBA teams that should be wearing black uniforms: the Spurs, the Heat, the Magic, and the Trail Blazers. The Spurs, Heat, and Magic all featured black away uniforms at launch; the Blazers wore red away uniforms for their first seven years of existence but switched to black in 1977, and anyway they have always featured black on their logo and as one of their accent colors. Every other team that wears black uniforms is a cheesy biter suffering from a lack of imagination. Even the Kings, whose black away jerseys corresponded with the greatest era of hoops in that franchise’s miserable history, are biters.

It seems like every decade or so, the NBA decides that a cool thing to do would be for a quarter of the league to suddenly and randomly replace vibrant and lovely away uniforms featuring the teams’ actual colors with black ones. The latest iteration of this is a batch of 2021 “City” jerseys, which appear to have leaked over the last month, and which subsume and obscure the bright and attractive colors of, for example, the New York Knicks in these drab and arbitrarily black uniforms:

The Chicago Bulls’ red away uniforms are some of the best and most iconic in sports. Long ago the team adopted black alternate uniforms that were both uglier and less instantly identifiable, but these City uniforms look like some 2K create-a-team garbage:

The Phoenix Suns have at multiple points in their history donned black away uniforms, which is annoying because the Suns have particularly lovely, bright colors. Their “City” uniforms for next season seem to aim for some sort of sunset type of deal, relegating the striking colors of their logo to trim duty. Why? Why replace your colors with a look that will make you broadly indistinguishable from like 11 other teams?

The 76ers were the latest team to reveal dumb old black uniforms for next season. It is definitely super-cool how these special uniforms look exactly like the regular-ass away jerseys currently worn by the Los Angeles Clippers, who themselves are lame, unimaginative biters:

The degree to which this phenomenon has swept across the NBA is discouraging. The Nets gave up on having colors and made their main away uniforms black when they moved to Brooklyn. The Wizards, whose regular red away uniforms are great, last season unveiled black alternate uniforms. The Raptors long ago dumped their cool purple away uniforms and now regularly wear boring black ones. Even the tradition-bound Celtics now occasionally wear black. The Pistons added black “Motor City” jerseys; the Rockets wear ugly black alternates that might as well be Bulls alternates; the Bucks adopted black “Statement Edition” Fear-the-Deer uniforms; the flailing Hawks wear dipshit patterned black uniforms on the road. LeBron James was wearing a stupid, cheap-looking black Cavaliers jersey when he made the most important play in the history of that franchise, and he was wearing a hideous “Black Mamba” Lakers jersey in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals. There is a huge mural on a building opposite Staples Center commemorating their championship, and it shows LeBron hugging Anthony Davis not in the team’s beautiful purple or gold uniforms, but in those ghastly black ones. It sucks!

LeBron James wears a butt-ugly "Black Mamba" Lakers uniform in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals.
When you think of the Lakers you definitely picture these stupid Tron-looking uniforms.

It’s too much! NBA teams should have identifiable logo colors, and their uniforms should heavily feature those colors, and only the teams whose logos feature the color black should wear black uniforms. And there should only be four of them.