Ranking the 2020-21 NBA City Edition Jerseys

Mubarak Ware, Contributing Writer

The NBA City Edition jerseys have been a treat for every basketball fan since their introduction prior to the 2017-18 season. The novelty uniforms incorporate elements from a franchise’s history, city, or local community. I’ve decided to tackle the controversial task of ranking each jersey by focusing on its design while also taking a look at the rich history it may represent. If you would like to submit your own rankings of this year’s City jerseys, send them to my gmail at [email protected]

 

20. Denver Nuggets
The third and final edition of Denver’s rainbow jersey. The jersey is good, but it is not as good as their first and second rainbow jerseys, which replicated the throwback Nuggets jersey more clearly and offered a nicer design.

19. Brooklyn Nets

To appreciate the Nets’ city jersey, one must take a look at the design’s underlying meaning. These uniforms pay homage to the life and legacy of local artist Jean-Michel Basquait by featuring signature references to his art and artistic style. The colorful splash pops against the black and creates a distinctive design.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves
Straying from the Prince-inspired city jerseys of years past, the Timberwolves bring out a sleek and asymmetrical design that’s inspired by the North Star. While some say the uniform is boring, I’d say it is a nice change of pace for Minnesota and will look amazing on the court.

17. Dallas Mavericks
A neon pegasus statue located in downtown Dallas offered the inspiration for this year’s Mavericks City Edition jerseys. The design is certainly better than what they have worn the last couple of years, and offers a step in the right direction for what might soon be one of the forefront teams in the league.

16. Cleveland Cavaliers
The meaning behind Cleveland’s uniforms quite literally rocks. Since the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, the design team decided on featuring letters from well known rock bands to spell out ‘Cleveland.’ The respect paid to bands of old makes this jersey certainly a ‘take it or leave it’ option on this list.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City has been branching out and trying different styles in their last few designs. Their ’20-21 city jersey pictures a map of the state of Oklahoma. Besides looking quite sharp, the typography on the jersey is the exact same you’ll find on the Oklahoma state flag.

 

14. Los Angeles Lakers
Purple and gold has always been and always will be the Lakers’ signature. Los Angeles decided to go a little old school, back to the Elgin Baylor days, using the 1960’s LA Lakers baby blue against white in a modern twist.

13. Indiana Pacers
Speaking of throwbacks, the Indiana Pacers pretty much nailed this year’s City Edition, by including their unmistakable pinstripes that honor many past Pacers’ uniforms. Any Pacers fan will probably have this clean jersey on their wishlist.

12. Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta was home to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who is the main inspiration behind the Hawks’ city jerseys. Besides serving as a wonderful tribute, the all-black uniform is also spot on and adds to an increasing collection of great Atlanta Hawks jerseys.

11. Philadelphia 76ers
A lot of questions remain within the Sixers’ team in terms of their future, but there is no question that these City Edition jerseys are in the top half of the league. Featured on the jet black jersey is the Philly Boathouse Row at night, amongst the loveliest views you’ll get in Philadelphia when luminated.

10. Orlando Magic
There are few things better than the fresh squeezed orange juice in Florida; these city uniforms are one of those few things. Inspired by the orange industry, past Magic jerseys, and the franchise’s entire history, the Magic create a very beautiful jersey that puts last year’s edition to shame.

9. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz finally switched up their city jersey and made it even better than before. Once more, the Jazz base these uniforms off the red rock formations found around Utah in their trademark gradient fashion.

8. Toronto Raptors
Although some may debate whether Drake is a good rapper, there is less contention on how the Toronto native can be pretty skilled when it comes to designing uniforms. Toronto reached out to the aforementioned superfan, and ended up with a very clean City Edition uniform. In an homage to the 1995 Raptors uniforms, the City Edition jersey features the same font.

7. Golden State Warriors
Based on the Warriors’ memorable “We Believe” era, I believe they knocked it out of the ballpark with these retro uniforms. Golden State put a modern twist on a beloved throwback and it worked perfectly; I can already tell this jersey will be flying off the shelf courtesy of fair-weather Warriors fans.

6. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls can now both look forward to having Billy Donovan as their new head coach, as well as an incredible city jersey. The font is all in Art Deco, and the geometric design on the sides of the uniform is a rendering of a few of the Windy City’s most famous buildings.

5. Charlotte Hornets
Branding for the Hornets has only been improving in recent years culminating in these minty-green city jerseys that include granite and gold pinstripes, which celebrates the Carolina Gold Rush, the first Mint Branch, and North Carolina’s state rock—granite.

4. Memphis Grizzlies
Finding inspiration in the late Isaac Hayes, the Grizzlies drew up a meaningful and incredible jersey that truly speaks to the city and history of Memphis. The ornate pattern on the asymmetrical side of the jersey is a nod to the African Kente Cloth Hayes would wear. The gold and turquoise accents are a reference to Isaac Hayes’ unmistakable Cadillac which only adds to the uniforms aesthetic.

3. Miami Heat
As a Miami native, it is unfortunate to hear that this year’s Heat “Vice Versa” jerseys will be the last installment of their renowned ‘Vice’ lineup. But if they are going out, they are definitely going out with a bang with this colorful design. The team behind the jersey wanted to incorporate the past Vice uniforms into this one and I think they captured it wonderfully.

2. San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio faithful rejoiced when the Spurs announced these uniforms. Fans have been yearning for San Antonio to unleash “Fiesta” themed jerseys and they finally delivered—they did not disappoint in the slightest. Hats off to the Spurs for creating this perfection.

1. Phoenix Suns
The Suns showed out with this one. With “The Valley” printed on the jersey, the Suns no longer want to appeal to just their city, but the state of Arizona. It’s close, but the retro-feel and unique orange and purple color scheme left a lasting impression on me and surely anyone else who laid their eyes on them.

 

It’s safe to say that the city jersey’s this year are one of, if not, the best installments yet through most NBA franchises. Seemingly, each team put great thought and effort into producing jerseys that spoke to the fans and their city while also making it stylish and well received. Remember, if you’d like to send rankings of your own, don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]