Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ranking the NBA's Christmas 2012 Uniforms

Danilo Gallinari overpowers Blake Griffin in fashion, but perhaps not in basketball. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA's Christmas Day schedule is not the pinnacle of its season that would be the Finals and the mounting tension leading up to that series during the playoffs but there are always interesting match-ups with storylines to warrant being put on the slate for one the league's biggest calendar days. Three of this year's five games were won by double-digits and the remaining two were decided in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Whether they were blowing out their opponents, gritting their teeth until the last buzzer or just hoping for some kind of lenience, though, each player that took to the court yesterday donned uniforms exclusive to the occasion. All-[insert single color]-everything was the common thread for each kit in the aptly named "BIG Color" theme, but some fared better than others in the mindful eyes of sartorialists. It may be important to note that the clothes I'm currently wearing hue more toward Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' tendencies than, say, GQ intern Rajon Rondo's preferences. That still puts me within high-five distance of Russell Westbrook, though, so don't be scared away from these rankings of this year's Christmas uniforms, and feel free to point out any oversights in the comments.

"Someone's running away with my hat!" (Reuters)
1. Los Angeles Lakers
By virtue of every team wearing white jerseys in 41 games each year, it would be easy to assume that the Lakers' (lack of) BIG Color uniforms were boring. Not so. By removing the yellow accents and going with purple outlines of numbers, the Lakeshow achieved a minimalist look that was cleaner than their standard home jerseys. The purple's contrast on the pure white background also gave the LA logo on the shorts a phantom appearance. Due to the Winter season, the uniforms could be reminiscent of snow, but they certainly looked better than Kobe Bryant's first foray into a white-out wardrobe.

2. Denver Nuggets
Denver's throwback jerseys are still their best look, but the Nuggets' yuletide navies were a pleasant departure from both the old school style and the normal soft blues. Of the day's new uniforms, this was by far the most plain. Dark color? Check. Light color outlining names and numbers? Yep. The name of the franchise even goes straight across the front of the jersey; there's no visible curve to it. The miner's patch is still present on the back, and it is the flashiest thing about a subdued uni. Miner' collar... There are really too many bad lines that can be dropped about the navy and golds.

Top-five uniforms, top-five facial expressions. (
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The numbers are barely-legible on a television screen, but trust that there is still orange surrounding the just-a-shade darker blue of the numbers. The word on the back of the shorts is unnecessary, but clothing manufacturers have to cut loose every once in a while. (There it is. The awful pun that opens your door to leave these rankings, if you so choose.)


These are less busy than the usual orange-and-black piped uniforms that typically color the Thunder's lockers. Enter: v-neck, life of the party, and, in this case, a fixture that bridges the gap between the everyday Thunder unis and the Christmas Day attire. Also, the three white sleeves Westbrook sported may not have been a perfect match to the color scheme, but they popped against the light blue.

4. Miami Heat
Dark red. Get it? Because fire is sometimes red and almost always hot? Being able to read the names and recognize the numbers on Miami's jerseys is the near-certain reason the Heat claimed a three-point victory against the slightly better-dressed Thunder.

5. Brooklyn Nets
It's tough to mess up a combination of black and white, but the Nets' standard jerseys look more like a miner's outfit than the Nuggets'. (That of a coal miner rather than a gold miner, of course.) That said, the black-on-black approach is stark, with white outlining, and the blotted-out logo on the shorts looks more like a shield worthy of the Brooklyn Knight than the — what is it? A crest? A basketball piloting an Asteroid ship?

Gerald Wallace isn't a fan of KG's uniform. (Getty)
6. Boston Celtics
Let's be clear: the green-with-white-piping jersey is the only one the C's should ever don outside of the home jersey that flips that color scheme. The green, green and more green take on Boston's uniforms is still preferable to the black-accented kits, if only by a slim margin. The outlined numbers look bulky, especially considering the single-color wording typical in Boston. Such is life in the bottom half of a list that ranks uniforms.

7. Los Angeles Clippers
Too much red and not enough blue, plus the cursive script makes it look like Blake Griffin's mom had too many leftover felt iron-ons and went to town on some sleeveless shirts.

8. New York Knicks
If you didn't wince at Carmelo Anthony's orange jersey-orange shorts-double orange shooting sleeves-orange headband-orange socks get-up, congratulations. You probably watched the Knicks/Lakers contest longer than my 11-year-old brother.

These uniforms are simply too bright. The New York logo looks kind of cool with the knocked-out treatment, but little else does, especially the way 'Melo rocked it.

"Blast off! lol" - Jeremy Lin (David Banks/Getty Images)
9. Houston Rockets
Bland, although the majorly gray unis are a perfect fit, conceptually. The font across the front of the jersey longs to look futuristic, implying space travel and discovery of the unknown, while the top-to-bottom gray hearkens back to the way rockets were portrayed in early science-fiction movies. It works, in a mixed up kind of way. Kudos to the designers for changing the lining at the jersey's edges to darker lines to add texture. Overall, though, these look boring and no amount of prettying them up with theories of throwback references can fix that.

10. Chicago Bulls
Um, these look like the jersey I wear to rec league. Same Sharpie magic, different angles.

(Alex Skov, Professional Photographer)

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