NBA’s “BIG Color” Jerseys a BIG Ugly Cash Grab

Written By:  •  Monday, November 12, 2012

I tend to feel when a new design, or jersey is unveiled that the team genuinely wanted to do something to make the fans happy or try to turn their club in a new direction rather than say just try to cash in on a quick buck through new merchandise sales.  I’m not oblivious, I know that it’s a factor, I just like knowing it’s not the number one reason.

But this new line of jerseys the NBA unveiled earlier today baffles me… I just can’t see a point to it.

You think that’s tricky to read now just wait till you see it in-game

The idea is that the National Basketball Association, proud of their 65-year history of playing games on Christmas Day, wanted to have teams wear special uniforms for this one day of the season.  So, what did they come up with?  Let’s make the letters and numbers the same colour as the base… BAM! Christmas.

What in the heck is the point of that?

Ah yes… We know what it is, it was made quite clear taking up a good quarter of the press release:

“BIG Color jerseys are part of the adidas Winter Court Collection, which also includes new warm-up jackets and shooting shirts” … “Fans can purchase the Winter Court Collection for all NBA teams at, the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, Champs Sports, and team retailers on Nov. 15.”

Yes, it’s obvious the league wanted to make some extra cash this holiday season, and with the NBA approving the placement of sponsor patches on jerseys next year it seems quite clear that the association has placed “extra revenue streams” ahead of “good-looking uniforms” on its priority list. Who knows where such a mindset could lead us one day.

C’mon, tell us how you *really* feel

But whatever, enough with my ranting, time to cover the new uniforms with neutrality like a big boy.

Ten teams – Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Miami, New York, and Oklahoma City – will be participating in the ridiculous event over five games.  These impossible-to-read uniforms will be worn in each and every game for the 25th of December and then (hopefully, but we doubt it) never again… Dang, I couldn’t even make it through one paragraph

“We worked with adidas to amplify our long-standing tradition of playing on Christmas Day,” said NBA Executive Vice President Global Merchandising Sal LaRocca. “BIG Color gives our players an enhanced look on the court and highlights one of the most visible dates during our season with a new and exciting range of products.”

See what happens when you let Jay-Z get involved in designing your league? Monochrome becomes “exciting”.

Because their regular road jerseys were just a tad too visually stimulating for Christmas

Here’s the thing, I’m obviously all for wearing special themed jerseys, but not like this. This is a very lazy and templatey approach (nuts to you Google Chrome, I say ‘templatey’ is a word!) a half-assed way of doing something that should have been a lot more fun in an attempt to do nothing except make as much money as possible.  Look! Malibu Stacy has a new hat!

What would I have preferred you ask? How about Hardwood Classic jerseys… that would’ve been a little fun.  How about custom Christmas or winter themed jerseys for each of the teams playing?  Yeah, it’s kinda cheesy and minor league but it’s better than this!

Pics of the other eight jerseys we did not already showcase above, click any of them for a larger version:

Oklahoma City Thunder

New York Knicks

Miami Heat

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Clippers

Dallas Mavericks

Boston Celtics

Chicago Bulls

If you dig it, I’d love to hear why – please share your thoughts in the comments. As always, those who agree with me are also welcome to share their thoughts 🙂

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Chris Creamer

Chris Creamer is the founder of SportsLogos.Net and has been maintaining it since June 1997. You can follow him on Twitter at @sportslogosnet or contact him via email at

  • Jacob

    OKCs is the worst. I litterally cannot read it.

    • Aaron

      Oh yeah. If the Thunder used an orange outline, it would look marginally legible.


    I blame the Heat they started the trend when they wore the nWo Jersey LOL

  • Matt

    I really don’t understand this because Brooklyn and Boston play on Christmas Day and they are both wearing green? What????

    • Josh

      Uh… Brooklyn’s uni is black. Unless I’m missing something here.

    • Ian

      Its more of a slate grey for Brooklyn than green.

  • Dave

    It is going to be a huge pain for the refs to read the numbers… As a ref myself (of hockey but still) this would drive me crazy.

  • These are absolutely horrible. Who would want to purchase a jersey that looked like it got caught in the bleach cycle? I worked at the NBA for 13 years and had my share of “interesting” designs on my watch, but one thing we ALWAYS did was make sure the numbers read on broadcast and in the arena. These violate that most sacred code. I know Sal and Chris Arena must have been pressured by Adidas to try this but obviously it’s a huge mistake.

    • Aaron

      And as an NBA fan, I have seen my share of interesting uniforms as well both classy and outrageous. But back in the day, you could at least read what was on the jerseys.

  • Aaron

    The only jersey that even looks decent are the Brooklyn Nets black on black oddly enough. At least they’re more legible than the other ones. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even waste my money on any of them. As for the Adidas logo on the top corner of the jersey? If that’s what it’ll look like on the jerseys in the future, not as big of a deal as people think. As mentioned before, other leagues use those types of logos discreetly on their uniforms and you barely even notice them. The AHL, CFL and I’m guessing the ECHL look too much like billboards. Please shrink the corporate sponsor a few notches.

  • Austin

    Dallas doesn’t even play on Christmas. Denver does. So when would Dallas wear these?

    • Josh

      If I had to guess, I’d say against OKC on the 27th. God, that game is going to look awful.

  • Kenneth Dittenber

    Nice Lisa Simpson drop! And yes, uniforms are hideous.

  • Aaron

    For visibly purposes, at least put a white or very light colour outline around the lettering. Perhaps with the potential of corporate sponsors on the jersey, make them monochromatic. Then you’ll hardly notice it.

  • Aaron

    And by the way, Houston’s grey on grey is also hideous. I’d like to see what Denver’s would look like. Why don’t the Lakers go for a yellow on yellow combo. LOL

    • Austin

      Since it was leaked because of a hack in NBA 2K13, Denver’s is navy blue with blue numbering and a gold outline

  • I think they were going for the Christmas ornament or lights look. This is the only possible idea that even seems plausible to justify this move next to the usual NBA and Adidas milking the brand for more cash. Throwbacks and a third jersey are nice but anything more is just all out insanity. I mean the Heat are wearing EIGHT unis! Three of which are only slightly different than their 3 main unis.

  • Logan Grimmenga

    The only that is cool is the Dallas one remind of there old grey alt they had in 03 or 04 i

  • Logan R

    I actually like some of them. don’t like OKC’s or Houstons or LAC’s. Okcs is almost impossible to read

  • Logan R

    Also I saw the OKC one at the store. Not as bad in person as on the computer


    I would’ve loved it if they wore throwback Jersey instead of THAT

  • Bill

    What a totally stupid idea. Do those people at adidas even WATCH sports on TV? It’s bad enough the way they dress Major League Soccer teams, but these “Big Color” jersey idea is going too far. A more accurate name for these eyesores is “Unreadable One Color Disasters”. Those 10 teams and adidas should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen. No NBA for me on Chrisstmas Day. I’ll be watching “Christmas Vacation” and laughing myself silly. NBA= Nasty Boring Attire.

  • Steve

    Ha, these looked so much better on the computer. but bottom line, they are HIDEOUS!!!!
    and I thought the Nets jersey was supposed to be black??

  • eric

    the laker’s mav’s net’s and rocket’s ones look cool

  • Josh

    Nets fan here and theirs are absolutely ugly, the only 2 that are passable to me is the Lakers and Heat and even those are very bland and boring. It’s amazing how mind numbingly crappy these are, its like Adidas didn’t even try and doesn’t care to hide that fact.

  • Lakers and Heat can pull if off. Celtics are close but not quite and overall those uniforms are downright horrible.

  • Eddie

    The Mavs, Rockets, Heat, and Lakers look CLEAN. The Knicks are awful as well as the Thunder.

    • @Eddie: I agree. If anything, the colors on the Knicks’ and Thunder’s jerseys should do an about-face.

  • Oh Celestia, that Thunder jersey’s lettering/numbering is almost totally unreadable on my laptop (which has a 17″ screen), so I can only imagine how brutal the full uniform is gonna look on T.V.

  • Well… They are an obvious cash grab and the Thunder is hard to read but they don’t completely assault my eyes like my beloved Steeler’s prison breaking bumblebee jerseys to which will set all future low bars for comparison in the future…

  • Why am I not surprised that it’s the NBA making their teams wear fashion jerseys in-game?

  • Marsha Grant Ocain

    You really should see what some of the AHL teams wear for specialty jerseys games. Nick is correct about the Steeler’s throw back jersey. They needed to be thrown back.

  • Eric Hoffman

    These are practice jerseys AT BEST.

  • Bryan M. Turner

    I don’t even

  • Delayed Penalty

    A professional sports league doing something just to make some extra cash? Nahhhhh!

    • Chris Creamer

      As mentioned up in the article there, the issue is that the NBA is now throwing away quality, “pro-level design” in exchange for the possibility of making extra cash. Compare that to, say, the Toronto Blue Jays who chose to have just one cap with their new uniforms because it works across all their sets instead of just an easy way to sell double or triple the product; or the Orioles who despite knowing a lot of fans already owned caps with the retro bird brought it back as a full-time set anyways.

  • Ridiculous…

  • Troy Griggsby


  • Aaron

    The only two passable ones on this list with the Nets are the Heat and Lakers. The Celtics, ennh, legible, but black shouldn’t be there. At least compared to the other ones, the Lakers, Heat and Nets don’t look like bleached out hand-me-downs.

  • The one on the upper right actually says “Sonics.”

  • Ben Anijar Andersen

    I just remembered why I stopped following the nba years ago.

  • Ian Wilz

    Horribly UGLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Horrible!

  • kevin

    they have he nhls black ice jerseys too. but those at least look good.

    • Chris Creamer

      The NHL’s jerseys aren’t actually worn in games

  • Jeremy

    The only one that works for me is the Lakers. It’s white, which at least hearkens to Christmas (you know, because of all that snow in L.A.). The Rockets though…wow. Who looked at that and said “Yes, I can read this and I think people will be able to see this on television. I am best at uniform making?”

  • Aaron

    Just had a thought..

    I know they’re the Brooklyn Nets now, but I think the Nets all grey road uniforms they used a few years ago would go perfectly with the X-mas ornament theme the NBA is trying to emulate. In fact, the Spurs current grey alternates and the Kings and Heat white on white home uniforms would go well too. By the way, just noticed that the Nets monocromatic uniforms were green. Another wacky entry, the gold uniforms from the Wizards and Kings.

  • Are that supposed to look like practice jerseys

  • geha714

    Knicks and Nets have the best. Thunder and Clippers are the worst.

    • Aaron

      Just make the Knicks script and players numbers blue and they’ll look better.

  • Mike Barbato

    Horrible looking jerseys. Just another way for the league to make money.

  • Daniel A. Dubay


  • Jeti Mar

    What’s next, clear jerseys?

    • Aaron

      That type of promotion would probably get the female fans attention. Or Calvin Klein’s.

  • Brad

    Great Simpsons reference! I used the “Malibu Stacy complete w/ Hat” reference all the time when a company puts out a variation product that somehow stimulates the public.

  • Some work better than others. Brooklyn’s one looks ok. Clippers, Thunder, Bulls and Mavs are unreadable. Bad move NBA

  • Jeason Gagnon


  • Toby Faber

    What’s next, pink jerseys? And why not? Breast Cancer Awareness could be supported!

  • Toby Faber

    Why not lavender? Lime green? Coral? Pink rainbow? Metallic gold and silver? The possibilities are endless!

  • john

    The Lakers is the only one that looks decent. The rest are just appalling. I admire the effort to “think outside the box”, but there’s a reason that focus groups exist. Sometimes I think professional sports organizations totally forget this.

  • G

    The Heat and Lakers look fine.

  • 48erhater

    The Lakers one looked like a Christmas jersey too me. It reminds me of snow. I assumed the rest would look like it.

  • Brian Castner

    The NBA doesn’t exist to me anymore. But I like them. Why? They don’t have ads on them… Yet… Once the ads go on them they’ll look like even bigger crap.

    • Aaron

      The only way won’t look horrible with ads on is if the ad is what it looks like on the above pictures or they match the colour of the jerseys so it wouldn’t look visible.

  • Josh Burlein

    Just awful! I have followed sports for most of my life and these are some of the worst jerseys that I have ever seen! They are worse than the Nike Pro Combat jerseys in college football.

  • James

    The Clippers and Bulls jerseys make my eyes hurt!

  • Jeriat

    Ugly? No.

    Lame… boring… weak… unimaginative… plain… uninspired…

    THOSE are the words that come to mind.

  • BL.

    I don’t “mind” my Lakers “BIG COLOR” jersey but I don’t love it by any means. The rest are just horrible.

  • Chris

    WTF is that crap?

  • So THIS is what smoking crack does to the brain.

  • Aaron

    I’ll bet if put on 3D coloured glasses, on some of the above jerseys you couldn’t see them. I’m referring to the Clippers and Bulls hand me downs.

  • Steve Cramsie

    NFL teams wearing head-to-toe black or red uniforms thinks this is a bit silly.

  • Dante

    Brooklyn’s is quite nice, actually. I would buy that. The others…Well, I didn’t think OKC’s jerseys could get any worse.

  • ingmar66

    adidas+NBA= crap uniforms. Who actually buys this? People that are not really into basketball and think anything with an adidas or an nba logo looks cool. Better get rid of the current team names right now and put new sponsored team names on these crappy shirts. Bet all these wannabe fans will still buy them: Let’s Go Los Angeles Dunkin’Donuts! Beat the Boston Burger Kings or the Atlanta Cokeheads! Those Detroit Fords and Chicago United Airlines are also huge on Twitter! Minnesota Frosties! Carolina Marlboros! Miami MTV’s! But my team has to be the Brooklyn Pabst Blue Ribbons. No wonder more and more real basketball fans are turning their backs on the NBA, I know I do.

  • Joey

    D-U-M-B Dumb!

  • Allan

    I kinda like the concept and designs… Eventhough its hard for us to read i really like tha fact that they designed it just like that… Also, am sick of those throwback overdesigned jerseys…

  • Bigg Sleepy

    Likes: Rockets & Lakers Christmas jerseys..Dislikes: Thunder,Nets,Knicks,Mavs,Celtics,Bulls,Clippers..even the Heat!!..i dont like none of those teams but.. GO SPURS GO!!!

  • NBA’s “BIG Color” uniforms are the WORST uniforms in the history of sports! I cannot read the players’ numbers on TV. It is almost impossible to follow the game because the numbers are unreadable.

    Thank goodness I can read the Heat players’ numbers. The Lakers and OKC’s uniforms are totally illegible. I finally turned the channel to TV Land in disgust. Give me one for free, and I will dry my dog or mop the floor with these rags. I refuse to buy trash like this.

    Karl Woods

  • GreedyBastrds

    F—k Addidas for f—kiing up the Christmas games with its unreadable butt ugly uniforms. And f—k the NBA for letting it happen.

  • Mark

    I hate disagreeing with Chris, but I like these

  • David

    i got the Heat Wade jersey… EVERYONE who seen it loved it… they look terrible in these pictures, but when you got them im person… they pretty slick.