This NBA offseason, the Brooklyn Nets made some major moves by signing the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to free agent deals.
After the team’s progress and success of last season by making it to the playoffs and fighting hard in their series, they are ready to take the next step this upcoming 2019/20 season. As a professional designer working in the sports uniform business, my first thought is always to think of ways to creatively capitalize on opportunities that present themselves. The rise of the Brooklyn Nets brand must be taken advantage of, and what better way than to (temporarily) bring to life the “created, but never-used” New Jersey Swamp Dragons.
As we’ve seen the last two seasons with Nike at the helm of the NBA apparel contract, they have dedicated one uniform per team, per season, to honor the community and city that the respective teams dwell within. This “City Edition” uniform has been utilized by many teams to highlight especially interesting and intriguing elements of the team’s town.
I see this “City Edition” uniform as a perfect place to celebrate the off-the-wall, full-on 1990s NBA team that-never-was. Easily visible to anyone who’s visited retail stores or outlets, the zany 1990s NBA designs are very much a part of today’s NBA-related clothing trends. The New Jersey Swamp Dragons original logo, uniform and court designs are no exception, and might even be the most eccentric of the bunch. In 1995, Tom O’Grady, then the NBA’s Creative Director, and his team whipped up an unforgettable branding package, complete with logos, uniforms, warmups and court designs.
Here are just a few of those original designs for the Nets team that almost was…
Tom was generous enough to share with me digital scans of the original printed presentation graphics. After painstakingly vectorizing the Swamp Dragons logos and styling elements, it was time to bring these ideas into the current NBA (Nike) world.
In the end, I created 6 different City Edition uniform concept options, along with a set of three hats, a warmup design and an accompanying court design to be used at the Barclays Center on those special nights when the Swamp Dragons would enter the 21st century to become a brief, but glorious reality in the NBA…
Thanks as always for taking time to look at my work. What do you think of my graphic design ravings? Which uniform and hat do you prefer of the options? Let us know in the comments below!