The National Basketball Association and Nike have unveiled each and every one of the new City Edition uniforms for the 2022-23 season. The City Edition program debuted in 2017-18 as a chance for teams to go off the board, throw away any rules regarding their team’s long-used, loved, and established branding guidelines, and pay tribute/respects to whatever they wanted to (with most clubs choosing to focus on their city or region).
So here we go, it’s season six of the NBA’s “let’s pay tribute to something” collection. In this post, I’ll show the designs and break down the inspiration (where available) for each of the 29 City Uniforms that will be worn this season (Utah is not wearing a City uniform, opting to go with a throwback “Classic Edition” instead).
Before we get into the team-by-team, here’s a look at all 30 in one handy graphic:
That’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? Let’s break things down for you with much larger versions of these photos, presented to you in the best ordering system there is, alphabetical.
The Atlanta Hawks are returning, once again, to their peachtree-themed design. For 2022-23, the Hawks’ peachtree City uniform is black, with Atlanta scripted across the front in white. Player numbers are a peachy gradient with serifs, and the player’s name is on the back above the number in a standard white font. Peach and orange stripes go down each side of the jersey as well as around the neck and each arm.
The Hawks say the uniform “represents a new take” on their Peachtree uniform, giving a nod to Atlanta’s roots as a cultural trendsetter. The colour scheme represents the “high energy” of the city, and the gradient within the numbers (“Electro Peach” to “Sunset Haze”) pays tribute to the city’s diversity. It’s the Peachtree uniform for the Peach State and the City that Peachtree Street calls home.
Unveiled long ago, and previously covered by this site, the Boston Celtics City Edition uniform pays tribute to former Celtic Bill Russell and his eleven (!) NBA championships. The scripted wordmark is based on the design of Russell’s Boston-based barbeque restaurant in the 1960s; the eleven diamonds down the sides are for Russell’s eleven NBA titles, and Russell’s number 6 is on the waistband of the shorts. Many more details on this design in our original coverage of this uniform from last month.
The Brooklyn Nets are taking a previous City Edition uniform and simply flipping the base colour of the jersey from black to white. As was the case in 2020-21, the Nets’ City Edition uniform pays tribute to Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, the “BKLYN NETS” lettering across the front of the jersey and the colourful designs throughout are all inspired by his style of work.
The Charlotte Hornets, like the Nets, are taking a look back to their City Edition design for the 2020-21 season. The black jersey with mint green and gold trim and pinstripes pays tribute to Charlotte’s history as the home to the first U.S. Branch Mint as well as the gold rush of the Carolinas in the early 19th century. Across the front of the jersey is the city’s airport code of “CLT”.
The Chicago Bulls are taking a step away from the light blue, Chicago flag-inspired designs which typically dominate their City Edition designs. The usual “CHICAGO” wordmark is arched across the front in red with black trim; red and black numbers are centred below. Down each side of the jersey are thick black stripes with two sets of five thin red vertical stripes, which continue on down to the shorts, where it branches off to form the “Y” from the Chicago Municipal Device symbol. The “Y” is also woven throughout the white base of the jersey and is again included at the jock tag alongside the Chicago City Flag.
The Cleveland Cavaliers 2022-23 City Edition uniform is white with “THE LAND” across the chest in gold with darker gold inlines and drop shadows. The inlines are a bit of a nod to the Cavs’ jersey wordmarks of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Around the collar and the arms are gold and light blue stripes. Above the “THE LAND” wordmark is a light blue ball with the Cavs’ primary icon within it; this is to represent “the sunny shores of Lake Erie”, while the double brown drop shadows symbolize Ohio’s bountiful soil.
The Dallas Mavericks City Edition uniform this year gives off a retro vibe with the blue-based jersey featuring a heavily 1970s-style wordmark across the chest in white with green inlines and drop shadows. The player’s number is below in a sans-serif white typeface with double green drop shadows. Along the sides are three vertical stripes going in a white/green/dark green pattern. A thick white line, followed by a thin green line, is present around the neck and each arm.
This jersey doesn’t pay tribute to any one aspect of the team or the city, aside from the Mavs’ retro blue and green colours; instead, it’s designed to represent the general design popular during the era in which Dallas welcomed the Mavericks and entered the NBA in the 1970s.
The Denver Nuggets will wear a white jersey as their City Edition outfit in 2022-23. The city name of DENVER is arched across the front in blue with yellow and red trim, and the player’s number is below in the same colourway. Red stripes are around the neck and each arm, decorated with a series of yellow dots. Down each side of the jersey are numerous thin blue horizontal lines which gradually fade away, leading towards “NUGGETS” in red. The team’s secondary “skyline” logo is placed at the jock tag.
Designed alongside Big Sean, the Pistons Creative Director of Innovation, this year’s Detroit Pistons City Edition jersey pays tribute to Saint Cecelia’s, the historic gymnasium located in “the heart of Detroit.” The green base is in reference to the walls of Saint Cecelia’s gym, and the white wordmark across the chest is topped by three gold stars representing the Pistons’ three NBA championships. Down at the jock tag is the phrase “Where Stars Are Made, Not Born,” which is painted on the court at Saint Cecelia’s.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The Golden State Warriors 2022-23 City Edition uniform is black with a yellow stripe up the side and a sublimated yellow flower at the base of the jersey near the bottom. The jersey logo features a line drawing of a yellow and black flower within a white and black circle, the team name arched above in split-style lettering and rays of yellow surrounding it.
This jersey was designed by Bay Area artist Hueman who created a tribute to the “Warrior Women”, “celebrating the strong women that have played a role in the team’s and city’s success.” The various design elements of this jersey were meant to represent “feminity, friendship, optimism, and diversity.”
Houston’s simply returning to their City Edition “Mixtape” uniform from the 2021-22 season. It’s a navy blue jersey with white pinstripes and red striping around the neck and shoulders. A “Houston” wordmark, based on the team’s wordmark logo of the 1980s, is across the chest, while the blue base and pinstripes throwback to the 1990s.
The Indiana Pacers’ new City Edition uniform pays tribute to the team’s home arena – the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. It’s a dark blue (practically black) base with a light blue top half with “PACERS” in white arched across the chest. Separating the two panels of colour is a yellow gateway, a reference to the gold truss of the arena’s distinct structure. Not pictured above, but this gold truss continues down the legs of the shorts. At the jock tag is a flipboard-style scoreboard that reads “We Grow Basketball Here.”
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The LA Clippers’ new City uniform is black with a red stripe on the right side, black striping at the collar, and a blue stripe on the left. Across the chest is a colourful “Los Angeles” script which is inspired by Watts Towers, Clippers logos of the past, and the “heritage and passionate spirit” of the Drew League — a basketball league held every summer in LA which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season. The league’s motto of “No Excuse. Just Produce,” is included in gold at the jock tag.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The LA Lakers took a different approach this season when it comes to their City Edition uniform. While the team had typically used this uniform to pay tribute to a former player throughout their history, this year, they’re going with more of a blank slate. The jersey is white with “Los Angeles” across the chest in purple italics, and the player’s number is below in black with a purple drop shadow. “The uniform is not the story; it is a vehicle to tell the stories behind the individual changemakers around Los Angeles.”
Memphis is going with a black jersey with “MEMPHIS” across the chest in silver and gold. The overall design of this uniform celebrates the legacy and future of the Memphis hip-hop scene. The wordmark across the front was inspired by local hip-hop album art. The striping on this jersey is asymmetrical, a nod to the Grizzlies’ uniform history which used to use asymmetrical striping on their shorts during their time in Vancouver and first seasons in Memphis. Within that single-sided striping is a stylized “M G” design stacked to embody the “big style” and “swag” of both Memphis and the Grizzlies.
Miami is simply creating a white version of their 2021-22 City Edition “Mixtape” uniform. The ransom-note style design combined different jersey wordmarks and player’s number fonts used by the Heat throughout their 30+ seasons in the NBA. The fonts for each number are completely different from player to player; the club says there are 12,656 different possible combinations of number designs with this jersey. Start collecting.
The Milwaukee Bucks new royal blue City Edition uniform takes its inspiration from the Bronzeville neighbourhood of Milwaukee — the historical, social, economic, and artistic hub of Milwaukee’s African American community. The blue, cream and green side panelling on this jersey are inspired by the “Patchwork” mural which resides in this neighbourhood.
The Minnesota Timberwolves City uniform is white with a multi-coloured panel across the chest. The “MINNESOTA” wordmark and player’s number across the front are single-coloured black, as are the sleeve and collar stripes. The jersey pays tribute to the creative community of Minnesota with the multi-coloured panel across the front of the jersey unique to each physical jersey. The typeface for the team name and player’s number was designed by a local type designer and references a building in the Minneapolis skyline. (I know these references are vague, the information I was given was not specific, I’ll update when more is known)
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
While most teams are stretching hard to find anything new and unique to represent their community for this, the sixth edition of the City uniform program, the New Orleans Pelicans get props for picking one thing about their city and just rolling that out each year. The Pelicans are, yes, once again paying tribute to the local Mardi Gras celebrations throughout their city. A deep purple base with purple, green, and yellow stripes (the colours of Mardi Gras); “NOLA,” an acronym for New Orleans, LouisianA is placed across the chest just as the club did for its first Mardi Gras jersey when they were still the New Orleans Hornets back in 2010.
NEW YORK KNICKS
The New York Knicks are again partnering with Kith and Nike to produce their 2022-23 City Edition uniform. The jersey is black with orange striping at the collar and arms, “NEW YORK” arched across the front in orange with white trim, and blue and orange stripes are down each side. The uniform is inspired by the Knicks’ uniforms worn from 1998 to 2012 (with an inverted colour scheme) and the “V-neck” of 1999-2003. The Nike NYC logo appears in the upper right corner as well as on the shorts.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The OKC Thunder new City Edition jersey is a dark grey with “THUNDER” arched and the player’s number centred in blue and white on the front in the club’s standard typeface. Striping around the collar and arms is blue/dark red/orange, and a similar striping pattern is down each side of the jersey. The colours are inspired by the red soil that is found throughout the state of Oklahoma; the 7 stripes down the side of the jersey represent the 77 counties in Oklahoma; this is referenced again on the waistband of the shorts (not yet pictured) with an outline of the 77 counties. Within the side stripes are a pattern that is inspired by the “historical terrain” of Oklahoma, symbolizing “grit, perseverance, sorrow, pain, spirit, and resilience.”
The Orlando Magic are doing their own thing here with their City Edition uniform; it’s black (or dark grey) with “ORLANDO” arched across the chest in a new white typeface with a very dark blue drop shadow. Subtle light grey pinstripes down the front and back of the jersey, dark blue/black/light grey striping around the collar, and dark blue/black/dark blue around the arms and down the sides. The inspiration for the jersey (from the copy I received) is fairly vague, saying the jersey has to do with the team putting on their armour and going to battle to defend the kingdom. (See what I mean? Go back to the Pelicans section for an idea of what I’m talking about) Are these vague, “don’t call it trademark-infringement” references to Disney? Possibly. I’m not sure; I’m just glad it isn’t orange this time.
The City of Brotherly Love, the nickname of Philadelphia inspired by the Greek translation of Philadelphia, is the main element of this jersey, scripted right on the front in blue and red on the otherwise plain white jersey. The player’s number is red with blue trim and is aligned to the left below the script. There is no striping around the collar or arms and just a single red stripe down the side. The script is in a hand-drawn style to embrace “humanist details,” referencing the early design styles of basketball uniforms to show how far back the history of basketball extends in Philadelphia, as does the overall fairly basic design of the jersey.
The Phoenix Suns will wear a turquoise base jersey with red and white striping, the club’s “Sunburst” logo of a shooting basketball sun on the front in black, and the player’s number below in a black split-style font filled in with a series of yellow, red, white, and turquoise horizontal striping. Down the sides of the jersey are black and red vertical stripes.
The jersey pays tribute to the 22 indigenous tribes that, for thousands of years, have called the State of Arizona home. The turquoise base represents the Native American protection (or living) stone. The red trim references the red land and soil of Arizona. The pattern in the side panels is based on a traditional stairstep pattern, commonly used in the indigenous art of the region. If you look closely at the black stripe in the jersey, you’ll see some turquoise lettering in there; those are the translations for “the sun” in the languages of Arizona’s 22 tribal nations.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
As we continue down the “what else can we pay tribute to in this city?” path that is the 2023 City Edition collection, we have the Portland Trail Blazers’ new black jersey, which pays tribute to the (admittedly fairly famous) carpet of the Portland International Airport. Across the front of the jersey is the airport’s code “PDX” in white block lettering, the player’s number aligned to the left below in the usual Blazers’ style. A diagonal sash from the upper right to lower left, as Blazers jerseys usually have, is now teal and contains the unique pattern of the carpet at PDX. The airport and its carpet are referenced once more in the jock tag with the hashtag “#RIPCITYCARPET”
Hey, remember when the Sacramento Kings almost relocated? It was pretty close to happening; they were all set to move to Anaheim, and trademarks were filed (I covered it at the time!) for the name Anaheim Royals. Well, obviously, the move never happened, the “Anaheim Royals of Orange County” (yes, that was a name they considered) were quickly forgotten, and the Kings carried on in the capital of California. Why am I talking about this? Because it happened ten years ago, and the anniversary of that whole story is the inspiration behind this jersey. The base is grey based on the colours of their home arena, the Golden 1 Center, and the purple striping down the sides references the architecture of the arena. Inside that trim are the words “SACRAMENTO PROUD,” and a quote from NBA commissioner David Stern is placed down at the jock tag, “We’re going to keep this team in Sacramento.”
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
No team loves a uniform worn at an All-Star Game more than the San Antonio Spurs (then again, no All-Star Game uniform is as memorable as that one worn in San Antonio). It’s a turquoise jersey with fiesta-inspired colours and side striping, “SPURS,” and the player’s number across the front are white with black trim and fashioned in the style of the 1996 NBA All-Star Game jerseys, played at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Oh, we’re doing this again? Alright.
The Toronto Raptors are wearing black with gold trim on their 2022-23 City Edition uniform. “TORONTO” is arched across the front with the player’s number in the usual Raptors typeface centred below, simple gold trim around the collar, no side striping, so stripes around the arms, and “Welcome TORONTO” is in gold at the jock tag. Some more hidden elements placed throughout the black of this jersey include the word “NORTH” repeated in several different languages within the stripes around the arms, as well as the maps of the six (yes, six) boroughs that make up the City of Toronto embossed in the base.
This is not a City Edition uniform. The Utah Jazz do not have a City Edition uniform this year, instead, they’re using a Classic Edition jersey throwing back to the purple mountain’s majesties that is their 1990s back-to-back NBA Finals set. I’m including this here for two reasons, one, it’s basically taking the place of their City Edition set (worn a bunch of times but only for a single season and then quickly discarded), and two, so people don’t keep saying, “You forgot Utah!” Anywho, there it is.
The Washington Wizards were the first to unveil their 2022-23 City Edition uniform, doing so waaaaaay back in March when they took part in a multi-sport unveiling that involved baseball’s Washington Nationals. The Wizards’ uniform is pink, yes pink, with “Washington” across the front in white with blue trim, blue and white trim around each arm and the collar. This jersey pays tribute to the famous cherry blossom festival that occurs each Spring around the U.S. capital. Falling cherry blossom pedals are shown falling down the sides of the jersey, three blossoms are hidden just above the jock tag, and the “i” of “Washington” is dotted with a cherry blossom on the jersey wordmark.
And that’s it! All 30 (or 29…) of this year’s NBA City Edition jersey collection; please let me know in the comments if I missed a reference here. If you’re interested in what City Edition jerseys looked like in past years, you can do so here for 2021-22 or here for 2020-21.
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