A matter of evolution, rather than revolution. Unless your team drew the ‘we only have five minutes until lunch’ straw.
The story behind this year’s uniforms is very much one of evolution, rather than revolution. (Until we see what the City jerseys look like, anyway.) The question, though, is should you drop $110 on one? Let’s compare this year’s to last year’s and check out what Champion has put together for the new season.
While I’m not sure any of them are particularly Next Level, there is only one really egregious design- the biggest sin any of these jerseys commit is being boring, and the worst of them is indeed incredibly dull.
Although if we want to talk ‘sins’, it’s a little bit alarming that I got emails from the NBL Store asking me if I wanted to finalise a purchase- not once, but TWICE- while getting the images for this article. I wasn’t even signed in to the NBL Store site and, as far as I can recall, have never ordered from them (although I have bought from First Ever, so maybe that’s A Thing.)
As a wise man once sang, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. Or your money. In any case, I know they’re reading now, so SUNS THROWBACK MERCH NOW YOU COWARDS.
Definitely the Most Interesting:
New Zealand Breakers
Say what you will about the Breakers jerseys, but at least they aren’t boring- these are probably the most colourful strips in the NBL. New Zealand will wear a pink strip at home, with the sky-blues remaining the choice on the road; the left side panel features bespoke artwork from the Breakers’ Cultural Ambassador, Anthony Wilson, which adds some local flavour rather than chevrons or stripes.
Sure, it copies the colour scheme of the Miami Heat’s ‘Vice’ jerseys, but it’s not like the Breakers haven’t been using these colours already. Now about that logo change you teased us with last year and then backed out on…
Stuff that’s more interesting in person:
The Wildcats’ strip features a background design reminiscent of the traditional shields, while the shoulder trim design is based on message sticks. The Wildcats’ web site does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could, although I will shout out Barry McGuire as the designer and suggest you follow the link to read the detail.
This is another one of those design choices that is really cool for a collector, who can examine the fine details that go into a design, but will go unnoticed by the television audience unless it’s specifically shown off. (Now there’s an idea for some half-time or Overtime vignettes.)
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess. The main difference is a ‘snakeskin’ design on the main body of the uniform- almost invisible on the home orange, but it does stand out much more readily on the away whites. This is another one more for the collectors to appreciate, rather than for us to see from afar.
Adelaide’s jersey is almost identical to last year’s, save for the side panel. The subtle pinstripes on the main body are gone, and the chevrons on the side have been moved. The biggest change is the four stars on the side panel; these look a little bit like the 36ers’ early 2000s-era logo, but represent each of Adelaide’s four NBL championships.
Oddly, the championship stars were on the bottom rear of the 2021 jersey- basically, on the bit that’s supposed to be tucked into the shorts (you know, that rule the referees enforce as a subtle way of telling you you’re making a nuisance of yourself). For future seasons, maybe the stars could be standardised over the NBL logo, in much the same way that soccer teams have stars over their crest. That does create a design quandary when you’re looking at Perth, though; you’d end up with something not dissimilar to the Philadelphia 76ers logo.
Back to Adelaide: simple, elegant, nothing too crazy.
Stuff that’s perfectly acceptable but really only for the die-hards:
South-East Melbourne Phoenix
I had to double-check this one before I hit Publish on the article, because even with the NBL Store web site in front of me I’m still not quite sure which is last year’s, and which is the current model. I mean, the design is fine, it’s just… unless you’re a completionist who absolutely must have everything your team sells, or you’re a superfan of one of the Phoenix’ new signings, this isn’t a must-have.
Just like last year, but with pinstripes! Righto, off to the pub.
To be fair, this is both a) a bit more of a change to the side panel trim than just adding pinstripes, and b) another case of ‘if it ain’t broke’. It’s just not a terribly interesting change.
I did see a comment on Twitter when these were unveiled that was happy that ‘the blue from the logo was on the uniform’. Er… not sure about that, unless my eyesight is failing me even more rapidly than I thought, or unless United has a brand new logo with, you know, BLUE on it. (Yeah, yeah, it’s a deep, DEEP navy blue in line with Victorian representative colours, shut up.)
Another minimal change that’s Fine I Guess But Maybe Not Worth The $110. Next.
Brisbane has moved to a dot design, which is mainly interesting because I can start the conspiracy theory of ex-Townsville Basketball people slowly infiltrating the Bullets organisation in preparation to move the franchise north and reinstate the Crocodiles. Two ex-Crocs are assistant coaches at the Bullets, and the 2021/22 uniform is almost identical to Townsville’s junior representative uniform, save for the shade of blue.
Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
Otherwise Brisbane gets a ‘meh’ out of ten. It Is A Bullets Uniform.
The expansion team with no prior history:
There’s obviously no ‘before’ shot of the Jackjumpers here- unless you want to include the Hobart Devils’ uniforms from the mid-90s, seen in this ABC article– but the new team has a fairly… non-descript jersey. It’s fine- it’s Tasmania’s representative colours, so it’s not going to make people mad- and the side panel is reminiscent of the mandibles of Jack, the team mascot.
Also, I can pretend it’s a Townsville Crocodiles jersey if I squint. Or take my glasses off.
The assignment someone got at 4:55 on a Friday:
Yeesh. This one positively screams of “only five minutes until the pub opens, just get a design down on paper and we’ll figure it out later.” At least the colours are right? I guess?
I specifically went back to the site before publishing this to double check that there wasn’t some subtle pattern or motif hidden in the design. It does have “The Foundation Club – Since 1979” on the inside of the collar. And that’s it.
They do get one point, however, for having “Illawarra” instead of “Hawks” on the away whites. I do like that you represent your region on the away uniform and not just have The Almighty Brand. (Brisbane and Tasmania also have this on their away strip; Sydney’s home jerseys say “Sydney” but they are “Kings” away.)
Agree? Disagree? Come and argue the point with me on the Ozhoops Discord.