Was it really only December when Adidas unveiled the uniforms for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game and to shocked pretty much everyone by being perfect? It seems longer than that, but they’re still exponentially more exciting than many of the jerseys being paraded around the league right now, including last year’s All-Star duds (we’ve got a picture of them after the jump, in case you need to refresh your memory). While the NBA is arguably the most forward-thinking league in major American sports, as it was the first to really establish an Internet presence and the first to incorporate significant fan interaction into things like the All-Star Game, there’s a large portion of basketball that’s rooted in nostalgia, and a large part of that has to do with places like New York City, the location of the 2015 All-Star festivities.
You hear it referenced whenever someone talks about “playing the right way” or when fans pine for “the good old days” of the 1980s, when the league was smaller and the talent more concentrated. Fanbases survive for decades on the ghosts of successful teams long past — just ask Celtics fans prior to 2008 or Knicks fans since 1973 — and there’s an iconography about the classic NBA uniform that’s unmistakable, even if the classic NBA uniform is more of a Platonic ideal than a real thing, as the jerseys are something that’s been changed regularly since the league’s inception. The 2015 uniforms look clean, and are styled to echo. In other words, they look basic (or uncluttered) because back in the day, jerseys were basic, and you weren’t reduced to wearing anything garish because no one had the money to pump into the sport to afford ugly uniforms.
This year, with the ASG being held in New York City, the league has doubled down on the notion of nostalgia, invoking one of the sport’s most exalted locales, even if the successes and legends are more localized around places like Rucker Park than Madison Square Garden. There’s a metric ton of hoops history in the five boroughs, which are all represented in one way or another on the jersey, and it wouldn’t be right to have sleeves in the building when they’re not required. Which should be never. Sleeved jerseys are the worst.
Seriously, look at that thing. The near-V neck. The color scheme. It looks more like a bad photoshop than a high grade photograph captured at a game which actually cost money to attend. Look at Dr. J, seated courtside with his legs crossed. His expression says it all — this is no apparel worthy of an NBA All Star. Sign us up for advertisements all over jerseys instead. For what it’s worth, Adidas designed those, too.
Which means that it lowered its own bar by roughly the height of one Kevin Durant as far as the expectations for this year’s uniforms were concerned. And it knocked it out of the park instead. The All-Star Game will take place over the second weekend in February. We’ll tune in, for sure.