As they say, everything old is new again, and that’s the case this year in NBA uniforms. The 2022-23 season is shaping up to be a return to throwbacks for several NBA teams, as Nike has released Association, Icon, Classic Edition, and Statement Edition jerseys.
Although some of the new looks are being touted as ‘tributes’ to classic teams, the lucrative merchandising market suggests more commercial motivations. As the league is now in the midst of a billion-dollar jersey partnership with Nike, the uniforms keep coming.
The latest teams to announce new jerseys for the upcoming season are the Charlotte Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves, both hoping to find traction this year with respective superstars LaMelo Ball (despite a challenging offseason that has left their prospects unclear) and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Suns’ “Sunburst” jerseys in celebration of the team’s 30th anniversary, hearken back to the days when players like Charles Barkley, Brian Grant, and Dan Majerle ruled the hardwood for the team in the 90s.
The Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets, and the Miami Heat also released jerseys that revisit their storied teams, including the years in Orlando when Shaquille O’Neal and Anfrernee “Penny” Hardaway played together; when the Rockets were in San Diego for their inaugural season; and the original white home 35th-anniversary jerseys that were worn during the Miami Heat’s first season as an expansion team in 1988- 89, well before they won a championship with Shaq, Dwyane Wade, and Alonzo Mourning in 2006.
Even the NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors, got into the throwback game this season and will reprise their ‘Run TMC’ jerseys for the 2022-23 season. Old school NBA fans will remember that the Run TMC squad, which referenced the classic hip-hop trio Run DMC, were ballers Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, and Mitch Richmond who were the league’s highest-scoring trio in the 1990-91 season.
The Lakers may be hoping that going backward can help them move forward despite the uncertainty surrounding the current squad. In celebration of their 75th season, their “Classic Edition” uniforms return to their beginnings as the Minneapolis Lakers. They were a dynasty team spearheaded by Hall of Fame center George Mikan who won five championships for them in the late 40s and 50s as they evolved through three different leagues.
This is in addition to the debut of a “Statement Edition” jersey that adds a purple base with gold details, and a “17” that represents the Lakers’ 17 total championships.
Multiple teams will wear new jerseys this year, but no matter what the jerseys look like, there are ballers who already have the lead in merchandising sales. In 2022, the unsurprising top 5 best-selling jerseys are LeBron James, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokuounpo, Kevin Durant, and Luka Dončić. While we’re sure that at least four of those athletes will remain with the same team this season, in the NBA, you never know. So choose those jerseys wisely.