Los Angeles Lakers fans have strong feelings about, well, just about everything regarding their team. That’s how fandom works. As part of the NBA’s partnership with Nike, teams started wearing their “home” uniforms in away games and vice versa, as well as the city edition jerseys at random points in the season, and fans haven’t exactly been thrilled with seeing the Lakers donning their road purple (or forum blue, for the real ones out there) at home.
It’s a trend that really came to a head when they played the Golden State Warriors — who wore their yellow home unis — at Staples Center.
Seriously, look at this abomination.
Personally, I think we could always use more purple in sports, but this is neither the time, nor the place.
Lakers Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris spoke to Arash Markazi of the L.A. Times, and had this to say about the process of choosing which jerseys to when:
“The gold is overwhelming the favorite color of Lakers fans,” Harris said. “It’s not close, but more and more teams want to wear their dark uniforms at home. We like wearing gold at home, but other teams like wearing dark uniforms at home so we wear gold more on the road, but we didn’t want to marginalize purple by always wearing gold at home because we know we’re going to wear it a lot on the road now too.”
[grumbles something about the gold uniforms not actually being gold]
The other thing to factor in on which uniforms will be worn on any given night is what the league mandates as part of its deal with Nike. Teams can obviously for the most part choose which jerseys will be worn and when, but there are guidelines that must be followed, as an NBA official pointed out to Markazi:
The only requirement is that teams wear their Icon and Association Edition uniforms 10 times each, their Statement Edition uniforms six times and their City or Classic Edition uniforms three times. Outside of those requirements they can do whatever they want. So the Lakers could choose to wear only gold or white for every home game if they wanted to.
“They are allowed to do that,” an NBA official said. “They just have to meet those requirements.”
I still contend that the purple uniforms are not nearly as bad as some make them out to be, even while that weird black strip down the sides is one of the most unnecessary additions to a uniform since maybe ever.
Markazi also reports that the Lakers will probably be more traditional come playoff time, so at least traditionalists might have that going for them.
If the Lakers make the playoffs, they are expected to go back to a more traditional model of gold at home, white if the game falls on a Sunday or holiday, and purple on the road — with the understanding that if their opponent chooses to wear a dark uniform at home, they would wear gold.
Apparently, the team is also going to take fan input into account if it’s loud enough, per Markazi. The results of his poll weren’t all that surprising, either:
The Lakers said they would consider going back to only wearing gold and white at home if their fans demanded it so I’ll ask you, Lakers fans, do you want to see your team only wear gold and white at home?— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 19, 2019
Personally, the only rule I think the Lakers absolutely have to follow is that the Sunday white uniforms only be worn on Sunday games. The problem here, though, is that would not meet the required 17 occasions that the uniforms are worn, so maybe the occasional home game can be added. Beyond that, though, I’m pretty ambivalent to which uniforms are worn when.
I would add that if purple uniforms are to be worn at home, the Lakers should probably consider an additional home court that features more purple in it so as to avoid the picture above. Now, traditional fans would probably have a problem with that, too, but growth is impossible without trying some new things every so often. I’d like to see what it looks like.
As I was writing this, the Lakers fired off a tweet teasing the city edition jerseys coming as soon as tomorrow, so that’s pretty exciting as well:
If they’re nice enough, then maybe the traditional formula can be tweaked. The only thing that cannot happen again is having the Lakers at home in purple uniforms against a team wearing yellow. That was just wrong.