In Europe and South America, annual kit releases for soccer teams have a load of excitement behind them as a new, fresh design is unveiled to fans. In North America, the NBA has tried to capture something like that with yearly City Edition jerseys from Nike...and has failed miserably.
Time and time again, Nike has put out underwhelming jerseys for the Lakers and across the league with this season being the latest example. The jerseys have yet to be officially unveiled by the team, but the leaks are all across the internet and are pretty easy to find.
Los Angeles Lakers 2023 City Edition Jersey pic.twitter.com/7bCtddoQul— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) October 23, 2023
That’s been the reaction to most of the City Edition jerseys throughout the years, save for a notable exception. In general, Nike’s designs of both the City Edition and standard jerseys haven’t been great.
The gold that used to make the jerseys so iconic has morphed into a bright yellow. The Forum Blue color that so many old-school Lakers fans loved is not unquestionably purple. And the special edition jerseys have so often left much to be desired.
Here’s a look at each City Edition jersey for the Lakers so far, excluding this year, courtesy of LakersStats.com.
The Mamba jerseys are, obviously, a big hit for so many reasons. But the purple jerseys were some of the most hideous jerseys the Lakers have ever had. The middle jerseys paid homage to Shaq and wasn’t a bad jersey, but it was also hardly different from their standard yellow/gold jersey anyway.
It’s not just the Lakers who have had bad City Edition jerseys. The entire league this year, seemingly, was given rather terrible jerseys. Seriously, hardly any of these are good.
2023-24 NBA City Edition Jerseys pic.twitter.com/kkgrUKWqoj— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 23, 2023
The Celtics’ jerseys looks like an alternate Bucks jersey. Orlando’s looks like a normal jersey they already wear. Toronto’s seems like the lowest effort possible. The Nets, who have actually had some of the best City Edition jerseys, look like they’re marketing to kids watching Nickelodeon with these jerseys.
It’s just a mess all around.
Part of what makes soccer jersey unveilings so successful and anticipated is that there’s always a baseline of what to expect. There aren’t drastic makeovers year over year and even the third kits have some sort of throughline with them that represents the clubs and teams.
That, among many other things, is what Nike and the NBA are missing here. Just tossing out completely redesigned jerseys each year that are progressively getting worse is not working. The whole concept needs a refresh at this point because who is actively spending their money on these things?
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.