It’s time to end this madness NBA. You’ve been playing around with the jerseys for far too long. I get it. Each team having approximately 1,000 alternate jerseys is a great revenue stream as well as the sponsor logos in the corner where the NBA logo used to be. But there is this word, clarity, that allows a contest such as a basketball game to be officiated properly as well as make for a better viewing experience.
It’s always clear who’s the road team and who’s the home team.
The NBA decided some years ago to say to “screw it,” and allow the home team to choose whichever jersey from their wardrobe it prefers, and in the process created a jumbled mess that came to a head last night in Oklahoma City. The Thunder decided to wear their white jerseys at home, something that used to be standard in the NBA. Well, somehow the Memphis Grizzlies did not get the message and when the starters removed their warmups to begin the game both teams were in white.
Even in the middle of my annoyance at Tom Brady upstaging Selection Sunday by deciding to continue to play football in his mid-40s, I was able to get a good chuckle out of this absurd jersey snafu. Then I was reminded of how silly this whole process is when there was a system in place that was just fine. If you are not the Los Angeles Lakers, or the San Antonio Spurs’ grey alternate, then you wear white at home. It was simple, clean, and easy for those watching the game. It didn’t require teams to make selections on an app for every single game. Also, for the second season in a row there has been an error in the process.
The Thunder and Atlanta Hawks played Feb. 21, 2021 and in that game they made the most annoying uniform decision in professional sports, they both wore color jerseys. Oh it breaks my heart when a beautiful game like basketball is ruined by too much color on the floor. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s spectacular Game 6 in 2021 Finals will forever be marred by the Milwaukee Bucks wearing black and the Phoenix Suns wearing orange, and this all taking place on a court decorated in green.
When the Hawks and Thunder did this in the regular season last year, they didn’t even bother to make the colors clash enough so the referees could at least tell the teams apart. The Hawks wore red, the Thunder wore orange, and the Hawks were forced to change to white at halftime because the refs couldn’t tell who to call out-of-bounds on when it looked like a sea of Flammin’ Hot Cheetos going after the basketball.
There was a time when if the New York Knicks were playing at Madison Square Garden, they wore white, and if the Chicago Bulls visited they wore red, sometimes black. For whatever reason now, sometimes the Knicks wear black — at home! A team that has no black in their team logo, whatsoever, keeps making these city edition jerseys that I can only assume are trying to make the players feel like they’re Batman.
In the NFL, it’s simple. They tried the color rush thing and it was widely panned so it dropped it. Because it’s a lot to see the all red Arizona Cardinals against the all green Seattle Seahawks. There are still alternate jerseys in the NFL, but there is a system. The home team wears color and the road team wears white, except for the Dallas Cowboys and teams that realize it’s stupid to not wear white at home when it’s 80 degrees outside. Home-field advantage, let your opponent bake. Same with MLB. Sure they’ll squeeze in their color jerseys when the weather permits, or when promoting the city connect collection, but for the most part they wear white at home, off-white/gray on the road.
Familiarity brings comfort, and that’s what people want when they turn on a ball game. The action in the game is already random enough, some consistency in the uniform helps provide balance. It’s better if Thunder fans have an idea of what their team is going to wear during every game, and ideal if they aren’t being attacked by the entire color wheel.
NBA, let’s get back to the basics. You’ll sell your jerseys no problem, let’s just try to have some consistency here. Put the home team back in white on a more regular basis. The only reason you sell jerseys is because they’re part of your No. 1 product, the basketball games. While viewers might not know which team is going to win, at least they can tell the difference between the two.