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The NBA’s City Edition uniforms are always a bit of hit-and-miss proposition. But it’s become a pretty fun tradition in the league to see them unveiled every year and judge which ones we like and which ones we don’t.
Here’s my ranking of the 2021-22 City Edition uniforms from best to worst:
The Thunder will be well-dressed for their first-round match at Wimbledon. Given how bad this team is at basketball, being in uniform for another sport is probably appropriate.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers
Year after year, the Cavs have had the most bland City Edition uniforms in the league. This time, they’re switching it up with some color and paying homage to the team’s logo from the 1970s. Unfortunately, it looks like something you’d have screen printed on a T-shirt for your Wednesday softball league.
— SoleSavy (@SoleSavy) November 1, 2021
28. Boston Celtics
The Celtics are so tied to tradition, it’s almost impossible to do anything cool with their uniforms without fear of a fan riot. Last season’s lettering that mimicked the championship banners was much more interesting.
Fans didn’t like last year’s New Orleans city flag mashup, the Pelicans are going back to a simple, cleaner look. But it feels like too small of a variation from jerseys we’ve seen the Pelicans wear before.
26. Houston Rockets
The Rockets have actually never had a good logo or jersey, and this is no exception. The vertical stripes were ugly when Yao Ming wore them and they're ugly now. There is no need to make a bunch of tall guys look taller.
25. Sacramento Kings
For the fourth straight year, the Kings’ City Edition jerseys pay tribute to “Sactown,” whatever that is. What’s wrong with Sacramento? It’s a fine name for a city. Sactown sounds like the name of a casino a half-mile across the Nevada border where Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie would’ve gone to play War and Rock, Paper, Scissors in “Vegas Vacation.”
24. Detroit Pistons
The uniforms look fine, but they’re playing it a bit too safe here. The whole point of the City Edition is to wear something that you wouldn’t want to see every game, but it would be perfectly fine if this was the Pistons’ regular road uniform.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 1, 2021
23. Miami Heat
After the “Miami Vice” theme jumped the shark with last year’s pink/blue gradient eyesore, they’ve dialed the color scheme back considerably. Instead, the draw here is the lettering, which mashes up previous jersey edition fonts. Unfortunately, it looks a little too much like a ransom note.
22. Los Angeles Lakers
Using purple as the primary color for the Lakers’ City Edition is kind of a no-brainer, but omitting all traces of gold seems like a mistake. The powder blue accents to honor the Minneapolis Lakers make sense, but you need some gold to make it pop.
21. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies usually have some of the best City Edition threads in the league, but these are a miss for me. This look is primarily an homage to the Memphis Grit-and-Grind era of Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, which wasn't long enough ago to warrant a tribute. Plus, it's not even the best version of those uniforms.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 1, 2021
20. Golden State
The only thing saving these from a lower ranking is the lightning bolt running down each side, representing the underdog 2000s Warriors teams. Otherwise? Meh. The pattern in the bridge logo that supposedly represents the ceiling at Oracle Arena is too subtle to even register on television.
19. Orlando Magic
Honestly, if you just pulled the reins in a little bit on the striping down the side, these could easily be the Magic’s regular road uniforms. This is the third straight year Orlando has had orange as an accent color, which makes total sense for a team that plays in Orange County, Florida. It also tends to go well with pretty much every combination of blue/black/silver you can come up with.
Introducing the 2021-22 City Edition Uniform designed by Kith. To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the NBA, this uniform’s classic design pays homage to the legacy of the Knicks & MSG, the world’s most famous arena.
Starring @KembaWalker Narrated by @ALLAN_HOUSTON pic.twitter.com/B2f2NmMWyF
— Ronnie Fieg (@RonnieFieg) November 1, 2021
18. New York Knicks
This is kind of the sweet spot of doing just enough without doing too much to mess up a classic uniform. The shorts are the star of the show here with major bonus points for the Madison Square Garden graphic on each side.
17. Phoenix Suns
These are…basically the same as the ones Phoenix wore last year? That’s not necessarily a bad thing because they look great, from the pixelated desert landscape to the color flashes that pop but don’t go overboard. Still, you expect a little more creativity here from one year to the next.
16. Los Angeles Clippers
Strong San Diego vibes with the light blue color scheme, and it’s really nice to see the script lettering return (sorry, but the block lettering the Clippers have used the last few years is just awful). These are pleasant to look at on every level.
15. Milwaukee Bucks
There’s a lot to like here from the neckline that resembles deer antlers to the multi-color side panels. This is a vast improvement from the last few years, which included the ridiculous “Cream City” uniforms and the blue-on-blue fiasco they tried to pull off during their championship run last season.
14. Toronto Raptors
There aren’t many better color combinations in sports than black and gold, and the Raptors pull it off beautifully every time. The shorts are a little bit busy, but the dinosaur logo is arguably the coolest, most unique mark of any team in pro sports.
13. Utah Jazz
After several years of overdoing it with the red-and-yellow gradient, the Jazz have finally hit the sweet spot here. You really need a dark element to balance out those bands, and making most of the uniform black actually enhances the beauty of the color scheme. The asymmetric shorts are an interesting touch.
12. Brooklyn Nets
These uniforms instantly draw your mind to one thing: The New Jersey Turnpike. This was a great look when the Nets played at the Meadowlands and it’s still great today, updated with a few special touches like the white argyle striping on the left side and the team’s various logos through the years on the bottom.
11. Portland Trail Blazers
These aren’t the most original, but the Blazers have such a great uniform that you don’t want to mess with it too much. “Rip City” is kind of a natural theme for these, so go with it. The red plaid pattern running all the way down the right side of the uniform is superb.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves
Though the color scheme was a bit different by the time he got there, you can envision Kevin Garnett in that distinct lettering across the chest, meant to evoke images of forests and tall trees.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 1, 2021
9. Indiana Pacers
This is a total throwback jersey with a modern edge. It’s not too garish, but it’s not boring, with a nice proportion between the blue and yellow. The Pacers have had a lot of mediocre jerseys over the years, most of which involve pinstripes and lower-case lettering. But these work on every level.
8. Chicago Bulls
Simple, classic, beautiful. There are certain words that look great in script, and Chicago is one of them. You don’t have to think too hard about which team you’re watching or what era it’s honoring.
7. Dallas Mavericks
Finally the Mavericks are bringing back their Reunion Arena look with green as the dominant color and the logo with the cowboy hat on top of the basketball. The Western-style lettering was unique in its day, and frankly, the Mavericks haven’t leaned on that history enough through the years.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 1, 2021
6. Washington Wizards
These red-and-blue striped throwbacks evoke images of Wes Unseld and the Washington Bullets, which is well-timed given that coach Wes Unseld Jr. is leading the Wizards to a strong start this season. Clean and effective from top to bottom.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 1, 2021
5. San Antonio Spurs
The fiesta striping is one of the coolest looks in all sports. To this day, you’ll see people of all ages still wearing it, and this is probably the best use of it Nike has come up with yet. As opposed to black uniforms the last couple years, they’ve employed it here on a white uniform. The Spurs of the 1980s never looked this good.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
This one is a nice reminder for the younger crowd that the Sixers used to play in the Spectrum, a building with a wonderful history for both the 76ers and Flyers. This is an ideal retro uniform, and the multicolor panel running down each side absolutely perfects it.
3. Denver Nuggets
The use of the multicolor pattern repurposed from the classic Denver skyline logo is terrific as a side panel and an enhancement on the shorts running over the snow-capped mountain peaks. If there’s one minor quibble, a different font for the letters and the numbers is unnecessary and slightly distraction.
2. Atlanta Hawks
It’s hard to do any better with a throwback jersey than this one. From the mustardy yellow to the unmistakable logo of the hawk with its wings spread clutching a basketball to the retro lettering, you’ve got a bold look combined with a classic color scheme that instantly evokes images of a high-flying era in the NBA. The Hawks have had some pretty good City Edition jerseys, but this is the best one by far.
— Zach Aldridge (@wzaldridge) November 1, 2021
1. Charlotte Hornets
After last season’s triumph with the mint-colored jerseys, the standards were high for this one. And they knocked it out of the park again with a lot of great elements including the script “Charlotte,” the honeycomb pattern at the top of the jersey and bottom of the shorts and the thick pinstripes that kind of blend in to the rest of the jersey. The Hornets have an advantage because their color scheme is so beautiful and versatile, but these are practically perfect.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ranking this season's NBA City Edition uniforms from No. 30 to No. 1