Looking back at the best Christmas Day NBA uniforms

Looking back at the best Christmas Day NBA uniforms

The NBA Christmas Day slate is always a gift, but the presence of a certain tradition has been missing from the holiday season in recent years: Christmas jerseys.

So, what happened?

The answer is simple: Nike took over the NBA’s uniform contract from Adidas in 2017 and did not continue the festive looks of its predecessor.

Well, humbug.

Despite its absence, Nike offers a variety of uniform combinations with its four jersey editions: Association, Icon, City and Statement.

Nike’s decision hasn’t stopped fans and players alike from missing the Yuletide attracts. In 2020, LeBron James, who will play on Christmas for the 16th season in a row, weighed in on the matter.

Nike, undeterred by the Los Angeles Lakers star’s plea, does not have a plan for the fad to return.

« We like the assortment we have now. The storytelling we’re able to tell is really robust, » Nike said, by ESPN’s Nick DePaula.

In the meantime, here’s look down memory (or candy cane) lane at the short-lived holiday ensembles:

2008-11: Snowflakes

It all began with a white snowflake around the logo on the front of teams’ jerseys. The league also made an effort to feature teams with primarily red and green colors.

2012: Big color

This monochromatic color scheme formally introduced the holiday trend on the 65th anniversary of Christmas Day NBA games.

2013: Big logo

The large, centered logo was intended to be the focal point, but the sleeves ended up being a major talking point. Although the uniforms were 26% lighter than the traditional NBA jersey, players claimed the extra fabric affected their shooting. The T-shirt jersey also made an appearance in the All-Star Game.

Overall, these were not received well by NBA Twitter, including Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki.

2014: First-name basis

For the first time in this trend, the back of the jersey was the standout feature. Players’ first names were placed on a panel below their numbers for this edition’s defining design.

2015: Christmas cards

This year’s jerseys were inspired by greeting cards with seasonal script with cursive lettering. This design was by far the most beloved of the collection.

2016: Christmas cards II

The style was so popular that the festive font returned for a second — and final — year.


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