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Turf Weighs In: The Best and Worst 2020-21 NBA City Edition Jerseys

Well, it’s that time of year again! The newest NBA City Edition jerseys and colorways are here, and we’ve selected our favorites!

Celtic Pride by Paul Keleher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Turf Weighs In: The Best and Worst 2020-21 NBA City Edition Jerseys

Estimated Reading Time: 14 Minutes

Well, it’s that time of year again! As the basketball world gears up for the the impending 2020-21 season, we ready our Christmas Lists for the newest NBA City Edition jerseys and colorways. Some of them are absolute three-alarm fire, and the others… well, let’s just say they didn’t earn a mid-level deal. So we asked our writing staff to pick out their “Starting Five” City Edition jerseys, and to also give us two uniforms that are riding the pine, maybe even being sent to the G-League.

And if you’re looking for where to snag some of this heat, follow the link on every team name you see below. Simple as that. Now, let’s jaw about jerseys.

Jamie Amos

Starting Five: Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs

I’m a big fan of the Memphis jersey’s colorway. Phoenix’s nod to ‘The Valley’ is dope and the silhouette/colors are crispy. Really into this color scheme for the Warriors – brings it back to the 2006-07 team and feels retro (I know 2006-07 isn’t retro). I can’t get enough of the Miami Vice colors and I’ll take them whenever I can. I exclaimed “Yes!” when I saw San Antonio’s fiesta jerseys – the orange, pink and teal is *chef’s kiss*. 

Bench: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons

Boston…I don’t think I really have to explain why I don’t like it, right? It’s so boring it practically doesn’t exist. I don’t dislike the look of Detroit’s, but I dislike it because I thought it was Denver’s at first glance.

6th Man: Charlotte Hornets

Okay, I actually really like Charlotte’s but HATE “Buzz City”. Why Charlotte, why?

Justin Colombo

Starting Five: New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks

New Orleans is fire. Straight Montreal, French Quarter, Cafe de Monde, District of New France realness. Clean design, flawless execution. Chicago going for that Oscar-Winning Movie Musical vibe and I am here for it. Very here for the Phoenix “The Valley” look. Subtle, simple, successful. The Pacers need to lock this jersey into the rotation for the near future. It’s a perfect blend of new look and throwback. Feels like Oladipo and Miller at the same time.

As for the Knicks, while I don’t love the jersey, the subsequent merchandise surrounding it will be FIRE. I’m already itching to get this hat and hoodie. Similar to the FDNY City Editions, the other merch is going to look good.

Bench: Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards

As for the Cavaliers, I can only imagine that this font is a ransom letter to the rest of the league, demanding someone send them two firsts for Collin Sexton. Seems like that’s the only explanation. The Wizards just got Russell Westbrook in exchange for dipping out of the John Wall contract. Now all of us get to see Russ play in the East, and wear this monstrosity. Woof.

Sixth Man: Toronto Raptors

As for the Sixth Man, I like the OVO colorway, but like… just let Drake own a portion of the team already. This is insane. I get that he’s the team’s “global ambassador,” but this is getting a bit out of control. That being said, I have not problem with it.

Andrew Mark Wilhelm

Starting Five: Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies

The thing that connects most of these is just good typography. ATL, MINN, and CHICAGO all each a masterclass in well executed fonts being the main vocal points. Golden State just is good jersey design meets amazing throwback with a twist, and the side stripe on the Memphis jersey… *chef’s kiss.

Bench: Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets

Both Cleveland and Brooklyn had good ideas but missed terribly on the execution. These are pieces of art that “fell off the fridge” when you were a kid.

Sixth Man: New Orleans Pelicans

I also love the NOLA jersey but I can’t unsee the resemblance to a pack of cigarettes (or a deck of cards) so it just misses.

Kevin Morin

Starting Five: New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat

New Orleans is far and away my favorite. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the only one without typeface on the front. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel the need to march down Bourbon Street with a drink in hand while wearing it. Who can say? Memphis and Portland have great font/number combinations as well as side stripes that are different without trying too hard. Miami continues to slay the game, and Golden State was able to put a twist on a classic. And I think I just really love that collar style.

Benched: Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn’s looks like the epitome of what I imagine goes on in Kyrie’s brain. Cleveland looks like the font to a low budget horror film. And I hate horror. Never would I ever be caught dead in either of these.

Sixth Man: Indiana Pacers

Indians is my sixth because it’s a perfect take on a throwback with a better color combo.

Christian Heilman

Starting Five: Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs

Good god those Miami Heat uniforms are fantastic! I can’t wait to watch Jimmy Butler draining 3’s in those. Not only do I want this jersey but I’d like some shoes to match. Nike get on this! Atlanta partnering with MLKs estate is a very cool and powerful statement. Simply put I dig Boston’s throwback look. As for Charlotte, Buzz City? What? Do they call it that? I’m digging the color scheme. It’s a win for them. Savor the moment, they won’t have many. I’ve never been but those Utah jerseys are exactly how I feel it looks as you’re driving through the desert. And finally, in keeping with the throwback motif, I like the call going back to 80s/90s logo with the use of color in these Spurs jerseys. 

Bench: New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns

New York The City That..what? One, it’s hard to read a full sentence on a jersey, now you want me to do it in a circle? Good on Knicks management though to know their team. They are assuming that because the Knicks move so slow we will be able to read all that right?

In regards to Phoenix, I didn’t know what team this was for at first.  I assumed it was one of the LA teams. Nope! I guess they call the Phoenix area the Valley. Had to look that one up. Anyway, the jerseys are semi-pixilated with a Days of Thunder font. Hard pass.

Katie Pierce

Starting Five: New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies

Sure, the Pelicans uniforms look kind of like a souvenir pack of cards that you pick up because you are bored at the hotel and need something to play with by the pool but it ends up being your favorite thing you take home from that trip and comes in handy more often than you realize. It’s a nice nod to the city’s French origins without smacking you over the head with it. I don’t love the Bulls as a team but I do love the city of Chicago itself and their nod to the famous Chicago theater marquee is a “chef’s kiss* to one of the most notable landmarks in that great city.

Speaking of nostalgia, I love a good 90’s stripes nod and strange version of teal that denotes that decade in a weirdly specific way that only that color can, and the Hornets were one of the teams to wear is best both then and now. The Hawks honoring a civil rights leader after a year that has been filled with multiple social justice movements highlighting how far we still have to go in terms of race relations in our country is spot on. Plus the look of them is just so clean and purely simple.

I had a hard time picking a 5th so I just went off of what spoke to me on a purely look basis and that belongs to the Grizzlies. 

Bench: Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks

So while I really wanted to call out the Detroit Pistons for the laziness of this tired out grey, blue, and red “Motor City” theme that they insist into driving into the ground, they lucked out because there are worse offenders here to me. The Cavaliers jersey’s look like they used a now defunct or rejected graphic from nearby Cedar Point that was left over from the early 2000’s. In fact I’m sure I’ve seen something similar on the signs for one of their 17 rollercoasters. I don’t know what will look worse at MSG. These jerseys or the actual Knicks team?

Sixth Man: Portland Trail Blazers

The perennial 6th man in the NBA lately are the Portland trailblazers and these uniforms are no different. The nod to the tribal nations that claim that state as their native homeland is a top notch nod to the people who were here long before us.

Tyler Williams

Starting Five: Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers

I like Miami Vice uniforms, they by far are mine and many others top jersey. 22 would be smooth in a Miami Vice. Charlotte has a very nice play on their name, which is the hornets. I like the pastel shade and the bold ‘Buzz City’ on the chest, well done Jordan. Brooklyn gets my number 3 best jersey and I bet it will be rare to find in others’ top 5. BKLYN(Nets) is spelled in what looks like creative sidewalk chalk and multi-color band down the side, Cleveland looks similar with less. San Antonio is my 4 spot and it is very simple and nostalgic.

To finish my top 5, I have Portland who are embracing their original peeps. Honorable mention to a few, as I am very impressed with these jerseys. In no particular order Utah for stepping away from the awkward Jazz title, New Orleans got snubbed in my top 5 but they are definitely a casino deck of cards… Still fly. Denver mountains and Orlando’s pinstripes are nice as well.

Bench: Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Clippers…. Just nah, I have never in my life liked that font. Find it on a 50 year old bikers arm. Indiana, you’ve done a nice job proving you are Indiana. i feel as though someone in a cornfield came up with the decision to go with this throwback variation. Bra-vo.

Terry Cudmore

Starting Five: Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers.

I think the nod to the Celtics banners (more than any other team in the league) is sweet. Eat it, Justin. I am digging this Suns one big time. Love purple and orange together. I really like Oregon and would like it to get more credit. This serves that purpose. This Wizards look is clean. I’d actually consider getting a Wall one if they accidentally made them before the trade and they are on sale. The Clippers pick reminds me of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I also dislike the Lakers one a lot, so choosing their town rival sticks it to them a bit for such a crap offering.

Bench: Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks

Dallas looks like something a person with money, but no taste would think looks classy. So you know, a perfect fit with Dallas. This Knicks team is such a dumpster fire, they are forced to rely on their city having lax bar-closure timing laws (pre-Covid) as their claim to fame. Hard pass.

Sixth Man: Sacramento Kings

I like the Kings color scheme a lot, but if I hear or say “Sactown” I will immediately giggle because I am 12. So a mixed bag to be sure.

Craig Kaufman

Starting Five: San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers

I think I’m probably old fashioned when it comes to jersey looks. I like clean, sharp looking jerseys with crisp lines, bright colors and bold fonts.Generally, I don’t like team or city “nicknames” on the front of the jersey, like “H-Town” or “Sactown.” I like call-backs to previous versions of jerseys if they are elevated and modernized. The Spurs uni is a really nice update of the old Dave Robinson uniforms with the readdition of the aqua, pink and orange. Same too for the Pacers, who recreate the Reggie Miller pinstripes.

The Jazz, Mavericks and Trailblazers I just find to be sharp uniforms. The gold and white of Dallas celebrating the ten year anniversary of their championship, the red rock gradient of the jazz with a nice big “UTAH” in white over it, and the script Oregon with a topography map and a strip of colors representing the sunset over the mountains for the Trailblazers are all clean, bright and sharp looks.

I also like that the Portland uniforms take their font directly from a sign in Old Town Portland and that their uniforms support the Native Americans of the region, both in look and with a donation from the proceeds of jersey sales.

Bench: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets

This one hits home a little bit because I’m a Celtics fan, and while I never expect the stodgy Celtics to do something really cutting edge, this is too much in the other direction. In trying to embody the history of the franchise and its success, they are making their players wear what looks like a road sign. This is like the Red Sox making their players wear shirts with the lettering of the Green Monster on it – campy, boring and uninspired.

I understand the Nets are honoring Brooklyn-born street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and his style is cool for street art, but even if you happen to know what they are going for, the front of the uniform looks like a child scribbled all over it. It just doesn’t translate.I think the fact that I benched both the Boston and the Brooklyn uniforms is mainly because they are the only ones who put both the city and the team name on the front of their jerseys. It looks amateurish. You don’t need both on there – one for home and one for away, especially if you are the Celtics. To walk into the gym wearing “Boston Celtics” on your chest looks idiotic.

Sixth Man: Washington Wizards

I like the call-back to the old Bullets uniforms, and I think these are a nice jersey for the Nation’s Capital. I think I would have preferred white over grey, though, especially with the red, white and blue on the sides.

Think we missed one? Were we too harsh on your squad? Let us know in the comments.

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