The NBA’s “City Edition” jerseys have become a staple in recent years, and the tradition carried on as the league kicked off its 75th Anniversary season in 2021.
Some teams went with updated versions of prior years’ designs, a few franchises simply carried over last year’s jerseys, and a slew of squads went completely out of the box for a brand new identity.
No matter what each organization did, however, basketball fans had their own opinions about their favorite teams’ City Edition uniforms. So, naturally, we did, as well.
As the 2021-2022 regular season rolls along, we evaluated each franchise’s newest “City Edition” jerseys, determining the worst of the worst and the best of the best.
The Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz did not choose to utilize new “City Edition” jerseys for the 2021-2022 season, so they are not included in these rankings.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder went with an iced-out look for the 2021-2022 season, but it unfortunately led to them getting iced-out when it came time to rank the year’s “City Edition” jerseys.
The uniforms are reminiscent of the year the NBA went with one-color jerseys for Christmas Day, a la the NFL’s “Color Rush” uniforms.
It’s a basic look, and it might be visually appealing for those who enjoy the minimalist look. But, for the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season, it seems a bit bland in comparison to the league’s 27 other new jerseys.
27. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons looked to channel the “Bad Boys” era with their 2021-2022 City Edition uniforms, even paying homage to the 1989, 1990, and 2004 seasons underneath the jersey’s laundry tag.
But, as much as the jersey looks to showcase the gritty, “never-back-down attitude,” it looks more like a high school uniform to the naked eye.
Going out of the box (in a better fashion than the franchise’s 2020-2021 “City Edition” look) would’ve been nice for a team that was the third-worst team in the Eastern Conference last season, and could’ve given fans a reason to be excited.
Instead, these uniforms are closer to what will likely be the team’s final position in the NBA’s overall standings when the 2021-2022 season is all said and done.
26. New Orleans Pelicans
Talk about a fall from grace.
Last year, we ranked the Pelicans’ “City Edition” jerseys as the sixth-best in the league, and everything seemed great in New Orleans.
But, the team faltered in the Western Conference standings, and the franchise lost Zion Williamson to injury for the early part of the 2021-2022 season. Then, this year’s “City Edition” uniforms dropped.
Instead of following the Jazz and Suns’ approach and sticking with a good thing from last year, the Pelicans basically opted to tweak their normal jersey design.
It came across as lazy, and seemed like a metaphor for the team’s current status: stuck in neutral despite having what seemed like loads of potential.
25. New York Knicks
The Knicks rolled with a “tribute to The Garden’s most iconic moments” for the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season, rolling with a sleek black and orange design for the 2021-2022 “City Edition” digs.
For such a memorable venue and a franchise with loads of history, it makes sense to go with a simple approach for one of the league’s monumental years.
But, when comparing the franchise’s new uniforms to the other 27 on this list, they fall a bit short.
At least Knicks fans can take pride in the fact that they landed a spot higher than last year when it came time to compile this year’s list.
24. Orlando Magic
The Magic’s 2021-2022 “City Edition” jersey had the potential to be a top-10 or top-15 design. Then, they stuck with the orange colorway.
The jersey itself has everything Magic fans would want: the classic pinstripes, an awesome logo, and a beautiful gradient design on the sides.
But, rather than sticking with the classic blue that fans have been accustomed to throughout the franchise’s history, the organization rehashed the orange that doomed last year’s “City Edition” digs.
We’re inching closer to greatness here, and this is my official pick for the 2022-2023 rankings’ “Most Improved” award winner.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves
At the very least, the Timberwolves went a bit more outside of the box this year in comparison to an incredibly basic design for their 2020-2021 “City Edition” jerseys.
The trim replicates an iconic design in the team’s history, and the bold colorway is an improvement from their counterparts from last year.
The sides help the jerseys stand out more than the five teams before the Timberwolves in these rankings, but leaning more into the franchise’s Kevin Garnett era would’ve done wonders for the league’s 75th Anniversary season.
22. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies seemed to like the number “2” whenever it’s time to rank “City Edition” jerseys. Unfortunately, they have one more “2” in their number after an impressive performance last year.
Memphis took home the silver medal in our list last year, coming in with the second-best design in the NBA with their tribute to singer Isaac Hayes. In fact, they had a realistic case to be deemed the best “City Edition” jerseys from the 2020-2021 season.
A year later, it seems the organization got cocky. They basically added a fancy trim to their usual jerseys, and expected to send fans into a frenzy with a more minimalist approach.
Instead, they fall a whopping 20 spots on this year’s rankings. Better luck next year, Grizzlies.
21. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks were in a tough spot when it came time to showcase the league’s 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys.
The franchise just won its first title in 40 years, and undoubtedly have flocks of fans in Milwaukee buying jerseys for NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and the team’s usual cast of characters from their title run.
They couldn’t shock the system with their 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys amid a turning point in the franchise’s history, so they went with a fun take on their classic look.
A bolder font and some fun colors on the side are all that’s different for this year’s “City Edition” look, but it seems to work. It gets the job done, but isn’t anything earth-shattering.
And, somehow, they fall down a spot in comparison to last year’s Milwaukee-centered uniforms.
20. Golden State Warriors
Representing another big drop from last year, the Warriors’ 2021-2022 “City Edition” jersey doesn’t exactly do the trick.
Their “Oakland” uniforms from the team’s 2020-2021 campaign set a high expectation for this year, but the new take on an old design fell a bit flat.
Adding in the thunder bolts is a good attempt at honoring the franchise’s roots, but the colors make it look like those social posts where people reimagine NFL teams’ jerseys as NBA uniforms. Introducing…your Los Angeles Chargers.
The “We Believe” font on the bottom of the jersey is a nice touch, but it could’ve been used as a more prominent feature if the team wanted to honor that era in the team’s history.
Overall, it’s a middle-of-the-pack “City Edition” at best.
19. Miami Heat
The Heat are always an interesting character when it comes time for the NBA to drop new “City Edition” jerseys.
One season, they dropped one of the best designs the league has ever seen and change the game with their “Miami Vice” look. Since then, they’ve reimagined that look, and tried to milk a great idea until it loses its appeal.
This year, they tried to simultaneously change the game and rehash old concepts.
Taking a piece of each of the league’s iconic jerseys, the Heat rolled with a “Miami Mashup” approach, using five letters from five different uniforms to spell “Miami” on the front of the jersey.
The franchise also gave players the chance to pick their own number styles from that selection of fonts, which the team says is a “first for professional sports.”
It’s a fun idea, and you have to give them credit for thinking outside of the box. But, the different fonts makes it seem a bit disorganized and all over the place, rather than coming across as a cohesive thought.
18. Portland Trail Blazers
A year ago, the Trail Blazers honored Oregon with a uniform celebrating “the unique beauty of Oregon’s landscape as well as acknowledging & honoring the tribal nations throughout what is now considered Oregon who have called this land their home from the beginning.”
This year, the franchise went back to its roots, rolling with the “Rip City” look for its 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys.
The team has used the “Rip City” idea in the past, which docks them a few points in these rankings. But, the design is pretty sweet, and matches the vibe that comes across when Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum step onto the court.
The 18th spot isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s a nice improvement from the 21st spot last year.
17. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs had one of the sneakiest “City Edition” designs last year, coming in at No. 12 in our countdown.
This year, their jerseys look like a combination of the classic Spurs jerseys from the early 2000s, and the “Miami Vice” jerseys that the Heat took the world by storm with.
The bright colors pop, especially for a team with such an old-school head coach. But, they don’t stand out as much when you factor in how often teams like the Heat, the Nuggets, and such have used them in years past.
It’s still a strong effort, which earns them a spot towards the middle of the pack. But, there’s room for improvement here.
16. Sacramento Kings
The Kings’ royal font has served as the basis for some all-time uniforms in the NBA’s illustrious history, and instantly takes fans back to the days where Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic were roaming the court in the early 2000s.
Now, it adds another uniform to its resume with the Kings’ 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys.
Honoring “Sactown,” the Kings put a modern spin on their classic black-and-purple jerseys that the franchise’s fans have loved for years.
Considering the league’s focus on its history throughout its 75th Anniversary season, this uniform is a nice way of giving those in Sacramento a fresh take on a fan-favorite jersey.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers were one of the toughest teams to rank on this list, and their 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys didn’t even crack the top half of the list.
Right off the bat, their uniforms didn’t stand out as one of the best in the best when it came time to rank the 28 new additions to the “City Edition” family. But, they didn’t stick out in a negative way like the Thunder, Pistons, and company did.
It was clear it was a middle-of-the-pack jersey, but it was tough determining whether it should be considered in the league’s upper half or bottom half.
It’s a simplistic design remembering the good ol’ days in the franchise’s history, before Ben Simmons was running rampant on the city of Philadelphia and hoping for a trade.
It brings you back, but it’s hard to hit fans with nostalgia amid such a troubling time for the organization. I think that’s why they land in the 15th spot on this list, rounding out the first half of the 2021-2022 “City Edition” rankings.
14. Boston Celtics
Whenever you split the number of your previous year’s ranking, you’ve done a good job.
In this case, the Celtics got the job done with their 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys as they jumped from No. 28 last year to No. 14 this year.
Deemed the team’s “Way of Life” jerseys, the Celtics’ new jerseys represent a modern take on a classic look that brought the franchise loads of glory (and titles) in the league’s early days.
Celebrating with elements of the team’s 1949, 1965, and 1988 uniforms, the Celtics nail it when it comes to honoring the league’s 75th anniversary season.
Unfortunately for Boston, they have always been a pretty simplistic team as it relates to their jerseys, which hinders their chances at stacking up against some of the league’s more modern franchises.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
When basketball fans imagine the Clippers logo on a baby-blue jersey, many will think about the weird, sleeved jerseys that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company used to wear in the “Lob City” era.
Fortunately for fans in Los Angeles, the franchise’s 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys do a much better job at utilizing the baby-blue colorway in a sleek and clean fashion.
It’s nothing insane by any means, and it’s a tame design in comparison to the Grand Theft Auto-esque jerseys that the team used over the last two seasons.
But, as the franchise looks to refresh after a disappointing start to the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era, this jersey seems like a good start.
12. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are on the up-and-up in the Eastern Conference amid the rise of youngsters like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, and it seems like there’s plenty to be excited about in Charlotte.
Now, the team has a great “City Edition” design to get excited about, as well.
It utilizes the pinstripes that honor the franchise’s roots, and still features vibrant colors to keep things modern. Add in the honeycomb pattern towards the top of the gradient, and it’s a unique design that stands out in a good way.
If Ball, Bridges and company can turn the Hornets into a contender during the 2021-2022 season, this “City Edition” uniform will turn into a fond memory for fans in Charlotte.
11. Washington Wizards
Coming up just short of the top 10, the Wizards won some brownie points with a solid throwback when they dusted off the “Washington Bullets” design.
It’s nothing insane by any means, basically just featuring “Washington” in the Bullets’ logo’s font and adding in the red-and-blue stripes. But, it hits the nostalgia bone, and certainly does the trick when it comes to honoring the franchise’s history for the league’s 75th season.
Considering the Wizards’ only NBA title and lone NBA Finals appearances came when they were known as the Bullets, it seems like the organization nailed it with this one.
10. Cleveland Cavaliers
There’s something about the way the Cavaliers use that checkered border on their jerseys.
Between the unique logo, the white, crimson and gold trim around the sleeves, and the elements around the uniform honoring the franchise’s championship teams, the Cavaliers released one of the franchise’s better “City Edition” jerseys in the concept’s history.
It brings back all of the positive memories from the franchise’s first uniform in 1970 and the LeBron James era, while still making it a fresh look for younger fans to enjoy.
Earning the No. 22 spot with their “Cleveland Amplified” jerseys was respectable last year, but the Cavs came to play with their 2021-2022 “City Edition” counterparts.
9. Los Angeles Lakers
There’s good news and bad news if you’re a Lakers fan. Which do you want first?
“Give me the bad news, random man on the Internet!”
Fine, demanding Lakers fan…
The bad news is that your favorite team’s “City Edition” jerseys fell out of the top five this year after a strong performance last year.
The good news is that the franchise stuck around in the top 10 with its updated look for the 2021-2022 season.
Last year’s old-school blue designs were perfect as the organization honored both its own success after a win in the 2020 NBA Finals, and also the legacy of Kobe Bryant after the Lakers legend’s tragic death.
This year, the team revamped the design by opting for a purple base, slanting the “Lakers” font on the front, and sticking with the baby-blue accent on the numbering.
It’s a solid jersey in the grand scheme of things, but it isn’t anything groundbreaking after using such a fun design last season.
Maybe the team can get some inspiration from the “Crenshaw” jerseys that a fan designed as a tribute to Nipsey Hussle for their “City Edition” uniforms next season.
If you’re looking to honor the history of the NBA for an anniversary season, you would expect a strong uniform design from the Bulls.
After so much success during the Michael Jordan era, the team had a lot of elements to touch upon when looking at their “City Edition” jerseys for the 2021-2022 season.
But, considering the team has used jerseys reminiscent of those 1990s Bulls for years, they found themselves in a tough spot when trying to use some of that nostalgia that others around the league were hitting.
In the end, the team found the perfect direction to go with as they put together a tribute to Jordan’s early years for the league’s 75th season.
Busting out the cursive, upwards-slanting font that Jordan rocked throughout his first few years in the NBA, the Bulls proved that they understood the assignment for their 2021-2022 digs.
It’s a basic design, which, like the Celtics, limits them from any top-five honors on this list. But, the No. 8 spot is much better than the No. 23 (fitting, I know) spot that they landed in last year.
7. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers always have fun designs to work with for their “City Edition” jerseys, so it makes sense to see them land at No. 7 this year.
They were a top-10 team for the 2020-2021 rankings, as well, with their pinstripes design turning heads in the best way possible last year.
Somehow, they did an even better job for the 2021-2022 season, pulling out an eye-popping design to celebrate the league’s 75th anniversary in style.
“Inspired by the past, built for the future,” the Pacers’ new “City Edition” jerseys do a great job at touching upon the franchise’s wide-ranging successes of the past while recognizing that there is work to be done to get there in the future.
It’s a fresh design with an old-school feel, and fans in Indiana hope it’ll lead to a “look good, feel good, play good” approach as the franchise looks to make it back to the postseason after a lackluster 2020-2021 season.
6. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks went for it with their “City Edition” jerseys last year, but found themselves stuck in the No. 13 spot when our rankings came out.
This year, they paid tribute to an old-school design, and earned themselves the No. 6 spot in the process.
The use of green pops much nicer than the white-and-gold, pegasus-inspired “City Edition” uniforms from last year, and the jersey as a whole has more of an authentic feel than the 2019-2020 installment.
It looks more like a Mavericks jersey, and less like something the league’s best players would wear during the NBA All-Star Game.
It’s a picture-perfect tribute to the team’s past, with enough shine to make it new for a potential run in the postseason. It just wasn’t enough to land them a spot in the top five.
5. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets barely made it into the top half of last year’s “City Edition” rankings. This year, they’re a top-10 team.
For a team that utilizes such fun logos and vibrant colors, and a franchise that lives in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, you would think the Nuggets would have a field day whenever it came time to think about “City Edition” jerseys.
But, the team has generally stayed with the same design in years past, utilizing a mountainous design and a few different variations of a gradient design looping around the jersey.
This year, the team bucked the trend in the best way possible, ditching the mountains in favor of a fun font and an awesome, rainbow-colored design on the sides.
It sticks to the basics while still packing a punch, and won’t be too distracting as the team looks to make a run throughout the 2021-2022 season with a wealth of talent.
It’s a great reminder of what “City Edition” jerseys are all about, and they’re well-deserving of a top-five spot on this list.
4. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks crushed it this year. Plain and simple.
The base color of the jersey stands out in such a great way. The hawk on the front is huge in the best way possible, and the font and red trim connects everything perfectly.
Add in the run the team went on in the playoffs with Trae Young last year and the ensuing excitement in Atlanta in the early part of the 2021-2022 season, and this is the ideal time to utilize this design.
Putting this uniform at No. 4 is more of a compliment to the top three, rather than a slight to the Hawks. Sorry, Atlanta.
3. Houston Rockets
Last year, I listed the Rockets as the second-worst “City Edition” jersey in the NBA, and said the uniforms utilized “a lackluster design.”
I wrote that “a return to the old-school pinstripes of the Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley era would have boosted them up in the list.”
Somehow, it seems that the decision-makers in Houston are avid fans of The Swing of Things.
For the team’s 2021-2022 new uniforms, the franchise listened to exactly what I asked for, breaking out the pinstripes with a modern twist to absolutely nail the “City Edition” concept.
As a result, the Rockets jump an insane 26 spots in our rankings, and I feel the need to write more things into existence…
I now request a million dollars, a “Five Guys” sponsorship for the site…and I want the NFL’s Pro Bowl to mean something again. That should do the trick.
2. Brooklyn Nets
The top team in last year’s “City Edition” rankings, the Brooklyn Nets always come out strong when it comes time to drop some new uniforms.
After honoring Jean-Michel Basquiat with a paint-themed, pallet-based masterpiece last year, the Nets did an incredible job of honoring the franchise’s history with their “City Edition” jerseys for the league’s 75th season.
Breaking away from the team’s current black-and-white colorway, the Nets brought back the classic red, white and blue with a slick design for the 2021-2022 season.
The use of the big, old-school font, combined with the subtleties of the stars and the net-themed design on the side, all honor the franchise’s heyday from a time before the team moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
Add in the fact that they’re new colors for superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden, and the thought that this Nets team could make a run to the NBA Finals come June in 2022, and these “City Edition” jerseys seem like the best of the bunch.
Unfortunately for Brooklyn, another team packed a bigger punch this year.
1. Toronto Raptors
Meshing old-school ideas with modern-day designs can be a tricky puzzle to solve. Somehow, the Raptors welcomed that challenge with open arms, and put together one of the coolest jerseys I’ve ever seen.
The franchise took the dribbling raptor-themed jerseys that Vince Carter made famous in the early 2000s, added the team’s current jersey to the mascot as a subtle detail, and changed the colorway to match Drake’s “O.V.O.” jerseys that the team has utilized in recent years.
It gave fans something they were clamoring for, all while still sticking to an identity that those in Toronto will remember forever as a result of the team’s run to its lone championship during the 2018-2019 season.
The concept accomplished exactly what the NBA’s “City Edition” jerseys should strive for in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season, and the uniforms will look perfect as the Raptors try to work their way back to the postseason come 2022.
They may not be able to replicate their status as the top team in the NBA throughout the 2021-2022 season, but the Raptors will at least be able to take solace in the fact that they earned the top spot in this year’s “City Edition” rankings instead.