NBA City Edition jersey rankings: Breaking down every team’s 2022-23 Nike uniform, from worst to first

The NBA unveiled all of the new 2022-23 Nike City Edition jerseys on Thursday, which can only mean one thing: It’s time to rank all of them. Twenty-nine of the 30 teams released new jerseys, as the Utah Jazz had to sit out on the fun after they overhauled their entire jersey arsenal this summer. That aside, this was a really strong group of City Edition jerseys compared to year’s past, as many teams really went in unique directions to showcase their city. 

But enough of the chitchat, here’s all 29 jerseys ranked from worst — sorry Thunder — to the very best. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder


Nike

Jersey inspiration: This jersey is meant to show what it means to be an Oklahoman, as “Oklahomans are driven by a distinct set of values called The Oklahoma Standard, which is built on a foundation of service, honor and kindness.” 

CBS Sports’ take: I’m not entirely sure how this jersey tells me what it’s like to be an Oklahoman. I also feel like I’ve seen this jersey a million times with the Thunder, just slightly altered. It’s also not very different compared to their non-city jerseys. 


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Jersey inspiration: The Timberwolves’ jersey is meant to be an “artistic statement” of the city, showing the diverseness of the city. Each pattern across the chest is also uniquely different on each jersey, meaning no two are exactly the same. 

CBS Sports’ take: Given how impressive the Purple Rain jerseys were a few years ago, I expected way more from Minnesota. 


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The jersey is meant to celebrate Kings fans, as “this season will mark the 10-year anniversary of the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento.” It’s meant to showcase the fans who “rallied and refused to back down,” in order to keep the Kings in Sacramento.  

CBS Sports’ take: Again, not sure what about this jersey represents the fans or the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento, but OK. It’s also the first time in franchise history that the Kings will wear a gray uniform, and honestly I hope it’s the last. Gray jerseys always show so much sweat, this design would’ve just been so much better on a black jersey.


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Jersey inspiration: This jersey is meant to pay tribute to Charlotte’s financial history as the home of the first U.S. Branch Mint and Carolina Gold Rush of the 1800s. The “CLT” across the chest is a nod to the city’s abbreviation.

CBS Sports’ take: It’s news to me that the city of Charlotte uses “CLT” as an abbreviation, which is confusing since the Hornets also have worn jerseys featuring “CHA” across the chest in the past. The design is pretty sweet. The “CLT,” not so much.


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Jersey inspiration: The Heat are choosing to take last year’s mashup jersey showcasing lettering from each of the franchise’s previous jerseys and put it on a white uniform, simple as that. 

CBS Sports’ take: I didn’t care for this design when the Heat rolled it out last season, as it looks like a ransom note, and I certainly don’t care for it just on a white jersey. Bring back the Vice uniforms.  


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Jersey inspiration: The Pacers used this jersey as an opportunity to celebrate the completion of what was formally called Bankers Fieldhouse, but now named Gainbridge Fieldhouse, which is where the team plays.

CBS Sports’ take: The gold pattern along the chest and down the side of the jersey mimics the structure of the arena, which is a clean, sleek integration, but I feel like it would’ve worked better if they chose either black or blue as the base color, not both.


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Jersey inspiration: The diamond pattern all over the jersey is supposed to signify a suit of armor, celebrating the team’s ability to “protect its kingdom.”

CBS Sports’ take: The design overall isn’t terrible, but the explanation makes no sense, and I’m not the biggest fan of the font choice. It also has nothing to do with the city of Orlando.  


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Sixers are playing off their nickname, “The City of Brotherly Love,” and paying homage to the city’s connection to basketball at all levels. 

CBS Sports’ take: I’ll give the Sixers credit for always trying something a little different with their jersey designs, and this is no different. The decision to have four words on the front of the jersey is certainly a questionable choice, but when you have a tagline like the “City of Brotherly Love,” then I’ll allow it. Fun fact alert: The Greek translation of Philadelphia is “City of Brotherly Love,” which explains the nickname. 


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Jersey inspiration: Using the official colors of Mardi Gras — purple, green and gold — the Pelicans are nodding to the city’s heritage. 

CBS Sports’ take: While we’ve seen this exact design before, it really shines on a purple jersey.


Nike

Jersey inspiration: Designed by Bay Area artist Allison Hueman, the yellow rose represents “women who change the game and lead fearlessly.” 

CBS Sports’ take: I feel like these jerseys are going to be a “love them or hate them” situation, and while I don’t stand in either camp, it really bothers me that you won’t even be able to see the rose because it’s going to be tucked into shorts. Feels like it’s just a black jersey with some yellow on it at that point. 


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Jersey inspiration: The “Y” pattern all over the jersey is a nod to Chicago’s architecture, specifically the Chicago Municipal “Y” symbol which can be seen throughout the city. 

CBS Sports’ take: Not terrible, not great, just about average. Could’ve done a whole lot more with this color scheme, especially in a culture-rich city like Chicago.


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Jersey inspiration: The Rockets brought back the vintage throwback jerseys to celebrate the franchise’s history.

CBS Sports’ take: Love the pinstripes, but I’m docking points because the Rockets are just recycling a jersey from last season. Surely they could’ve at least inverted the colors! It’s also not very connected to the city of Houston specifically. 


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Nets are paying tribute to Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat with the design all the way down to his signature crown on the jersey tag. 

CBS Sports’ take: It’s another recycled design from last year, but at least the Nets switched it from a black jersey to a white one. The Nets did a great job of keeping it understated and letting the design speak for itself.


Nike

Jersey inspiration: This jersey is meant to celebrate both the artists and “changemakers” in the city of Los Angeles. 

CBS Sports’ take: The Lakers intentionally went with a simple design as a metaphor to say the “uniform is not the story — it’s a vehicle to tell the stories behind individual Changemakers around Los Angeles.” It’s simple, the purple shines against the white jersey and the decision to go with black numbering was also a smart touch. 


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Jersey inspiration: The all-over pattern on the Raptors jersey is a deconstructed depiction of Toronto’s six boroughs. 

CBS Sports’ take: The design is understated but still plays off the connection to the city. The black and gold pattern has become a staple of the Raptors alternative jerseys since the OVO jerseys, and with that color scheme being a fan favorite it makes sense to use it here, too.


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Clippers are paying homage to South Los Angeles, the Drew League and overall just L.A.’s rich history of basketball at all levels.

CBS Sports’ take: I love the story this jersey tells. The cursive font is a nice departure from what we’re used to from the Clippers, and the multi-colored background that sits behind the font is just fun enough that it isn’t overpowering.


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Knicks partnered with New York-based streetwear brand Kith for this design, which is meant to celebrate the Knicks teams from the ’90s and 2000s. 

CBS Sports’ take: The Knicks have such a classic color scheme that I feel like it’s pretty difficult to mess it up. It’s clean and simple, and has enough tweaks to make a new spin on an old classic.


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Jersey inspiration: The Cavaliers are playing on the city’s nickname, “The Land,” while also using colors that represent certain aspects of the city and state. Like the light blue ball meant to represent Lake Erie, and the brownish-bronze color which is meant to signify “the area’s bountiful soil.” 

CBS Sports’ take: The decision to use “The Land” but in the retro Cavs font is so smart and ties together two eras of the franchise. I like the color scheme, though I do wish this was a black jersey instead.


Nike

Jersey inspiration: Playing on the style from the 1996 All-Star Game, which the Spurs hosted, San Antonio is going with the fiesta style again.

CBS Sports’ take: Yes, the Spurs have done the fiesta theme already, and, yes, I docked other teams for recycling, but these jerseys are just cool. The bright turquoise and the Flintstone-looking font, these are just fun jerseys, and a great way for San Antonio to celebrate its 50th season. 


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Jersey inspiration: This jersey is inspired by Denver’s architecture and represents “a city that’s proud of its past but always driving forward.”

CBS Sports’ take: The Nuggets are always really good at this. It’s a simple design, but it works. The burnt orange really takes center stage against the white backdrop, and the detail on the side panelling makes the jersey look less empty.


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Jersey inspiration: The Mavericks are paying homage to the connection of Dallas and Fort Worth with this jersey. Back in the ’70s Dallas leaders dubbed the two cities a Metroplex, “a new industrial complex and metropolis in the middle of the country.”

CBS Sports’ take: I’m just as shocked as you are that the Mavericks actually have a nice City Edition jersey. It uses the retro team colors and retro ’70s-inspired font but make it look new and fresh. Dallas is one of a few teams in the league in desperate need of a branding refresh and these jerseys should be the starting point.


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Jersey inspiration: The Pistons collaborated with Detroit native and rapper Big Sean to create these jerseys. It’s meant to celebrate the gym at Saint Cecilia’s, an iconic Detroit staple amongst local hoopers. NBA legends like Isiah Thomas, George Gervin and Magic Johnson played there while growing up in Detroit.  

CBS Sports’ take: The story behind these jerseys are exactly what the City Edition uniforms are all about. The green is a surprising departure from the red, white and blue we would typically expect with the Pistons, and it totally works. It’s simple, tells a story and should be a huge hit with local fans. 


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Jersey inspiration: The Celtics are celebrating the team’s “Golden Era” with this jersey which featured the late Bill Russell. 

CBS Sports’ take: Another legacy franchise that didn’t stray too far away from tradition, but did just enough to knock it out of the park. The darker hue of green and the stylized script font to pay homage to the late, great Bill Russell’s playing days is the perfect tip of the cap to an NBA legend. 


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Bucks used their jersey as a way to celebrate Bronzeville, one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. 

CBS Sports’ take: I have a feeling these are going to look really cool in game action. The bright blue and the side panels paying homage to one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods is a really subtle way to pull off a jersey that is connected to the city, but not in an overwhelming way.


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Jersey inspiration: The Blazers are pulling inspiration from the airport carpet design that filled the floors of Portland’s airport back in the ’90s. 

CBS Sports’ take: OK, remember when I said the Hornets’ abbreviation was confusing? This one is not. Everyone knows that PDX stands for Portland, and the fact that the Blazers decided to pay homage to a carpet design inside their airport from the ’90s is the exact type of niche-ness I expect from this city and organization. The design is cool in itself, but the way they utilized it like the typical sash we’ve seen from them in the past is a nice touch. 


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Jersey inspiration: The Hawks give a “fresh take” on their original Peachtree uniforms that they unveiled three years ago. It celebrates Georgia being known as “The Peach State.”

CBS Sports’ take: I will be starting a petition to have the Hawks permanently change their name to the Atlanta Peachtrees, because these jerseys rule. Yes, we’ve seen them before, but they’re so distinct and unique that they deserve to be this high. The script font, the gradient numbering, the two different peaches hues on the trim … these are just wonderfully designed. 


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Jersey inspiration: The Wizards pulled inspiration from the iconic cherry blossoms that overtake the city every spring. The blue on the shorts represents the water that the cherry blossoms fall into.  

CBS Sports’ take: The cherry blossom pattern on these are amazing, and the gradient blue on the shorts makes it so the players don’t look like walking bottles of Pepto Bismol. Is it too much pink? Perhaps, I would’ve liked to have seen a more toned-down version of this, but it’s so unique, so connected to the city and it actually looks nice. 


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Suns are paying respect to the 22 indigenous tribes that call Arizona home with these jerseys. 

CBS Sports’ take: The Suns have done a great job with their City Edition jerseys in the past, and this is no exception. The only thing I would change is not using the sunburst logo and instead having the word “Suns” or “Phoenix” across the chest.


Nike

Jersey inspiration: The Grizzlies are celebrating the city’s connection to hip-hop and rap culture with their City Edition jerseys. The design is inspired by local hip-hop album art, with certain design elements also paying tribute to specific Memphis landmarks. 

CBS Sports’ take: There isn’t a team in the league as connected to their city as the Grizzlies are to Memphis. I mean, they got Memphis-born rapper GloRilla to star in a hype video at the start of the season. Also, the Grizzlies grill right above the jersey tag needs to be on merchandise going forward because that is just so authentically Memphis. 

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