The Brooklyn Nets are going to look completely different next NBA season, whenever that might start. For starters, superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving—who missed all but 20 games with injury last year—will be on the court. But the team will also literally look different, thanks to a pair of special-edition jerseys that toe the line between “genuinely stylish” and “sale rack at Urban Outfitters.”.
Since the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012, the team has almost exclusively worn sober white-and-black jerseys. They were designed with the help of Jay-Z—that’s cool!—a former minority owner of the team. The jerseys seemed to function as a palette cleanser from the franchise’s years in New Jersey: longtime fans of the team duly noted that none of the jerseys released since 2012 even feature the word “Nets” on it, let alone the crayon box of bright colors the team used when based there. This was a team rebranded for its cool new home, with jerseys to match a stadium surrounded by luxury apartment buildings.
But times seem to be changing at the Barclays Center. A new alternate jersey isn’t just a throwback—it’s a heavy pour of nostalgia. The sky-blue jerseys with a slight tie-dye effect are based on the ones the Nets wore in the ‘90-‘91 season, when the late Dražen Petrović led the team. They are also very effective bait as style items—can’t you imagine your barista, graphic designer pal, or former WeWork crush in one of these?
Sui generis as they might seem, the jerseys are part of a larger trend. The ‘90s are now firmly back in fashion, and every team with a suitable retro jersey is taking advantage. Last season, in the bubble, the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz played each other in their respective throwbacks—teal blue going up strong against deep purple. The game felt like it should have come in fuzzy on a 20-inch TV. The Nets have managed to bottle everything NBA fans love about those jerseys and bottle it for these Classic Edition kits.
But they’re not done! There’s another new Nets jersey, too, and this one follows the franchise’s recent strategy of glorifying Brooklyn natives. Yesterday, a version of the Nets “City Edition” jersey inspired by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat leaked. In an attempt to replicate the artist’s scrawled type- and graffiti-tinged style, the jersey features the team name, “Brklyn Nets,” in crude lettering with small drawings around the logo. One potential reason for the jerseys? Kevin Durant is apparently a fan, according to the NY Post. Durant’s talked about studying masters from other fields, citing such luminaries as Elon Musk, Dr. Dre, and...Basquiat. Another reason is that the Nets are trying to fully embrace their still relatively new Brooklyn identity. They’ve borrowed Brooklyn native Notorious B.I.G.’s favorite look for a pair of jerseys with designs resembling the rapper’s Coogi sweaters over the past couple of years. And even if Basquiat is most commonly associated with the downtown Manhattan scene of the ‘80s, the Nets would like to remind you that he was born in their borough.
If the Nets are going to keep on this path of taking inspiration from Brooklynites, we have a couple ideas for who or what might be worthy of the next City Edition jerseys. How about:
Jerry Seinfeld: Like Basquiat, is probably more famous for living in Manhattan than being born in Brooklyn. That hasn’t stopped the Nets so far.
David Blaine: Did you know the famous magician is from Brooklyn? Imagine some translucent jerseys, like he made them…. disappear! The artist is known for tricks that exhibit his endurance, but has he tried being a lifelong Nets fan? (I’m a lifelong Nets fan, so I can say that.)
Joseph Heller: How about jerseys inspired by the author behind required-reading Catch 22? You’d have to be crazy not to want these jerseys but all Nets fans are crazy.
Williamsburg pasta joint Misi: It’s absolutely impossible to reserve your jersey.
Bernie Sanders: Free jerseys for all.
Bernie Bro: Free jerseys for all, and they’re making sure everyone freaking knows it.
Abraham Maslow: Maslow’s new hierarchy of needs lists food, water, warmth, rest, and Nets basketball as basic necessities.
Grace School Preschool: The most glamorous preschool in Dumbo raises millions of dollars by auctioning off a shooting lesson with J.J. Redick to get its name on the front of the Nets jerseys.
Mario: Super Mario producer Shigeru Miyamoto has said, “It’s a given that Mario is an Italian-American from Brooklyn, New York.” Sure, let’s run with that. Just picture it: “It’s a-me Kevin Durant!”
A guy with a stack of unread New Yorker magazines in the corner of his apartment: I just landed on the perfect upcycling project.
Spike Lee: That guy doesn’t have a team, right?
Originally Appeared on GQ