The Utah Jazz’s new jerseys are terrible – and the team obviously knows it


The Utah Jazz's new jerseys are terrible - and the team obviously knows it

The new Jazz rebranding is an absolute travesty. In fact, it has made jazz the laughing stock of the league.

Continue, scroll through the reactions. You’ll see Cleveland sportscaster Tim Bielik say, “OK, Jazz, that’s a good prank. Now let’s look at the real-life uniforms.” SB Nation writer Demetrius Bell calls them “objectively ugly” and “kind of boring and hard to look at”. You’ll see how Chicago sportswriter Michael Walton noted the “Arena Football League vibes.”

You’ll see The Athletic’s Zach Harper write, “No wonder Quin left.” Ouch.

But it’s hard to deny what they say.

The highlighter yellow is bright. It makes your eyes water, even bleed. In combination with white and black, it just doesn’t fit.

But it gets even worse. In pursuit of simplicity, jazz uniform designers make their black, white, and yellow jerseys minimalist to the extreme. Honestly, it looks like they spent about six minutes designing the kits; The black and yellow in particular look like cheap reversible jerseys you might buy for a middle school team.

How on earth did we get into this?

The defining moment of Jazz’s rebranding happened last October at the Silicon Slopes conference. Jazz owners Ryan Smith and Dwyane Wade were on stage and Smith said to Wade:

“I’ll never forget when you called me and said, ‘Hey, my mom wants to know what the jazz colors are, and we can’t find out.'”

See, that’s a fair criticism: Jazz has rightly worn just about every color under the sun in recent years. Here is the proof:

At first, Smith wanted the team to simply be renamed black and white, but the league office and Nike declined as the San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets already own that color scheme. Their compromise was this: the jazz could become black and white if it added a third primary color. So instead of choosing one of the colors the team had already worn, he chose a new one: a unique highlighter yellow.

It’s unique because, frankly, other professional sports teams are smart enough not to wear it. Sure, the Pittsburgh teams — along with the Boston Bruins — all wear a black and yellow combo, but it is a dark goldnot that. The brutal irony is that by renaming Smith only added to jazz’s identity problems.

Those are the Jazz’s three main jerseys — in Nike-speak, the team’s “Association,” “Icon,” and “Statement” jerseys. Since the acquisition, Nike has made it clear that it expects teams to keep the main jerseys for several years.

And unfortunately there is no life here, no soul. No ties to history, no vision of the future…just big numbers and big letters that don’t scream at you.

It gets even worse with the non-jerseys. Jazz fans are asked to buy some of the truly ugliest clothing imaginable. They want you to spend real dollars, which you probably worked for, on this shirt:

(@JazzNationNews via Twitter) A new jazz shirt, now on sale.

In fact, setting bucks on fire would be better than buying these shorts:

(@Formal-Shoulder3216 via Reddit) Utah Jazz Shorts on sale at Ross.

Everyone involved in this decision to make these the primary colors, make these kits and products the vision of the franchise should be ashamed.

Here’s the funny thing: They clearly do.

When the team announced the new look on Friday, none of those colors were the focus, but purple. The headline of the team’s press release makes no mention of black, white or yellow, instead reading: “Purple is Back for Utah Jazz in Season 2022-23 and Will Be Cornerstone Color Moving Forward.” apologetically pinned to the black, white and yellow things.

Purple was not the plan for the franchise rebrand, but became the plan after initial public reaction to the black/white/yellow scheme was exceptionally critical. But because they’ve settled on the latter scheme with Nike, the purple kits are either the ‘City’ kits or the ‘Classic’ set, which are expected to change every year. For this reason, the video also revealed two new different purple kits to be worn in the 2023-24 season.

We’ll see if the Jazz can convince Nike and the league to move away from the white, yellow and black Association, Icon and Statement kits faster than teams are normally allowed.

But there’s a reason the Jazz rebranded: Purple Works. It harks back to almost every era of the team, with both the Mardi Gras colors of New Orleans and the mountain uniforms of the team’s NBA Finals heyday. Honestly, players look exceptionally good in purple unis too.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) recovers as the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trail Blazers, NBA basketball, on Thursday, December 26, 2019 in Salt Lake City.

That’s the bright spot: at least one Jazz jersey looks good, and the team knows which it is.

The rest of it? A nightmare – one that makes the organization look bad in more ways than one.

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