We’ve known for a while the Nuggets were refreshing their uniforms with some minor changes for the upcoming season. Last weekend, Emmanuel Mudiay gave us our first on-court look of the new digs at the annual NBA rookie photoshoot. Have a look at the newly updated uniforms below and check out the full gallery at Nuggets.com.
The changes include an updated look for the numbers and letters up front. Gold lettering replaces the old white, and the font has been changed to a slimmer, more modern design with sharp corners replacing the rounded look of the old jerseys. Ditto with the numbers, which have also been slimmed down to fit with the bolder, more modern look. I’m a fan of these understated changes that accent the Nuggets’ look and don’t get in the way of the basic design.
Where the redesign starts falling apart for me is the heavy-handed injection of dark blue all over the place. It’s used both as a trim color and prominently displayed in the numbers and names. Whereas the dark blue accented the old look, it almost dominates the new one, throwing off the balance of the basic blue-and-yellow motif.
There have only ever been two schools of uniform design that were any good — let’s call them the classic and the bold. The classic is your Boston Celtics look – a flat two-tone design generally with a light-dark motif. Most teams go with this as it’s balanced, perfectly functional and never goes out of style. The bold is your new Washington Wizards design — a busier look with more colors worked in and bold patterns replacing the standard two-tone look. If executed properly, both designs are fantastic. The C’s and particularly the new-look Wizards are among the best designed uniforms in the NBA.
The Nuggets’ standard uniforms are a utilitarian version of the classic. They’re okay, and not meant to say anything more than we’re the Nuggets and our colors are blue and yellow. The Nuggets’ best uniforms, by far, are the yellow skylines — a flat out crazy version of the bold with patterns and colors everywhere. In my mind, this design suits the franchise history better and should be the Nuggets’ standard look.
Instead, with the new changes Mudiay shows off here, the Nuggets have taken their classic design and skewed it towards the bold in a half-measure sort of way. It doesn’t really work. There are a lot of colors going on without a good balance between any of them. When I look at the new powder blues, it’s not clear if the Nuggets’ colors are blue and yellow, dark blue and blue, or dark blue and yellow. Wait, why is there so much white?
The Nuggets clearly wanted a bolder look, but this isn’t it. They already have a perfectly bold look with the skyline alternates, and they’re awesome. At best, this redesign is no less offensive than the old uniforms. At worst, it’s a duller version of the Grizzlies colors, which were a nice riff on the Nuggets’ original look. Either way, this looks like the work of a team that doesn’t quite know where they’re going with their design. Let’s hope the basketball isn’t following a similar path.