How does the Thunder's 2020-21 'City Edition' uniform stack up in OKC's alternate jersey rankings?
The Thunder debuted its 2020-21 “City Edition” jersey on Wednesday against the Lakers, and that gives us a great excuse to look back at all of the alternate jerseys in the franchise's history in Oklahoma City. We last ranked the Thunder's alternate jerseys a couple years ago, and much has changed since then.
Here's a look at our rankings of the team's 14 alternates, best to worst:
1. Sunset orange “Statement Edition,” 2019-present
The original orange alternates by Adidas were long tops on my rankings, but that was before they were redone by Nike. The orange seems brighter on these, and navy accents have been replaced by Thunder-blue ones. The block OKC on the front also has that jagged, staggered look that first appeared on the navy “Statement” alternates in 2017. Everything just pops a bit more in this iteration of the sunset orange jersey.
2. OKC Memorial slate gray “City Edition,” 2019-20
This was a bold diversion from most of the Thunder’s alternates, with slate gray uniforms, gold lettering and piping and white accents. But as good as it looked, it stands out even more because of what it memorialized — the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The best detail? The Gates of Time running down the jerseys sides onto the shorts, leading to white blocks representing the Reflecting Pool.
3. Native American turquoise “City Edition,” 2018-19
Another bold look. Another great look. The whole uniform pays homage to Oklahoma's connection to Native Americans with tons of cool details, from the style of the OKC lettering on the jersey to the diamond banding on the shorts. But the best thing about it is the color. That turquoise is sharp.
4. Navy “Statement Edition,” 2017-present
Another awesome addition by Nike, which took over the design of NBA jerseys in 2017. The combination of the main color, navy, along with the orange lettering and lighter blue piping is well balanced. The detailing on the back might be the best thing about the jersey, though, with a gradation of blues that look like sound waves. Sleek and modern.
5. Sunset orange, 2015-17
The original orange uniforms. Caused controversy because in this state, orange is a Bedlam color, but the uniform was bold in every way. Navy letters, numbers and piping provided a perfect contrast to the orange. And the big block OKC on the front was outstanding. The whole look stood out in the best ways possible.
6. Christmas jersey, 2016
We don't remember the alternates worn only on Christmas as readily as the others, but the blue jersey from 2016 featured an old-timey, script-looking Thunder running uphill across the front of the jersey. All the lettering and numbering was white. Crisp and clean. It was second only to the sunset jerseys until Nike got involved.
7. Christmas jersey, 2012
The NBA called them “single-color jerseys.” The blue was a little more electric than normal Thunder blue, and the regular block Thunder lettering across the chest was in that same electric blue with an orange outline. Different in a good way.
8. Oklahoma “City Edition,” 2020-21
Recognizing Thunder fans spread all across the state, these jerseys have only “OKLAHOMA” on the front. It’s the first time the franchise has done that. It’s a cool tip of the hat, and yet, this look falls short of the high bar set with Nike’s first few “City” uniforms. The orange and blue striping is retro, but overall, there just isn’t much wow factor.
9. Christmas jersey, 2014
Nothing radical. Thunder logo and number on the front of a Thunder blue jersey, but the back was fun. Players wore first names instead of last. Kind of a family feel on a family holiday.
10. Christmas jersey, 2015
This was a navy jersey with off-white trim and piping, sort of a precursor to the Christmas jersey that followed the next year. It had a regalness to it, but there was a lot of navy. Seemed a heavy.
11. Navy and white, 2012-16
The franchise's first alternate jersey. Seems long ago and far away now, but when the navy look with simple, white lettering and piping came out, we thought they were radical. The word “THUNDER” ran down the front vertically. Wowza. Now? This look seems better suited for intramurals.
12. Christmas jersey, 2013
Short sleeves. Ugh. The worst. If you could ignore the sleeves, the rest of the blue jersey with the Thunder logo in monochrome was stout. But you couldn't ignore the sleeves.
13. White short sleeves, 2015-17
Short sleeves. Again. But these are worse than those Christmas jerseys because the Thunder wore them all the time. Apparently, Russell Westbrook liked them.
14. Gray “City Edition,” 2017-18
It takes something really bad to rank below short-sleeved jerseys — and these were really bad. The gray looked washed out. Even though an OKC swept across the front along with a couple bolts of color, nothing could overcome the drabness of that color.