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With the switch from Adidas to Nike as the NBA's official on-court apparel supplier for the 2017-18 season, the old system of home teams wearing white and away teams wearing color uniforms has been scrapped — making official a trend that had become more and more common in recent years. Now, Nike and the NBA have redesignated each team's white uniform as its Association edition; the former road uniforms are the Icon edition; the alternate uniforms are now called the Statement edition, while the old 'Pride' uniforms are now labeled as the City edition. Some teams will also wear throwback uniforms, which are referred to as the Classic edition.

As there are technically no longer home uniforms, the home team will decide which of their four or five uniforms their players will wear and the away team will then pick a uniform that provides enough contrast to be distinguishable. While this opens up the possibility for a number of interesting color-on-color matchups, there will be many games where the home team wears a color uniform and the away team wears white. As someone who has watched NBA basketball nearly all my life, I can't say I'm a fan of these matchups. While I never believe tradition alone is enough of a reason to continue doing something, 30+ years of seeing the home team in white means that today, whenever I see a team in white, my brain automatically wants to identify them as the home team.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint I believe the traditional matchup still works best in most cases. The entire purpose of wearing uniforms is to make it easy to distinguish between the players of both teams. A color-on-white matchup always provides a high degree of contrast for the players and spectators in the arena as well as the fans watching at home. The colors on the court bring out the trim on the home whites and create the right amount of balance between both the home and away teams. However, in many case where the home team wears color uniforms, the players often 'disappear' in the paint when those two colors are the same, resulting in less contrast even when the road team wears white. 

For this project, I will document every uniform matchup of the 2017-18 season and provide a grade, using the following system:

  • 🏀🏀🏀🏀🏀
    For color-on-color games where both teams' uniforms provide a high degree of contrast from each other and the court, creating an aesthetically pleasing sight.
  • 🏀🏀🏀🏀⚪️
    For color-on-white games where the home team wears white and the road team's uniform provides adequate contrast with the court.
  • 🏀🏀🏀⚪️⚪️
    For color-on-white games where the road team's color uniform does not provide adequate contrast with court.
  • 🏀🏀⚪️⚪️⚪️
    For white-on-color games where the home team's color uniform provides adequate contrast with the court.
  • 🏀⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️
    For white-on-color or color-on-color games where the home (or away) team's color uniform does not provide adequate contrast with the court.
  • ⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️
    For color-on-color games where the uniforms clash with each other and/or the court creating a garish, aesthetically displeasing sight.


Color Matchups

  • color-on-white games: 304 (47.8%)
  • white-on-color games: 218 (34.3%)
  • color-on-color games: 114 (17.9%)

Uniform Count

TeamAsc. HAsc. AAsc. TIcon HIcon AIcon TStmt. HStmt. AStmt. TCity HCity ACity TClsc. HClsc. AClsc. T
ALT1161731619516000000
BOS1601631720448000
BKN01111157227310000
CHA75128917538000314
CHI0131321324077000
CLE814227613426000
DAL1361968145611000
DEN1061681422224000
DET1652101313257000
GSW131124178303000448
HOU077128209514000
IND8614101020448000202
LAC118198917246000
LAL6511111021235000415
MEM146206915156000
MIA3710213761300010616
MIL17724099246000303
MIN12214101929202000
NOP1251749134812000
NYK1852301414617000
OKC1451931114459000
ORL6612612187714000
PHI3811141024213000
PHX148221910415000516
POR7121978157310000
SAC681491221527000
SAN1482221315527000
TOR5712711186511000
UTA1061671118358000
WAS109198917617000

Legend: H = home, A = away, T = Total; Asc. = Association, Icon = Icon, Stmt. = Statement, City = City, Clsc. = Classic

— updated Jan 15th, 2018—