The Dallas Mavericks do their best to prevent leaks. It’s a tenet of the organization’s culture that runs from the front office all the way down to merchandising. Unfortunately, they can’t control everything, especially when they can’t keep their secrets in-house. That’s the case with their latest jersey.
Dallas’ latest alternate, what looks to be a City Edition, as Nike brands it, leaked this week. It’s a white jersey with gold trim. The front reads “DALLAS” in gold with silver trim. The numbers are silver with gold trim, both front and back. Players names are in silver.
It’s clear that the jersey is meant to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA Championship season. Why else would it feature so much gold? It’s unlikely that it’s really an adroit commentary on the city’s gilded facade.
If it is a commemoration of the team’s lone championship, it fails to capture the spirit of that team. It lacks zest. It lacks punch. It lacks grit. Simply, it lacks the hope and excitement that the 2010-11 squad possessed. If anything, its appearance successfully captures the the energy and vibrancy of the team that was shepherded out of the first round of the playoffs in five games by the Oklahoma City Thunder the following season.
An fan rendering of the jersey’s design reimages the City Edition. It incorporates the classic wordmark from the 1980s and uses pinstripes to celebrate the team’s 40 seasons, linking the jersey to the team’s history in a simple, fitting way. Frankly, this is how a jersey is supposed to look. The same can’t be said about the jersey the Mavs and Nike are rolling out.
This isn’t the Mavericks’ first lackluster City Edition. The team has a growing catalog of them now. Nike’s first attempt was a play on Dallas’ vibrant, neon skyline. The concept was there but not the execution. (The Dallas Stars just rolled out a superior product based on the same premise.) Next up was a black-ish jersey with the horse head logo. It was bad—the worst of the bunch so far.
The most controversial City Edition made its debut last season. It’s graffiti-inspired design split fans down the middle. Younger fans seemed to love it. Everyone else? Not so much. Regardless, the fact that the Mavericks went outside the box with their thinking and actually tapped into Dallas’ vibrant art scene for inspiration is commendable.
Since Nike took over the reins from Adidas as the NBA’s primary apparel provider, they’ve created a slew of alternate jerseys. The City Edition jersey is supposed to represent the culture of a team’s home market. Aside from last season’s graffiti-inspired one, none of the Mavericks’ jerseys have come close to doing so.
It’s a shame that the Mavericks are again rolling out another dud alternate that doesn’t come close to capturing the spirit of the championship season. Planning for the alternates begin years in advance of when they’re release and a lot of people do the hard work of turning ideas into final product. No one should knock that process. However, when the end result continues to be so bland, something has to change.
If there is one saving grace in jersey design for the Mavericks in the coming season, it’s that they are bringing back the Hardwood Classic greens. It’s a secret the organization couldn’t wait to spill. As for the new City Editions, maybe they should have been kept secret, under lock and key, forever.
Update: This post was updated to include the image of the City Edition fan concept and an accompanying paragraph.