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The Rundown v110421 – KD, Embiid, VanVleet, Poole Repped their ‘City’ the Best

The NBA and Nike recently released the ‘City’ version of each team’s NBA jersey, and with Nike continuing to be involved in NBA jerseys, they continue to be the kings of marketing, this side of KISS’ Gene Simmons.

While the City jerseys are more marketing than practicality – whereas the players wear the colorful and representative athletic wear to market them more than identify the team that’s home and the team that’s the visitor – they have been flying off the shelves because of their uniqueness.

Certainly, popping colors and curb appeal have been selling jerseys much in the way that Nike, adidas, Puma, and Reebok have been stepping up their shoe game to net sales in their respective companies and divisions over the past 5-6 years.

(I should know. My 417 pairs – and counting – of NBA players’ sneakers increases on the weekly, and they have their own room; my office).

Gone are the days of two-tone team color Converse and gone are the days of the Mitchell & Ness collectible jerseys, save for the high end buyers and hard-core collectors.

That market is already there and the revenue streams won’t stop. To create new and visionary revenue streams, we’re at the next iteration of the City jerseys. Thank God the Lakers’ purple doesn’t include a below-the-knee skirt option … or does it, Russell Westbrook?

Here are my Starting Five, in reverse order:

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlotte Hornets – Dallas Mavericks – Los Angeles Lakers – Milwaukee Bucks – Philadelphia 76ers

  1. Denver Nuggets
    The Nuggets’ jersey incorporates the former Denver skyline feel, without all the busyness of an actual skyline. Those from the city know what I’m talking about, and those who recall Denver’s early days – even their ABA days – can lean back and envision it being stretched across
    Dan Issel’s broad chest and shoulders, or Alex English draining a jumper and confidently and comfortably jogging down court. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they brought back the light blue sheen that Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, and Chauncey Billups rocked; maybe another time.
  1. Atlanta Hawks
    Very reminiscent of the black and way-too-red jersey style that Steve Smith, Kevin Willis, and Grant Long wore in the Hawks’ years of mediocrity. Back then, things were so blase on the court, that the team needed help in the merchandise stores and kiosks, and the hawk with its wings across the team’s chest was a fashion statement. Nike is bringing that back in a popping legacy yellow, hopefully an indication that last year’s Eastern Conference Finals appearance was a bright glimpse onto Atlanta’s horizon. Personally, I was partial to the clean, dark blue, simple city name/team nickname look of the Joe Johnson era, but I have a lot of respect for bringing back the hawk.
  1. Portland Trail Blazers
    I’d be remiss if I left out my hometown team, with Rip City bringing back memories of the vertical hometown nickname earned by our one and only championship season with
    Lionel Hollins, Dave Twardzik, Maurice Lucas, Geoff Petrie, and Bill Walton. The ‘Rip City’ nickname for Portland was brought about by longtime announcer Bill Schonely (now 92 years young) in a game versus the Los Angeles Lakers in early 1971. I grew up listening to The Schonz’ voice and his play by play in an era that had no ESPN and most games were listened to on the radio, courtesy of Schonely. I recall being at my first NBA game, when my dad was upset that while he and my brother were cheering for Portland, I was rooting for Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers. Don’t worry dad – in Heaven – I am choosing Rip City here, albeit third.
  1. Brooklyn Nets
    It’s damn hard not to type New Jersey Nets with this second iteration of the Nets’ throwback/City jersey here. The light blue tie-dye last year was a seller, and I have the light blue tie-dye KD13’s to match; but these darker blue are sharper – as Kevin Durant showed last night against the Hawks – and anything is more colorful and eye-catching than the team’s signature black, white, and gray. Personally, I think the chalkboard graffiti jerseys are more ‘City’ to Brooklyn than this year’s New Jersey throwback – but I’m about to cop one with color versus pigmented blandness.
  1. Phoenix Suns
    In fairness to many of the other 30 teams, the Phoenix Suns cheated with their City edition jerseys this year, because for all intents and purposes, they are the same as last year’s. But those are so fire, are they not? I don’t know anybody who didn’t want one, especially as they seemed to be the jersey of choice through Phoenix’s march through the Western Conference playoffs last season. Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne, and Deandre Ayton repped The Valley well. So if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

What are your favorites, or your Top Five?

Hit it in the comments below, or shoot me straight at @RealTMoneyMedia on Twitter.


Portland Trailblazers   104 Damian Lillard – 26 points

C.J. McCollum, Robert Covington – 7 rebounds

Damian Lillard – 8 assists

Cleveland Cavaliers   107 Jarrett Allen – 24 points

Jarrett Allen – 17 rebounds

Darius Garland – 10 assists

Pacers at Trailblazers – Friday
Cavaliers at Raptors – Friday


New York Knicks   98 R.J. Barrett – 23 points

Julius Randle – 14 rebounds

Kemba Walker – 4 assists

Indiana Pacers   111 Myles Turner – 25 points

Myles Turner – 13 rebounds

Malcolm Brogdon – 7 assists

Pacers at Trailblazers – Friday
Knicks at Bucks – Friday


Toronto Raptors   109 Fred VanVleet – 33 points

Precious Achiuwa – 10 rebounds

Fred VanVleet – 6 assists

Washington Wizards   100 Bradley Beal – 25 points

Montrezl Harrell – 10 rebounds

Bradley Beal – 7 assists

Cavaliers at Raptors – Friday
Grizzlies at Wizards – Friday


Boston Celtics   92 Jaylen Brown – 28 points

Al Horford – 12 rebounds

Al Horford – 7 assists

Orlando Magic   79 Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter – 13 points

Wendell Carter – 13 rebounds

Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter – 4 assists

Celtics at Heat – Tonight
Spurs at Magic – Friday


Chicago Bulls   98 DeMar DeRozan – 37 points

DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic – 10 rebounds

Alex Caruso, Nikola Vucevic – 6 assists

Philadelphia 76ers   103 Seth Curry – 22 points

Joel Embiid – 9 rebounds

Joel Embiid – 7 assists

Sixers at Pistons – Tonight
Sixers at Bulls – Saturday


Atlanta Hawks   108 De’Andre Hunter – 26 points

Clint Capela – 16 rebounds

Trae Young – 10 assists

Brooklyn Nets   117 Kevin Durant – 32 points

Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant – 7 rebounds

James Harden – 11 assists

Jazz at Hawks – Tonight
Nets at Pistons – Friday


Los Angeles Clippers   126 Paul George – 32 points

Ivica Zubac, Paul George – 6 rebounds

Paul George, Reggie Jackson – 8 assists

Minnesota Timberwolves   115 Anthony Edwards – 28 points

Karl-Anthony Towns – 11 rebounds

Patrick Beverley – 8 assists

Clippers at Timberwolves – Friday


Denver Nuggets   106 Nikola Jokic – 34 points

Michael Porter Jr., Nikola Jokic – 11 rebounds

Will Barton – 7 assists

Memphis Grizzlies   108 Jaren Jackson, Jr. – 22 points

Jaren Jackson Jr, Steven Adams – 8 rebounds

Ja Morant – 6 assists

Grizzlies at Wizards – Friday
Rockets at Nuggets – Saturday


Dallas Mavericks   109 Jalen Brunson – 31 points

Luka Doncic – 12 rebounds

Luka Doncic – 7 assists

San Antonio Spurs   108 Dejounte Murray – 23 points

Dejounte Murray – 9 rebounds

Dejounte Murray – 8 assists

Spurs at Magic – Friday
Celtics at Mavericks – Saturday


New Orleans Pelicans   99 Devonte’ Graham, Nickeal Alexander-Walker – 16 points

Jonas Valanciunas – 11 rebounds

Devonte’ Graham – 7 assists

Sacramento Kings   112 Harrison Barnes – 23 points

Harrison Barnes – 8 rebounds

Tyrses Haliburton – 7 assists

Pelicans at Warriors – Friday
Hornets at Kings – Friday


Charlotte Hornets   92 Miles Bridges – 32 points

Gordon Hayward – 11 rebounds

Cody Martin, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier – 2 assists

Golden State Warriors   114 Jordan Poole – 31 points

Draymond Green – 10 rebounds

Stephen Curry – 9 assists

Pelicans at Warriors – Friday
Hornets at Kings – Friday


Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for
He has written the NBA, done NBA Radio, and appeared as a guest for the last 21+ years for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show,, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 21 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (CBA, G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta. 

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia  

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