With the 2020-2021 NBA season quickly approaching, the Brooklyn Nets have unveiled new threads.
For this year’s City Edition jerseys, the Nets have chosen to pay homage to Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Basquiat recognized black heritage in his art. Many of his paintings explored themes such as segregation, racism and income inequality. In 1983, at age 22, he was one of the youngest artists to be featured at a Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He died of a drug overdose in 1988.
“We are proud to celebrate Basquiat’s enduring legacy this season,” said John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global, which operates the Nets. “Basquiat embodies much of what Brooklyn represents, and his creative spirit and passionate voice can still be felt throughout the borough. Today, more than ever, Basquiat matters.”
According to Nike, which produces the league’s jerseys, the NBA City Edition uniforms represent “insights and emotion from the court to the upper deck to the cities’ streets, in pursuit of a unique way to capture each team and its city in a way that respects the past and present of the clubs while also positioning them for the future.”
The “Bklyn Nets” lettering across the chest of the jersey is inspired by Basquiat’s signature style. The shorts include a crown, which evokes the crown found in much of his artwork and references the Nets’ home in Kings County. A multicolored stripe down the side of the uniform reflects a style that is prevalent in much of Basquiat’s work and his iconic signature appears above the jersey’s jock tag.
The reaction to the jerseys has been favorable. Sports Illustrated ranked them third of the 30 City Edition jerseys and the Los Angeles Times ranked them second.
“We’re gonna look very, very good running up and down the floor with these on,” said Nets All-Star and former MVP Kevin Durant. “Much love. Shout out to Basquiat.”
Last season, the team’s City Edition jerseys honored the late Christopher Wallace, a/k/a Notorious B.I.G., who was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The jerseys had “Bed-Stuy” emblazoned across the chest.