We interrupt your post-All Star Break basketball mini-hiatus for some delightful news (well, sort of news) regarding uniforms!
Today in leaks, we got this tweet from graphic designer and NBA uniform enthusiast Casey Vitelli with a sneak peek at teams’ new threads for next year (2022–23 leaks already? It’s not even March!). It includes some very important news for Bucks fans, or at least ones like myself and the Brew Hoop staff.
You’ll be excused if you don’t sift through the small images on the device where you happen to be reading this. No worries, though! Graphic designer and Bucks fan @ryaninsix has got you covered with a mockup he created from the leaks:
Let’s start off with the undeniable star of this show: PURPLE. It’s (maybe) back people (unless this is all a ruse)!!! However, I and likely many of you have seen these leaks pop up well before unveilings on Twitter or sportslogos.net for years. They are usually spot-on. That being said, the Bucks have fooled us once before, so you can’t rule it out.
Many fans have been clamoring for the return of purple for years and years, especially since Milwaukee switched to their current branding. We got a slight return in the form of this year’s City edition (aka “Mixtape”) jersey, as a big part of the Cream City/Irish rainbow on the side paneling. We did get an appearance of the glorious green deer head alternate jersey from 1995–96 for ten games in the 2012–13 season, but otherwise we’ve seen zero purple in Bucks branding since 2006.
If this leak is to be believed, purple is back in the Bucks uniform set for another season. Even better this time, though, as a throwback to the road jersey the Bucks wore beginning in the 1993–94 season until tweaking it in 2001 (when the side panels from the shorts extended onto the tops and their lettering/numbers changed from white to silver). This appears to be an exact replica of the jersey franchise legends Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson, Michael Redd, and Vin Baker wore in their rookie seasons. Not to mention veterans like Frank Brickowski, Eric Murdock, Blue Edwards, and Brad Lohaus! During the Light It Up years, this is what you saw the Bucks play in. In their run to the
NBA Finals Eastern Conference Finals (damn those refs), this is what you saw the Bucks play in. They were popular around Wisconsin well into the 2000s and they endured through nostalgia well after the team shifted back to red and green in 2006. Like many of you, this was the first jersey (I’m a few years too young to remember the all-green set, which is still their best jersey of all time in my opinion) I saw the Bucks play in while growing up in the 90s.
Since Nike signed with the NBA to be their official uniform provider beginning in 2017, they’ve introduced a slew of “innovations” of varying quality, depending on who you ask. Each team’s white unis (long known as their home set) are now known as the “Association edition” and their colored unis (formerly the aways) are the “Icon edition.” Third/alternate jerseys, like the Bucks’ black “Fear The Deer” set, were redubbed “Statement edition.”
Famously (or infamously), Nike added a fourth jersey for each team called the “City edition” that are almost always worn for just one season (with the exception of teams like Utah and San Antonio. In some (but not all) seasons, teams who made the playoffs the previous campaign are granted an “Earned edition” jersey (sidenote: this is dumb, stop this Nike). Teams are approved to sport a “Classic edition” set in select seasons, usually in some sort of anniversary year and it’s typically a straight throwback. For those keeping track at home, that means every team has a minimum of four jerseys to choose from each season, and could have as many as six!
The Bucks wore a Classic jersey several times during the 2017–18 season, notably for the MECCA game in October 2017. It would seem that this purple jersey is a Classic jersey, though the Bucks don’t seem to have any significant anniversary next year... unless you want to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Bucks In Six, coined by Brandon Jennings before being swept by the Heat in 2012–13.
Maybe this is premature, but I’ll go on record saying this now and eat crow later if I’m wrong. Fret no more, fans of purple! Our day has come!
Not to be forgotten in the leak is the Bucks’ future city jersey, which is again blue! Milwaukee’s 2020–21 version of the City edition program was a two-toned, Lake Michigan-inspired set which I thought looked great, just not like a Bucks’ jersey. Seemed like something the Mavs would wear, but I digress. This time, the jersey looks like the green “Icon” jersey merely color-swapped from green to blue at first glance. However, eagle-eyed uni fans (or uni/sports branding nerds like myself) may have noticed a very unique difference from the Cream City rainbow we’re used to...
It’s grainy, but that sure looks to me like the striping has been reshaped in a manner that suggests the Bucks’ M logo. When/if these are unveiled, we’ll probably see some classic branding copy that states these represent Milwaukee’s hard work ethic/the sun rising over Lake Michigan/whatever cliché you can think of. Whatever it is, I’m personally a huge fan of that somewhat-subtle alteration. At first, by looking at the front I thought they just slanted (italicized?) the stripes, but it seems that much more thought went into it.
New jerseys are always a good way to finance all the luxury tax payments, right? With the continued popularity of the 90s/early 00s purple branding among Bucks fans and sports memorabilia collectors, these should be a total boon for Milwaukee. All I can do is quote Philip J. Fry...
Anywho, to some this is meaningless, but to geeks like me it’s very fascinating. What do you all think? Let’s hear it in the comments.