On Friday night, the Indiana Pacers showcased their “rebrand” at a festival for the very first time so far. These jerseys, made by Nike, will begin being used in the 2017-2018 NBA season, and replace the jerseys the Pacers began wearing during the 2005-2006 season, which at the time, marked a new era in Pacers history, following the Hall of Famer Reggie Miller’s retirement from the team. The questions that we need to answer are (as is with every rebrand), was it necessary, how do they stack up, and finally, was it done well, and is it too plain/busy?
The modern-day NBA is moving away from the graphic design heavy trend of the 90’s, however, one could argue the Pacers never fit that mold to begin with anyway. The Pacers would wear the iconic “FloJo” uniforms in the early 90’s, lasting until the 1996-1997 season, where they would then switch to the similarly iconic pinstripes. Many greats have played in both the FloJo’s and the pinstripes, Reggie Miller being the most prominent, and Jermaine O’ Neal the most noteworthy to play in pinstripes following behind Reggie.
Shortly after the iconic pinstripes faded out of style, the Pacers ushered in their newest uniforms following Reggie Miller’s retirement. These uniforms would stand the test of time, lasting over a decade, and are just now being replaced. Many greats have come and played in these uniforms, from Paul George, to Danny Granger, to O’Neal once again, to Myles Turner, which goes to show the amount of talent we’ve had come in and out of these jerseys. In the 2015-2016 season, the Pacers began wearing “Hickory” uniforms to showcase and celebrate the rich history of the state & the 30th anniversary of the iconic movie, “Hoosiers”. This five-year partnership between MGM and the Pacers continues to this day and was a first of its kind deal.
Finally, that leaves us with the newest uniforms, being dubbed (at least by me) “The Nike Uniforms”. As aforementioned, these debut next season and will feature the return of the Hickory uniforms in some capacity as well. As far as design, I think these are the crispest Pacers uniforms to have come out thus far. Many complaints seem to be focused towards the “Indiana Pacers” wrapping around the player’s front jersey number, but I believe it to resemble a race track with its circular shape, and if they weren’t going to go with any type of design (Ala the Warriors), why not use the text to make it appear a bit more appealing to the eye? However, I do have one complaint. The blue & yellow jerseys look far too much like Michigan jerseys, and it could really a third color (beyond the white Nike logo) to help differentiate it. The white jerseys are far superior in that aspect, as they feature all three colors.
Overall “Nike Jersey” Grade: A-