When Nike took over the NBA apparel contract, they afforded teams more flexibility with their jersey designs. The Los Angeles Lakers expanded on that by using the City Edition to create a Lore Series in which franchise icons would create a custom design for a particular season.
It began with the late Kobe Bryant transforming his Black Mamba persona into a uniform for the 2017-18 season, and his design was brought back while the Lakers made their championship run this year.
Then for 2018-19, the Lakers handed the design canvas to Magic Johnson, who of course helped lead the team to five championships and at the time was the head of their front office as president of basketball operations.
Johnson was followed by Shaquille O’Neal taking control of the City Edition look for the 2019-20 season. And now Elgin Baylor has lent his touches to the Lore Series, incorporating light blue, gray and white hues into the design.
Nike has new Lakers City Edition gear already available or listed as coming soon. Elgin Baylor’s signature on the jersey confirms he’s the latest designer for the team’s Lore Series. pic.twitter.com/XSf1kQylzE
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) December 3, 2020
Baylor’s design features lettering that is reminiscent of the Showtime era but the coloring is an ode to the franchise’s time in Minneapolis. Nike and the NBA unveiled City Edition uniforms on Thursday morning, and select products are now available at various retailers.
There has been speculation the Lakers additionally will incorporate a Classic jersey that is blue-based and said to feature the cursive “Los Angeles.” The NBA allows team to wear an older design for a single season in recognition of a milestone.
This season marks the 60th anniversary of the Lakers moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.
Black Mamba City Edition took on added significance for Lakers
Already viewed by many as the top design from the Lore Series, the Lakers found added motivation when wearing their Black Mamba jersey. The team suffered only one loss in Bryant’s design — which extended the NBA Finals another game — but otherwise were dominant in them.
“I thought they were cool from what I saw when they wore them a few years ago,” LeBron James said during the playoffs. “Obviously, until you get your hands on them, you don’t get to see the detail in them. It’s super detailed. It has that snake Mamba print on it. It means something more than just a uniform.
It represents an individual who gave the franchise 20 years of his blood, sweat and tears and his dedication to his craft, both on and off the floor, to make that franchise be proud of him, and hopefully vice versa.”
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