When Nike introduced a bold and new line of thinking upon taking over the NBA apparel contract beginning with the 2017-18 season, the Los Angeles Lakers took matters a step further by using their City Edition jersey as a means to honor franchise legends through a Lore Series.
They carried that by allowing a franchise icon to design the City Edition uniform, with Kobe Bryant the first to do so. He appropriately outfitted the Lakers with black jerseys that featured a snakeskin print as an ode to his “Black Mamba” persona.
Last season the Lakers handed over 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’s design for the Nike City Edition jerseys was purple based with the full team name across the front of the chest to go with black trim, and black font and jersey numbers that both had a yellow border.
The jersey and shorts incorporated pinstripes that read, “3x5xSHOWTIME” to represent the five titles Johnson won with the Lakers, his three MVP Awards and the uptempo offense he orchestrated. Johnson’s No. 32 and an ‘M’ were on the center of the waistband of the shorts.
Now the honor has been bestowed to Shaquille O’Neal, who had his No. 34 retired by the Lakers in April 2013. They then installed a bronze statue of O’Neal outside Staples Center in March 2017.
Designed for dominance, inspired by legacy.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 20, 2019
The City Edition jersey O’Neal designed include “M.D.E.” on the white vertical piping that of course stands for “Most Dominant Ever,” which was one of the many nicknames he had. The jersey also features three stars in the side panels to represent the number of championships O’Neal won with the Lakers.
And the jersey has a wishbone collar that is reminiscent of the style jersey the Lakers switched to at the start of the 1999-2000 season.