Back in June 2015, the NBA announced the signing of an apparel deal with Nike that was due to begin with the 2017-18 season. Financial terms of the contract agreement were not disclosed, but it is believed to be an eight-year merchandise deal that is reportedly worth $1 billion.
With Nike in control, teams shifted from traditional home and road uniforms and instead have been outfitted with four editions. While it’s provided teams — and consumers — with more options, there’s been some push back with respect to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Their Nike designs are: Icon (gold), Association (white), Statement (purple) and City editions. For decades, the Lakers only had world-renowned purple and gold uniforms that were worn on the road and at home, respectively.
The Lakers then introduced a white alternate that was only seen for Sunday home games. However, this now represents a third season when the team could take the court at Staples Center in any of their available options.
Lakers chief operating officer Tim Harris acknowledged the team hasn’t stuck with the traditional route for home games and explained it stems from league-wide tendencies, via Arash Markazi of Los Angeles Times:
“The gold is overwhelming the favorite color of Lakers fans,” Harris said. “It’s not close, but more and more teams want to wear their dark uniforms at home. We like wearing gold at home, but other teams like wearing dark uniforms at home so we wear gold more on the road, but we didn’t want to marginalize purple by always wearing gold at home because we know we’re going to wear it a lot on the road now too.”
Harris added the Lakers likely would receive feedback from the NBA if they were to solely commit to wearing their gold or white uniforms in home games:
“This is only the [third] year of doing this, but I suspect if we chose to only wear gold and white at home and did as much purple as we could on the road, I think the league would say you’re putting purple too much in a corner,” Harris said. “I think that would be an issue.”
While the fanbase has become somewhat frustrated seeing the Lakers in Statement uniforms during home games, there was a time during the 2017-18 season that the purple jersey came with plenty of intrigue because of the build up to its unveiling.
Although home teams have the first selection for which jersey they will wear, the Lakers and Golden State Warriors made for a jarring matchup last week. Both teams were in their respective Statement uniforms, which for the Warriors meant wearing yellow at Staples Center.