Breaking down the San Antonio Spurs' new alternate jerseys

(Editor’s note: I hope you enjoy this excellent breakdown of the San Antonio Spurs’ new alternate jerseys from Michael McAfee of RetailMeNot. The innovative uniforms will be featured on Nov. 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.)

When you sport one of the cleanest, most recognizable looks in the NBA it can be hard to change. While other teams have changed color schemes, logos and uniforms, the San Antonio Spurs have stayed true to their silver and black roots that date back to the ABA.
The Spurs have developed a championship legacy and consistently elite play around their look. Other teams may try to replicate their black jerseys and sleek style, but nobody owns silver and black like the Spurs.
Into the Great Unknown
That isn’t to say that the Spurs haven’t experimented with their on-court appearance: they participate in the NBA’s annual “Noche Latina” celebration, stylizing “Los Spurs” on their jerseys, added color to their warm-ups during the fiesta days of the 1990s and wore Dallas Chaparrals uniforms last season as part of the 45th anniversary of the ABA.
However, the 2012 season will see the team making their biggest leap into the aesthetic unknown and, maybe, setting a new direction for the rest of the league.
The Spurs’ recently announced gray alternate uniforms are a stark departure, not just from their own style guide, but the entire NBA’s. They are the first in the league to not have any lettering across the chest; instead, the jersey features a large, off-center spur logo and a number in the top corner. For baseball fans, they instantly bring to mind Major League Baseball’s 1999 experiment with “futuristic” uniforms.
Could these unique jerseys be prototypes for other NBA teams? Given that the league has approved on-jersey advertising for the 2013-14 season, the Spurs’ new jerseys may be the first example of how to create uniform real estate while maintaining a unique team identity.
Everything Old is New Again
San Antonio’s forward-thinking alternates are debuting at an odd time for NBA style. In recent years, fans have rediscovered a fondness for the glory days of 1990s basketball; snapback hats, throwback jerseys and put-back dunks are all in vogue (although, it can be argued that the put-back dunk never went out of style).
What is a Spurs fan to do? The black ABA jersey of the Ice Man, the fiesta colors of the Admiral or the new alternate jerseys are all deserving game-day options.
As a team transitioning into a new era of on-court leadership, the Spurs are taking a bold step stylistically that remains respectful of their ABA and championship roots. While other teams see logo redesigns as a way to change their on-court fortunes, Spurs fans are fortunate that they will always be known for the distinctive silver and black.
Right now, save 15% off of all purchases, with email sign-up, at RetailMeNot’s NBA Store and 50% on retro-inspired, Spurs-colored Adidas Originals.
Photo courtesy of The Basketball Jones.

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