By Michael Kinney
For the past few years right before the NBA has tipped off, each team unveils its new alternate jerseys they plan to use during the season. Besides being a money bonanza for the league, Nike and each franchise, it has quickly become an anticipated part of each season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have had strong reviews each year with their Nike City Edition uniforms. From the turquoise uniform honoring Native American heritage in 2018 to the black and gold outfits last season that honored the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, they have stood out from most of the other NBA franchises.
For the 2020-21 campaign, the Oklahoma City Thunder went a different direction as they explained when they unveiled this season’s alternate uniforms. Instead of focusing on just Oklahoma City, they wanted to incorporate the entire state.
On the chest, the jersey solely bears the state name for the first time in team history, in a style inspired by the state flag to celebrate the experiences Oklahomans have endured together.
According to Thunder officials, the City Edition uniforms are a tribute to the State of Oklahoma, its people, pride and progress, while building upon the Thunder’s long-standing, statewide presence and support in the community. With “Oklahoma” embroidered boldly across the chest of the jersey, it symbolizes the state’s rich history and bright future.
Created in partnership with Nike, the uniform’s design ideals lean into innovation, unity and state pride, according to the Thunder.
The uniform is being unveiled on Nov. 16, which is Oklahoma Statehood Day. It marked the 113th anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt issuing the proclamation that established Oklahoma as the 46th state in the Union.
“This year’s City Edition uniform truly captures and honors the pride we feel in being Oklahoma’s team,” said Brian Byrnes, the Thunder’s senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. “It also is a tribute to the diverse people of our state who are defined by the values of hard work, perseverance and kindness. The uniform’s modern look reflects the state’s 21st-century focus on innovation and forward momentum. Wonderful, inspiring things are happening in this state, and the Thunder is proud to reflect those values.”
This design element also aims to capture the hard work, innovation and resilience that pushes Oklahoma toward the future.
As with past choices, the uniform design features a use of Thunder colors inspired in part by Oklahoma sunsets.
The Oklahoma state outline is centered on the belt buckle of the shorts to represent the diverse population of four million Oklahomans, who share a love of our state and its natural beauty, and great optimism for its future.
Along the sides of the shorts, stripes are reflective of the modern architecture of the ever-evolving skylines of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and the transformation that cities all over the state have undergone to embrace change.
On the right leg of the shorts, “THUNDER” appears in the same style as the state flag to highlight many of the statewide initiatives the team has championed over the last 12 years, including 28 courts dedicated all over Oklahoma and the more recent Thunder Fellows program, which will launch in Tulsa’s Greenwood District this spring. With youth basketball camps and court dedications spanning from Boise City Lawton, this inclusion of the team’s name serves as a banner for both the team and the state to align behind.
Since arriving in Oklahoma, the Thunder have strived to show they belong to more than just Oklahoma City. They want to be seen as the state’s team.
“Throughout 77 counties of vital rural communities and expanding and modern urban cities, Oklahoma is defined not only by its natural beauty but by its lively, metropolitan areas and vibrant culture,” a Thunder official stated.
The NBA seasons is scheduled to start Dec. 22. A schedule of games has not been released yet so the Thunder are unable to announce when they will wear the new uniforms.
Michael Kinney Media