Plaid, Portland Flag Featured In New 'City Edition' Uniform

by Casey Holdahl
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When it was announced that Nike would be taking over the NBA uniform contract from adidas, one of the main questions fans had was what would become of the sleeved jersey options. Though sales were strong, complaints from both players and fans about the sleeved jerseys might have abated but really never went away. So it was welcomed news for most when it was announced that Nike would be discontinuing the sleeved jerseys when they took over the contract starting in the 2017-18 season.

But while sleeved jerseys were generally panned, there were a few select teams whose sleeved options were well received, both at home and nationally. Portland’s “Rip City” jerseys were one of those sleeved success stories. The sleek, almost all-white option with hints of red and “Rip City” emblazoned across the chest came to be the most popular of Portland’s uniform options, for both players and fans. The players liked the “Rip City” uniforms (or at least, their results when wearing the “Rip City” uniforms) so much that they petitioned to wear the sleeved options throughout their 2016 playoff run.

So while most fans were eagerly awaiting Nike’s replacement for the fourth jersey option, there was probably more of a wait-and-see approach in Portland. Now that wait is over. After a few minor leaks, which were close but not exactly correct, the Trail Blazers’ “City Edition” uniform option has been officially released…

As you can see, the new Nike "City" uniform doesn’t have much in common with the adidas alternate that it replaces other than the “Rip City” wordmark emblazoned in red across the chest, but it does feature numerous elements that Trail Blazers fans are almost sure to love. And if not, Nike is making a new "City" uniform every season, so if you don't like it, just wait 12 months for the next version.

First and most obvious, a black and grey plaid pattern is featured across both the jersey and shorts, which is a shoutout to both Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsey, who often wore loud plaid patterns throughout his career as Portland’s head coach, including during their 1977 NBA championship, and to the many Northwesterners throughout the history, from lumberjacks to grunge enthusiasts, who have made plaid a standard clothing option in region.

While it’s a bit more discrete than the plaid pattern, the addition of the Portland flag to the new "City Edition" uniform is a much more specific callout to the region. The flag, which was originally designed by a local professor in 1969 and adopted by Portland’s city council as the city’s official flag in 1970, the same year the Trail Blazers franchise was founded, is featured on both the waistband and as embellishments on the sides of both the jersey and shorts.

In full color, the Portland flag represents the forest that surrounds the city, the intersections of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, local agriculture and the city center, though the jersey version was kept black and grey for fairly obvious reasons.

Though the new “City Edition” alternate is released and already available for sale, the Trail Blazers won’t debut the uniform on the court until their game versus the Bulls at the Moda Center on January 31. But if you’re coming to Thursday’s game versus the 76ers on Thursday (tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on TNT) you can purchase the new jersey at the Rip City Clothing Co. at the Moda Center. Along with the standard "Icon" and "Association" options and the red "Statement" alternate, the Trail Blazers now have four uniform options with the release of the "City edition" colorway.