Oklahoma City has had a spotty history in terms of jerseys. There have been proper uniforms, but the vast majority of Thunder jerseys have been generic.
The association jersey fits into that category; it is a plain white jersey with blue lettering. Few design features pop on that kit.
The best jersey in the Thunder’s history has to be the city uniform from the 2018-19 season.
The turquoise jersey was vibrant, and the color scheme chosen by Nike worked incredibly well, it was beautiful.
It is my favorite Thunder jersey in the club’s history as it felt unique to Oklahoma City; it did not feel like a cookie-cutter uniform.
The Thunder organization has tried to embrace the state’s history and culture since the franchise’s inception.
The original color scheme drew on the importance of college sports in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma University are both wildly successful institutions that are ingrained in Oklahoma’s history.
It is one of the reasons why the orange features heavily in the Thunder’s color palette.
The City uniform from the 2018-19 Season chose to honor Oklahoma’s Native American history.
The history of Native Americans and Oklahoma have been entwined since Oklahoma gained statehood. During the 1830s, tribes such as the Cherokee and Seminole roamed the territory farming bison.
Time and time again during the history of Oklahoma, the Native Americans have been central protagonists.
The Indian Wars of the 1870s meant that the federal government forcibly relocated Native American tribes from the Northeast to Oklahoma.
In the early 1890s, President Benjamin Harrison signed a bill into law, which allowed native land to be settled by homesteaders.
The sheer number of tribes in Oklahoma meant that the cultures from the different tribes melded together to form a culture that is known as ‘Oklahoma Indians’.
This history and culture is something that the Thunder focused on with the city uniform.
The jersey has little details that reference Native American culture.
The belt pattern on the jersey is derived from a traditional tribal sash.
The graphic on the front of the jersey represents the importance the sun is to Native Americans.
The lettering used on the uniform is inter-locked and is different from the Thunder’s usual style; it feels much warmer compared to the association jersey.
The font used on the Association kit is businesslike; it feels cold.
These details elevate the jersey from being simply something that players wear into being a garment that represents the state’s history.
I feel that is the magic of basketball jerseys; the jersey is a canvas in which aspects of a team’s culture should expand on.
From a purely aesthetic perspective, this jersey is the best-looking in Thunder history.
The choice of colors is bold, turquoise can look washed out under harsh lighting, and the orange used on the uniform is not always a right contrasting color to have.
However, these colors work on the Thunder jersey.
The turquoise fits nicely with the orange lining, and it gives the jersey a vibrancy that not many other Thunder jerseys have.
The majority of Thunder jerseys have been somewhat staid over the last twelve years.
There has not been much experimentation with colors and graphics.
On this jersey, the Thunder pushed the boat out.
The letters and numbers on the back on the jersey were also visually appealing, the white letters contrasted nicely with the turquoise.
It is the most fashionable jersey that the Thunder have produced over twelve years.
The Native American jersey was something that you could wear casually without looking like a team-obsessed fan.
In a way, the jersey represented Oklahoma City’s development as a city.
The city was regarded as a red-neck Midwestern outpost when the Thunder came to town in 2008.
The perception of Oklahoma City is different today.
Oklahoma City is a city that is thriving on the cultural front.
The Thunder’s jerseys went from being dull to fresh and dope with the City uniform while remembering the state’s heritage.
The jersey can also be seen as a touchstone for the future design of the Thunder.
It feels like the right time for the Thunder to re-work the traditional blue, white, and orange into more refreshing designs.
The Thunder proved that they could do a more creative look with the City uniform; it is time to follow up with the other jerseys.
There are other close contenders, the black and gold City uniform from this season is a strong contender, but I love the turquoise jersey.
The color scheme elevates this City uniform over the current City jersey.