June 25, 2022


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

NBA: Mix up forces Oklahoma City Thunder to swap jerseys

NBA history was made Friday night.

When the Atlanta Hawks played the Oklahoma City Thunder, the court was a sea of red for the first 24 minutes. That’s because both teams wore strikingly similar uniforms with the Hawks wearing their bright red icon edition jerseys and the Thunder opting for their orange jolt statement jerseys. The confusion was so bad that the NBA requested the uniform swap at halftime. A Thunder spokesperson said that the Hawks were wearing the wrong uniform, but because the Thunder were at home and had the options, they were the ones to switch to their white jerseys.

The Thunder were up 63-55 at the break and didn’t need to make any other changes as they went on to win 118-109. They were led by 24 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Five other players scored double digits, including Darius Bazley who had 18 points and 12 rebounds. USC alum Onyeka Okongwu scored four points in four minutes for the Hawks.

This is reportedly the first time in more than 4,000 games that the NBA has run into such an issue. Since Nike became the league’s official outfitter in 2017, they created four uniforms for each team to wear, scrapping the traditional method of white for the home team, color for away. The league creates a schedule where the home team picks their outfit first, followed by the opponent. The selections are reviewed to avoid mixups. It worked perfectly until Friday.

The official Locker Vision site shows the schedule of what teams will be wearing when. It has filters to sort by team and type of game along with links to purchase the jerseys from each team’s official shop.

In 2018, Boston Celtics equipment manager John Connor explained the new process to the Boston Herald. “The league gives us a master schedule. We put it on the wall and we just give out what’s on the wall. We get the schedule and what we’re supposed to wear from the league, and it’s for the whole year. It used to be Paul Pierce saying, ‘Hey, let’s wear the green/black ones.’ Not anymore. The players can’t control it.”