A poster on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter, made the claim earlier this week that NBA games on Christmas have lost their aura in recent years.
Part of that is the lack of special uniforms, which were a staple of Christmas games from 2012-16 but were discontinued when Nike took over the league contract ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Nike, of course, opted for the City Edition uniforms instead, creating a new design each season that highlights the connection between the teams and their communities rather than a one-game design.
That said, if there’s one person in the league who could convince Nike to create Christmas-specific uniforms once again, it’s Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, who publicly shared his desire to see them return.
“I do wish we had Xmas uniforms across the league still,” James said in a post on X prior to the Lakers’ 126-115 loss to the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day. “Wonder why it stopped.”
This isn’t the first time that James has expressed that sentiment, either, as he tweeted something similar ahead of the Lakers’ 2019 Christmas matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“MAN I wish I walked into the locker room tomorrow and we had Christmas Day uniforms,” he said. “It’s a MUST we bring those back. I’ve been seeing those Lakers unis over the airways. Sheesh.”
The NBA at least acknowledged Christmas this year, as all 10 teams that played on Monday wore a snowflake patch on the back of their jerseys. This fell in line with what the league did from 2008-11, though it was on the front of each team’s jerseys instead.
With that, let’s take a look at the league’s other Christmas-themed uniforms:
The league leaned into the Christmas theme in 2012 with “BIG Color” uniforms that featured a base color with a contrasting outline around the wordmark and numbers.
The uniforms were promoted with a commercial that showed Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, Russell Westbrook and Dwayne Wade impressively dribbling to “Carol of the Bells.”
The NBA’s previous outfitter, adidas, pushed sleeved jerseys on teams in 2013, with them making an appearance on Christmas Day and at the 2014 All-Star Game.
The Christmas-specific designs once again featured a single base color with a large silver team logo on the chest, numbers on the left sleeve and team-colored accents.
The following year, the NBA made a few small tweaks to each team’s standard uniforms, replacing the wordmark on the chest with their logo and adding each player’s first name on the back below the numbers.
The league and adidas said in a statement that the jerseys were “a nod to (the players’) familiarity and popularity with the NBA fanbase around the world.”
My personal favorite(s) of the group, the 2015 and 2016 uniforms both featured festive colors and a script wordmark inspired by Christmas cards.
The 2015 set followed each team’s standard design and added cream accents while the 2016 sets were a bit more generic but included each team’s secondary color in the numbers and wordmark, as shown in our header photo.