Looking back at the best Christmas Day NBA jerseys

ByBrianna Williams ESPN logo
Sunday, December 24, 2023

The NBA Christmas Day slate is always a gift, but the presence of a certain tradition has been missing from the holiday season in recent years: Christmas jerseys.

So, what happened?

The answer is simple: Nike took over the NBA's uniform contract from Adidas in 2017 and did not continue the festive looks of its predecessor.

Bah, humbug.

Despite its absence, Nike offers a variety of uniform combinations with its four jersey editions: Association, Icon, City and Statement.

Nike's decision hasn't stopped fans and players alike from missing the Yuletide attire.

On Christmas EveLeBron James, who will play on Christmas for the 17th season in a row, weighed in on the matter.

Nike, undeterred by the Los Angeles Lakers star's plea, does not have a plan for the fad to return.

"We like the assortment we have now. The storytelling we're able to tell is really robust," Nike said in 2021, per ESPN's Nick DePaula.

In the meantime, here's look down memory (or candy cane) lane at the short-lived holiday ensembles:

2008-11: Snowflakes

It all began with a white snowflake around the logo on the front of teams' jerseys. The league also made an effort to feature teams with primarily red and green colors.

2012: Big color

This monochromatic color scheme formally introduced the holiday trend on the 65th anniversary of Christmas Day NBA games.

2013: Big logo

The large, centered logo was intended to be the look's focal point, but the sleeves ended up taking most of the attention. Although the uniforms were 26% lighter than the traditional NBA jersey, players claimed the extra fabric affected their shooting. The T-shirt jersey also made an appearance in the All-Star Game.

Overall, these were not received well by NBA Twitter, including Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki.

2014: First-name basis

For the first time in this trend, the back of the jersey was the standout feature. Players' first names were placed on a panel below their numbers for this edition's defining design.

2015: Christmas cards

This year's jerseys were inspired by greeting cards with seasonal script with cursive lettering. This design was by far the most beloved of the collection.

2016: Christmas cards II

The style was so popular that the festive font returned for a second -- and final -- year.

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