The Evolution of the NBA All-Star Jersey

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Starting Lineup

The idea of an NBA All-Star game was conceived in 1951 after a meeting took place between Haskell Cohen, an NBA publicist, and Walter Brown, then owner of the Boston Celtics.

Cohen and Brown wanted to introduce the All-Star game during the college scandals of the time. Point-shaving misconduct infiltrated the NCAA in the 1951 season, giving basketball a “black eye.” At the time, college teams would intentionally control the scores of their game – ultimately determining the winner of certain bets against a point spread. Still, Brown pushed forward with his idea; he was so confident that he pledged to cover the full cost as well as any losses associated with the risky venture.

Brown was also warned by Maurice Podoloff, the NBA commissioner at the time, to call the game off due to the fear of ticket sales flopping and public shame. The game proved to be a huge success, with around 10,000 fans flocking to Boston Garden to experience the coast-to-coast showdown. The Eastern conference emerged victorious (111–94), with “Easy” Ed Macauley – center and power forward for the Boston Celtics – leading the scorers with 20. Big Ed also played a pivotal role in containing league superstar George Mikan to only 12 points.

In the end, the All-Star match was a smash hit among basketball fans and changed the public view of the once-corrupt sport. The NBA adopted the game as an annual tradition and has made the midseason event a staple in the league since.

Looking Back to Look Forward

The NBA All-Star game has become a celebrated event that allows players and fans alike to enjoy an all-out coast-to-coast basketball exhibition match. Teams are crafted through a democratic process, with the starting lineup selected from a fan ballot, and the reserves voted on by the head coaches of each conference. Coaches are prohibited from advocating players from their own team.

Over the years, exceptional players have filled the All-Star rosters – setting the mark high for future All-Stars aiming to surpass them. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant – both former superstars of the Los Angeles Lakershold the best individual records for the most games played and most games started (Abdul-Jabbar is tied for second place for most games started with Bob Cousy and Michael Jordan – they each have started 13 times).

Earlier this year, the NBA announced that the 66th All-Star game would take place at the Smoothie King Center – the home nest of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Big Easy will have more than Mardi Gras to celebrate next year, as the league’s top players will soon congregate to face off in an intense coast-to-coast showdown!

Read on to see how the Eastern and Western Conferences have modified their #NBAAllStar jerseys throughout the course of this legendary game.

Notable Jersey Changes

GIF of the NBA All-Star Jersey Evolution over the years

1951:

The inaugural All-Star jersey models a basic design with a simple blue colorway. Jersey numbers are placed in the center and surrounded by six stars.

1962:

Eastern and Western Conference identifiers are added above the jersey numbers, while the stars remain in place. A thick-cut stripe runs down both sides of the jersey and features six stars on the shorts.

1969:

The league – striving to achieve a more minimal look – eliminates the stars on the jersey.

1975:

The Phoenix Suns flare appears on the jersey to reflect the All-Star game is taking place in Phoenix during the 1974–75 season. For the first time, the jerseys undergo a major color transformation, as the Eastern Conference utilizes purple as their primary color. Flames are added on either side of the shorts and host players’ respective conference identifier (East or West).

1979:

The Western Conference switches things up by utilizing a darker shade of red as their primary jersey color. East and West Coast identifiers slope down the center of the torso, with the jersey number lingering underneath. A stripe – decorated with stars on either side – is added to the shoulders.

1982:

The Eastern Conference opts for a white jersey with red accents. “All Stars” is now perched above the jersey number – a different font is introduced this year. The East and West designations now appear on the shorts. They tuck in their tops as well, which enables players to flaunt their red-and-black waistbands.

1984:

The All-Star team reverts to solid red as the primary color. Blue and white trim align the arm openings, and two rows of multicolored stars run down the length of the jersey.  

1991–1994:

The home conference makes use of a white jersey with red and blue trim. The jersey number remains in the middle but sits on top of a large 3-D star. “NBA” lurks above the number in block-style fashion, while “All-Stars” is below it. During this time, the visiting division switches between blue and red jerseys. The official NBA logo appears on the upper left side of the chest.

1995:

The All-Star game returns to Phoenix and honors the Grand Canyon State by featuring a cactus in front of an orange star. The jersey numbers are moved to the upper left side of the torso, and “NBA All Stars” is placed toward the bottom.  

2003:

The NBA logo is now visible in two different areas of the jersey. Multicolored stars run along the sides of the jersey, and the All-Stars revert to using a red, white, and blue color palette. Conference identifiers (East and West) stack vertically on the left side of the players’ shorts.

2007:

The league modifies the red and blue colors, opting for a darker hue. The conference titles are now in cursive, and the jersey numbers are reduced in size. A star is placed on the upper-right side of the torso; the NBA logo is on the inside. For the first time, the Adidas three-stripe pattern is seen on the sides of the jersey.

2010:

The Adidas logo sits adjacent to the NBA star logo. The font used for the letters and numbers is also slightly modified. Players’ names sit beneath their numbers on the backside of the jersey.

2014:

For the first time in All-Star history, the jerseys have sleeves. The numbers are moved from the center to the sleeves, and the backs of the jerseys feature players’ names above their numbers once again. The teams utilize the 2014 New Orleans All-Star logo as the centerpiece of their jerseys.

2016:

The All-Stars aim for a minimalist design. The jersey – drawing inspiration from the city and culture of Toronto – features the Toronto skyline across the back. The NBA logo is decorated with a maple leaf below the neck (also on the back of the jersey), which pays tribute to Canada’s national symbol. Simple, bold numbers and letters define and refine this jersey.

From the East to the West, be sure to root for only the best! Support the conference of your choice by rockin’ the latest jerseys of the hottest All-Stars this year. Head over to Fanatics – the one-stop shop for all your NBA fan gear and memorabilia.

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The NBA All-Star Game 2017 Series Simulation


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2017 NBA All-Star Game is slated to take place on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. in New Orleans. This marks the third time the Big Easy has hosted the best and brightest professional basketball stars. This year’s rosters show plenty of big names, and the 66th installment of the annual exhibition is definitely not short on premium players.

To get a feel for what might happen, we decided to run a best-of-seven series game simulation to see how the teams will do, which conference would come out on top, and how individual players will fare on the court. If you’re into spoilers, continue reading to see how this year’s All-Star Game just might play out.

Building an All-Star Roster

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As with every All-Star matchup, the best players from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will face off. This year, the Eastern starters include Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler. Representing the West, we have Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis.

The reserves for each conference are also not lacking for star power, as the East features players such as John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Paul George, Kevin Love (being replaced by Carmelo Anthony due to injury), and Paul Millsap. The West’s bench will hold standouts like Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Draymond Green.

It’s no surprise to see many selections from the two most recent conference winners – with three players from the Cavs, and the Warriors sending four. These aren’t the only teams and players making waves this season, though: Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 shooting guard, is excelling in his play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Russell Westbrook is on his way to averaging a triple-double for the Thunder down in OKC.

A Simulated Series Sweep

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We built each All-Star team and had them play against one another on a neutral court in a simulated series. We distributed players so they would all play an equal amount of time (as close to equal as we could get) and crunched the data to see who came out on top.

The winner? The Western Conference. They not only won the seven-game series but also swept it – winning the first four games and rendering the rest of the series unnecessary. The averages of points scored across the four games were 107.5 for the West and 95.5 for the East.

While this may or may not be a spoiler, it looks like the Western Conference All-Stars may win the game on Sunday.

Standouts on the Court

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There were more than a few standout players from our sim. James Harden was the player of the game for Game 1, followed by DeMarcus Cousins for Game 2, Stephen Curry for Game 3, and Russell Westbrook for Game 4. DeMarcus Cousins, incidentally, was the highest-scoring overall player in the series, landing a 13.8-point average per game (on the Eastern Conference side, Paul George was tops in this department with 11.9 points per game).

Not to be outdone, LeBron grabbed an average of 8.0 rebounds per game, and Russell Westbrook notched an impressive 4.3 assists per game. On the rebounds front, Anthony Davis topped out at 7.5 per game for the Western Conference, and for assists, John Wall checked in as the best in the Eastern Conference with 4.0 per game.

Game On

While we’ll have to watch this year’s All-Star Game play out to see if these predictions come true, we’re likely in for a feisty one, as scores are typically pretty high, and there is much fanfare from the intros to the halftime show and throughout the game itself.

If you’re going to check out this year’s All-Star Game, rest assured that Fanatics has pretty sweet All-Star Game gear, where you can grab your favorite player’s jersey with this year’s unique colors.

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