Clashing uniforms in Hawks/Thunder prompts rare, mid-game jersey change


There was a time, before the recent explosion of alternate jerseys seemingly marking every occasion (Latin heritage month, Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, military appreciation, retro, City Edition, etc.), when sports uniforms were fairly straightforward. Home teams wore white and visitors wore colors. End of story.

Of course, anyone who has seen an Oregon Ducks game in recent years knows that’s no longer the case. There’s certainly a financial element at play—each successive jersey provides more merchandising opportunities—but whatever the reason for the recent influx of non-traditional uniforms, the die appears to be cast. Like it or not, alternates are here to stay.

With teams continuing to push the envelope, desperately trying to outdo each other in a league-wide arms race for the most outlandish uniforms, Friday night’s debacle in Oklahoma City was bound to happen sooner or later. Not adhering to the conventional home-road aesthetic of hosts wearing white, the Thunder took the floor in their “City Edition” alternates, featuring a color scheme nearly identical to that of the visiting Hawks. To quote the iconic Pepper Brooks of ESPN Ocho fame, “they won’t be able to see very well, Cotton.”

In an effort to rectify this eyesore, the Thunder mercifully subbed out their orange tops at halftime, reverting to home whites for the game’s final two quarters.

Clashing threads have sadly become an occupational hazard in the increasingly reckless realm of sports alternates, where flash and one upmanship reign supreme. A similar scene unfolded during the NFL’s regrettable “Color Rush” craze of the mid-2010s, with the Bills and Jets blinding us with these garish green and red monstrosities.

At risk of coming off as an insufferable, “get-off-my-lawn” boomer, scowling with a rolled-up newspaper in hand, can we please, for the love of all that is holy, do the sensible thing and go back to the way it’s always been with home teams in white? I acknowledge that ship has likely sailed, but if we’re going full bore into the anarchy that is alternate uniforms, can we at least get the colors right, for the sake of my bleeding retinas? The Thunder won, by the way, claiming a 108-109 victory behind 24 points from All-Star snub Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

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