The New Orleans Pelicans unveiled their new uniforms for the 2017-18 season and, while they feature familiar colors, there are some nuanced changes.
Most notably, the words “New Orleans” — etched across the front of both jerseys unveiled by the franchise Thursday — are significantly bolder and larger than their predecessors. Those block letters are a hallmark of Nike, which took over the league’s apparel contract from Adidas this season.
The Pelicans only revealed two of their jerseys Thursday, with the likelihood of releasing more throughout the offseason.
The first was a navy blue jersey with white letters. The second was a white jersey with blue letters. Each has a gold trim with red accents, including all of the colors from the city flag.
For the first time, there’s no clear distinction about which of these uniforms will be considered the home or away get-up. Instead, the traditional home white uniforms are now dubbed “The Association,” while the formerly road blue uniform is called “The Icon."
Home teams are allowed to pick whichever version they prefer, regardless of locale, and the visitor will wear a contrasting style.
These are the first changes to the Pelicans' primary uniforms since the franchise rebranded away from the Hornets in 2013. There are likely at least two more uniform combinations yet to be revealed, and the league said those will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
For the Pelicans, those uniforms are expected to be a red jersey with white lettering spelling out the team’s nickname, and a Mardi Gras combination of purple, green and gold the team wears during home games in January and February.
One other aspect still to be unveiled is the sponsorship patch, which the NBA has allowed for the first time this season. Many teams unveiled their corporate partner patch during the initial Nike jersey announcement, but the Pelicans' lapel was left blank in the team’s official photos. It’s not clear whether the team will forego the patch entirely or whether it's waiting to announce a partnership.
As far as performance, Nike said its uniforms are the lightest the NBA has ever used, claiming the new material absorbs sweat faster, with changes to the neck, back shoulder and armhole made to enhance agility. They were tested by members of last summer's gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team.