I was watching the Brooklyn Nets against the Charlotte Hornets the other night, and as Kevin Durant was shooting a free throw (below left), I noticed the unusual jersey and wondered “why do they have the “Nets” name in funky parentheses? I thought it looked cool, but it didn’t make any sense to me visually.
Then the game announcer mentioned that these were new “City Edition Basquiat Jerseys, inspired by the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat.” I’m a huge fan of Basquiat’s art, and to be honest with you, I don’t see much of a connection. Sure, Basquiat had numerous paintings with words in them, and he had a somewhat distinct hand-writing style, but I don’t look at this “BKLYN NETS” font on the jerseys and think Basquiat. To their credit, they did put the iconographic Basquiat “crown” on the shorts, as can be seen on Kyrie Irving’s jersey, below right, so that helps a little bit. Here’s a look at Basquiat’s painting titled “Tuxedo” from 1982, in which you can see both an example of the Basquiat crown and his handwriting, and then you can be the judge of how Basquiat-like these jerseys are.