Clippers Top 5 alternate uniforms over last decade

Here is a look at Eric Patten's Top 5 favorite Clippers “alternate” uniforms in the last decade.

The Clippers officially unveiled their 2022-23 City Edition uniforms on Thursday, and debuted them on the court against the Brooklyn Nets Saturday. The release of his year’s City uniforms follows a revamped Statement Edition uniform, which made its on-court debut Wednesday against the Lakers. Since Nike became the league’s outfitter in 2017-18, teams have utilized at least four uniform sets each year and have used the first couple months of the season to showcase new threads, including six new City uniforms. . 

Here is a look at my personal top 5 favorite Clippers “alternate” uniforms in the last decade: 

1. City Edition 2021-22 

One of the only City Editions that did not include black were the original “nautical” uniforms that were released for the 2017-18 season. This mixed the current word mark with a baby blue base color and white and orange accents. While the 2017-18 version was the original, the 2021-22 refrain was perfection. It utilized the same base colors and white sails on the shorts, but flipped the “script” (pun intended) by replacing the standard lettering across the chest with the script Clippers that was last used during the 2009-10 season. It was such a fan favorite that most bemoaned them going away, and others have suggested that they just become the team’s standard uniforms.  

Feb 15, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; LA Clippers forward Nicolas Batum (33) dunks against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2. City Edition 2022-23

I know this will be met with recency bias. I was going to write this piece BEFORE the new jerseys were released in order to avoid a snap judgment. I initially thought that they were a little uninspired. I’ll admit when I’m wrong. The Drew League inspiration from the script “Los Angeles” to the green accents to the mosaic outline around the words and LAC on the shorts are epic. This was partnered with a beautiful alternative center court logo. Seeing them in person on Saturday, sealed the deal. They are enough of a departure from their other black uniforms to be unique and the history and inspiration behind the design are the real toppers. 

Nov 12, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) dribbles a ball during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

3. City Edition 2019-20

Considering the court predominantly uses the color black and most years recently, the Clippers have one, if not two, alternate black uniforms, I decided to go with the original Mister Cartoon designed uniforms for No. 3. The word mark is amazing, harkening tattoo artistry and the originals popped in a way that the following year didn’t quite as much, if only because we’d already seen it before and the inverse version wasn’t as unique as the original. This one also was rarely seen in person by Clippers fans. They were officially unveiled on Nov. 22, 2019 and were worn only a handful of times before the league shutdown due to the pandemic in March 2020.

Aug 21, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts to a call during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

4. Blue Alternate 2012-15

If No. 2 is recency bias, this one is personal bias. During the Adidas era of NBA jerseys, most alternative versions basically took a secondary color and inverted the primary road jersey. In this case, the Clippers used their script “Los Angeles” red road uniforms and flipped the red with royal blue. The players ultimately seemed to prefer the blue to the red, and wore them throughout the 2014 playoffs, including in road wins at Golden State and Oklahoma City. An unrelated reason I like these uniforms is that it’s a refrain on the blue alternates from early in the 2000s, most notably the Elton Brand and Corey Maggette teams. The biggest difference? They lost a gaudy white stripe down each side that was too much of a distraction on the older ones. 

May 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) tries to calm down his teammates against the Memphis Grizzlies in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

5. LA Stars 2011-12

As a commemoration for the 45th anniversary of the American Basketball Association (ABA), several teams in the 2011-12 season wore ABA inspired threads. The Clippers arguably had the best of the bunch. They combined the baby blue of the San Diego years with a deep red. They were adorned with stars that raced up and down each side of the uniform set and an off kilter “Los Angeles” block font. They were quirky, like the ABA, and were unique to that season alone. 

Feb. 28, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) points down court in the first half of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center. Timberwolves won 109-97. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

BONUS Christmas 2012-13

I couldn’t bring myself to include these one-off jerseys in the actual top 5, but I loved the monochromatic Christmas jerseys from 2012-13. It was a signal in some way of where the league was headed, allowing teams to wear dark colors at the same time as opposed to the traditional white home uniforms. 

December 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Lamar Odom (7) reacts in the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center. Clippers won 112-100. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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