Why don’t the players wear their team’s jersey in the NBA All Star?

In Cleveland it will be disputed the 71st NBA All Star Game, an event that had its first edition at the Boston Garden in 1951, and which is now celebrating, incidentally, the 75th birthday of the best basketball league in the world. A competition that takes advantage of this weekend to show off its good health and show the muscle from his matchless collection of stars. That includes the design of some uniforms that are always one of the most talked about issues in each edition. Especially now, in the golden age of marketing and merchandising.

It wasn’t always like this. In the first All Star, in 1951, the players wore jerseys with numbers, without letters and with no other adornment than quite large stars.. Things evolved, of course, and in 1967 the first uniform truly designed to stand out in an All Star Game arrived: since the event was in San Francisco, the theme of The City in jerseys reminiscent of some of the models the Warriors have worn in recent years. In 1972, with the appointment at the Forum in LA, the All Star jerseys evoked the Lakers. That taste for thematic gave some very celebrated uniforms, like the one from 1980, in Washington and with memories of the Bullets. And it returned in the 90s with the unforgettable designs of Phoenix 1995 (with the cactus and the colors soft and purple) and San Antonio 1996, the Fiesta edition.

But the most remembered shirts are those that played with simple designs and the colors red, white and blue. Immovable between 1985 and 1990 and that returned as the main theme from 2002. Between 1997 and that 2002, however, there was a anomaly that many remember as one of the best moments in terms of All Star uniforms: each player wore the usual one of the team in which he played, the white version of those who were local (East or West) and the colored version of the visitor who theoretically played away depending on the venue. This is how some of the best All Star Games of all time arrived: Kobe Bryant’s debut in 1998, with his duel against Michael Jordan, or the comeback of the East in 2001 on the shoulders of Allen Iverson.

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The effect was attractive, that is unquestionable. But in 2002 it returned to the white, red and blue patterns, and to the design of particular uniforms for each All Star. Basically for an economic reason. As fans spent more money on merchandisingthe All Star jerseys became valuable pieces that the brand that designed and manufactured them wanted to exploit. So it didn’t make sense for players to just wear their franchise kit. Instead, they opted for different and significant designs each year, also to turn that aesthetic part into another of the mainstays of the event, a differentiating issue from the All-Star Party. For this reason, although there are those who claim them, those kits of the team itself have not returned. The closest thing we have seen are special shirts (black and white) with the logos of each team on the chest within the same design, except for that logo, for all those who played on the same side.

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