Orlando Magic hit home run with latest City Edition, but why not blue?

Mohamed Bamba is among the young players who are trying to make their mark for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Mohamed Bamba is among the young players who are trying to make their mark for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic’s new City Edition jerseys are out and have gotten wide praise from both the fan base and the larger national media.

The jerseys are the third iteration of the team’s orange set. Each one has seemingly been better than the last going from the anthracite test balloon to last year’s white and orange pinstripes back to this year’s anthracite remix version.

Teams throughout the league are remixing previous versions of their jerseys in celebration of the league’s 75th anniversary. If Orlando was going to stick with the orange jersey, this was the way to do it. The jerseys are extremely nice:


The photos the team took on media day further cement this as the best version of the team’s City Edition uniforms — certainly better than the two space attempts and better than the two previous orange jerseys.

The Orlando Magic released a widely praised and fantastic new City Edition jersey. But the consistent opinion is they would look a lot better in blue.

The details are the jersey are pretty astounding. The team hit a home run with the design in integrating elements from the old jersey to the new one and creating something new. Fans are eager to see them debut at the end of the month during the team’s Thanksgiving homestand.

Any time the team brings back any element from the original jerseys or logo, it is going to be popular among fans.

Like last year using the original font with the white jersey, going to the original wordmark even in orange is immediately popular. Using the pinstripes — even if they are styled like the current jersey’s pinstripes — was also a necessity.

Last year’s uniforms were extremely popular just for that reason.

The pinstripes though are not actually pinstripes. If you look closely the pinstripes are actually the phrase “Why not us, why not now?” the rallying cry from team chairman Rich DeVos during the team’s historic run to the 1995 NBA Finals. It remains one of the big rallying cries for the team and a treasured memory in the franchise’s history.

The other nice element of the jersey is the use of the team’s original secondary logo running down the side of the shorts.

The original streaking basketball was the most unique element of the previous logo and became the shorthand for the Magic everywhere. Any time that big blue — or orange, I guess — basketball it usually piques everyone’s interest. Just watch the reaction whenever the coaching staff wheres their quarter zips with the big blue basketball on it.

Magic fans have expressed a ton of support for this design. Their only complaint was that they used the current wordmark for the numbers rather than returning to the original number design, which was used in last year’s version.

The only thing that would make this design even better is if it returned to the team’s traditional blue and black color scheme. And that is probably the biggest missing element.

The orange has been nice and a good experiment. But it is time for the team to return to its blue colors with these jerseys.

Intrepid designers have already mocked up several versions of this jersey using the team’s traditional colors. And they appear to be very well received:

These were based on projections of what the jerseys would be and are slightly different than the current city edition jerseys. But it is hard not to come away impressed with what this would look like in the team’s traditional colors.

That is certainly a reason to get excited about the jersey future. The biggest complaint about the jerseys, it seems, is that the team will use the same orange and anthracite court it has used for City Edition jerseys the last two seasons.

To be sure, the whole Nike City Edition jersey is a moneymaker.

Magic CEO Alex Martins told Josh Robbins of The Athletic the orange city edition jerseys have been extremely popular with even the original anthracite jersey proving to be one of the most successful sellers in the team’s history — even if it is the least critically acclaimed of the team’s alternate jerseys.

Martins said fan feedback has played a role as they have worked to evolve those uniforms each season — very few teams have repeated City Edition jerseys and teams have grabbed a new jersey each year.

The next evolution might well be to close this orange era and look to build different iterations of this current City Edition jersey. Especially if they prove particularly popular and sell fast.

Barring a completely new design, perhaps the number one request Magic fans have for the team’s branding is to go back to the original design as much as possible. Most fans lament the team from ever changing its logo or its jerseys — although both certainly needed a modern update at that time as teams moved away from jerseys like the original pinstripes and the cartoon jerseys that both the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets are honoring with their mixtape City Edition jerseys and went for cleaner looks.

Any time the team uses some element from the original jersey or logo, it is immediately popular. Fans eagerly await the anniversary seasons when the league allows teams to bring out throwback designs — the 35th anniversary season comes in two years in 2024-25 and the Magic can bring back a throwback jersey again.

And fans are even clamoring for the team to honor the Tracy McGrady-era stars jerseys that get constantly drowned out by how beloved the original pinstripes are.

The Magic’s current jersey set (except for the team’s blue Statement Edition jersey which was added a few years ago) was established in 2008 and tried to blend the original pinstripes with a more modern look.

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They did not miss the mark. It was a good idea and a good attempt. But fans have not taken to these uniforms for a variety of reasons — the wordmarks are perhaps the biggest reason for this disconnect which gets to the bigger issues of how some fans are eager to see a logo redesign.

The orange set was a great experiment to have — something Nike allowed with its willingness to design and produce tons of jerseys for their teams (just look at UCF and Oregon, among others). It has been a huge success. The jerseys have been solid and different and fans have responded well to them.

But there are so many good jersey designs the Magic have brought out under the orange banner. Jerseys that would be served as well in the blue color scheme.

It is hard to come up with a new jersey design and if these remix jerseys sell well, there is no reason the Magic should not come up with new colorways to keep selling and changing them. That is what the Miami Heat did with the super-successful Vice jerseys they have used as their City Edition jerseys for the last four years.

The Magic’s pinstripe jerseys are sacrosanct among Magic fans. Anything that resembles them or calls back to them will get devoured by fans.

There is unfortunately no going back to them. But the team continues to create great riffs and callbacks to them. And they will always be popular.

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While the orange jerseys have been a unique spin and something different. This team wears blue and these throwback jerseys will always be best in blue.