The WNBA and Nike recently unveiled an impressive new lineup of uniforms and merchandise celebrating all 12 of the women’s league teams and the franchise’s 25th anniversary. On Thursday, April 8, Nike released the highly anticipated third jersey option, Rebel Edition, which “applauds the unapologetic, irreverent, and underrepresented voices who define each team’s home city and state.”
There are also the teams’ Heroine Edition (home) and Explorer Edition (away) uniforms being released next week.
“In 2021, Nike has a responsibility in our league partnerships to invest at a level that stands for something more,” VP of North America League Partnerships Sonja Henning said in the official release. “We have to make sure that ‘for all’ means inclusivity into a community where women can participate in sport, and in the conversations that only sport can open up.”
The new uniforms are much sharper and allow for more differentiation between the 12 teams. During previous seasons, the uniforms had to follow a specific template with only different colorways and sponsorships to distinguish the jerseys from other teams. However, with this redesign, new fonts, patterns, colors, and symbols have all been added to the array of uniforms.
The WNBA and Nike also focused on player feedback when designing their league’s new look. Players in the WBNA range in height from 5-foot-6 to 6-foot-9, and there is a variety of body types. The old uniforms didn’t fit well and made players resort to rolling their shorts to help get them to fit their frame or tucking in their jerseys underneath their sports bras’ shoulder straps to get their uniforms to fit their body right.
“I’m a gear person’s worst nightmare because I tuck and I roll and I twist and do everything else,” reigning WNBA MVP and Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson said. “But you could tell Nike was definitely like, ‘We’re going to try to make sure A’ja doesn’t [have to] do any of that.’
With the new uniforms, “players can choose between three necklines — round neck, V-neck and the new hybrid Victory neckline that is exclusive to the WNBA. The shorts have been redesigned with more room through the thighs and glutes, and the jersey has wider arm holes and a wider body to allow for more room in the abdomen and chest.”
However, the WNBA didn’t just get new uniforms from their collaboration with Nike, they also received new gameday sets. The Game Theater collection includes travel jackets, sweats, hoodies and other accessories. Although the Game Theater collection isn’t for commercial sale yet, many fans have expressed their excitement over the new clothes and are pushing for the merchandise to be available for the public.
Although the official start date for the 25th WNBA season hasn’t been released yet, fans and players alike are gearing up for what should be a very exciting season ahead. It seems as if the tides are finally changing for the WNBA and that they are finally getting the recognition that they deserve.
“Twenty-five years ago, the WNBA was a league that none of us knew was possible,” Henning said in the official release of the new WNBA uniforms. “Today, we’re in an empowering moment for women’s basketball players, but also for female and non-binary athletes across all sports. I can’t wait for what the next 25 years holds.”