The swanky patches on LeBron James' and Kobe Bryant's All-Star warm-ups. (Image via @SteveKylerNBA)
HOUSTON — When LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and the rest of the participants in Sunday night's 2013 NBA All-Star Game come out of the locker room to take the court at the Toyota Center, you'll be able to see exactly how much they've been able to achieve in the league, not just based on the level of their play, but also by patches displaying and recounting their career highlights on their black-and-white warm-up jackets.
The NBA and Adidas described the idea of celebrating each individual All-Star's C.V. when they unveiled this year's All-Star jerseys last month, but they didn't reveal what the customization would look like. And given the look of the jerseys themselves — which The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby described as a "wacky" uniform combining "every design feature you can imagine" into a finished product that "came out looking like a default create-a-team uniform from 'NBA Live 2001'" — that mystery presented some cause for concern. But if the patches on the warm-up jackets of the Miami Heat's James, the Los Angeles Lakers' Bryant and the San Antonio Spurs' Duncan (which you can see after the jump) are any indication, the resulting graphical representation of each players' accomplishments actually came out pretty cool.
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Ugh, it's so like Tim Duncan to just BRAG about his accomplishments. (Image via @SteveKylerNBA)
As the NBA and Adidas detailed in their initial release, the jackets "represent individual career accomplishments such as NBA All-Star Game appearances and All-Star MVP awards, NBA titles, in addition to season awards including MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Scoring Championships." While the jerseys were reportedly inspired by Houston's aeronautical history, the jackets seem to have been inspired by the awards and decorations on military dress uniforms.
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This, of course, lends itself more to veteran player with a lengthy career full of achievements, like Bryant's five NBA titles, James' three league MVPs and Duncan's 14 All-Star selections than to younger players and first-time All-Stars whose bodies of work might not be quite so impressive yet. In a way, though, that's good — it reminds you of why we spend more time talking about and celebrating those guys. Maybe it'll even offer some of those first-timers a reminder of the legendary levels to which they're aspiring, and the kind of consistent excellence that will be required to get there.
Hat-tip to Steve Kyler of USA TODAY Sports.
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