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Clippers Will Be on a First-name Basis with the Public on Christmas Day

The NBA has revealed the uniforms for the ten teams that will be playing on Christmas Day this season. The sleeveless look is back with a vengeance, but the league has elected to shake things up again. These special uniforms will prominently feature the player's number and the team's logo on the front, and they will display just the player's first name on the back.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Winter is coming, and the holiday season is just around the corner.  For many families, this is a time that is filled with traditions that give us all a warm and fuzzy feeling (tree decorating, eggnog, screenings of It's a Wonderful Life, etc.).  Not wanting to miss out on the fun, the NBA has a tradition of its own: the nationally televised Christmas Day games.  Families can binge on professional basketball from morning until evening, and it is considered an honor for a team to be selected to compete that day. This will be the fourth consecutive year in which the Clippers have been a part of the Christmas Day line-up.  For the second season in a row (and third time in four years), the Clippers will be matched up against the Golden State Warriors.  This will be the nightcap game, and it will take place at Staples Center.

The NBA has officially unveiled their crop of Christmas Day uniforms.  These kits tend to be whimsical and somewhat polarizing.  The controversial sleeved jersey from last season is officially passe (anyway, those were more fit for a kid's slumber party), and the league has brought back the more "mature" tank-top look.  Nonetheless, these jerseys still manage to make a statement:

At first glance, this might look like a normal uniform.  However, upon closer inspection, some of the differences are rather notable.  Although this will be a home game for the Clippers, they will be donning a uniform that looks more like a "road red" than a "home white."  But hey, it's festive!  More significantly, the top features neither the word "Clippers" nor the word "Los Angeles" at all.  Instead, it displays merely the "LAC" logo and the number of the player.  Why the league has chosen to make this kind of change on Christmas day is anyone's guess.  Perhaps, they are trying to make the NBA seem less regional and more international.  It may be a question of word association.  For example, they may want people to think "Blake Griffin" or "Chris Paul" when they hear the word "Clippers," instead of having their minds immediately go to "Los Angeles."  This is a subtle way to re-brand the NBA, and it will be interesting to see how effective it is.

Also, a significant aspect of these special edition jerseys is that they will display just the first name of the athlete.  For example, here is the uniform that Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls will sport on Christmas Day:

This is not the first time that the NBA has played around with the names of the players on the back of the jerseys.  Last season, during Nets-Heat games, the league had the players wear uniforms that displayed just nicknames.  For example, Paul Pierce's jersey had "Truth" on the back, and Lebron James' jersey said "King James."

Most players are identified by their last names around the world (or at the very least, some combination of their first and last names), so it is curious why the league is so keen to feature first names.  Also, It will be interesting to see what happens when multiple players on a team have the same first name.  Will both Chris Paul and the "other" Chris (Chris Douglas-Roberts) wear the same jersey?  Will they force Douglas-Roberts to wear a jersey that says "Christopher" or "Chris D." on the 25th?  Will he even be active?  Will he show up in a suit?  So many questions, but all will be answered in time.

On a parting note, fans should all hope for two things on December 25th.  One is that there will be no questionable ejections of any of the Clippers.  That would be fantastic!  The other is that the Clippers play Golden State way more competitively than they did on November 5, 2014.  A Clippers victory would be a nice present to the fans as well.