Anyone for Basquiatball? The Brooklyn Nets Will Adopt Jerseys Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat for Its Upcoming Season

Nets star forward Kevin Durant this week expressed particular interest in the work of the artist.

Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images.
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images.

It’s a collision between two of Brooklyn’s most powerful cultural forces: basketball and a local street artist known the world over.

Next season, the Brooklyn Nets will honor Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the borough’s best-known exports, with a new alternate jersey featuring several of his most famous imprints. And the world is already buzzing.

Images of the top, which were first published by SportsLogos.net, and which have since been confirmed as valid by the New York Post, feature the phrase “BKLYN NETS” in a scrawl vaguely (and yes, it is… very vaguely) reminiscent of Basquiat’s handwriting.

Rainbow trim outlines the jersey, which also includes the artist’s signature, as well as his well-known crown emblem, placed just above the NBA logo.

The top is part of the NBA’s line of “City Editions” jerseys, which are reimagined each year for teams around the league. In 2019, the Nets honored another native, Notorious BIG, with a special jersey calling out his Bed-Stuy neighborhood.

The Brooklyn Nets' jersey honoring Notorious BIG. Courtesy the National Basketball Association.

The Brooklyn Nets’ jersey honoring Notorious BIG. Courtesy the National Basketball Association.

At least one Brooklyn player has already expressed a particular love for Basquiat.

This week, at the Young CEO Experience conference, star Nets forward Kevin Durant mentioned the artist as part of a group of leaders he’s been closely studying.

“I wanted to see how they got to that point mastering their craft. From a Basquiat to a Dr. Dre to a Michael Jordan to a Jay Electronica. All types of people that I feel are great at what they do,” Durant said, according to the New York Post. “Elon Musk, guys like that who really spent a lot of time thinking. Kanye West. I just try to see what their perspective was and try to make it my own and do my own thing.”

Basquiat, of course, has huge numbers of fans—including among the wealthiest people in the world. In 2017, a untitled work by the artist sold for an astounding $110.5 million at Sotheby’s New York, shattering the record of $56.3 million for another work by the artist, set in 2016 at Christie’s.

His estate has also been quite liberal when it comes to licensing, allowing imagery associated with the artist to adorn everything from Comme des Garçons shirts to Uniqlo t-shirts to Reebok shoes.


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