Jersey mix-up forces Thunder to change at half

  • Covers the Oklahoma City Thunder for ESPN.com

Despite leading the Atlanta Hawks by eight points going into the halftime break on Friday, the Oklahoma City Thunder made a drastic second-half adjustment: They completely changed uniforms.

Because of a breakdown in the uniform selection and approval process, the Thunder and Hawks played the first half wearing extremely similar colors, the Hawks in their red “icon” uniforms and the Thunder in their orange “statement” alternates.

On television, the combination was especially bad.

The league requested the jersey change, a Thunder spokesperson said. The Hawks had only their red “icon” jerseys on their road trip, so the Thunder made the change to white for the second half.

With teams having multiple combinations and alternates to wear, and no longer observing the traditional standard of home white and road color, the uniform-selection process is done before the season for the entire schedule using an input system called LockerVision. The home team picks first, then the road team.

The league double-checks all combinations and approves them, but the Thunder and Hawks mistakenly slipped through the approval process, according to a league spokesperson.

Typically, when there are close contrasts such as the red-orange issue with OKC and Atlanta, the league catches it and corrects it before it happens. According to a league source, this is the first time in more than 4,000 games this has happened since the system was introduced.

There have been other notable basketball wardrobe malfunctions, such as the Argentina women’s national team forfeiting a game in the 2019 Pan Am Games because its players had the wrong jerseys on. In the 2002 NIT, both Syracuse and South Carolina showed up wearing white uniforms, with Syracuse changing in the first half and wearing orange tops and white shorts.

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