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Minnesota’s homage to Prince with City Edition unis more than a dash of Purple Rain


The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a bevy of uniform changes in the last few years, but none more welcome than the this season’s City Edition, which pays homage to the late Prince, a Minneapolis native that is among the most renowned artists to grace the city. While it could have been easy to make the jerseys loud and poppy, they’re actually crisp and modern, while paying respects to the artist with more than just a dash of Purple Rain.

NBA outfitter Nike and Prince’s estate collaborated in the making of this jersey, keeping Nike’s modern style in consideration while finding subtle, yet noticeable ways to pay homage to Prince.

“This partnership brings together the city of Minneapolis, and more broadly the state of Minnesota, in an exciting effort to honor Prince,” Prince’s estate said in a statement released to ESPN.com. “From a young age, Prince enjoyed basketball — as a player and a fan. From his days playing at Bryant Junior High and Central High in South Minneapolis, through countless pick-up games while on the road with bandmates, he enjoyed the camaraderie and competition of the game.”

Prince was only 5-foot-3, but his game was much bigger than his height — as tales of his playing days have been well storied throughout his long music career, making the occasional appearance at different NBA games.

Tyus Jones, a Minnesota native just like Prince has enjoyed the subtle touches, from the “Wolves” lettering in the same font as his famous album “Purple Rain” (one that repeats in the shorts lettering of MPLS) to the circles inside round numbers (6, 8, and 9) to resemble the horn of Prince’s signature guitar.

“They exceeded my expectations,” Jones told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “Being from here, you know. He’s obviously an icon, but he’s even more of an icon and a legend here.”

The Timberwolves will debut these new uniforms on Nov. 16 at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, wearing them five times at the Target Center and three times on the road this season. Generally, these City Edition uniforms are a one-off for most NBA teams, but most players in the locker room are hopeful they can bring them back another year like the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz have done with their respective unis.