Jean-Michel Basquiat has been dead since 1988 — before most of the current Nets were even alive. But the late artist is still impacting the Brooklyn borough where he was born and the Nets now play.
The Nets have honored local artists before with alternate uniforms. And their latest “City Edition” jersey will fete Basquiat, a 1970s street artist who made the transition to galleries before dying at 27. Nets star Kevin Durant has cited Basquiat as someone who inspired him; now he’ll don a Basquiat-inspired uniform.
The news was first reported by SportsLogos.Net, and was later confirmed by the Post.
The black jersey has “BKLYN NETS” emblazoned across the front in white lettering, along with a blue-and-gold Nike swoosh and multi-colored rainbow trim down the side. The NBA logo is adorned with a crown — befitting Kings County — under Basquiat’s name above that.
At just 22, Basquiat became the youngest artist to exhibit at the Whitney Biennial in New York. One of his paintings sold for $110.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction in May 2017, setting a record for any American artist at auction.
Durant — who was born a month after Basquiat’s tragic death from a drug overdose — spoke Tuesday at the inaugural Young CEO Experience, a conference in partnership between his platform The Boardroom and Overtime. Durant talked with Overtime CEO Dan Porter about studying various giants in their field, and cited Basquiat.
“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. “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.”
It’s not the first time the Nets have honored a late local artist, and it’s not the only new uniform expected to be unveiled this upcoming season.
The Nets’ popular Coogi jerseys are a tribute to late rap icon Biggie Smalls, the first name that came to new head coach Steve Nash’s mind when he was asked in Tuesday’s town hall about what Brooklyn meant to him.
Earlier this month, photos appeared online of the Nets’ retro-style 1990s vintage New Jersey uniforms from the Kenny Anderson-Derrick Coleman-Drazen Petrovic era.
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