Wednesday marks tipoff time in the NBA as the 2019/20 regular season gets underway. It’s a wide-open season filled with storylines, meaning we have plenty of surprises instore on the path to the Finals.
If you’re a fan of the game, you might also notice a sudden influx of NBA jerseys out and about. That bloke in his 2012 LeBron James Heat jersey? Yeah, he’s back. And what about the NBA “fans” who were surprised to find a Russell Westbrook Thunder jersey half-price at Foot Locker? He’s back too!
America summers and NBA jerseys are a winning combination, but only if you know which ones are hot and which ones are not. To celebrate the new season, here’s a look at some of the all-time best and worst.
1970-Present Boston Celtics
The Celtics are a proud team based around tradition and winning. To new-age fans, the classic green and white might seem a little boring, but this is a tried and true fit that has stood the test of time.
From Bill Russell, Larry Bird and Paul Pierce, Boston’s simple clean-cut look remains iconic. For fans, green isn’t the most flattering colour, but it wouldn’t be a list without the Celtics’ traditional kit.
1985-86 Seattle Supersonics
The Sonics won a championship in 1979, but their green and yellow jersey might be their top claim to fame.
Yellow and green is always a winner with fans – just ask the Oakland A’s. This fit has easily been one of the best vintage jerseys to cop, and since no other team has even attempted to dabble in the yellow, green and white trade, the Sonics remain the true masters of symmetry.
1982-83 Atlanta Hawks (White)
Famously worn by Dominique Wilkins, the Hawks spent a decade in their famous white and red threads.
This jersey remains one of the most underrated fits in NBA history, and yeah, red isn’t the colour for everyone, but the yellow trims around the sleeves and collar add an extra touch of fire.
1973-1975 Chicago Bulls
The Bulls, like the Celtics, like to keep things clean and simple.
Chicago never veers from red, white and sometimes black, and while their timeless home jersey probably deserves a spot on this list, nothing beats the Bulls’ 70s and 80s threads with Chicago written in cursive.
1982-83 Denver Nuggets
Very retro, very 80s and almost video game-like, the Nuggets’ blue and yellow fit with the Rockie Mountain design across the front is easily one of the Top 5 greats.
Old-time NBA fans will hold fond memories of Alex English donning this classic fit. Denver paid homage to the eight-time All-Star and their old threads by recreating a slightly different version last year.
Orange is one of those colours that can be extra slick or extra ugly, but the Cavs did a great job of finding the right balance with their memorable 83-87 jersey.
The bright orange was a nice change on their previous beige and maroon colour scheme, which is featured elsewhere on this list. Cleveland also did a great job of mixing it up again between 1987-1994 by adopting the Knicks’ blue and orange colour scheme with the same simple logo.
1999-2001 Detroit Pistons
This one comes down to your own personal style, but for the logo alone, Detroit’s late 90s/early 2000’s fit belongs on this list.
Seven-time All-Star Grant Hill was perhaps the most famous Piston to wear the green. This is also one of those jerseys that you don’t see very often, making it the ultimate throwback for true fans.
2019-Present Miami Heat (Sunset Vice)
The Heat caught everyone’s eye as they unveiled their Vice jersey in 2017. Sales really took off during of Dwyane Wade’s farewell tour last year, and not surprisingly, this fit was one of the NBA Store’s highest sellers.
Miami is set to release an icy powder blue version some time this season which also looks worthy of a spot in your wardrobe.
1999-2000 Phoenix Suns
As the kids say, both the black and white versions of the Suns’ 1992-2000 jerseys were lit.
The font is about as 90s as it gets, while the basketball streaking into the sun is a timeless piece of artwork that makes this one of the most popular jerseys to own for any true vintage fan.
1995-96 Toronto Raptors
Easily one of the tightest set of threads in NBA history.
Bold, vibrant and bright, the 1995 Toronto Raptors jersey is an all-time classic that continues to be a popular throwback purchase at your local Culture Kings.
The velociraptor on the front is timeless – just ask any 28-year-old male with a half-sleeve and a schooner at your local. Seriously though, white and purple just go hand in hand, especially on the back of Vince Carter.
1999-2001 Charlotte Hornets
Forget knock-offs at your local market, if you’re searching for a real-deal vintage 1998 Charlotte Hornets jersey, you best be prepared to pay a hefty price.
Aside from Michael Jordan and first-round playoff losses, Charlotte’s green and purple threads are what the Hornets are most known for. It’s not just jerseys either, as a vintage Hornets starter jacket will also set you back half a paycheck.
1999-2001 Dallas Mavericks (White, Blue and Green)
All three of the Mavericks’ 1980 jerseys deserve a spot on this list. Dallas’ white home threads remain one of the most underrated fits in league history, while their blue jersey on the road had a distinctly southern feel.
At the time, Dallas was the only team in the league to blend blue and green together. For an expansion franchise, the Mavericks quickly made a name for themselves in some pretty fly threads. It’s just a shame Mark Cuban’s culture change in 2000 put an end to the razzle-dazzle.
2018-Present Golden State Warriors
You could make a case for Golden State’s 1966-71 ‘The City’ kit, but it’s hard to look past the Warriors’ modern-day blue and yellow jersey as the Bay Area’s best.
With the Golden Gate Bridge smack bang in the middle, this jersey is simple yet clean. The font on the back also adds an extra touch of class.
1997-2000 Vancouver Grizzlies
Everything about this jersey just pops. The green compliments Vancouver’s bold 3D logo in the centre perfectly, while the trim on the collar and the sleeves was something no other team had even imagined.
The Vancouver Grizzlies became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001 after a short six-year life in the league. Fans, namely Canadians, still wear this jersey with plenty of pride, not to mention the odd NBA hipster getting around.
1979-1999 Los Angeles Lakers
Classic, timeless, whatever word you want to use, the Lakers won five titles between 1979 and 1999 in what has become one of the most recognised jerseys in the world.
Just like the Yankees’ pinstripes, when you think of the Lakers you think gold and purple. The 3D numbers add just the right touch of 80s flair, making this hands down one of the best jerseys in the history of the league.
1977-1991 Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers might be the most consistent team when it comes to creating *insert fire emoji* jerseys.
There are plenty of choices, but the 1977-91 fit stands out the most. NBA teams aren’t well known for having a sash across the front, but Portland’s red and white combination mixed the with the lower case “blazers” across the front works a treat.
1984-1996 Utah Jazz
The Jazz round out the best of the best with their timeless 1984 purple threads.
Purple mixed with yellow trim on the sleeves is a strong combination, while the added tinge of green and white just screams exactly what Utah’s nickname is – jazz.
Utah’s old music note logo is also outstanding. Much to the delight of old-school fans, it was great to see the Jazz breathe new life into their old uniform prior to the 2010 season.
1995-1999 Atlanta Hawks
Nothing about this jersey is good. The Hawk in the middle just looks tacky, while the colour scheme is such a far cry from Atlanta’s excellent red, yellow and white threads from year’s past.
Atlanta has produced some of the best and some of the worst jerseys in NBA history, and this, alongside their 1970-72 green and blue concoction, are easily two of the most forgettable.
1980-1981 Cleveland Cavaliers
The aforementioned beige and maroon Cavs jersey of the early 80s is easily one of the all-time worst. Not only was it a complete eyesore, but it also matched Cleveland’s terrible 66-180 record during its three-year existence.
1985-1986 Indiana Pacers
Probably as redneck as it gets. Sure to find one in a Salvos bin somewhere.
Milwaukee Bucks 1995-1999 Stag Alternate
This is definitely a jersey Milwaukee has learned from. The Buck on the front is way too large, and the purple and white letters way too bold. The Bucks colour scheme is easily one of the trickiest, and whoever thought up this design missed the mark.
2006-2009 Washington Wizards Gold Alternate
Gold doesn’t belong on jersey’s, only on trophies. Also reminds us of this:
2008-2013 New Orleans Hornets
Bit of a retina burner – too bad it didn’t work on Anthony Davis’ monobrow. Blue and yellow is a solid combo, just now fluorescent blue.
2016-Present San Antonio Spurs (Camo)
This ain’t it. Paying respect to servicemen and women is something all sports teams do – only some do it better than others. This jersey doesn’t flatter any of the Spurs’ players, making it one of the worst modern-day designs in the league.
2005-2006 Miami Heat
This jersey was intended to act as a throwback to Miami’s ABA days as the Miami Floridians. You can see what the Heat are going for here, but who’s idea was it to combine orange and that ungodly pink in a stripe down the side?