Basketball jerseys are one of the most vital elements of the game as they can both have an impact on the player’s performance and on the crowd’s pocket.
Especially in the NBA, designing and launching the right jersey has almost become a science. The sportswear companies in collaboration with the different franchises are continuously doing their best in order to deliver improved and more eye-catching NBA jerseys.
No matter how much they try, though, one thing is for sure! They will never manage to overcome the 90’s – (early) 00’s period! There was something special in that period when it comes to NBA jerseys.
The teams experimented a lot using humongous logos and funky colours and achieved to embrace in a very cool and natural way the kitch element. The success of these jerseys can easily be evident today as more and more teams and sportswear companies are turning their attention back to the 90’s era.
Of course, this time they rebrand it as retro in an effort to make some extra bucks out of our nostalgia. Nevertheless, I want to believe that nostalgia isn’t the only reason why these jerseys are still popular. It’s also the fact that they are some pretty awesome jerseys which capture the core meaning of the game (playing and having fun) while at the same time respecting the legacy of each franchise.
But enough with my analysis. I think you got the point pretty well by now! Let’s have a look at the Top 20 NBA jerseys, as chosen by DunkStories:
20. Cleveland Cavaliers
Believe it or not, there was life in Cleveland even before the arrival of LeBron James and we have the photos to prove it. During the 90’s the Cavaliers had one of the coolest jerseys that the NBA has ever seen.
My personal favorite is the white one with the blue stripe and the orange colours that you can see below. What do you think? I’m not sure if LeBron had ever tried this jersey, while he was in Cleveland, but I believe that he would look good in it.
19. All-star game 1992
Who can forget the 1992 All-star game? Magic Johnson had offered a captivating performance against Michael Jordan while both wearing two of the coolest NBA All-star game jerseys! For sure, very different jersey design than the one we are used to today but, in any case, there is something that makes them stand out.
18. Charlotte Hornets
Through the years, Charlotte Hornets are consistently one of the teams with the funkiest logo and colours. As early as in the 90’s, they were already captivating lots of attention for their jersey. Regardless of whether you are a fan of the turquoise colour or not, it’s definitely a very memorable jersey.
17. Phoenix Suns
Next on the list are the Phoenix Suns. Charles Barkley has done some crazy performances wearing this jersey and there is no doubt that is one of the people’s favourite in Phoenix.
16. Utah Jazz
A jersey that has been worn by Karl Malone and John Stockton can’t be forgotten. Simple as that! The purple colour and the jazzy mountains makes it potentially one of the most captivating jerseys that the basketball world has ever witnessed.
15. Indiana Pacers
That particular Indiana Pacers jersey is strongly associated with Reggie Miller and has an evergreen design in my opinion. It’s a shirt which can remain modern many decades later thanks to its playful yet stylish design. The biggest proof for that is, of course, that it was recently worn again by the Pacers!
14. Milwaukee Bucks
Will Giannis Antetokounmpo ever get the chance to wear this shirt? Nobody really knows! In any case, it’s a great NBA jersey which is totally representative of the 90’s NBA design. Go deers!
13. New York Knicks
That jersey is a classic for the NBA world and it will never get old. When you see a player like Patrick Ewing fighting for it, you know that it’s a jersey with heavy legacy and an army of fans behind it!
12. Houston Rockets
One more sample of the extravagant yet fascinating 90’s NBA jerseys was that of the Houston Rockets. The launched Rocket around the planet of basketball is one of the most lively memories of the NBA fans who were captivated by the game twenty years ago. And how they could do differently after having witnessed Hakeem Olajuwon and Sir Charles Barkley doing their own magic with this shirt on!
11. Denver Nuggets
The Rainbow shirts of the Nuggets have always been the crowd’s favourite in Denver. They might be a little more playful and colourful than most might expect from a team that should step on the court and take their opponents by storm. But it surely is a vital part of Denver’s basketball legacy. If you want my opinion, it’s a jersey that should be in every basketball fan’s jersey collection.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves
This NBA jersey is synonymous to the time that Kevin Garnett spent in Minnesota. That being said, it will always have a special connection with the Timberwolves crowd. It’s also a shirt that made it to the early 00’s and was combined with an era where the Wolves were very competitive in the NBA.
9. Philadelphia 76ers
It goes without saying that in a list of the Top 20 NBA jerseys, one spot would be dedicated to the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s a team that has experimented a lot with their jerseys both in terms of colours and logo designs. There is no question that the one worn by Allen Iverson in the early 00’s is in the most emblematic that the franchise ever had.
8. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks is a great franchise. But what it’s even greater is their red 90’s jersey with the big hawk design on it. It was a shirt that was standing out without any effort and which reminds basketball fans of Dikembe Mutombo and his dominating presence in the NBA world!
7. All-star game 1996:
The 1996 All-star game will always be remembered for its jerseys and its remarkable collection of sneakers on court. Now, the sneakers collection is something that we will examine in another list but we have to agree about the jerseys. Both the blue and the white jerseys were a pleasure to look at. Today, they are estimated as two of the most precious items for NBA collectors.
6. Vancouver Grizzlies
If the 90’s NBA era was a jersey that would be the Vancouver Grizzlies jersey. It is no exaggeration to say that it’s one of the most heavily decorated NBA jerseys in history. For many it is considered as one of the ugliest NBA jerseys but in my opinion it combines so many bad design decisions which in the end have turned it to a true masterpiece!
5. Toronto Raptors
Same country, different city and franchise. This jersey that the Toronto Raptors wore back in the late 90’s and early 00’s is still believed to be one of the most recognisable NBA jerseys around the world thanks to its edgy design. The big raptor, its memorable colour and the fact that it was worn by Vince Carter and T-Mac were possibly the main factors that made it so popular among basketball fans.
4. Chicago Bulls
That one might not be as eye-provoking as the ones we have seen so far but it couldn’t miss the Top 20. The legacy that it carries makes it automatically one of the most impactful jerseys in the NBA history. The biggest proof of that is that, no matter how many years have passed since the last time that MJ and his gang terrified their opponents while wearing it, its design has managed to survive until today with very few alterations.
3. Orlando Magic
And we have officially reached the Top 3! There was a time when Shaquille O’Neal was the king of Orlando. At that time, the Magic had the right jersey for their king and for other NBA legends such as Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady. This white jersey with the black stripes and the funky blue letters was a beauty and personally I hope that we will see it again in the Magic lockers one day.
2. Seattle Supersonics
I have to admit that I can’t be objective when it comes to Seattle. I miss the Sonics a lot and one of the reasons for that (apart from Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp) are these amazing jerseys above. Kevin Durant referred recently to his dream of seeing the Sonics coming back to action again in the future. Our hope? That he (or someone else) will somehow make it happen soon!
1. Detroit Pistons
Last but certainly not least, the Detroit Pistons. That is by far my favourite NBA jersey ever and I can’t hide it. The chosen colour in conjunction with the super-cool horse logo have turned this Pistons jersey to a classic. Add also to the mix that we have witnessed Grant Hill playing with it and you can understand why this jersey means so much.
What’s your favourite NBA jersey?
That’s all folks! Have a good look at the list and let me know in the comment section below what your favourite NBA jerseys are and why. I would love to hear from you!