Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
I must admit, owing to the fact that I’ve been a little busy with a few other things this week – NLSC related and otherwise – I’m writing The Friday Five very close to it being “due”, which initially left me wondering what to talk about today. However, with the Charlotte Hornets unveiling their new uniforms (which I quite like), one topic immediately jumped out at me when I glanced at my list of potential Friday Five ideas: my five favourite NBA jerseys.
Now, this is obviously subjective and in no way intended to be a definitive list of the best jerseys in NBA history; they are simply my personal favourites as of this moment, according to my taste (or lack thereof, as some of you may be inclined to say). No doubt we all have very different top fives when it comes to our favourite NBA uniforms, and I certainly invite you to share yours as well, but before you do, here are the five NBA jerseys that I like the most.
1. Chicago Bulls (Current)
Surprise, surprise: my favourite team’s jerseys made the list. I suppose it only stands to reason that I like my favourite team’s branding, from the logo to the jerseys, but beyond that, the Chicago Bulls’ uniforms – which haven’t changed all that much throughout the years – have what I feel is a “classic” basketball look. Designs like the new Charlotte Hornets’ jerseys may be more modern and “cutting edge”, but at the risk of sounding cliché, the Bulls’ jerseys are timeless.
I think that’s why I also like the Boston Celtics’ and San Antonio Spurs’ jerseys; like the Bulls’ jerseys, they aren’t the flashiest uniforms around, but they’re old school without feeling outdated. Again, timeless. Speaking of old school, though…while I do prefer the design that the team has had from 1985 until the present, with my 30th birthday coming up in October, I might just have to pick up a retro Michael Jordan road jersey with the Chicago script, as it’ll also be 30 years since MJ made his NBA debut. What can I say, great things came along in 1984!
2. Orlando Magic (Current)
I’ve actually liked all of the jerseys that the Orlando Magic have had throughout their 25 years in the league. I am somewhat partial to the pinstripe designs they’ve had though, as it’s given them a different look from most of the other NBA teams. I’m going with their current design for this list, as I like the contemporary take on the team’s original jerseys, which were of course worn during the Shaq and Penny era.
This was a really tough call, as I was originally going to go with the Shaq and Penny era jerseys. Upon comparing them again however, I ended up leaning towards the current uniforms. Yes, the originals are classics and they certainly evoke nostalgic memories of watching the NBA in the 90s, but looking back, the Orlando wordmark on those jerseys – while creative, and certainly not bad – is a little cheesy. The current wordmark looks cleaner, a bit more…professional, I guess. Again, it’s a very close call, and I really do like the originals, but I’m going to have to give the nod to the current design. Those first jerseys are definitely worth an honourable mention, though.
3. Phoenix Suns (Barkley Era)
The Phoenix Suns are another team that I feel haven’t really had any bad jerseys throughout their history. That said, my favourites are definitely the ones that were worn during Charles Barkley’s tenure with the team (and a couple of years thereafter), with the “sunburst” beneath the wordmark. Their current look is a nice throwback to that, but I don’t like it quite as much.
Those Barkley era jerseys are admittedly kind of an outdated look, but one that I feel still holds up reasonably well. Nostalgia aside, I think what I like about those jerseys, and many of the jerseys from the 90s for that matter, is that they were unique and stood out. Granted, some of them – alright, perhaps quite a few of them – were a little over the top, but to me that was preferable to some of the jerseys from around ten years ago that were far too similar in design and colour scheme, or some of the more recent designs that were inspired by jerseys from the 80s and earlier. What can I say, I guess I’m just biased towards the 90s, the decade of EXTREME…and some cool Suns jerseys.
4. New Orleans Pelicans (Current)
Like most people, I balked when New Orleans announced that they were changing their nickname to the Pelicans. Even though I’ve grown used to the name, it’s still not one of the better monikers in the league, although I admit that I can’t really explain why. I can’t give you a good reason why Knickerbockers is a good name for a basketball team and Pelicans isn’t, except to suggest that the Knicks have been around for so long – indeed, since the NBA was founded as the BAA in 1946 – that we just don’t think anything of it.
When I saw the team’s new branding though, I certainly softened my stance on the Pelicans name. In my opinion, they did a really nice job with their new logos and jerseys; perhaps it’s because they’re still relatively new and fresh, but right now, they make my list. It’s probably because they remind me a little of the jerseys from the 90s, in a way. They’re obviously not as garish, but the trim and the colour scheme make it stand out from other jerseys, which once again is something I always liked about many of the jerseys in the 90s.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves (Current)
As you may have gathered by now, I have a fondness for jerseys from the 90s, as well as jerseys that remind me of 90s designs. When the Minnesota Timberwolves introduced new logos and jerseys during Kevin Garnett’s second season, they instantly became some of my favourite NBA uniforms. However, I think I like the current take on the design even more.
I also liked the design they had from 2008-2010, bridging the 1996-2008 jersey and the current look, but getting rid of the green and the tree trim was probably for the best. I thought it looked good on the older jerseys, but the grey was a good change. Sometimes a complete overhaul is for the best, but other times a new take on the existing concept is preferable. The Timberwolves went with the latter, and as a result, their jerseys are still among my favourites.
Five Honourable Mentions
Since this is the Friday Five, I’ll limit myself to just five honourable mentions: the aforementioned 1989-1998 Orlando Magic and 1996-2008 Minnesota Timberwolves jerseys, the current Dallas Mavericks jerseys (including all the minor variations since 2001), the 1995-2003 Houston Rockets jerseys (yes, the infamous “pyjama jerseys”), and the current Brooklyn Nets jerseys.
And there you have it, my five favourite jerseys and my five honourable mentions…at least, as of this moment. I now turn the floor over to you, as I invite you to share your favourite NBA jerseys (top five or otherwise) in the comments section below, as well as take the discussion to the NLSC Forum. Thanks for checking in this week, please join me again next Friday for another Five.