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.
Since I’ve previously put my taste in uniforms out there for everyone’s consideration with my 5 Favourite NBA Jerseys, I figured it only makes sense that I also mention the designs that rank among my least favourite. After all, why embarrass myself and expose my lack of design and fashion sense by only talking about the jerseys that I do like, when I can go for broke by criticising a beloved throwback or alternate?
Once again, this is all subjective and in no way intended to be a definitive list of the worst jerseys in NBA history. These are just five jerseys that I’ve never particularly cared for, so by all means feel free to disagree and tell me about the jerseys that you can’t stand in the comments section below. Having said that, here are my 5 Least Favourite NBA Jerseys.
1. Denver Nuggets (1982-1993 – The “Rainbow Jerseys”)
This actually encompasses two very similar designs (a few changes were made in 1985), but in any event, this has long been one of my least favourite NBA jerseys. Both the navy and the powder blue jerseys that followed it were huge improvements, in my opinion. I know that this is a fairly popular retro jersey, and by all means it should be included in NBA Live and NBA 2K, but…yeah, I’ve never been a fan, so I’m personally not inclined to select it all that often.
Oddly enough, I don’t really mind the yellow alternate that pays homage to it, introduced in 2012 some thirty years after the original made its debut. I guess the colours are better for a start, as the rainbow scheme was a little too much, but hey, that’s kind of how things went in the 80s. With all due respect to Doug Moe, Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, and the rest of those run and gun Denver Nuggets, for my money, those uniforms just weren’t a good look.
2. Oklahoma City (Current Alternate)
Alright, so criticising the Oklahoma City Thunder’s nickname, logo, and jerseys is fairly low hanging fruit. All three aspects of the team’s branding are inferior to the Seattle Supersonics, after all. That said, I think that their home jersey is actually fine, and I’ve kind of grown accustomed to the away jersey as well; if it used the Thunder wordmark rather than Oklahoma City, it would probably look at least a little better. It’s a clean enough design apart from that.
The current alternate jersey that they introduced in 2012, though? Just disappointing. They had a chance to debut a really nice alternate, perhaps one that would eventually become their new primary away jersey. Instead, they opted for a very old school design that just ended up looking extremely outdated and bland. One has to wonder whether the “Thudner” misspelling in NBA 2K13 was intentional commentary by Visual Concepts.
3. San Antonio Spurs (Current Alternate)
In my previous article, I mentioned that I like the San Antonio Spurs’ jerseys for the same reason that I like the Chicago Bulls’ and Boston Celtics’ uniforms: it’s a classic basketball look, old school without being outdated. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t hold true for their current alternate jersey, which made its debut a couple of seasons ago in 2012.
As a concept, I don’t completely hate it. It’s not a terrible design, and it would probably make a fine practice or Summer League jersey, or perhaps even concept fan apparel. As an official jersey though, actually worn by the team during regular season and Playoffs games? Well, let’s just say that I’m glad the Spurs weren’t sporting it when they won the 2014 NBA Championship. The design arguably lends itself well to the “Military Nights” camouflage uniform, but aside from that, I’d have preferred a silver version of their normal away jersey as their alternate.
4. Memphis Grizzlies (Current) & Utah Jazz (2004-2010)
I’m mentioning these jerseys together, partly because of what I decided upon for the fifth item in this list, but also because I’m not a fan of them for the exact same reason: they’re just too similar to one another. Both jerseys debuted in 2004 and while they’re not bad designs, they’re simply too much alike, not to mention very similar to the Dallas Mavericks’ navy jersey, which debuted a few years earlier (and is actually a jersey that I like). As such, they’re a tad unoriginal and uninspired, in my view.
Even the alternate uniforms that both teams would debut a few seasons later were kind of similar, swapping the blues for a lighter jersey. The Utah Jazz have since changed things up a bit by bringing back their old “J-Note” wordmark and updating their colour scheme, though I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of their current jerseys, either. The Memphis Grizzlies could definitely use an overhaul though, not only in terms of their colours and jerseys, but possibly their logo as well; I’ve always felt that the current one looks a little too similar to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
5. Every Sleeved Jersey, Ever
Yes, that’s kind of lazy of me, but the sleeved jerseys deserve to be scorned and honestly, how do you pick just one? The 2013 Christmas jerseys were pretty bad, the Golden State Warriors’ first attempt featured mismatched shorts with pinstripes, and generally speaking, most of them have ended up being too loud, too plain, or – contradictory though it may seem – a combination of both. They’d be decent enough as fan apparel, but they just look really out of place on NBA courts.
The good news is that they’re not proving to be very popular with NBA players either, so hopefully Adam Silver listens to the complaints and phases them out. As I said, they wouldn’t be so bad (and might possibly be better received) as concept fan apparel, but they’re absolutely not a good idea for official game jerseys. I guess it remains to be seen what will happen with them, but perhaps the fact that the Charlotte Hornets didn’t unveil a sleeved jersey along with the rest of their new uniforms is a promising sign.
Five (Dis-)Honourable Mentions
Since I threw out five honourable mentions in my list of favourite jerseys, I’ll mention five more for my list of least favourite jerseys as well: the 2006-2009 Washington Wizards gold alternate with black shorts, the 2004-2009 Charlotte Bobcats jerseys, the 2005-2007 Sacramento Kings gold alternate, the Chicago Stags jerseys from the 1940s (when the Chicago Bulls wore them on Hardwood Classics nights a few years back), and the “Hollywood Nights” Los Angeles Lakers black alternate, which debuted this past season.
So, those are my picks for my least favourite NBA jerseys, at least as of this moment. I now yield the floor for your lists and top fives in the comments section below; as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum as well. Thanks for checking in this week, please join me again next Friday for another Five.