Is it just me, or do we hear about fashion in the NBA much more than we do any other sport? It seems that over the past few years, NBA players have evolved into some of the world's biggest style icons and some players have even been seen sitting in crowds for fashion shows. Heck, the NBA has even had an All-Star fashion show. Perhaps one factor for this new love of style in the NBA is the dress code implicated by the league in 2005. Players are no longer allowed to dress casually on the sidelines, and as a result, we have seen some very interesting clothing styles to say the least.
However, one area the players do not get to choose their fashion style is during a game. Once players step foot onto the basketball court, they no longer have room for individual creativity like they do when they are on the bench, entering the arena, or at a press conference. As many know, all players must wear a specific jersey and it is fair to say that some are much nicer than the others. I mean do you ever wonder if some players just hate the jerseys they have to wear? After all, some are just difficult to look at and with lots of players so into fashion, you would have to think some do not like their jerseys.
With all of that being said, it is a perfect time to look at the best NBA jerseys by ranking them from worst to the best. The main factors when deciding these jerseys was mostly appearance, but also keep in mind that tradition and history was also a factor. Finally, this article reflects personal choice and thus, is not based on any statistics such as jersey sales. Everyone is going to have their own taste in what jerseys they prefer, but as it pertains to this article, it is a personal choice.
30 Los Angeles Clippers
I understand why the Clippers wanted new jerseys. After all, the Clippers recently did have a change in ownership and they wanted to make it known around the world. Prior to this new ownership, they were also mostly a laughing stock in the NBA and only recently have they began to turn their franchise around. Well, one thing that did not help in this process is their choice of new jerseys. To be fair, the white jersey is not all bad, as it has the classic look to it. Although, has anyone else noticed that it looks like the "Clippers" logo on this jersey hangs to low?
29 Atlanta Hawks
Even though the Hawks have been very good under Mike Budenholzer the past few years, everyone knows it has been hard for the Hawks to attract fans to their games. One way to supplement this poor attendance is team merchandise sales. Well, unfortunately for the Hawks, they definitely did not help out their situation with the jerseys they decided to wear starting in the 2015-16 season. Props for making a bold move and trying to think outside the box, but the Hawks just took things too far with this jersey choice. They have neon green numbers that are just difficult to look at and the color pattern is not attractive to the naked eye whatsoever.
28 Dallas Mavericks
It is bad enough that the Mavericks have been unable to land a star in free agency to help out Dirk in his twilight years, but they also have some of the most boring jerseys in the league. Mark Cuban is a genius and a great NBA owner, but one area where he has gotten it wrong is the Mavs jerseys. First, I must admit although nothing special, the home jerseys are not all that bad. The main problem can be seen in their road jerseys. The base color is okay, but would be much better if they added some of the old green they used to have. This green is not a very common jersey color and it would help the Mavericks distinguish themselves from the rest of the league.
Now, they have a basic color that is nothing special and the current design is just poor overall. The lettering of "Dallas" on the royal blue is a mismatch that does not blend well together. Overall, Dallas has been a steady franchise over the years, but jersey selection is not their strong suit.
27 Oklahoma City Thunder
I feel like the Oklahoma jersey has often been overlooked in terms of its appeal due to the fact that they have been very successful as a team recently. You will not get as much flack for anything, if you are winning games and perhaps this has been the case with OKC's jerseys. The first problems with these jerseys is that the blue road jerseys look way too similar to the Knicks' blue jersey. Could you come up with something a little bit more original? Also, is it just me, or are these jerseys too generic? They look very plain and there is just nothing that stands out about them to make them a top jersey.
26 New Orleans Pelicans
A few years back, New Orleans had a chance to make a statement with their new jerseys. When they changed their name to the Pelicans, I did not think it would be possible to design uniforms that would overshadow the horrible nickname they chose. I was wrong. New Orleans' uniforms are much worse than their name and they need to change their jerseys at the earliest opportunity, as they have some of the most bland and plain jerseys. You can get away with this if you are a team with rich history, but the Pelicans are not. The color scheme on the Pelican jersey is not all bad, but overall, there is nothing that makes these jerseys special, or even makes you think that this jersey represents a Pelican.
25 Houston Rockets
Houston is one of the top teams that needs a uniform change in the NBA. The further they move away from the Yao Ming era, the less sense it makes to keep style of jerseys that reflect his era. The base red color is not bad, but the "Houston" style font they employ needs to go. Additionally, the double stripe on the side of each jersey is simply not a good look. Adding to the problem for Houston is their ketchup and mustard style alternate jersey. I know many people like this jersey, but in my opinion it is one of the worst in the league. It looks more like a uniform that would suit an employee at a fast food joint than it does for a professional basketball player.
24 Sacramento Kings
Has it not been bad enough that the Kings have been one of the worst franchises in the NBA for the last several years? Somehow their jerseys even find a way to rank near the bottom of the league. The worst part is that Sacramento is a basketball city and has great fans but they have been given absolutely nothing to cheer for the last several years. The purple and black they have been wearing does not go well together and the design running down the side of the jersey and shorts is not appealing whatsoever.
23 Utah Jazz
As a team, Utah is on the rise. They are going to be back in the playoffs soon and may even be able to make some noise while there. So with these new expectations, also came a new look in May 2016. The changes made were not major, but nonetheless, some modernization was made to their brand. However, like Sacramento we are still going to use their old jerseys for the purpose of this article, as the new uniforms have not yet been worn in a game. Simply put, the Jazz had boring jerseys these past few seasons. Additionally, the color scheme of navy, dark green, and gold does not blend well together.
In my opinion, the Jazz need to go back to purple, as it is the defining color of their organization in terms of when they were experiencing the most success. When I think Utah Jazz, I think purple. It probably will not happen, but one can hope right?
22 Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets franchise has taken positive steps on and off the basketball court in the past few years. It was great for them to get their old "Hornets" nickname back from "Bobcats," and they have also been successful in terms of making it to the playoffs. The attendance and attention in the city also seems to have increased. However, the team could have better capitalized on their new jerseys with the name change. It is surprising to have them so low on this list, considering their owner is Michael Jordan, but one thing that can be said is the team definitely looked better in Bobcats orange than Hornets purple and teal.
I understand they wanted to revert to their history with these Hornet uniforms, but they just seem outdated and come off more as alternate jerseys compared to an every game type jersey. Overall, it was a good decision to go back to the Hornets, but the jersey? Not so much.
21 Phoenix Suns
It seems like most people have a love/hate relationship with the Suns jerseys. While I personally cannot say I hate them, I am definitely leaning to that side of the relationship. The road jersey is not bad and probably the best jersey the Suns employ. It has a good mixture of orange and purple and is something a Suns fan should not have a problem wearing. However, the same cannot be said for their home jersey. Why they switched their home jersey from the Steve Nash days still remains a mystery to me, as it had the perfect combination of orange and purple to it, making it the perfect Sun jersey and one of the best in the league, which cannot be said about the current home uniform.
20 Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves are probably one of the few teams on this list that just needs to make a few changes to have one of the better jerseys in the NBA. Unfortunately, these changes have not yet happened so they are on the bottom half of this list. The jerseys do have a very nice color scheme of white, black, and blue and removing green from their jerseys altogether was a good choice, but that is all of the nice things I can really say.
The jerseys just have many unnecessary features. For starters, what is up with the collar of their jerseys? The dual banded collars do not blend in with the rest of the jersey well and would be better with just one color. In addition, the multiple colors on the side of the jerseys are not the most appealing look. Well, at least the Wolves have a great upcoming young team and if they can sustain some success the look of their jersey may not matter to the average fan as jersey popularity can increase with success.
19 Orlando Magic
18 Memphis Grizzlies
17 Denver Nuggets
Many people may disagree with Denver's ranking here and think they should be higher, but I can find some flaws in their jerseys. Yes, their current jerseys are an upgrade from previous years due to factors such as better font on the "Denver" and better looking number placement, but there are still many things that can be tweaked to make this a top NBA jersey. The off-color stripe running down the side of the jersey is not very appealing. I get they are trying to add more color, but this was not the best way to do so and just seems like a half-hearted effort for the sake of adding more color.
16 Toronto Raptors
I still do not understand why the Raptors change jerseys so often. To really establish an identity in the basketball world they need to stick with one jersey and ride it out. I have two main issues with the current Raptors jerseys: one is that they are not the purple jerseys from their older days, and the second is that they are too similar in design to one of their main rival's jerseys, the Brooklyn Nets. If the Raptors kept the purple dinosaur jersey, they would be much higher on this list. Those jerseys were perfect in representing the team and will always be one of my favorite jerseys of all time. I get why they made the switch, as they want to be known as Canada's team and what better colors to add to a jersey than red and white to do this? This change has also helped them establish the "We the North," slogan but I will always miss those jerseys like a little kid that cannot let go of something. Next time the Raptors design a jersey they should try to be a little more creative.
15 Detroit Pistons
I had a tough time deciding the fate of the Pistons jersey. On one hand, I really like the look of their blue jersey, but I am not a fan of their white jersey. The red patch going down the side of the blue jersey blends nicely and is a good look. I also like the look of the "Detroit" on this jersey. The "P" on the shorts is also a very nice look and overall, I do not have complaints about the blue jersey.
14 Indiana Pacers
Indiana has done well to keep a simplistic look to their jersey over the years and the colour combination of white, blue, gold/yellow is a pretty solid, which earns them a spot in the top half of this list. One of the complaints I do have with their jerseys relates to the home jersey. It just has one too many colors along the side (navy, white, gray, and yellow). The away jerseys are much better overall, and I like the fact that it displays "Indiana" over the Pacers.
13 Washington Wizards
One of the smartest moves the Wizards have made off the court in the past few years is changing jerseys. They got rid of the hard to look at and oddly designed blue and gold uniforms (yes, even when Michael Jordan rocked it) and replaced them with their current red, white, and blue uniforms and just like that the Wizards were able to go from the bottom half in jersey appeal to the top half.
How can someone not appreciate how they have perfectly paid homage to the Bullets? The Wizards were able to produce a color scheme that reflects the team's history, while at the same time produce a jersey that still has a a modern look to it. Some may argue that the "Washington" is a little small on the red jersey, but I think it blends in perfectly, especially considering Washington is a long word. Overall, the Wizards have some work to do in order have the best jersey in their town (that honor belongs to the Capitals, but that is an argument for another day), but compared to what they had in the past, these jerseys are a huge step up.
12 Brooklyn Nets
Overall, I have to say I mostly appreciate the Brooklyn Net jerseys. I did expect a little more since from the Nets since Jay-Z was heavily involved in the re-branding, but at the end of the day you can never really go wrong with black and white. To be clear, when I say expecting a little more, I meant a jersey that would have been considered a classic. Nonetheless, the newest jerseys of the Nets are definitely an upgrade over the ones they wore when playing in New Jersey. Additionally, the black and white adds an edginess, and can be intimidating (unfortunately for the Nets, they have been anything but intimidating since the KG days).
Additionally, the font on the jersey is a good compliment to the all black and white and blends in nicely. Even though I did not get the classic jersey I hoped for, it is hard to find too many flaws with these jerseys.
11 Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a lot of different jerseys during their tenure as an NBA team and it is fair to say some of them have been just plain bad. However, I am going to give them some love for their current jerseys. Of course it helps the appeal of a jersey when you have one of the greatest players of all time rockin' it for 82 games a season plus 16-25 games in the playoffs every year. Nonetheless, even without LeBron, the color combination of wine and gold for the Cavs is pretty good and I also like the trim pattern on the side of the jersey.
10 San Antonio Spurs
9 Philadelphia 76ers
Hey, not all is bad in Philly. Even though the Sixers have been the laughing stock of the league the past few seasons, they did come up with some very nice jerseys in 2015. First, I have to say that one thing I would have liked to see is "Philly" over the "Phila," as Philly seems to be a word much more associated with Philadelphia than Phila. I know the Phila reflects a throwback, particularly to the Wilt Chamberlin days, but Philly just seems like a better and more modern choice. Nonetheless, these are great jerseys and the color scheme is on point. It is also neat to see how the jerseys have seven stars down the right side and six down the left, a design that is clearly reflecting the team's nickname. This in itself makes the Philly jerseys have a unique aspect that most teams do not have. Overall, Philly got it right in the rebranding and 76ers fans hope these jerseys will be worn for a lot of deep playoff runs in the near future.
8 Miami Heat
The Miami Heat have been one of the best franchises in the NBA and their jersey is no different. The Heat have one of the best jerseys being worn today, in their red jersey. Of course, the color perfectly reflects the teams nickname, which is always a good thing. In addition, the white text blends in with the jersey perfectly, although I have to admit I am not a big fan of the "A" in the "Miami." Nonetheless, it is an overall solid jersey.
The Heat also have a pretty good home jersey. As you may now know, I have not been a fan of many of the side trims teams have employed on their jerseys. I cannot say this for the Heat home jersey, as the yellow stripe blends in amazingly between the red. It does a great job in reminding you of the sun, which is again, close to the Heat nickname. Overall, the Heat may be in a rebuilding phase on the court, but off the court their jerseys are still fresh.
7 Milwaukee Bucks
Everything seems to be heading in the right direction for the Bucks. They are on the rise as a team, even if they did have a setback last year and out of all of the new recent uniforms released in the NBA over the past several years, the Bucks may have the best. The Bucks finally got rid of the red that did not mesh at all with their green and replaced it with a light brown color that makes a top notch blend. They also changed the font on the front of the jersey for the better, as it is now more of an appealing block letter style.
6 Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have consistently made great jerseys throughout the years. One of the keys to their success has been sticking with the same design/pattern over time. They have tried to play around with the color scheme in the past, but ultimately have not made any major changes. This is a great thing if you are a Blazers fan because the red, white, and black combination is executed to perfection.
5 New York Knicks
You know a jersey is great when you have no shame in wearing it as part of your outfit for casual wear. This is exactly the case with the Knicks' jerseys who have always had some of the best uniforms in the NBA. The adjustment made to the waistband (where it is a main part of the color scheme) before the 2012-13 season was one of their best decisions, as it gave the Knicks a unique aspect to their jersey in comparison to the rest of the NBA. Additionally, the "New York" is labeled perfectly on their jerseys, as it covers just the right amount of space. Despite all of these great aspects of the Knicks jerseys, I have to say my favorite part is the lack of jersey trim on the side.
4 Golden State Warriors
Not only does Golden State kill it on the court, but they are also doing pretty well in the fashion department. They probably have the best logo in the league, but I cannot rank them higher than number four for their overall jersey. The teams ahead of them just have too much history and those teams jerseys just have that classic feel to them. Perhaps if Golden State is able to establish a dynasty my opinion may change one day.
3 Boston Celtics
The Celtics have iconic jerseys and there is nothing in the league that is really similar to their jersey. Of course, it helps that the Celtics have had many legends and championships over the years to help increase the appeal of this jersey. However, we need to give the branding team credit too, as they have helped the Celtics stay consistent with their jersey throughout the years by embracing green as the main color, thus, giving it that classic and traditional feel. The lettering on the jersey is also done to perfection.
2 Chicago Bulls
1 Los Angeles Lakers
The purple and gold. What else is there left to say? The Lakers have the best jersey in all of basketball and it will mostly likely remain this way unless they try to change their jerseys completely, which would be foolish. The purple and gold of the Lakers is probably the most recognizable jersey in the game. The colours and style have been with the Lakers ever since they moved to LA and it will likely remain the most popular jersey in the NBA. So many legends have gone on to wear these jerseys that there is just something prestige about them.
Lately, the Lakers have tried to add alternate jerseys which is understandable from a revenue standpoint, but they will benefit from keeping the classic jerseys in the long run much like the Knicks and Bulls have done. From a basketball stanpoint, let us hope the Lakers can soon turn it around and put less shame to the classic purple and gold jerseys.
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