Throwback jerseys are a great way for the NBA and its franchises to make a little bit of extra money. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for a team to where four to five jerseys throughout a season with as many as three of them being some type of throwback.
A few interesting tidbits of information were uncovered while researching this article. The first is that many NBA teams are switching back to jerseys, logos, and color schemes the teams had in the 70s-80s. What was old has become new again for many teams in the league and in almost all cases the fanbases are appreciative of the switch.
It's easy to overdo a basketball jersey. In general, the less busy a jersey looks the more people tend to like them these days. The simpler the better but that wasn't always how it was in the NBA. Anytime a league gets a few expansion franchises, things tend to go haywire with jerseys. In the case of basketball, when the Toronto Raptors broke out a giant dinosaur playing basketball on the front of their jerseys, it set the whole league back by a few years. Now even Toronto has gotten rid of their overly busy jerseys in lieu of something that Drake likes better.
20 Avoid - Denver Nuggets Mountains and Lego
The old school Denver Nuggets jerseys focused on what the city of Denver is all about apparently. The mountains of Colorado are featured prominently in these retro jerseys as they loom large over some of the worst designed buildings on the planet.
Unconfirmed and false rumors are that the engineering and design programs at all Denver area schools protested against what they saw as ugly lego buildings on the Nuggets jerseys.
The second last building from the right even looks as though it is flipping the bird to whoever is looking at it. Fortunately for fans of the Nuggets, their jerseys have been significantly improved in recent years. As for the city of Denver, the municipality wants it known that their buildings are made out of real building materials and not lego.
19 See Again - Miami Heat Vice Jerseys
Whether you were a fan of the 1980s show Miami Vice or just a fan of Grand Theft Auto, you likely loved the Miami Heat's recently worn Miami Vice style uniforms.
Advertising that the city you play in is famous for "Vices" might not be exactly what the ownership group is going for.
Still, it's believed that they sold a lot of these jerseys and that should make them pretty happy. After all, this city is having to get used to going from a LeBron James led dynasty to an injury-riddled middle of the pack team in the Eastern Conference. Those are awesome jerseys though!
The Heat really haven't been around long enough to go retro. The organization has kept the same logo and general color scheme for most of their existence with only a few variations done over the years.
18 Avoid - Utah Jazz Cold Refreshing Mountains
There's nothing that says "Jazz" like snow, mountains, and basketball. These are the jerseys worn by Karl Malone, John Stockton, and the rest of the 1996-97 Utah Jazz.
The jerseys served as a constant reminder of how the team still being called "Jazz" while playing in Utah makes no sense whatsoever.
Last year, the team switched to a logo which more closely resembles the one they had when in New Orleans. The basketball and "J" in the logo are made to look a little like a saxophone. While in New Orleans, the team was given the name because of their association with music. Nobody is too sure why they kept the name when they moved to Utah. The team's name is partially spoofed in the film Semi-Pro. In the film, Will Ferrell plays for the team the Flint Tropics, even though they are not located in a tropical environment.
17 See Again - Toronto Raptors Purple Dinosaurs
When the Raptors debuted a purple dinosaur theme in 1995 it sold a lot of jerseys inside and out of Toronto.
Even though the purple only lasted eight seasons, it will be a go-to retro jersey for the franchise throughout their existence.
Eventually, the franchise felt compelled to switch to something a little less silly, however. The Raptors switched to red and white as their colors in 2003. As Canada's last remaining NBA team, it helps give the franchise a national feel.
The Raptors are all over the place with retro jerseys these days it seems. A third color scheme for the franchise involves gold and black and other things that Drake likes. They've also debuted camo style alternative jerseys that just about made this list as an ugly jersey we never want to see again.
16 Avoid - Philadelphia 76ers Early 90s Jersey
The Philadelphia 76ers have had some of the most iconic jerseys in the sport's history. They also had these jerseys. The shooting stars were retired quickly after only a few seasons.
Unconfirmed and presumed false reports are these jerseys were designed in order to make Charles Barkley look slimmer. While pictures from this time do not appear to show Barkley looking any less rotund, it should be noted that Barkley weighed in excess of 400lbs while the 76ers wore these jerseys. None of that is true but if it were it would at least explain how the Sixers ended up with these hideous jerseys. It makes anyone looking at them feel as though an NBC The More You Know segment is just about to come on the television.
The 76ers didn't last long in these jerseys, however, and switched back to a more traditional look just a few seasons later.
15 See Again - New Jersey Nets 1970s Jersey
The Nets are never going to top the jerseys they wore in the 1970s, so why even try? You can't improve upon perfection and the Nets organization achieved that over four decades ago. It's time to just go back to these jerseys full time. The jerseys are so simple yet so amazing at the same time. When you are a basketball team named the Nets, simplicity is what you are going for.
When the Nets moved to Brooklyn, they introduced a cool new black and white color scheme. They have sold a lot of black and white Brooklyn jerseys but perhaps it's time to go back to the franchise's most historically successful time. The Nets teams in the 70s are the only in franchise history to win a championship. Oh the good old days!
14 Avoid - Sacramento Kings Golden Alternatives
Kings and gold go hand in hand. The Sacramento Kings and gold, on the other hand, are less synonymous with one another. That the team would attempt to try a golden color scheme makes sense considering their moniker but few claim these alternative jerseys from a decade ago were anything other than ugly. To be fair, the Sacramento Kings have never really had good jerseys.
They've never been as terrible as the golden eyesore shown above mind you, but never great either.
The franchise is nearly a century old as well. In all that time, they've never landed on a jersey design that was overly praised. They also haven't won a championship since 1951 when they were known as the Rochester Royals. For a franchise that has lived in four cities under four different names, it's just amazing the Kings are still with us.
13 See Again - Chicago Bulls Early to Mid 1980s Jersey
If you grew up watching Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls teams of the 1980s, there are no better jerseys. Granted, the Bulls dynasty didn't start while they wore the above jerseys. The handwritten Chicago on the Bulls road jerseys was replaced with Bulls block letters in 1987.
These jerseys are a throwback to a golden era of NBA basketball. These jerseys were worn when the Bulls and Pistons rivalries of the 1980s captivated the basketball world in the same way the Cavs and Warriors would decades later.
These were the jerseys a young Michael Jordan wore while he was developing into a Superstar. It wouldn't be a shock for the Chicago Bulls to break out the handwritten Chicago again somewhere down the line. Unfortunately, it does not look as though they've got a young Michael Jordan on their team either.
12 Avoid - Detroit Pistons 1995-2001 Jersey
The Pistons introduced these terrible things in time for the 1996-97 season. We can't remember anybody saying a positive thing about them. They would update them from a putrid teal-based color scheme to a more traditional blue in 2001-02 but they were still pretty bad.
These were perhaps met with a particularly negative response as the Pistons were not far removed from being a perennial powerhouse in the league. It's OK for an expansion team to run around in teal jerseys with a picture of a horsey but not for a multi-championship winning franchise.
The chessboard knight (which perhaps represented horsepower?) was finally abandoned in 2005 after a nine-year run.
Last season, the Pistons finally went back to the logo the team had during their glory years
11 See Again - Golden State Warriors 1970s Jersey
It's a golden age for Warriors basketball, be it in Oakland or San Francisco. They won an NBA Championship with the jerseys shown above in 1975. In recent years, the franchise has switched back to a jersey design reminiscent of the ones they wore in the 70s. That was the decade the team first started traveling around the Bay area in search of a permanent home.
As they've played home games in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Diego the team recognizes California as their home. The Golden State in their name is in reference to the state the team plays in. The gold in their jerseys then is representative of the state. Now the gold the team wears is also in reference to the five NBA Championships the franchise has won over their existence.
10 Avoid - Golden State Warriors Orange Alternatives
Why? The franchise name is the Golden State Warriors, why take all the gold out of your jerseys? It's not altogether clear why the franchise decided to market orange alternative jerseys recently but that's what they've done. Fans, however, are more in favor of the golden and blue color scheme more closely related to the team's successful eras.
FIve NBA Championship trophies, all decked out in gold and gold in your team name, and yet they pick orange as the color for these jerseys?
Don't fix what is not broke Golden State and send these orange colored jerseys to a team in Florida where they belong.
In actuality, the franchise's first color scheme included orange as its primary color. That was when they were the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1940s, however.
9 See Again - Phoenix Suns 1992-2000 Jersey
In 1993, Charles Barkley won the NBA Most Valuable Player award and took the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals. They would lose to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls but everybody else did the same during this era. Barkley and the rest of the 1993 Phoenix Suns wore these jerseys as they took on the Bulls in the Finals.
While Steve Nash would come along years later and win two MVPs while a member of the Suns, the franchise has never returned to the NBA Finals since Barkley and crew were wearing the above jerseys. Perhaps it's time for the team to bring these uniforms out of retirement. After all, the Suns have never won an NBA Championship and the closest they ever came was when they wore these jerseys. The color scheme has stayed the same but the jerseys themselves have been reverted to a more traditional look nowadays.
8 Avoid - Washington Wizards All Gold Alternatives
Well, it ended up being great for the franchise that they changed their team name away from the Bullets before Gilbert Arenas got to Washington...
Alas, the team has attempted to completely re-brand themselves since becoming the Wizards and that simply isn't necessary. The Washington Professional Basketball franchise, as some fans refer to them as, have excellent red and white striped retro jerseys to fall back on. They just can't write the word "Bullets" on them. In 2011, the franchise finally went back to their old color scheme, which also happens to be the color scheme of the city's NHL team, the Capitals.
The franchise decided to change their name in 1995 in response to rising crime rates in the city.
7 See Again - Minnesota Timberwolves 1996-2008 Jerseys
When the Minnesota Timberwolves introduced their logo to the league in 1989, it contained a fairly passive looking wolf and a basic blue, green, and white color scheme. In 1996, however, the team decided to make their logo a little angrier and their uniforms a little edgier. The team's logo switched from a passive looking wolf who you would love to pet to an aggressive and ferocious looking predator who wants to murder you with its face.
These jerseys would last 12 years, however, as the team would switch to something simpler in recent years. The franchise has actually switched their jerseys around on three different occasions following 2008. Perhaps its time they just decide to go back to these edgy versions. The Wolves have never managed to accomplish much on the court so why not at least look good?
6 Avoid - New York Knicks All Orange Jersey
Some people love the all orange Holiday New York Knicks jerseys. These jerseys honor the color orange which is been a part of the Knicks color scheme for generations. Orange has always been a peripheral color for the Knicks, however, not the main color.
Focusing on the color orange for third jerseys is perfectly fine but the franchise went a bit overboard when they decided to have orange writing on top of an orange shirt.
There have been orange Knicks jerseys which have had blue writing on orange shirts but these versions often just have the letters highlighted in blue but colored in orange as well.
Perhaps the franchise wants to pay homage to the Syracuse Orange who play nearby but we think they missed the boat in this instance.
5 See Again - Atlanta Hawks 1982-92 Jersey
The Hawks have gone through a lot of different jerseys but we think its time they go back to their jerseys from the 1980s. This was when Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkins were putting the franchise on the map.
When the franchise decided to revamp their jerseys in 1993, they went big. A giant and detailed Hawk was on the front of their jerseys which looked more like a hockey jersey than a basketball version.
Like most franchises, however, in recent years, the Atlanta Hawks have switched to a more basic jersey layout with less going on. The jerseys once again just have simple writing with a number underneath.
4 Avoid - Vancouver Grizzlies Plain Jersey
It wouldn't make much sense for the Memphis Grizzlies to wear these jerseys and that's probably a good thing. It's not tough to see why the franchise didn't last long in Vancouver. It's hard to sell tickets to any team who wear jerseys this bad.
The seemingly bizarre collar is actually a tribute to Vancouver's aboriginal population. The NBA was hurt in Vancouver following the lockout in 1998.
The Canadian dollar wasn't doing very well at the time either so the team opted to move to Memphis. Attendance of games in Vancouver had not gone as well as the ownership group had hoped. Meanwhile, the NBA experience in Toronto has gone significantly different with the team currently on a multi-season home sellout streak.
3 See Again - Miami Heat All White Jersey
Unlike with the Knicks all-orange jerseys, there is nothing about the Miami Heat all-whites that hits the eye poorly. There is something so sleek about these jerseys that they could only be worn by a championship caliber team like they were when LeBron was in town.
It's amazing to think the Miami Heat franchise is only 30 years old. They've won three NBA Championships and seemingly have gone through several eras already. It is probably the case that the next few years will see a lot of changes in Miami as well. This can go one of two ways for the franchise. Even with Dwayne Wade returning to the franchise, the future does not look that great in Miami. Wade is 36 years old after all, and the team has never really succeeded without him being a key member of the team.
2 Avoid - Milwaukee Bucks Surprised Deer Jersey
The Milwaukee Bucks have tried numerous different uniforms over the years but none quite like the jerseys pictured above. Why the team chose for the Buck to be turning around in a surprised fashion as if he heard a hunter step on a twig is anyone's guess.
It's been nearly 17 years now since the Bucks made it past the first round of the playoffs. Considering the franchise won the NBA Championship in just their 3rd season (1971) it goes without saying that fans didn't know such kinds of playoff droughts would be taking place in their future.
As of this writing, they are set to take on the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs, having just snuck into the post-season as the seventh seed in the East. Somehow, it's hard to imagine their playoff drought ending this year.
1 See Again - Seattle SuperSonics Classic Jersey
Bring any of the jerseys back! In fact, bring the entire team back! They could even bring back Shawn Kemp. With the amount of kids he has he probably still needs the money. Bring back Gary Payton too while you are at it. He's probably still really good.
One day the NBA will return to Seattle and hopefully, the franchise keeps the SuperSonics name.
There were some great teams from Seattle and it's hard not to feel bad for the fanbase that lost their team. It's one thing for your sports team to move away but it's another if for years that team was a contender for a championship and then almost in a blink of an eye they're gone.
The Sonics had some pretty nice jerseys too! They never went too far out of their comfort zone with a simple green, white and yellow color scheme.