Representing their city and their team, a uniform is what they wear every time they step onto an NBA court. NBA franchises are only defined by a few things, and their jersey is definitely one of those things. Classic uniforms and logos is what teams will be remembered by, like the Celtics green or the purple and gold of the Lakers. Whatever it is, a team should be proud of their jerseys.
The problem with this is that sometimes NBA teams produce some ugly jerseys, that for some reason they think is the best way to represent themselves against their opponent on the court. Us as NBA fans can probably remember some really ugly jerseys that had us thinking, "how did that thing ever make it onto the court?"
There have been more jerseys produced in recent years, as teams have alternates, alternates with sleeves, throwbacks, etc… This has led the way for even more bad jerseys to surface, as many of these sleeved jerseys just don’t look right for the sport of basketball.
As always, feel free to leave any other awful NBA jerseys in the comment section below, for we would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
Here are the top 15 most awful NBA jerseys that should have never made it onto the court.
15 Chicago Bulls Stag Throwbacks - 2005
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the Chicago Bulls take the court in these terrible, terrible jerseys. I mean seriously, I couldn't imagine anyone thinking these uniforms looked good. If these jerseys were worn for Clown Day then maybe, just maybe I could understand the choices made. The red top and the shiny blue pants clashed terribly. The long stretched lettering with the blocked number didn’t go together at all either. And the white waistband separating the jersey and the shorts were the icing on the top of this total fail.
The Bulls tend to have one of the best jerseys and logos in all of sports and this was just disgraceful. Definitely some of the ugliest NBA uniforms that somehow made it onto the court.
14 Dallas Mavericks Alternate - 2003
Do I really have to explain to you why these jerseys are so ugly? They look like the Mavericks were wearing silver trash bags on them, definitely not a respectable NBA jersey. The Mavericks are known for their blue or green style jerseys, not silver. The small Mavericks logo gets lost in the shiny material and just adds to the awful of this jersey. Thankfully, Mark Cuban pulled them after one game. These jerseys belong in a Sci-Fi movie, not the NBA.
The team would look better fighting aliens in those things rather than playing the game of basketball. You have to wonder how much those jerseys are worth now, since we only saw them once, due to the fact they should have never made it onto an NBA court.
13 Denver Nuggets Alternate - 1981-85
This one if pretty confusing, as the Nuggets tried something new with their already good looking jersey. The Nuggets jerseys with the mountains behind the apartments have always seen some hate over the years, however there are many more sensible people that understand the beauty that this NBA uniform possesses. The white and blue ones are pretty nice to look at, however when the Nuggets tried to make them black and green, that was a huge mistake as they created one of the worst offsprings from an excellent NBA jersey.
The colorful middle of the jersey doesn’t go with the dark black and green at all. You don’t have to make an alternate for every jersey, and these definitely didn’t work on any levels.
12 Toronto Raptors Military Night
Showing appreciation for your nation's military is a very serviceable thing to do, however there are different ways to have a military inspired jersey other than just making a completely camouflaged uniform. That's what the Raptors did for their military nights, which meant fans had to watch their team play in some of the ugliest NBA uniforms of all-time.
Maybe making the lettering and numbers camouflaged would have been a nice touch, but not the entire jersey! The Raptors probably would have liked to just blend into their surroundings instead of being seen wearing these uniforms. Camouflage is used on the battlefield for a reason, and we should keep it there as it doesn't look good on NBA uniforms and is not the best way to represent the military.
11 11. Phoenix Suns - 2003-12
While Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire had some eye opening plays together in these uniforms, there just wasn't anything special enough to keep these jerseys around for almost a decade. These jerseys were just weak. The weird oval/halo behind the number was a very peculiar choice of design. Also for the orange Suns team, there was much too grey for my liking. Shouldn't a team with a name like the Suns have brighter colors?
All I know is that the Suns have one of the best color schemes in the league, but just missed the mark totally with these awful jerseys they wore from 2003 to 2012. The Suns have since changed uniforms and for the better. Ironically enough, the Suns had some of their better years while having these jerseys.
10 New Jersey Nets - 1990-97
The Nets wore some of the ugliest jerseys fans of the NBA have ever seen throughout the 90s, as the uniform looked like a faded watercolor painting gone wrong, as the gradient used was terrible. These jerseys were bad right from the start. The lettering of a jersey is everything and the font for “NETS” was awful. Add the vibrant red and blue color scheme to the rectangle logo on the front and this jersey goes from bad to worse.
The 90s were all about being bold and colorful in jerseys and some teams got it right, while the Nets most certainly did not. Let’s hope these won’t be brought back as throwbacks in Brooklyn, even though I doubt we will ever see these atrocities again.
9 Charlotte Bobcats - 2008-11
The Charlotte Bobcats were never really respected as an NBA team due to their inability to win games at a successful rate…and these jerseys didn’t help their cause at all. Mostly faded blue, the colors were odd. The white pinstripes didn’t have any appeal and the lettering on the front seemed childish. I don't know what it was but there just wasn't anything appealing on the plain Bobcats jerseys. Perhaps the ugliness of these jerseys was suitable for them given how bad they were for all those years, before eventually showing promise and getting the Hornets name back.
Now the Hornets' uniforms are pleasing to look at, unlike their predecessors of the late 2010s, as the franchise never really figured out how to properly market themselves before getting the Hornets name from New Orleans.
8 Detroit Pistons - 1995-2001
The Pistons tried steering away from their classic red, white, and blue uniforms with these things, but totally missed the mark in trying to do something different in a successful way. What isn’t wrong with this jersey? The Pistons are a classic bad to the bone team, and these wimpy teal jerseys completely took away from that. These uniforms just didn't have anything to get excited about, kind of like the team that wore them.
The Pistons are royal blue, not teal. Also what’s up with the flaming horse, what does that have to do with the Pistons at all? Thankfully the Pistons have since gone back to the blue and red, but for a while, these were easily one of the worst uniforms in all of sports.
7 Indiana Pacers "Hickory High" - 2015-Present
Celebrating the film Hoosiers, the Pacers thought that these jerseys were the best fit to commemorate the movie. These are just bad. The “Hickory” is wrapped around the number in a odd use of space and the weird red jersey top is not good looking at all. Just like the Bulls Clown Day mistake, never have your pants a different color then your jersey, as it just looks bad. It never works. Also, the pants are very shiny and chrome which doesn’t work with the extremely bland red top.
While Hoosiers is one of the most classic basketball movies of all-time, it's not really a good idea to make a uniform based on a movie, at least not in this case that's for sure.
6 New York Knicks Christmas Jerseys - 2012
The Knicks have one of the most iconic uniforms in all of sports, but like all NBA teams, Christmas day games is a time for switching up uniforms, however the Knicks were stuck with easily the worst uniform of the day back in 2012. The NBA was going with a color rush inspired Christmas uniforms, as the teams would double up on their primary color on the number and jersey. The Knicks were stuck with their orange primary color on their number as well, which had them looking like walking traffic cones on Christmas day, not the iconic New York Knicks we all know. The Knicks have become one of the worst franchises in sports over the past few years, and maybe the awful Christmas day jerseys they were stuck with was a sign for bad things to come for the Knicks.
5 5. Los Angeles Clippers Braves Throwback- 2006
The Los Angeles Clippers were one of the worst teams in the league in the mid 2000s, and considering they weren't winning games they tried switching things up by throwing back to the time they played as the Buffalo Braves. Wrong decision Clippers, wrong decision. The orange and black jerseys were ugly to say the least, with the oddly placed stripes down both the jersey and the pants. They even put a "B" which was the Braves logo on the stripes that already clash the jersey, as the whole thing just really looks like a mess. I like what the Clippers were trying to do, however the uniforms the Braves wore were just wrong to bring back in the modern era. A modern twist on them would have been best.
4 Sacramento Kings Alternate - 2005-07
A lot of basketball fans aren't fans of putting gold on jerseys, even though I believe the Wizards pulled it off, as those jerseys looked pretty good. The Kings on the other hand decided to try using gold in their jerseys, however it just looked bad as the franchise overused the gold to an extent where the uniforms became totally unsightly.
It just looks bad considering the uniforms have nothing else really going on other than the whole gold background and the purple stripes down the side. The Kings definitely weren't doing anything special on the court during the time they wore these gold atrocities, so maybe that prompted them to do something different like putting their players in completely gold uniforms. An all purple uniform with gold trimming likely would have looked a lot better.
3 New Orleans Pelicans - Mardi Gras
New Orleans is famous for their Mardi Gras celebration, and the team decided to make a Mardi Gras inspired jersey that they wore for the 2012 and 2013 NBA seasons. The jersey has three different colors sported on it, as it ranges form a dark purple, yellow, and green that all comes together...terribly. These jerseys just aren't cool at all and do not pay homage to Mardi Gras, as the dark purple is used the most and I believe that it was the worst color from the three all together.
While I do think a Mardi Gras inspired uniform could be pretty cool, these uniforms just happened to miss the mark, as they ultimately became one of the ugliest jerseys that ever made it onto the NBA hardwood.
2 2. Memphis Grizzlies Tam Throwback - 2012
In 2012, the Grizzlies sported these yellow and green jerseys as a nod to the short time they were the Memphis Tams. With the yellow top and the green bottom, the Grizzlies didn’t even try on this one. Nothing was really awful about the top and bottom separately, however there is just something about having the top being a different color from the shorts that make these eye sores something ugly.
I really hope we don’t see these again, as they are one of the worst set of uniforms to ever get to grace the NBA hardwood. If you’re doing any Grizzlies throwback, it should be a nod to those Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys back in the 90s, as those were the last time the Grizzlies looked stylish on the court. Please, no more Tam throwback jerseys.
1 Philadelphia 76ers - 1991-94
The Sixers have never had great jerseys other than their black and white style in the early 2000s that Allen Iverson wore. However the jerseys they wore in the early 90s were just terrible. Trying to show their patriotism, the Sixers thought these jerseys showed what made Philadelphia one of the most important cities in America. Wrong. These foolish jerseys had way too much going on and were just plain ugly. They looked like an elementary school kids t-shirt, not an NBA uniform.
Perhaps it was just the nature of the 90s but there’s a way to be colorful and still look like a professional basketball team, as they looked like a rec league team who let one of the kids design their uniform. Barkley must have been relieved when he was traded to Phoenix knowing he wouldn't have to wear these anymore.