UPDATED: The Worst Uniforms in NBA History


UPDATED: The Worst Uniforms in NBA History

CREATED Oct 30, 2012

The start of the 2012-2013 NBA season is upon us, and as in years past, the start of the season coincides with Halloween. In light of this once a year tradition and the start of a fresh NBA season, I thought it pertinent to point out some of the worst costumes…er…uh uniforms in NBA history. There are many lists out there relative to the topic, but this is the only list that should be considered ‘official’.

To set the stage, my quest was to find the worst everyday common jerseys in NBA history. I chose not to extend the search to include a teams ‘alternate’ jersey due to the fact that all alternate jerseys are puke. The list would get too long if I included these gems from the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, and our own Milwaukee Bucks.


Through avid research, there is certainly a fashion phase for each decade of hoops. The current retro fashion fixation has allowed for jerseys of the 70’s and 80’s to appear fresh. The 80’s (especially early in the decade) uniforms were simple, straight forward and to the point. Two colors, one word, no logo – done. On occasion however, a team would break from the norm - such as the Denver Nuggets computer matrix jersey circa 1983. But even these suckers have resurfaced in the last 9 years of statement-making retro jersey purchasing.


Once the 90’s rolled around, marketing departments were obviously fed up not only with the dominance of the Lakers and Celtics, but the lack of flare in the team uniforms. Out with the bland, in with the new trendy colors, logos, fading, and occasional pin stripe. Welcome my friends to the worst decade in NBA uniform history. I did not anticipate each jersey in the top 5 worst to be from the same decade. Not even the resurfacing of a fashion trend could bring these bleeding-eye causing garments from extinction. Here we go (click on the team name to see the example):



5. Philadelphia 76’ers – Get out your crayons boys and girls! This looks like the product of a grade school contest to see who could color the prettiest. I understand the guy in the picture doesn’t make the jersey look any better, but I’m not sure how an array of shooting stars is supposed to strike fear in the opponent, or make them respect you...it looks like a cereal box. Could you imagine Moses Malone or Dr. J in this?


4. Vancouver GrizzliesI’m willing to give a little slack to the people who developed this disaster (after all, it was a Canadian team), but not much. Again, the person wearing the jersey in the picture doesn't help the cause, but the combination of teal-brown-reddish won’t work for anyone. What’s the bear doing on the shorts; and why does it continue to the backside? What's worse is that this was an expansion team…it’s not like they didn’t have the time to create something more inspiring.


3. Toronto RaptorsBus-y (b??z'??)adjective: clashing in design or colors; cluttered with small, inharmonious details. The Raptors were another expansion team who determined a larger than life pinkish-red dinosaur on a purple jersey with alternating white and black pinstripes would be the best way to outfit the players. I think I speak for everyone when I say, "???".


2. Detroit Pistons – It’s no coincidence that the Pistons struggled during the stretch of time these uni’s were worn. They won titles in the 80’s with their simple red white and blue color scheme – then these came along. How can a team once considered the bad boys of the league make a serious move to this vomit inducing, deep teal jersey complete with flaming steel horse? Some might argue that the Grizzlies and Raptors jerseys look worse, but when you consider the evolution of the Pistons – from bad boys to...whatever this is – they must rate worse….much, much worse.


1. New Jersey Nets - Part tie-dye, part bomb pop, all crap. I don’t know how many people lost their jobs over this but it wasn’t enough. This was a collaborative front office decision made to showcase the team in the best way possible. Whiff! Most teams have a uniform / color scheme archive on their Web site. You can’t find a trace of this faux denim disaster anywhere on the New Jersey Nets site. In fact, this was the only image I could find anywhere on the web. The current front office of the Nets is obviously trying to forget about this disaster.


Honorable Mention: The Cleveland Cavaliers of the mid 90's; The Atlanta Hawks of the same decade; The Washington Bullets of the 70's; 1997 Utah Jazz.


Best and Worst of The Upcoming Season: Best goes to the Brooklyn Nets. Simple design, no obnoxious logo, and classic coloring.


The worst goes to the Denver Nuggets - and it's not even close. I actually like the mining logo on the shorts, but the rest of what I'm seeing is a complete mess. I must confess, this is the Nuggets alternate jersey, so I'll cut a little slack.