Power Ranking Every NBA Team's Retro Threads
The NBA does one of the best jobs of constantly keeping its uniforms fresh. Most teams don't use the same duds for more than a decade, and even within the span of a decade they'll tweak them from time to time.
What's more, this year in the NBA the league has taken 10 teams and given them threads from the ABA teams in their cities, which they'll be wearing from time to time throughout the year.
This continues a long tradition of NBA teams paying homage to the past, but it's going even farther than that now, as teams like the Charlotte Bobcats and Memphis Grizzlies, both of which weren't teams that came over from the ABA, are able to pay homage to teams that existed in their cities in the past.
So with all of these fancy new duds and some neat old ones still around the league, which teams have the best throwback uniforms?
I've taken a look at the most recent throwbacks that teams have used and ranked them all alongside the new ABA duds around the league to find out once and for all who has the best throwbacks in the league.
30. Memphis Grizzlies
What is there to say about these Memphis Tams jerseys? No, seriously, what is there to say? I can't think of anything constructive.
Who honestly thought that green and yellow would look good together as a bottom and top? Hopefully that person was fired, rehired as the team's janitor and then fired again after cleaning the entire arena by himself.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
Unfortunately for the Oklahoma City Thunder, I can't bring myself to say that any form of a Seattle SuperSonics uniform is a throwback; it's just too soon.
So because of their lack of a throwback, they can't really do much in this ranking.
Hey, at least they finished ahead of the Grizzlies' abominations.
28. Miami Heat
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Miami better thank the Memphis Tams for existing and the Thunder for not technically having a throwback uniform; otherwise, the Heat would be dead last in this here contest.
Whatever the creators of these abominations were going for, I think it's safe to say they failed—that is, unless they were going for one of the most atrocious garments ever worn, in which case, good job, fellows.
A pink and orange stripe along one side and then a pink border around the number is just not something I can get behind.
27. Minnesota Timberwolves
The ABA was a breeding ground for some of the best uniforms in basketball history; however, this is not one of those cases.
These Minnesota Muskies uniforms, with the blue along the side of the shorts and the gold lettering, just don't make me happy when I look at them. There's something about them that just makes me never want to find out what a muskie is.
26. Boston Celtics
I don't think you could say that Boston's uniforms have changed enough over time to actually give them a chance to wear throwback uniforms.
That doesn't mean they don't have good-looking threads. These are classic and quite clean jerseys, but they haven't got any throwbacks, so I guess I can't put them too high.
25. New York Knicks
Sometimes old is good—other times old is bad. This is one of those times when old is both.
The core of the jersey is beautiful. It's got the classic "New York" block lettering with the dark blue popping against the orange. Everything works until your eyes wander outward.
Once you get to the orange and blue boxes running up and down the sides, you realize just how ridiculous these uniforms are, and it makes sense why the Knicks were so bad in their early days.
24. San Antonio Spurs
As a part of the NBA getting back to the ABA roots of many teams this year, the San Antonio Spurs rolled out these Dallas Chaparrals uniforms in a game against the Nets.
Now, these are pretty sleek, as most ABA threads were, but they were outshined by the Nets in this game uniform-wise, making them look just a bit bland.
However, taken in on their own, they have the very pleasing cursive "Chaps" and a nice triple stripe around the arm and neck holes that is very sharp.
25. New Orleans Hornets
Before they were the Baltimore Claws or the Memphis Sounds, Tams or Pros, New Orleans was home to the ABA's Buccaneers.
This was in the early days of the league, and quite frankly, these uniforms just don't live up to most of the rest of the jerseys that came out of the stylish times.
They aren't ugly by any means, but nothing about them is really that good-looking.
22. Houston Rockets
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
For some reason, even though these bad boys look like they could have very well been used as McDonald's uniforms at one point in time, they still don't look half bad.
Yellow and red always play well together, and for some reason that slight tilt to the "Houston" along with the skinny lettering that you don't see every day looks pretty cool.
21. Dallas Mavericks
Who says a throwback has to throw all the way back?
This year when the Mavericks were matched up against the Minnesota Timberwolves in their "Muskies" jerseys from the ABA days, Dallas simply went back in time a few years and pulled out its jerseys from the 2000s. Hell, I'd bet that the Mavs didn't even need to make one for Dirk Nowitzki—they just had him bring one of his old ones.
Still, these black, blue and white unis are the embodiment of the early 2000s, and they show off what was supposed to be the future of basketball all the way back in the year 2000.
20. Denver Nuggets
Unfortunately, in this year's round of ABA throwbacks, the Denver Nuggets had to go with their old ABA jerseys and not the classic cool of the 1980s rainbow mountains.
Still, here we have a Nuggets uniform that makes sense, something you don't see much of these days, and one that is pretty cool given the color combination.
They aren't bad, but they could never live up to the rainbow mountains.
19. Toronto Raptors
I've yet to see the Raptors go into a throwback phase, but I can only hope that they go all the way back to their roots when they do.
Some will call the old Raptors jerseys the cheesiest things to ever come out of the NBA, and I would have to agree with them, but does that necessarily mean they're bad?
These jerseys scream '90s, but so do the Raptors, so why not live in the decade they were created?
18. Charlotte Bobcats
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Even though the Charlotte Bobcats have only been in the league since the early 2000s, they have a set of throwbacks thanks to the ABA.
These Carolina Cougars uniforms embody the cool of the ABA, but they don't exactly show off the flash.
They have a nice white base with red lettering and blue piping around the letters, plus they've got a pretty sharp triple stripe bordering the entire thing.
17. Phoenix Suns
I'm pretty much on a 50-50 split when it comes to the uniforms of the '90s that have huge graphics running across the front.
For instance, the 1991-94 76ers uniforms are the most hideous things to ever befall my eyes. However, I like these Suns duds.
16. Golden State Warriors
You've gotta dig the old San Francisco Warriors jerseys in all their blandness as quite a stark contrast to what the Warriors have worn since then.
These were the original uniforms worn by the West Coasters when they came to town with Wilt Chamberlain, and to this day they still look pretty cool.
15. Detroit Pistons
It's hard to top some of the jerseys with classic cool from the 1980s, and that's probably why Detroit has gone back to this basic style since completely running away from it in the 1990s.
The red, white and blue never looks bad on a uniform, and for some reason when it's got the Pistons name on the front, it just looks more fierce, especially with a "Rodman" across the back.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
Call me a homer, but I've never seen a combination of the Cavaliers' wine and gold that I disliked.
The strange little flourish on the underline of the script "Cavaliers" gives the jersey that '70s flair that no other decade has shown off, plus the numbers being a bit off-kilter is a nice touch.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
A year after having what was possibly the greatest team name in basketball history (the Anaheim Amigos), the old California ABA team moved into Los Angeles and called itself the Stars.
The only reason I can forgive them for that move and subsequent name change is these slick-looking jerseys.
The baby blue is enough, but the contrast with the red and white lettering, the white vertical stripes under the arm and the red stripe with stars in the middle makes this a pretty nice-looking jersey.
12. Chicago Bulls
By far my favorite Chicago Bulls jersey of all time, and the most recent I can recall the current Bulls wearing, has to be the script "Chicago" jerseys.
They didn't try to be cool, but they were, just like Michael Jordan in his early years.
The classic red and black is always a good look, and the white piping and the double white stripe along the border is a nice touch.
11. Milwaukee Bucks
There's always going to be a soft spot in my heart for the clean, classic Milwaukee Bucks uniforms.
Something about the way the dark green and the red piping pop out along with the contrast of the white lettering makes these things seem timeless.
In fact, Milwaukee needs to work these into its rotation much more often. I want to see more of these.
10. Sacramento Kings
Boogie Cousins looks so out of breath and astonished here because those Cincinnati Royals jerseys that the Kings were wearing are just so damn fresh.
The small intricacies of this uniform are what make it special. Sure, it's just your basic white jersey, but the red lettering with the blue piping around it is sharp, not to mention the red and white border around the entire thing.
Bravo for bringing these bad boys back, Sacramento—bravo.
9. Orlando Magic
Sure, the Magic have the nice, tidy pinstripes these days, but they are wide, futuristic-looking pinstriped uniforms, while the ones of the 1990s were fun and cheeky.
The mid-'90s Orlando Magic uniforms, normally stretched across Shaquille O'Neal's ample frame, just had something special about them, probably because they were the only pinstriped jerseys in the league.
That makes these throwbacks as cool as ever, and it has given those mid-'90s Magic threads quite a bit of staying power.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Most often and most recently you'll see the Hawks throw it back with the '80s version of their jerseys, giving a nod to good ol' Dominique Wilkins.
These are some of the coolest jerseys ever to appear in the NBA, as they created quite the mixture of the slick style of the 1970s with the new wave of the 1980s.
I guess you could say if these jerseys were a band, they would be Talking Heads.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
Nothing like taking a look at the Clyde Drexler days here in the early 2010s, eh?
These late '80s Trail Blazers jerseys blazed the trail into the '90s with unique jersey styles before everyone started putting ridiculous graphics on their uniforms.
The diagonal red and white stripe paired with the pitch-black background and the red piping around the white letters really makes for a sharp jersey.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
What the 76ers are wearing right now are a callback to the glory days of the early 1980s. So when they go throwback, these are the ones I would like to see.
The early 1980s were great for the team, but the late 1970s were great for basketball uniforms in general, and these red, white and blue pieces of perfection were the peak of their class.
5. Utah Jazz
What the Jazz currently wear from day to day hearkens back to days of old, which I like, but the most recent throwbacks that I've seen them wear are these old green beauties from the days of Pistol Pete.
However, I could only rustle up images of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams in those bad boys, so I decided to gift your eyes with the familiar name of a man nobody could bear to hate for too long, John Stockton.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
This is nearly the pinnacle of NBA throwbacks.
After moving into Los Angeles, the team flipped the baby blue from Minneapolis for a darker shade and added the very cool script "Los Angeles," creating an iconic uniform.
Add the shadow effect on the number (a very '60s enhancement) and the baby blue border around the neck and arms, and you've got yourself quite a pretty uniform.
3. Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
It may not be fair to the rest of the league, but I don't care. These Wizards jerseys are still fairly new, so their novelty has yet to wear off.
For those of you who loved the days of Wes Unseld repping the red-, white- and blue-striped Washington Bullets jerseys, these new Wizards jerseys are for you.
Hell, the Wizards are so bad this year there has to be some reason to watch them play, and this laundry is certainly a reason.
2. Indiana Pacers
Oh boy, it's going to be hard to top these Indiana Pacers jerseys.
This year's set of ABA throwbacks thankfully included the Pacers, and because of that we are being treated to being able to take these bad boys in with our own eyes.
The crisp blue along with the meandering yellow and the sharp white lettering make for one of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing jerseys of the year.
1. New Jersey Nets
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
When you take one look at these New York Nets jerseys you'll instantly realize why the Nets want to move from New Jersey to New York so badly. If they can go back to wearing these bad boys every night, then they'll have no problem stealing a fan away from the Knicks (oh, and I guess Deron Williams sticking around couldn't hurt).
The red stripe along the side is a beautiful contrast to the blue, and the clean, white lettering absolutely pops on the blue background.
Thanks for bringing these back, New Jersey. Now keep them around for the long haul.
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