Best and Worst NBA All-Star Uniforms Ever

Howard Ruben@howardrubenContributor IJanuary 16, 2013

Best and Worst NBA All-Star Uniforms Ever

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    Let's face it: the annual NBA All-Star Game is all about looking good.

    No one remembers the outcome.  The final score is usually 160-158.  Players do whatever they can to avoid defense and injury.

    Slam Dunk contests, halftime entertainment and a showcase to display new gear all take precedence over the game.

    The game is more about honoring the league's best talent as determined by the fans (translation: like American Idol, the makeup of the two teams often is more the result of a personality contest than one based on ability and current season stats).

    So, looking good when the All-Stars take to the court next month in Houston is of high priority.  When the NBA held its first All-Star Game in 1951, fashion was the furthest thing on its collective mind.  The players wore stars on plain jerseys.

    And while some of us feel the best unis are the ones that stand out from the ordinary, others take an opposing view.

    Chris Creamer of feels the best uniforms are the ones that stay true to the league's traditional colors.  "My favorites are from 1986-92 and 2003," he said.  "These were classics.  A simple, clean design worn for the best All-Star match-ups the league has ever seen."

    To its credit, adidas is personalizing the player's warm-ups this year.  Jackets are customized to represent individual career accomplishments such as All-Star Game appearances and All-Star MVP awards, NBA titles, and other top honors.

    Fashion, even in sports, is an utterly subjective topic.  These, then, are the best and worst from the NBA's All-Star Game fashion closet.

5. 2012: Different Colors, Different Fabrics Produce a Fashion Dud

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    The jerseys were all right, pretty straight forward and cool.

    But, what went into the thinking with those shorts? 

    As David Whitley of the Sporting News wrote about last year's mismatched look:

    They might have felt a tinge while wearing the uniforms they found hanging in their lockers at the Amway Center.  David Stern apparently found them at the Peruvian national team’s yard sale.

    The final score was 152-149 in favor of the West. 

    It was a continual track meet as Kevin Durant helped the West to victory with 36 points.  LeBron James and Dwayne Wade combined for 60 for the East, who made of a game of it late and got to within one point before missing attempts to tie or take the lead at the end.

    Thankfully, the game became the highlight of this night, while the uniforms took a back seat.  




4. 1996 All-Star Game: One for the Ages

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    Played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, the 49th NBA All-Star Game was a classic in more ways than one.

    The East defeated the West, 129-118.  Michael Jordan was selected the game's MVP, scoring 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 22 minutes of action. 

    Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 25 points and was the game's leading scorer, was the starting center for the East and still a member of the Orlando Magic.

    The uniforms for the game were unlike anything the league had trotted out before.  And, there hasn't been a look like this since.

    The NBA gets high marks for this edition.  For a game that's supposed to be fun, entertaining and without consequence, these uniforms truly fit.

3. 1978 All-Star Game: Old School Uniforms Showcase Athletic Brilliance

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    Somehow, these uniforms for the 1978 All-Star Game worked for that era.   There was a certain cool effect to the tailored look of the 1970's.

    The big difference: players had the name of their team in large letters on the front.  What a concept.

    Buffalo Braves guard Randy Smith took home the MVP Award, scoring 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting off the bench for the East, which won the game 133-125 in Atlanta.

    Portland's Bill Walton made his only All-Star appearance that night, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

    The uniforms of that decade were fitted and short.  It was the style then, and I can't see it making a return any time soon.

    But, then, who would have guessed players today would be sporting full-length stockings?

2. 1979: Someone Save This Ship, It's Tilting

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    Is it just me, or did several of the players in this photograph literally slide off the bench as this photo was being taken?

    Come on, these uniforms have to make you laugh. 

    Either the manufacturer messed up in production and printed everything on a 30-degree slant, or that's what some designer or league official decided was avant-garde and slightly radical.

    And, don't these players look as if they all are tilting their heads slightly to the side?  I believe every starter was given one Dramamine for sea sickness prior to tip off.

    David Thompson (Denver Nuggets and looking slightly ill in photo, third from the right, back row) captured the MVP Award as the West won, 134-129.  He scored 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting.

    This All-Star Game had a lot of drama, as the East fought back from being down 80-58 at the half.  Geroge Gervin (26) and Julius Erving (29) led the way for the East.

    The uniforms, though, will go down as one of the league's silliest editions in its 62-year history.

1. 2008 All-Star Game: Best of the Best

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    If there is one thing you can say about the 2008 uniforms, it's that they were not boring.

    Fans reacted either very favorably or referred to the two-tone unis as "hideous".  There was no in-between with this selection. 

    And, that is why they make this very subjective short list as the top uniform ever in All-Star history.

    LeBron James won MVP as the East defeated the West, 134-128 in New Orleans.  He scored 27 points on 12-of-22 shooting.

    The uniforms were definitely a conversation starter and grabbed a lot of attention. 

    If the league is going to make a spectacle of its yearly All-Star contest, then why not create a uniform that is truly unique? 

    Love it or hate it, this one takes the cake for being different, colorful and current.