Grading the NBA's Awesome '90s Throwback Jerseys

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2013

Grading the NBA's Awesome '90s Throwback Jerseys

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    Basketball is a game that, aside from the play itself, is all about looking good. The NBA honors that tradition with vintage jerseys for the yearly Hardwood Classics, and this season will spotlight one of the game's golden eras: the 1990s.

    I grew up in this decade and got to see some of the greatest basketball in the history of the sport. From Michael Jordan carrying the Chicago Bulls to seemingly countless championships to Reggie Miller always coming through for the Indiana Pacers, this was an era where games were not to be missed under any circumstances.

    Of course, the players looked great in their jerseys while doing so. The seven that the NBA has chosen to use this season are among some of the best, though some dogs are in there, too.

    Let's figure out just which of these jerseys receives the highest mark.

Sacramento Kings

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    Grade: C-

    The Sacramento Kings were lovable losers for most of the '90s, and having equally bad jerseys didn't help.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the purple-and-black coloring, but is the checkerboard pattern along the sides really necessary? Granted, it does give a whole new meaning to the term "King me," but still doesn't make for a great uniform.

    In all honesty, the colors are what save this uniform from being a complete and utter bust. Team management fortunately changed it up enough by the time Chris Webber came aboard that it wasn't a mini disaster anymore, but something tells me that Mitch Richmond still has nightmares about this jersey.

    To be honest, I can understand why.

Miami Heat

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    Grade: B-

    The Heat were still something of a fledgling team in the '90s, having debuted in 1989. And like their poor play on the court, we can all safely say that a team's inaugural jerseys are never much to write home about.

    In the case of Miami, however, the jersey really isn't all that bad. Save for a bland pattern, colors keep it from being more of a rag than NBA duds.

    The reddish-orange-and-black lettering give off a smooth fire-and-smoke feel, and the flame protruding from the T only adds to the panache. It's not something I would ever wear, being a New York Knicks fan, but I can definitely respect the look.

    For a debut jersey, it's got just as much of a classic look as one that has been around for decades.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Grade: B

    Who would have thought that purple and green would work as a color combination for a jersey? The Bucks got the formula right, and the purple-tinged lettering works great with the number to the side.

    Unfortunately, the jersey is guilty of trying to make too much out of a good thing. The remarkably detailed deer is a nice touch, but it overshadows everything else about the jersey. Some may argue that's the point, but it's just a bit much for my taste.

    Just the same, it's a jersey that screams old-school, and it deserves every bit of attention it gets during the Hardwood Classic games.

Chicago Bulls

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    Grade: B+

    Thanks to Michael Jordan, Bulls jerseys are going to be cool no matter what. Chicago's black, pinstriped jersey is no exception, and it's great that the league is bringing this one back.

    I don't know why, but pinstripes always make everything better. Throw in the combination of red and black, and you've got one intimidating look.

    The white borders don't really seem to match the rest, but that's just me being nitpicky. As a whole, the jersey works and guys like Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer are going to look great rocking it.

Phoenix Suns

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    Grade: B+

    The Suns have been known for having a fast, flashy offense, so it's only fitting that their jerseys in the '90s reflected that. The black background is sick, as is the purple-and-orange comet effect in the logo.

    All in all, the only real problem with this jersey is that it's a bit unconventional by NBA standards. Jerseys should be simple, and this one gets a bit too loud.

    However, the design itself is great and though it may not be the most traditional, it oddly works.

Indiana Pacers

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    Grade: A-

    I may have constantly rooted against the Pacers in the '90s, but that didn't stop me from appreciating their pinstriped jerseys. The white background works remarkably well, and the gold-and-navy accents are the definition of style.

    Say what you want about the Pacers themselves. This jersey works.

    Yes, having the yellow border around the lettering and numbers is a bit much. But again, that's just me being nitpicky.

    As a whole, this jersey demands respect, and the league is giving that which is due this season.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Grade: A+

    I know, I know. This Atlanta jersey is so ridiculous and cartoony compared to the classic ones from the '80s, so why give it such a high grade?

    Well, it just so happens that I like ridiculous and cartoony. I don't know why, but the goofy bird with a basketball in its talons just jumps out at me.

    Some may say this is among the worst jerseys of the '90s. This writer, however, can't get enough of these duds. As a matter of fact, time to hit eBay and see what's available!