A Brief History of NBA All-Star Weekend Uniforms
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The new All-Star uniforms for 2013 have subtle features like a camouflage design and stenciled characters to evoke letters on a fighter jet.
The jerseys pay tribute to Houston's rich aeronautical history.
But it wasn't always so high-tech. There was a time when you just wrote the conference on the front of the jersey and sewed on a few stars. All-Star uniform done.
Times have changed tremendously over the past 62 years. And so have the jerseys at the All-Star game.
In numerous years across the decades, players simply wore their own jerseys, but the game-specific uniforms designs provide a barometer for the era.
The flavor of a decade is encapsulated in many of the All-Star jerseys over the years. And here's a graded review of that rich history.
The 1950s, Grade: C
The first NBA All-Star game was held back in 1951, when Ed Macauley led the the Eastern Conference in a takedown of George Mikan and the West, 111-94.
These jerseys had no writing on them, just a player's number and a couple of stars thrown in for good measure. They're pretty sweet in their simplicity, but they also look like they were made at a dollar store.
We'll leave these behind with Wally and the Beaver.
The '60s, Grade: C+
In 1963, Boston Celtic Bob Cousy and teammate Bill Russell propelled the East to victory. They did so in these classic All-Star uniforms.
Sure, the wool was itchy and chafed the players, but they sure looked good.
The '70s, Grade: B+
In 1977, the league began getting creative to show that they had absorbed some style when they merged with the ABA.
These sweet, green jerseys are triumphant.
This was also the decade that saw the league design the All-Star jerseys in the style of the host city, a theme they went away from in the '80s (and have come around to yet again more recently).
The city of Milwaukee hosted the game in '77, and that's why the uniforms look just a bit like beer cans, thanks to the gothic German writing.
The '80s, Grade: B
In 1984, the shorts were still really short, as demonstrated here by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
This year also helped cement the red, white and blue color scheme for the All-Star jerseys, which survives to this day.
1986 to 1992, Grade: B-
The NBA wore some simple jerseys and kept it uniform at the All-Star game from 1986 to 1992. These are slight variations on the '84 design, and the league liked it enough to keep it for eight years.
The red, white and blues also persisted.
The '90s, Grade: A
The '90s were a glorious era for uniform design. Until the latter part of the decade when adding black to any jersey became a widespread fad, the cheesy cartoon rode high in the saddle.
The 1995 contest took place in Phoenix, so gaudy cartoon cacti were the order of the day, as the league again used the host city as inspiration.
1996 was similarly childish.
The game was held in San Antonio, and the design seems to have been at least partially inspired by the Spurs' "fiesta" team colors. Another fantastic cartoon.
The 2000s, Grade: B+
After years of players wearing their home or away team uniforms for All-Star weekend, the special jersey was re-introduced for the first time since 1997.
These uniforms were so attractive that Kobe Bryant got a little cuddly with Allen Iverson. But cooler heads prevailed.
It's nice to have a special jersey to commemorate the occasion, and at least this year reintroduced the trend.
The '08 game was played in New Orleans, and the NBA went classic creole with the design. This was just one of several nice jerseys designed for the ASG after 2003.
Most Recently, Grade: B-
The most recent uniforms have been modern and sleek, but not terribly inspired. They're a little too fancy, and they all seem to have some sort of underlying pattern.
The latest ASG jerseys lack the simplicity and classic reference of designs from the previous decade.
But on the plus side, we have Chris Bosh's dreads to dazzle us. And at least these jerseys don't have sleeves.
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