Ranking the Best Jersey Designs in Utah Jazz History

Nick JuskewyczContributor IIIAugust 1, 2013

19 Dec 2001:  Point guard John Stockton #12 of the Utah Jazz dribbles the ball during the NBA game against the Orlando Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida.  The Magic defeated the Jazz 98-90.  Mandatory Credit:  Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For much of their franchise history, the Utah Jazz have kept things simple by wearing classic and clean looking jerseys.

Simplicity can work positively and negatively, but in this case, it's certainly positive. Is the original Jazz design the best in team history? 

Starting in New Orleans in 1974, the Jazz had a straightforward design with the "J" as a music note to represent their city. When they moved to Salt Lake City in 1979, they kept the same jersey with a few variations until 1996, before spicing it up through the 2010 season.

Then, as other franchises started searching for a different look that was more traditional, the Jazz went back to their original design in response to popular demand, according to the team website.

The Jazz have also gone through some color changes. They started out with purple when their home base was in New Orleans, but since moving to Utah, they've also covered green, gold, black and different shades of blue.

While having the Jazz as their team name still doesn't make much sense in Utah, they have done a good job of bringing out the positives in both the old-fashioned and modern style.


3. Alternate, 1998-2004

After the Jazz made their first drastic design change to include the mountain outline, they came out with a black alternative outfit that didn't have the artistic background.

This was a great way of utilizing a fancier font without running the risk of cluttering the jersey or having too many different colors that stood out. Plus, mountains on that jersey would have just looked weird and out of place.

Furthermore, depending on which court they were playing on, the black sometimes looked better than the purple and was a lot easier to follow from a viewer's perspective. The Staples Center when the Los Angeles Lakers wore gold at home is a perfect example.

The light-red trim on the side was a bit odd, but since it was a secondary color, it wasn't too obvious unless you were sitting courtside or the camera was on a Utah player at the free-throw line.


2. Original Design, 1974-1984 and 2010-Present

This vintage design has been used in multiple eras.

It's gone through many color changes, but the logo itself reflects the Jazz's origin with Pete Maravich as the face of the franchise. People may want the team name changed today, but this image represents a lot of history.

Most may think of Karl Malone, John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek when it comes to Jazz history in Utah, but Adrian Dantley led the charge in the Jazz’s first few seasons in Salt Lake City. He led the Jazz to their first division title and playoff berth in the 1983-84 season and is currently 25th all-time in scoring in the NBA.

The Jazz are currently rocking the original jersey with the musical note and it's refreshing to see that on a nightly basis. Not many franchises in any sport will go back to its original design after abandoning it.

Now Utah just needs to get back to the purple outfit and quit using navy blue and green.


1. Away and Home, 1996-2004 

When the Jazz completely changed their uniforms, the timing was perfect. 

Before the 1996-97 season, the Jazz had never made it to the NBA Finals, but went to the Western Conference Finals three of the previous five seasons. Utah needed something to get over the hump. 

It turned out that something that they needed was just a different look.

With their team name displayed underneath the mountain outline, Utah got its shot at Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in back-to-back seasons.

The all-white home jerseys were pretty cool, but the solid purple jerseys with the white mountain design were the ultimate winner.

The purple shined for the fans up in the nosebleeds while the white blended in well with it for the people watching on television. More importantly, the jersey wasn't overly complicated.

Obviously it's a coincidence that the new uniforms came when Jerry Sloan finally got his team to the big stage, but in an era when several franchises were coming out with unique and stylish outfits, the Jazz were a front-runner for best jersey design. 

At the very least, the Jazz should never have used their jerseys from 2004 through 2010 and given this design a longer life than eight seasons.