We were thoroughly tickled recently when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced plans to bring their creamsicle uniforms out of mothballs for their home game against Green Bay on Nov. 8. It got us thinking about what other hideously bad uniforms we’d like to see recommissioned into active duty. Here’s what we came up with, our Dream Team if you will – the 10 uniforms we love to hate, or hate to love:
1) Chicago White Sox, 1976: Most pundits have poo-pooed the White Sox Summer of ‘76 pajama top ensemble over the years, but we’re here to say we love it. We miss it. Hell, we dream about it. What’s not to love about a uniform that makes everyone look like a portly Sunday league softball pitcher? That was the beauty of these beauties – they were the great equalizer in sports uniform history. Every player looked equally awful in it. If Brad Pitt slipped this baby on he’d look like Greg Luzinski. Simply awesome.
2) Vancouver Canucks, late ’70s-early ’80s: The beautiful city of Vancouver has long enjoyed a reputation as the weed-friendliest big city in North America, which could possibly explain why these horrifically sweet sweaters stuck around for as long as they did. Imagine it’s 1979, you’re high as a friggin’ kite, you go to a Canucks game, and you see grown men whizzing around an ice rink looking like extras in the movie “Tron.” You’d either run and hide in a bathroom stall, or buy season tickets. Or both.
3) Denver Nuggets, 1984-92: Watching these uniforms go up and down the court was like watching a game of Tetris come alive, only with rainbow-colored sneakers and high-top fades. We think the idea was that they were supposed to make the Nuggets look edgy and cool, but that was probably asking a little much considering Dan Issel and Kiki Vandeweghe were wearing them.
4) Atlanta Hawks, 1970-72: Until Foot Locker decided to put throwback knock-offs of these jerseys in 311,000 stores a few years ago, these putrid beauties held a soft spot in our hearts. The problem is that hip-hoppers then started wearing these things with droopy shorts and sideways caps. Unfortunately, Lil’ Wayne, you’re not seeing the big picture here. If you’re rockin’ any of the NBA jerseys on this list without a pair of nut-hugger shorts and droopy striped socks, then you’re simply not completing the ensemble. Sorry kids, but it’s about commitment.
5) Atlanta Hawks, 1995-99: Or as we like to call it “Photoshop 4.0 on Coke”. Like all great NBA uniforms from the 1990s, there wasn’t one square inch of this thing that wasn’t covered with some sort of bad graphical or gradient effect. And frankly, we should just give the Hawks a lifetime achievement award at this point. No franchise has consistently made a point to stylistically repulse its fans more than the Hawks. Well done, sirs.
6) Toronto Raptors, 1995-99: Speaking of wonderfully hideous 1990s togs, the expansion Raptors’ first generation of uniforms were designed to appeal to kids following the success of “Jurassic Park.” We’re fairly certain they could have picked any other box-office smash from the early ’90s and come up with something less ridiculous. Well, maybe not “Mrs. Doubtfire”, but you get the idea.
7) Cincinnati Bengals, 1980-present: We got to No. 7 before getting to an NFL team? We’re not sure if that’s good or bad, but there’s no denying the bountiful badness of the Bengals’ unis. We’re approaching four decades of nausea with these things, and there’s no let-up in sight. We believe our boy Jay Mohr put it best when he once wrote, “They could only look worse if Roy Horn walked them out onto the field.” Heh.
8. Oregon football, 2001-present: The Ducks have taken so much heat for their mix-and-match ugliness over the years that no one in their right minds would actually admit that they love them. So it should come as no surprise then to regular readers that, yes, we love them. They unveiled an updated set for this season, which has the lofty challenge of living up to the proud standard of puke-inducing variety of the last edition, unveiled in 2006. That collection allegedly had 384 potential combinations. So they were basically Garanimals with shoulder pads.
9) North Carolina State basketball, 1989: Jim Valvano’s reach and influence on the game is well documented, but his greatest clothing accomplishment has become but a footnote in college basketball history. Under the sartorial guidance of the late coach, the Wolfpack unveiled a skin-tight unitard for the ‘89 season that was intended to make them more aerodynamic and cat-like. But then Chris Corchiani put one on, and the whole idea went to hell. We’ve juxtaposed the look against the outfit worn by Jeri Ryan in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about. And also, because it gives us an excuse to post a photo of Jeri Ryan.
10) Pirates/Padres/Astros/Phillies/Indians/Orioles, 1970s: The ’70s represented the high watermark in low fashion for baseball, and in all honesty, we loved every minute of it. And truth be told, we’re guessing many of you felt the same way. Oh sure, today we’ll rip them, but that’s because we’re too scared to admit that underneath our buttoned-down exterior still beats the heart of a turd-colored Padres jersey lover. Hell, one of us had a best friend in the middle of Kansas who became a life-long Pirates fan simply because he loved their wacky gay sailor uniforms.
We miss you, turd-colored jerseys and nut-hugger shorts. Godspeed, you ugly bastards.