The Throwback Jersey Every Team Needs in the NBA ASAP

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2018

Credit: B/R's Matt Sanoian.

Until the NBA reopens its doors, basketball diehards must find creative ways to occupy their time. The problem? Coming up with imaginative distractions worth your attention span gets harder every year. 

Fortunately, you needn't fret about abject boredom or plumbing your brain for inventive entertainment. We have you covered with fire pictures of current players decked out in jerseys from years past.

After all, who doesn't love the occasional old-school-meets-new-school rabbit hole?

Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young

Credit: B/R's Matt Sanoian

Looking good, Trae Young. Neither Joe Johnson nor Josh Smith nor Carmelo Anthony shine this bright rocking a Hawks classic.

Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving

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Isn't it amazing to see Kyrie Irving in these throwback threads for the Celtics?

(Insider tip: You can also see this exact image in person by attending any C's game in the Garden during the 2018-19 season.)

Brooklyn Nets: D'Angelo Russell

Credit: B/R's Matt Sanoian
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Congratulations to D'Angelo Russell for getting the photoshop nod over Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and, most of all, Deron Williams, who the Nets are still paying.

Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker

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Anyone else having hallucinations of Muggsy Bogues after a Baron Davis growth spurt?

Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine

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Zach LaVine looks like 78 million bucks in the Bulls' timelessly chic black-with-red-pinstripes uniform. This jersey remains the bomb. There's a chance Wendell Carter Jr. would look even better in these threads than his teammate.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Collin Sexton

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Here, we have the real king of Ohio donning an oldie but a goodie. Kevin Love may pull this look off just as well as Collin Sexton, but jersey swaps are reserved for players who will definitely be on the roster after the February trade deadline.

Also: Never, ever forget that Shawn Kemp sported this uniform during his three-season stint in Cleveland. 

Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr.

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Dirk forever.

Er, um, sorry. I meant: Doesn't Dennis Smith Jr. look radiant in this outfit from Dallas' days of yore (aka Dirk Nowitzki's rookie season)?

Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic

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After days of painstaking thought, the verdict is in: Jusuf Nurkic did not wear this better. Nikola Jokic is a stud. Let us also note that if you try hard enough, you can mistake the rainbow-trim outline for Monopoly houses.

Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin

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Blake Griffin looks on point with the venerable Pistons logo embroidered in the center of his chest. Grant Hill is somewhere nodding his head in approval. Reggie Jackson is somewhere wondering why this isn't him. Andre Drummond is somewhere perfecting his three-point stroke. Stanley Johnson is in that same somewhere, asking Drummond for tips on how to practice his own three-point shot.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry

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Let yourself fall in love with these Warriors jerseys all over again. They aren't especially intricate, but they aren't the puke orange-brown atrocities from the early and mid-2000s, either. 

Stephen Curry looks pleasantly understated—subtly elegant in a way only someone who has won more regular-season MVPs than Kevin Durant can appear.

Houston Rockets: James Harden

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Hakeem Olajuwon wore it better, to be honest. If it's any consolation to James Harden, though, he doesn't look bad himself. It's impossible to look anything other than, ahem, otherworldly in this classic.

Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo

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Who wore it better: Victor Oladipo or a young, scraggly, underappreciated Reggie Miller? Probably Oladipo. But Miller still looked pretty darn good. He shouldn't fault himself for being out-swanked by Bleacher Report's incredible graphic designers.

Los Angeles Clippers: Boban Marjanovic

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[July 2019]

They held Boban's free-agent meeting at center court of Staples Center. They dimmed the lights and raised his jersey to the rafters as Serbian hip hop blared tastefully in the backdrop. The public address announcer said: "Tonight, we honor the greatest Clipper of all time."

(Inspiration via Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins.)

Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James

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Just in case you needed another reminder that LeBron James has in fact joined the Lakers, here you go. 

We're sorry to report that those feelings of disbelief and denial aren't going to subside anytime soon. For the foreseeable future, all pictures of LeBron in a Lakers uniform will continue to look out of place, no matter which era he's repping. 

Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley

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Mike Conley is out here reminding us all how dope those Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys looked back in the day. Steve Francis remains weird for not wanting to suit up in these loud teal masterpieces.

At least we'll always have Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Bibby and Bryant "Big Country" Reeves.

Miami Heat: Goran Dragic

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Go ahead. Try to stare at Goran Dragic in this Heat jersey without thinking about a cherry-pineapple popsicle. I dare you.

Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo

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This is a little off topic, but why haven't the Bucks retired Ray Allen's number? Granted, it's too late. Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to win MVP next season the best No. 34 in Bucks history. But still.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns

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Joakim Noah's future backup (still) looks right at home in this Timberwolves uni.

All Karl-Anthony Towns needs to do is pound his chest with his right hand while simultaneously scowling and roaring and he'll be a spitting image of Kevin Garnett

And wouldn't you know it...he'll actually get a chance to do just that this season, as the Timberwolves have announced they're bringing these bad boys back in 2018-19.

New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis

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Hornets pinstripes are a slightly prettier look for Anthony Davis, but this ensemble works. His facial expression specifically brings it home.

It's like he's reacting to the Celtics wanting him but finding out they cannot have him, and he's smile-laughing out of both sheer amusement and flattery.

New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis

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We don't talk enough about how accommodating the late-1970s Knicks were to people with suboptimal vision. It feels like we're looking at Kristaps Porzingis through a giant monocle.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook

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This is 1.5 parts mean, 2.5 parts amazing. We need more pictures of Russell Westbrook in a Seattle Supersonics jersey.

Actually, on second thought, we just need the Sonics back in our lives, period.

Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon

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Who needs pinstripes when you can have a deep-blue jersey with star-symbol silhouettes that won't change color even if you sweat like Shaquille O'Neal? Aaron Gordon sure doesn't. 

Here's to the Magic eventually having uniforms that work in a Mickey Mouse caricature.

Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid

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Joel Embiid is pulling this off. Samuel Dalembert would be proud.

Allen Iverson might be, too.

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker

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Devin Booker is all dressed up and ready for every #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday and #WayBackWednesday from now until the end of time. But the coolest thing about seeing him in this classic Suns jersey is that we get to reminisce about how Steve Nash and Jason Kidd were teammates for a minute.

Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard

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Damian Lillard is out here looking dapper and honoring Bill Walton at the same time. The Blazers should consider reverting back to these jerseys indefinitely just to see if there's a correlation between the vertical letters on the side and winning championships.

Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III

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This vintage purple-and-white color scheme looks fantastic on Marvin Bagley III. It would look even better on Luka Doncic. 

San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan

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At long last, after years of never once coming across a single possible candidate, the Spurs have their bridge into the post-Big Three era. And wouldn't you know it, the heir apparent to Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker looks at home in San Antonio's vintage threads.

Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard

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Bet you never knew you couldn't live without seeing cornrows photoshopped onto Tracy McGrady until now. 

(Yes, we're very much aware that this is Kawhi Leonard, and that he's wearing a different jersey number. Just go with it, OK?)

Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell

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One thing is abundantly clear after seeing Donovan Mitchell in Utah's wearable heirloom: Michael Jordan never would've gotten a shot off over him.  

Washington Wizards: John Wall

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Retro Bullets jerseys > contemporary "The District" uniforms. 

Original player images come courtesy of Getty, AP and USA Today.