NBA Power Rankings: The 50 Greatest Jerseys in League History

Mike B.Correspondent IApril 29, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: The 50 Greatest Jerseys in League History

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    Throughout NBA history, teams have dressed in some extremely interesting uniforms.

    Jerseys have included images like "intimidating" dinosaurs, famous bridges, rocket ships, lightning bolts, mountains and flaming horse heads.

    While teams like the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls have worn basically the same jerseys for years, other teams like the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz have switched up their styles quite often. 

    This slideshow will rank the NBA's 50 best-looking jerseys of all time.

    Warning: If you're looking for those ugly gold Washington Wizards jerseys from a few years back, don't continue reading.

    And if you have your sights set on the teal Vancouver Grizzlies tops that Bryant "Big County" Reeves used to sport, this slideshow just isn't for you.

    Well, with that out of the way, let's get started. 

50. Early 1990's Philadelphia 76ers

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    Probably about 99.9 percent of NBA fans despise these jerseys, but for some reason, they're kind of neat.

    The red, white and blue colors make them the ultimate patriotic uniform. 

49. Current New York Knicks Alternate

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    These are the only St. Patrick's Day jerseys on this list. The orange and black trim goes pretty good with the primary green.

    Former 5'9" Knicks guard Nate Robinson won the 2009 NBA Slam Dunk contest in this uniform as he leaped over Orlando's 6'11" center Dwight Howard.

48. Late 1990's-Early 2000's Orlando Magic

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 20:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Orlando Magic yells in Game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2003 NBA Playoffs against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills on April 20, 2003 in Auburn Hills, Michiga
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Orlando obviously has a thing for stars.

    There was a star taking the place of the 'a' in Magic, a star taking the place of the dot over the 'i' and well, there were stars all over these unis. 

    But, they still looked good.

47. 1990's Sacramento Kings

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    4 Dec 1999:  Jason Williams #55 of the Sacramento Kings dribbling the ball down the court during the game against the Washington Wizards at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. The Kings defeated the Wizards 114-104.   Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger  /All
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Kings left the "blue and red" era in 1994 and took on black and purple.

    Perennial All-Stars Mitch Richmond and Chris Webber both wore these during their stay in Northern California.

46. Late 1980s-Mid 1990's Minnesota Timberwolves

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    5 Mar 1996:  Guard Isaiah Rider of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket during the Timberwolves 113-72 loss to the Miami Heat at Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Allsport USA/ALLSPORT
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    These were the first ever T-Wolves jerseys.

    The team's current uniforms have blue and green, but they just don't compare to the originals.

    Kevin Garnett, the greatest player in Timberwolves history, wore these as a rookie in 1995-96.  

45. Current San Antonio Spurs

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 28:  Forward DeJuan Blair #45 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts during play against the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center on December 28, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Since the Spurs are the league's most boring team, it's only fitting that they have the league's most boring uniform colors: black and white.

    It doesn't get more boring than that.

    However, the spur taking the place of the 'u' in 'Spurs' makes the jerseys look a bit creative.

44. 1990's Dallas Mavericks

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    19 Feb 1999: Steve Nash #13 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during the game against the Golden State Warriors at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Warriors defeated the Mavericks 84-79.  Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    In the early '90s, the Mavs changed their road uniforms from army green to navy blue. And the "Dallas" across the chest became a little simpler. 

    The "Three J's"—Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jim Jackson rocked the Dallas blue.

    Then later, the trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Michael Finley took their turn.

43. Late 1980's-Late 1990's Miami Heat

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    19 Dec 1996: Center Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat stands on the court during a game against the Utah Jazz at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. The Jazz won the game 98-93.
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    This was the first jersey in Miami Heat history.

    Popular players like Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Glen Rice, and Harold "Baby Jordan "Miner donned these while playing in South Beach. 

    And don't forget about Rony Seikaly and Steve Smith.

42. 1990's Philadelphia 76ers

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    2 Nov 1996:  Jerry Stackhouse of the Philadelphia 76ers during their 115-86 loss to the Chicago Bulls at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Allen Iverson, the top pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, enjoyed a spectacular rookie season wearing this jersey.

    The former Georgetown star won Rookie of the Year honors averaging 23 points and seven assists for Philly.

41. 2000's Cleveland Cavaliers

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    CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 16: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers brings the ball upcourt during the game against the Utah Jazz on November 16, 2007 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Cavs won 99-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowled
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    2003 was the year LeBron James arrived in Cleveland. And it was also the year that the Cavs debuted these spiffy uniforms.

    The Cavs have new wine and gold-colored jerseys now, but they definitely can't compete with the LeBron era duds.    

40. Late 1970's-Early 1980's Detroit Pistons

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    Before the "Bad Boys" arrived in the Motor City, the Pistons sported a San Diego Chargers-type look.

    Their jerseys featured a lightning bolt under "Detroit" on their chest and then one on each side.

39. 1990's Indiana Pacers

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    9 Nov 1994: Guard Haywoode Workman of the Indiana Pacers gives a hand signal during a game against the Houston Rockets at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Rockets won the game 109-104.
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Famous sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner designed this uniform which debuted in the 1990-91 season.

    Sharpshooter Reggie Miller drilled a countless number of three-pointers wearing these nifty jerseys.

38. 1946-47 Toronto Huskies

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    The Raptors weren't the first professional hoops team to represent Toronto.

    Way back in 1946, the Toronto Huskies participated in the Basketball  Association of America first ever game. 

    The Huskies' uniforms were worn by Raptors' players for a few games during the 2009-10 season.   

37. 1970s-1990's Houston Rockets

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    Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

    Led by Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets won back-to-back-titles in 1994 and 1995 in these unis.

    Also sporting these, the team reached the NBA Finals in 1981 and 1986, losing to Boston both times.

36. 2000's Philadelphia 76ers

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    CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 16:  Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers stands on the court during the game with the Chicago Bulls on February 16, 2006 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 117-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In 1997, the Sixers went to black road uniforms for the first time in their history. 

    A braided-up Allen Iverson has to be the first image that comes to mind when you see these jerseys.

    During the 2000-01 season, Iverson was named the league's MVP and led Philly to an NBA Finals appearance. 

35. Late 1980's-Late 1990's Golden State Warriors

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    Forward Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the San Jose Arena in San Jose, California. The Clippers won the game 97-85.
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Seeing these have to remind you of "Run TMC," the high scoring trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. 

    No. 1 draft picks Chris Webber and Joe Smith wore these as rookies as well as All-Star guard Latrell Sprewell.

34. 1990's Charlotte Hornets

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    Hornets gear was quite popular in the '90s. It seemed like everywhere you went, you were sure to see t-shirts, coats, and hats with the logo of a Hornet dribbling a basketball.

    Larry Johnson's No. 2 jersey was nothing less than awesome.

33. Late 1980's-Mid-1990's Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Mark Price and the Cavaliers were truly one of the league's top teams in the early '90s as they suited up in memorable jerseys which included a net inside of the "V" in "Cavs."

32. 1950's New York Knicks

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    There's no doubt about it, this Knickerbockers' jersey is slick.

    Knicks superfan Spike Lee wears an orange one like this quite often.

31. Present Day Los Angeles Lakers Alternate

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball against the Miami Heat during the NBA game at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    For years, the Lakers sported only gold uniforms for home games.

    But in 2001, they finally decided to be like all the other teams in the league and switched to white, but just for a few games a season.

    They call them the "Sunday Whites."

30. 1970's Milwaukee Bucks

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    Larger than life legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson led the Bucks to the 1971 title in these duds. 

29. 1970's-Early 1980's Cleveland Cavaliers

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    This is the second jersey worn in Cavs history. 

    If you have a thing for gold shirts that include lots of wine and white sprinkles, then this is for you.  

    LeBron James was seen in these colorful uniforms a few times when his talents were still in Cleveland.

28. 1970's Buffalo Braves

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    Before the Clippers moved to San Diego and then eventually Los Angeles, they were known as the Buffalo Braves.

    And they wore pretty impressive sky blue uniforms.

27. 1980's-Mid-1990s Utah Jazz

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    It's hard not to look at these without thinking about two people: John Stockton and Karl Malone.

    The Hall of Fame pick-and-roll duo wore Jazz purple and gold for a good chunk of their 18 seasons together in Utah. 

26. 1996 NBA All-Star Game

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    These have to be the greatest jerseys in NBA All-Star game history. 

    It can't get much better than a chili pepper spinning a basketball.

    Michael Jordan was named MVP of the game, played in San Antonio, as he dropped 20 points for the winning Eastern Conference squad.  

25. 1990's Phoenix Suns

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    The Suns introduced these during the 1992-93 campaign, which was Charles Barkley's first season in Phoenix.

    MVP Sir Charles would lead his new team to the league's top record and a trip to the '93 NBA Finals, where they lost to Chicago.      

24. 1970's Atlanta Hawks

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    What's not to like about neon green with royal blue and white stripes?

23. 1990's Toronto Raptors

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    25 Jan 1997:  Center Marcus Camby of the Toronto Raptors stands on the court during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won the game 110-98.  Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Marcus Camby (pictured) looks a little embarrassed to be wearing a bright red dinosaur on his shirt.

    But he shouldn't be, seeing that these are one of the best uniforms in NBA history. 

22. 1980's Sacramento Kings

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    After moving to Sacramento in the mid-1980s, the Kings went from dark blue to powder blue.

    Strangely, the powder blue and red look good together.

    And it's neat how the player's last name is under the number instead of above it.

21. 1950's Syracuse Nationals

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    The Philadelphia 76ers started out as the Syracuse Nationals way back in 1949.

    The Sixers would wear the retro "Nats" jerseys for five games during the 2004-05 season.

20. Late 1980's Golden State Warriors

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    1987:  Ralph Sampson #50 of the Golden State Warriors makes a free throw during an NBA game in the 1987-88 season. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    What part of the California do the Warriors play in?

    Well it's definitely not the southern part according to these jerseys.

19. 1990's Orlando Magic Alternate

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    19 May 1996: Forward Anfernee ''Penny'' Hardaway #1 of the Orlando Magic dunks the ball over Center Luc Longley #13 of the Chicago Bulls during first quarter action of game one of the Eastern Conference Championships at the United Center in Chicago, Illin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Orlando's current road unis are blue with white pinstripes, but they're absolutely hideous compared to the those worn by the team in the '90s.  

18. 1980's Philadelphia 76ers

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    DENVER - 1989:  Charles Barkley #34 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts to the 1989-1990 NBA season game at the McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Tim Defrisco/Getty Images)
    Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

    Debuting last season, the Sixers' current jerseys were made to resemble the classic ones of the '80s.

    Moses Malone and Dr. J. steered the squad to a championship in '83, sweeping the Lakers in the Finals.

17. Early 1980's-Mid-1990's Detroit Pistons

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    1989-1990:  Guard Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons moves the ball during a game. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, arguably the greatest backcourt in NBA history, wore these jerseys while leading the Pistons to back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.

    Former superstar Grant Hill sported these in his first two pro seasons.  

16. Late 1970's to Mid-1980's Seattle SuperSonics

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    Finals MVP Dennis Johnson and co. won the 1979 title donning these.

    And years later, the jersey torch was passed on to the exiting alley-oop combo of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

    If the Sonics ever become an NBA ball club again, they should definitely consider bringing these back.

15. 1980's Chicago Bulls

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    "Chicago" spelled across the chest in cursive letters makes for a stylish look. It sort of resembles the road jerseys of the Chicago White Sox.

    Former Bulls point guard Norm Van Lier once wore this classic shirt.  

14. 1976-77 Philadelphia 76ers

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    What, another Sixers jersey?

    Let's just say they know all about fancy jerseys.

    After a few seasons in the ABA, Dr. J. joined the NBA in 1976 and suited up in Sixer blue.

13. Current Boston Celtics

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    A greatest jerseys list just wouldn't be right without the Celtics, the NBA's most storied franchise.

    Sure, there's not much to their jerseys, but they represent true greatness.

    The C's have won an NBA-record 17 championships wearing the famous white-and-greens.

12. Late 1980's-Late 1990's Orlando Magic

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    LOS ANGELES - 1990:  Mark Acres #42 of the Orlando Magic stands on the court during an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1990. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    A young Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway became an exciting one-two punch donning these black beauties.  

    No doubt about it, the Magic should have kept these as their primary road uniforms. 

11. 1960's Los Angeles Lakers

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    In 1960, the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Instead of keeping the light blue and gold colors, they switched to a darker shade of blue.

    This is one of the most popular throwback jerseys around. 

10. 1970's Portland Trail Blazers

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    'Blazers' written down the side makes these look interesting.

    Hall of Famer Bill Walton and co. captured the 1977 NBA title donning these classics.

9. 1950's Minneapolis Lakers

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    Colored light blue and gold, these were the Lakers' very first uniforms.

    Led by George Mikan, the NBA's first superstar big man, the Minneapolis Lakers were a dynasty in the '50s, winning five titles. 

8. 1970's New York Nets

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    In Game Five of the 2003 NBA Finals, the New Jersey Nets wore these, becoming just the first team in league history to wear a throwback in the Finals. 

    The originals were worn back in the ABA days, when the team played across the Hudson River in New York City.

7. 1980's-Present Chicago Bulls

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    3 May 1998: Ron Harper #9 talks with Scottie Pippen #33 of the Chicago Bulls during the NBA Playoffs round 1 game against the Charlotte Hornets at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hornets 83-70.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Plenty of stars have donned these jerseys such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and now Derrick Rose.

    Chicago captured six titles in these, and don't look for the Bulls to change this style anytime soon.

6. 1970's Washington Bullets

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    They're red, white and blue, fitting for a team from the nation's capital.

    The L's in "Bullets" form a pair of hands shooting a basketball. Now that's creative.

    The Bullets (now Washington Wizards) won the 1978 title in style.

5. 1980's Denver Nuggets

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    LOS ANGELES - 1986:  Alex English #2 of the Denver Nuggets shoots a jump shot during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California during the 1986-87 NBA season.  (Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    One would think that the combination of childish-looking buildings, mountains and rainbows on a jersey wouldn't work. But the Nuggets somehow pulled this off very nicely.

    You either really hate them or you really love them.

4. 1960's San Francisco Warriors

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    There aren't many spots jerseys out there that are more unique than this.

    The front includes "The City" and an image of the Bay Bridge and the back displays a cool picture of a San Francisco cable car. 

    Whoever came up with this idea is quite clever.

3. 1980's-Late 1990's Los Angeles Lakers

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    LOS ANGELES - 1988:  Magic Johnson #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during an NBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1988. (Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images)
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    No gold-colored jersey in NBA history can compete with this classic.

    The trio of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy rocked it in the '80's. And then Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were seen in them for a few seasons in the '90s.

    The Lakers should have stuck with these instead of switching to their current jerseys. 

2. 1980's Atlanta Hawks

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    CHICAGO - 1989:  Spud Webb #4 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles the ball during a NBA game against the Chicago Bulls at Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois in 1989.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    When throwbacks were in style a few years back, these were something everyone wanted to have for their collection.

    Slam dunk contest champs Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb donned these red, white and gold treasures as well as current Boston Celtics coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers.

1. 1990's Chicago Bulls Alternate

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    The Bulls debuted these black with red pinstriped jerseys during the 1995-96 season.

    Apparently, the players must have love them, seeing that they won a record-setting 72 games that season as well as their fourth title in six years.

    These jerseys go perfectly with any black and red Air Jordan shoe, especially the XI's. 


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