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NBA Nike Jerseys Ranked From Worst to Best

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Leave it to the NBA to find another way to make money. The NBA unveiled its new uniform collaboration with Nike in September of this year. The “Just Do It” brand replaced Adidas as the official uniform manufacturer for the league. To commemorate the new partnership, Nike designed alternate “statement” jerseys for each team. SI.com recently ranked the new team jerseys from 30-1. Since the head writer of F&TS considers himself stylish (but on a budget) we are providing our own reactions to the top five. Visit the Crossover on SI.com for the full list of the new Nike NBA jerseys.

Via @NBA

The Nike statement jerseys will serve as each team’s alternate uniforms. It’s a strategy that’s been used effectively by the NFL with their “color rush” uniforms. These radical takes on uniforms probably got it’s starts with the Oregon Ducks college football team. Phil Knight and Nike were asked to design new uniforms for his alma mater in 2000. Oregon hoped the Nike collaboration would attract better athletes to the school. By 2006, the Ducks had several variations of the uniforms-including space-aged colors and wings. The top five NBA Nike jerseys (5-1) are:

5. INDIANA PACERS

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

“These have an extremely collegiate feel, but I love that for Indiana. There’s an old-school vibe to these jerseys, and the color scheme does it for me. The only issue? Make the letters bigger and the numbers smaller on the front.” We have issues with the list that we will get to but suffice to say, the Pacers design is an improvement over their recent designs. I mean pinstripes and varsity block lettering. What were the designers thinking? The combination of blue and gold/maize/yellow is difficult to make look hot. Just ask Michigan and WVU. But the vintage lettering matches the historical nature of Indiana basketball.

4. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Crossover review said, “Maybe even more patriotic than the Wizards uniforms. The Sixers have great colors and uniforms filled with throwback flourishes. They’ll look good in these for a long time.” We agree with SI.com’s love for the Sixers’ uniform. The franchise has a great history of classic designs, from Dr. J’s maroon with white lettering to the alternate blues worn by Iverson and Andre Iguodala. But, we can’t excuse the Sixers’ 1991-94 jerseys with “multicolored stars against a royal blue field that curved up from shorts to the jersey.” Keeping fashion simple is better. The red, white, and blue color scheme of the City of Brotherly Love’s jersey is spot on.

3. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

FTS has major problems with Portland’s design. There is no way we agree with, “The stripes here have always been awesome. The Blazers have to be one of the league leaders in people who aren’t fans of the team wearing their gear.” In our opinion, the TrailBlazers’ uniforms are outdated. They basically haven’t changed since 1990, when Clyde “the Glide” Drexler was trying to defend MJ is the NBA Finals. Plus, we’ve never understood the red and white diagonal stripes. Are they supposed to represent trails? Have you ever seen cherry red trails? There are a few NBA franchises that haven’t updated their ‘look’ for more than 30 years (Portland, Spurs, Knicks, Bulls, Lakers, and Celtics), but just because you have longevity, doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a refresh.

2. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Bucks’ Nike statement jersey should have been number one. The jerseys haven’t looked this good since Oscar Roberston and Lew Alcindor were teammates. We love them. Plus, they are so much better than the Bucks 1990’s atrocities.

1. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

The choice of the T-Wolves jersey is our biggest problem with SI.com’s list. Sports Illustrated even acknowledges the selection will be divisive. “Okay, controversial pick. But the stripe across the chest is a bold move, and it makes everyone look a little extra yoked. I’m mostly commending the Wolves for actually trying something with this design and stepping out a little bit.”

Minnesota was so close to an almost perfect design. The darker shade of blue is modern as are the slighted curved numbers. But what is up with the white stripe? It is so out of left field, it makes no sense. Borders are very outdated. Modern design is minimalist and open. The trends allow the eye to flow directly to the most important detail on the jersey, the name of the city…MINNESOTA. Why do you need a hard stop? Plus, the T-Wolves’ alternate color scheme is horrendous.

F&TS’ favorites NBA jerseys (since 1990 and in no particular order) are:

 1989-89 Orlando Magic (Home, Away, & Alternate)

2000-10 LA Clippers (Alternate); 1994-96 Detroit Pistons (Home); 1993-2000 Dallas Mavericks (Road)
1998-2001 Charlotte Hornets (Road & Alternate); 

You could tell in the second image how much LJ and ‘Zo hated each other in Charlotte by 1995. Their feud, of course, culminated in one of the most bizarre brawls in Madison Square Garden history. Mourning as a member of the Heat and Johnson as a Knick. Don’t believe us, check the footage.

 

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