Our 10 best NBA kits of all time

Whether you’re a diehard NBA fan, only watch the playoffs, or just a fan of the greats - everyone can appreciate a good basketball jersey.

So sit back as we take you through some of our favourite and most memorable NBA kits throughout the ages.

1. Toronto Raptors (1995 - 1999)

Officially drafted into the NBA in 1995, the Raps ‘barney’ dinosaur logo is easily recognisable. Showing the start of Canadian teams emerging in the NBA. The purple, silver and red colourway (with the raptor wearing basketball sneaks!) was the perfect uniform for up and coming stars Tracy McGrady, and the dunk master Vince Carter.

 

2. Brooklyn Nets (1975)

Patriots and sports fans alike drooled over this red, white and blue number. The stars running asymmetrically down the side of the kit gave what is considered a easy colourway to choose some added allure. Led by all time superstar Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving, The Nets enjoyed their 2nd ABA championship win in 1975-76 against the Denver Nuggets before moving to New Jersey in 1976-77.

 

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (1996 - 2008)

This kit always made you look. The contrast front colouring with the sharp font representing wolves teeth is an instant eye catcher. But when you notice the green triangles on the ribbing are actually a homage to the Minnesota state tree - The Norway Pine it takes it to another level. Expertly modelled by Kevin Garnet during the late 1990’s - early 2000’s as he tried to lead the Wolves to win the West conference play-offs.

 

4. Philadelphia 76ers (1997–2009)

Memorable basketball jerseys usually stick around when they’re worn by iconic players of the era and the 1997-2008 76ers jersey is no different. The immortalisation of Allen ‘the Answer’ Iverson into the NBA bible was easy after he won the NBA Scoring title every consecutive year from 1998-2002 and the coming back and doing it again in 2004-05.

yet the 76ers did not end up winning the championship throughout the years, the 2000 - 2001 season led them right to the playoff finals ending in a 4-1 loss to the Lakers, and although Iverson scored 48 points in their first NBA finals victory, they ultimately couldn’t find a way through the immovable wall that is Mr. Shaquille O’Neil.

The black and red colour way of the jersey gives a smooth aesthetic, with the low-slung V neck and focus on star studded central and gold, red and black striped ribbing adding further character to what is undoubtedly one of the best NBA jerseys of all time.

 

5. Detroit Pistons (2014- Present)

Simple in design, with the navy/red panels and detailing, the Pistons ‘Motor City’ jersey is in our opinion the most understatedly jersey going at the minute. With a nod to Detroit’s legacy as ‘Motor City’, the jersey offers up a bad boy version of the 1996 USA Olympics mens jersey.

The capped sleeved jersey started to make an appearance with more teams using them for match-days other than the usual vest style. However, sweet jersey or not, the Pistons unfortunately failed to make it to the championship finals, getting swept 4-0 by the Cavs in the 2015-16 1st round playoffs.

 

6. Miami Heat alternate (2012-2013)

With the arrival of ‘King James’ at Miami Heat in 2010, by 2012 he was already averaging 29.7 points and 7.8 assists per game as well as setting numerous shooting efficiency records. He led Miami to win the 2013 NBA championship in a 4-3 win against the Spurs.

To accompany this monumental win was the iced out alternate all white kit. Keeping it minimal and clean, the jersey offers up black detailing around the text and seams as well as the Heat logo on the shorts. A champions jersey if ever we saw one.

 

7. Milwaukee Bucks alternate (2015 - present)

The Bucks ‘fear the deer’ motto is no clearer than on their 2015 alternate jerseys. This kit is remembered in NBA history for the Bucks announcing their new jersey at the same time as an alternate basketball court.

Despite the expertly drawn single line stag design on the front as well as the blue/green trim on the shorts and black, white and green jersey colour way; the Bucks didn’t end up winning the championship during these years, losing the 1st round 2-4 to the Raptors in 2016, and the first round again in 2017 losing 4-3 to the Celtics.

 

8. Orlando Magic (1989–98)

Iconic during the Shaq-era and further on and sporting a baseball-esque pinstripe kit, Magic’s jerseys were different but cool as you like. The Magic lettering was pioneering at the time as other teams were slowly moving toward a more cartoon inspired approach to branding their teams. The 1994-5 season saw Magic enter into the champions finals against the Rockets which ultimately ended in a loss for Magic with a 4-0 sweep.

 

9. Portland Trail Blazers (2018-2019)

The Blazers know how to keep it real and their jerseys throughout the years have shown that. While it is difficult for us to pinpoint an exact season of their jerseys which we like the most, the new 2018-2019 season just does it for us.

With a clean and contrasting lettering and classic red, black and white colour way the iconic 2 colour stripe across the mid-rift and down the shorts matches perfectly with the jersey ribbing and detailing on the shorts. With a win ratio of 13-8 and placed 6th at the minute in the Western conference, we look forward to see if they can play as good as their kit looks on the court.

 

10. Seattle Supersonics (1985–95)

Whilst the Sonics jersey is similar to others in the sense that it is remembered through the great Gary Payton rushing the oppositions defence, in many other ways it is entirely unique and distinct.

Firstly, the colour palette for the NBA has never really incorporated many kits with a green, yellow and white colour way, nor have many kits used the varsity style font arch on the front, with accompanying arched outlines. The symmetry between both the lettering, ribbing, colour way and outline from front to back makes this kit seem on the one hand, practically normal and mundane, but on the other, a graphic designers wet dream.

The Sonics were unfortunately relocated in 2007 to Oklahoma to be rebranded the Oklahoma City Thunder, however during the Sonics reign, although they did not win any championship finals, with the roster of Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf, Sam Perkins, Hersey Hawkins, Nate McMillan and Payton the Sonics managed to achieve the franchises best record of 64–18 during the 1995-1996 season.

(we do not claim to own any of the pictures above, they are solely for editorial purposes)

Dan Phillips