Round Table: NBA Jerseys

by Brad Faye

Posted: Aug. 19, 2013

What is your favorite NBA jersey of all-time?

Greg Esposito: My favorite NBA jersey of all-time, if I remove my extreme bias as a Phoenix Suns fan, has to be the Celtics' green jerseys. There is a reason they've barely changed in the team's history. It is because they are timeless. They're the Frank Sinatra of uniforms, classically cool regardless of the generation looking at them.

And you can't really argue with the luck of the Irish that have come along with them. There are more banners flying in the Garden than in an Olympic opening ceremony.

Brad Faye: Along the same lines as what Espo is thinking with the Celtics uniforms, I’d have to counter with the New York Knicks. Not only are those jerseys just as cool and just as timeless, but Frank Sinatra is a New Yorker. To even use the man’s name to personify anything from Boston just isn’t right. From Willis Reed to Patrick Ewing to Carmelo Anthony, those jerseys have barely required any changes, and in a city as fickle as New York, you know you’re doing something right when you can be embraced year after year and decade after decade.

Ben York: My personal favorite is the Denver Nuggets blue road jerseys of the late 1980’s. It was an updated look of their “rainbow” color palette featuring the Denver skyline in front of the Rocky Mountains. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but I literally couldn’t take my eyes off it. They’re almost haunting.

Generally speaking, people either love or hate these jerseys – and I absolutely love them. Still, anytime I think of Denver, those uniforms are what comes to mind first. For better or worse, the Nuggets’ rainbow jerseys will be forever etched into my brain.

Which all-time NBA jersey could afford a do-over?

Espo: Any jersey, with the exception of the Suns' sunburst, from the '90s. That was the Amanda Bynes era of uniforms. A complete hot mess.

From neon colors, see the Pistons, to the oversized animal logos emblazoned across the front, see the Hawks and Bucks, to the completely absurd, see the Cavs Shawn Kemp era black and blue uniforms, these jerseys were overly flashy and dependent on ornate designs. For most teams and their fans, that era is one they'd like to burry deep in the back of the locker room storage closet and forget about forever.

Faye: Even though they aren’t NBA jerseys, I think those Houston Astros throwbacks are so bad that they should still be the correct answer to this question. But if I have to play within the rules, the first NBA jerseys that jump out at me are what I call the “Dikembe Mutumbo Hawks jerseys” and the “Shawn Kemp Cavaliers jerseys.” Espo kind of stole my thunder with his answer, but those things were so painful to the eyes that I have to at least mention them. To add a new contender to the mix, however, allow me to suggest those Houston Rockets jerseys that poor Charles Barkley was forced to wear following his days in Phoenix.

York: I’ll always associate the Houston Rockets with the colors red and yellow. Seeing the great Hakeem Olajuwon tear up the league for so many years in that simple, yet distinctive jersey was breathtaking. But after their championship years in ’93-94 and ’94-95, they decided it was time for a new look. Needless to say, the 1995 Houston Rockets jersey with the angry, cartoon rocket orbiting a basketball-looking planet gave me the chills. Not only did their red and yellow color scheme go away, there was an added dark blue dimension that reminded me of a carnival.

Which Suns jersey would you rank as your favorite of all-time?

Espo: For me the answer is simple. It is the Suns road purple uniforms from the Barkley era. Like many people, that is the time when I fell in love with the team as a young child. That design always brings a smile to my face and evokes memories of listening to Al McCoy describe the Purple Gang From Phoenix running the ball up the court at the speed of light from my old school Emerson clock radio.

They were fun and defined an era. With that said though, having seen the new uniforms, I think they'll quickly become a close second for me and will create the same feelings for a whole new generation of Suns fans.

Faye: As much as I appreciate the nostalgia that comes with those ’92-’93 jerseys, the alternative black jerseys that followed shortly thereafter which just so darn cool. With the veterans of that Finals team like Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson still on the roster along with an infusion of younger talent like Michael Finley and Wes Person, that team was just as cool as the jerseys they wore and help take me back to a classic age of Suns basketball. If it wasn’t for those pesky Rockets, who knows how much more classic we could consider that mid-90s era?

York: I’ll always have a fond place in my heart for Western-stylized Suns jerseys in the late ‘80s. Maybe it’s more of a sentimental value rather than aesthetic, but those jerseys remind me of the acquisition of Kevin Johnson and how the franchise forever changed afterwards.

Like Greg, I love the Barkley era jerseys, but there is just something special about the old school uniforms that I’ll never get enough of. In a way, they kind of symbolize my youth – and the moment when I first became a Suns fan.