While the game has remained the same, basketball team uniforms have been evolving steadily throughout the history of the sport. In the NBA, the basketball jersey in particular has seen countless changes and revisions, as the league has progressed (you can read more about the evolution of the basketball uniform in one of our previous blog posts).
From the loose-fitting uniforms of the 70’s, to the more cartoonish hip-hop inspired designs of the 90s, we have seen a myriad of styles and colours make their way to the court over the years.
Given the many different fashionable singlet designs that have appeared in the league over the years, we took it upon ourselves to dig through the archives, and list our top 5 favourite basketball uniforms of all time.
5. Charlotte Hornets (1988–2001)
It was hard to go anywhere in the 1990s without seeing someone sporting a Charlotte Hornets hat or jersey. This iconic design, with its teal base with green and purple accents, was the height of cool for many.
The jersey wasn’t the only success of the 90s for the Hornet’s either. Charlotte, wearing this uniform, went on a golden run – winning three playoff series and making the finals in six out of nine years.
We can’t say how much the jersey had to do with this success, but looking that good couldn’t have hurt!
4. Orlando Magic (1989 – 1998)
Another iconic jersey, this is a great example of the more cartoonish style that came about in the 1990s. Featuring iconic pinstripes, and a simple but classic combination of royal blue, black and white, this jersey was simple yet engaging.
The team also wore this uniform during a time of great success. From 1994-98, Orlando made the playoffs three times and also made the NBA Finals during the 1994-95 season. While the jersey might have had something to do with this success, it is more likely down to superstars like Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, who played for the Magic at the time.
This uniform was so popular; the team even brought back the design for their 30th Anniversary.
Orlando Magic's 30th Anniversary Edition uniform
3. Chicago Bulls (1985 – Present)
As the old saying goes, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” – and that has definitely been the case for the Chicago Bulls uniform. The iconic red and white numbers have not been changed since Michael Jordan started playing back in the 80s.
While there have been a few colour variations, the slightly curved “Bulls” block letters are a simple yet timeless feature that has remained on all of Chicago’s jerseys for almost 40 years.
It is hard to think of a basketball in general without conjuring images of this classic jersey design.
2. Miami Heat (2018 – Present)
In 2015, Nike took over as official uniform provider of the NBA. In 2018, the company put its mark on the league’s jersey designs, with the brand introducing the new City Edition uniforms.
These Miami Heat jerseys are a perfect example of this new wave of designs. The fluorescent blue and pink colours, as well as the sleek font, are both great throwbacks to the popular Miami Vice TV show, and the neon theme on black background is a fitting representation of the city itself.
1. LA Lakers (1978 – 1999)
This classic gold and purple combination was a hallmark of the LA Lakers jersey for over 20 years. While the gold colour dates back to the start of the 60s, it was the subtle addition of purple lettering in the 1980s that kicked off this timeless uniform. This jersey also used white back shadows to create a dynamic 3D effect around the numbers and letters.
The LA Lakers would go on to win five NBA titles during the ‘gold jersey’ era. In 2018, the team unveiled a new design inspired by that highly successful era.
LA Lakers 2018 Showtime-era inspired jersey