The NBA All-Star Game culminates the halfway point of the NBA season. By this time, everyone has an idea of who will be in the NBA Finals, without realizing there are still over 40 games to play (plus the playoffs). There will be storylines written and NBA history cemented before this season is over–that’s almost a guarantee.
Last year, the league introduced a new style of voting for the ASG, getting rid of the center position on the ballot and introducing frontcourt and backcourt voting. With the All-Star festivities come the NBA’s attempt at fashion, particularly with the uniforms that LeBron and Kevin Durant will be sporting against each other the night of February 16. These will also be historic, marking the first time the NBA will be using sleeved jerseys for an All-Star event. If you don’t bother to click the link, don’t worry, you aren’t missing anything–Lance Stephenson, Boogie Cousins and Ant Davis might be glad they were unrightfully snubbed from All-Star Weekend after seeing these. They’re definitely different than the norm, that’s for sure. With these in mind, let’s shine some light on the more successful attempts at NBA All-Star jerseys.
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10. 2008 All-Star Jerseys
The 2008 ASG jerseys had a unique look to them, definitely something the NBA experimented with. I’m not sure if it worked or not, but it wasn’t a bad attempt. The letters have a “Texas” sort of look to them, which really adds a dope element to the jersey. The best part is the back of the West jersey was gold–who doesn’t love gold? All-Star jerseys and gold just go together. The NBA gets two thumbs up for stepping outside of the box, successfully, in 2008.
9. 2007 All-Star Jerseys
I’m a huge fan of the dark blue color selection for the East jerseys. The constellation of stars among the side of the jerseys adds a nice touch. The NBA transformed the logo into a star on the top left corner of the jersey, which is a subtle, but nice addition. The lettering is a little fancy here, but smoothly follows into a star. Besides that, these jerseys are plain, but clean. The NBA did a nice job of not trying too hard, which always works. Plain and simple is the way to go with the All-Star game jerseys.
8. 2009 All-Star Jerseys
We’ve seen classic All-Star jerseys, cartoonish ones, but these are just fresh. The color scheme meshes well together, although the East jerseys have more of an appealing look. The NBA didn’t try too hard in 2009 and it paid off. It’s a minor detail, but I really like the wing design on the shorts. It makes the whole jersey stand out and adds some much needed flavor. There isn’t a lot going on here, but the jerseys still catch an eye regardless.
7. 1991-1994 All-Star Jerseys
The reason I love the 1991 All-Star jerseys is because they were the NBA’s attempt in the ’90s for a “futuristic” look. The metallic silver look with the NBA letters and the star makes these jerseys appear futuristic, or what the world thought the year 2014 would be like (we still don’t have flying cars). Plus, it’s hard to not enjoy jerseys that have Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins, among others, in them. The warmup jackets, which can be seen at the 8:34 mark, have a cartoonish, graffiti feel on the back of them. This was a time where the NBA took a step outside of the box, which can always be commended. These All-Star jerseys were used, with small variations, until the 1994 season.
6. 2012 All-Star Jerseys
Man, this jersey is just beautiful. I usually don’t like to use that word unless I’m discussing Jhene Aiko, but it’s necessary here. The fade of color from the top to the bottom of the jersey is a phenomenal addition. The shorts are plain, but the jersey looks so good that it overshadows the plain shorts. The West All-Star jerseys had the numbers in gold and the East had the numbers in silver, which looks sweet. The NBA didn’t try anything tricky with the lettering or numbers, but the color of the jerseys did all the talking. The NBA should bring back this fading color scheme in the future–it’s really a dope looking jersey. Two thumbs up.
5. 1985-1989 All-Star Jerseys
These jerseys are so classic that they appear twice on this list. The NBA must have realized that they did these All-Star jerseys right, since they used them for a couple years consecutively and then brought them back, which will be seen later in this list. In 1985, the West jerseys were blue, which isn’t seen often. The NBA decided to switch the West jersey to white from 1986 to 1989 and gave the East jersey a red color. I love the enlarged NBA logo on top of the letters too. These jerseys are as old school as it gets, but it works. I wouldn’t mind if the NBA brought these back in the future, again. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right?
4. 2004 All-Star Jerseys
The 2004 ASG jerseys were different, but in a good way. This was smack in the middle of the “hip-hop” era of basketball and it showed with the 2004 ASG jerseys. The NBA was able to contort this jersey into something that fit with the hip-hop era, while still keeping the classy look that makes ASG jerseys memorable. The diagonal letters really makes this one stand out, which is a change from the typical letters being smacked across the front of the chest. The stars along the whole side of the jersey are dope and this one wore a little baggier than the tight, performance fitted ones we’ve seen recently, emulating the focus of the hip-hop style of the early 2000s. Times have changed since, but these can always be remembered for fitting with the times.
3. 2003 All-Star Jerseys
In 2003, the NBA brought back the classic look of the All-Star jerseys, which just looked right. The NBA didn’t try too hard–like this season, they just went with what worked. These classic, retro All-Star jerseys might go down as the greatest so far. The NBA could probably role these out year-after-year and I wouldn’t complain. The look is so classic and defines greatness in terms of All-Star Games. The script was written with these, Michael Jordan rocked this jersey in his first ASG in 1985 and in his last in 2003. It was a fitting end to the greatest basketball career of all time and that’s why it’s so high on this list.
2. 1996 All-Star Jerseys
These jerseys are just dope. In the mid-1990s, the NBA was infatuated with the whole “cartoonish” look, which is evident by these beauties. These jerseys were one of a kind and this was the only year they were seen. The color scheme is fresh and caught anyone’s eye. It’s possible these jerseys could even work in 2014. I’m sure the fans would approve of these more than the jerseys selected for this year’s All-Star Game. The NBA did the ASG jerseys a great justice in 1996–they might be the best of all-time.
1. 1997-2002 The “Individual” All-Star Jerseys
While it’s nice to see what All-Star jerseys the NBA can create, the individual jerseys are just right. This gave the All-Star Game a different vibe for five years. The players were no longer representing their respective conference on a jersey–they were playing for the team name on the front of their jersey. There’s just a different enigma when that “Los Angeles” or “Philadelphia” is bannered across your chest, instead of “East” and “West”. Obviously, having the All-Stars wear their game jerseys result in a loss of revenue for the NBA, which is never a positive for a multi-billion dollar business. My suggestion? Leave the players city of representation on the jersey and give the jerseys an “All-Star feel” around the rest of them. It would be the best of both worlds and more marketable, in my opinion. This will also get in the way of any confusion of what player is on which team, if that was anyone’s concern during an All-Star Game. If any art majors are reading this, feel free the draw something like this up, it would be wonderful to see!
What are your favorites?
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