The NBA is a league full of style and flair. Players pay attention to their style and so do NBA teams. But some teams simply have more flair than others.
Let’s take a closer look at the best NBA jerseys in the league before they’re riddled with ads and look like soccer jerseys.
But first, some ground rules: the jersey must be their primary uniform, home or away. So no slick throwbacks or experimental designs. If that throwback is so cool make it your full-time uniform already, Toronto. Also, no sleeves. This is basketball, not some dry-fit clothing emporium in a mall.
OK, so let’s see if your favorite team’s look makes the top 10.
10) Cleveland Cavaliers
Not every Cavs jersey is a winner — looking at you, sleeves — but the road jersey is an All-Timer. All Cavaliers jerseys seem to be a bit busy in the shoulder trim, but the wordmark here is solid and the color contrast works well here.
9) San Antonio Spurs
This is a spot that’s mostly in appreciation for the Spurs U, which is one of the most useful logo in all of sports. It’s unfortunate that such a useful logo has been co-opted by local gangs, but in a way that’s a testament to how classic the spur is. There will always be a soft spot for the pastel Spurs jerseys of old, but San Antonio does well with the silver and black these days.
8) New York Knicks
The Knicks have cleaned their jerseys up in recent years to make them look more like their uniforms in the 90s, and it works. Their white home jersey is the best, with blue and orange trim to accent the New York on the front. The team wearing the jersey these days is a bit of a disaster, but at least they look good in the loss.
7) Portland Trail Blazers
It’s a classic look that fits the name of the team. Clean lines, simple color scheme. Its nothing crazy: it just works. It might look a bit outdated because it isn’t doing anything crazy or doesn’t feature a logo on the face, but the wordmark and the color bars on the front work well. Look close and the words imply motion. It’s just plain snazzy.
6) Philadelphia 76ers
The Sizers went back to red, white and blue in 2009, and this is a really solid look. Though the black and silver look might always be associated with Allen Iverson, he’s long gone and so is this look. The stars under the arms are a great accent, and the wordmark is a great update of a classic. I hope Joel Embiid wears this jersey forever.
5) Los Angeles Lakers
Let’s face it: it’s not easy to make purple look good. The Lakers do it, though, with an iconic look that always seems to work. Compared to what a mess the Clippers are working with visually in the same building, the Lakers are the aesthetic champions of Los Angeles. Classic wordmark and number look here pull it all together. If it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Unless you’re talking about the roster. They should keep working on that.
4) Chicago Bulls
The Bulls haven’t changed much since the days of Jordan, but why would they? The black pinstripe might be a more iconic look than the red and black combo Chicago sports these days, but the simplicity of it all is what works so well.
3) Boston Celtics
This is the third straight jersey in the “ain’t broke don’t fix it” category, and it’s pretty obvious why. This is an iconic look the Brooklyn Nets only dream of achieving: two main colors that somehow have a depth and appeal that other, more complicated designs can achieve. Boston doesn’t change much with their jerseys over the years, and they have a more complicated logo that doesn’t touch their jerseys. And for good reason. This is a look that never fails.
2) Utah Jazz
Much like their playoff slogan, the Jazz jerseys are hard to beat. It’s a modern take on a color scheme that works remarkably well for a team originally from New Orleans that’s using Mardi Gras-style colors in Utah. The yellow jersey numbers really help the dark blue pop, and the green used sparingly helps round out the look. And that music note J is so damn good.
1) Golden State Warriors
Sometimes good teams can make whatever they’re wearing into an iconic look, but this is not the case here. The Warriors threads are the best in the league, and they play to match their impeccable style. The Golden Gate Bridge logo is one of the few in the league that doesn’t look cramped on the front of a jersey because it incorporates the jersey number inside the crest.
It’s a brilliant move, and the blue and yellow color scheme just works so well. Toss in some subtle piping and good lettering and numbers on the back and it’s the best all-around look in the league.