The NBA’s 5 Most Daring Jerseys

Style-fiends want the NBA season to happen, too. Just like those of us who care about the actual game, fashion trends won’t be set pregame, postgame or midgame if there’s no season. What shoe styles will the pros wear? And how about them new Washington Wizards threads? They look pretty cool on paper, but we won’t get a full feel for them until we see John Wall throwing no-looks JaVale McGee‘s way, or better yet, the Wizards winning.

So all we can do is take a look into the past. Subjectively to my tastes, what are the most daring, yet unoffensive jerseys of all-time? To find out, I browsed the SportsLogos.net website and compiled a top five I picked out, in no particular order, and my twisted observations on each.

Toronto Raptors road jerseys (1995-99)
If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were allowed to create the jerseys for an NBA team, they would have designed the original jerseys for the Toronto Raptors. Not only are they the only reptilian mascots in the league, but the ragged font looked like it had been raptor-slashed into the deep purple background of the jerseys.

With sets of black and grey vertical stripes and a simple piping of black and a dark red, the jerseys were simple enough. But what made them spectacular was the actual raptor on the front. Though it’s been kept identical structure-wise, Toronto dropped the color purple and replaced it with the secondary red color. Unnecessary in my opinion; The raptor looks so vicious that the team could totally get away with rocking purple and still have an intimidating look. So vicious, in fact, that the raptor decided to show his teeth AND cut holes in his sneakers to allow for his raptor claws to hang out and presumably be used in battle.

Seattle Sonics road (1997-2001)
It was the jersey that made you think of Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf, a forest green that fit perfectly with the lush colors of rainy Seattle. In general, the Sonics jerseys were always slick looking. Whether it was the 1985-1995 jerseys that predated the more stylistic Sonics logo, or the following remix of the original (Seattle fans probably weep at the sight of Kevin Durant wearing these) that sandwiched the 1997-2001 design, Seattle’s color schemes are arguably the most consistent and best the league has seen.

Discounting the alternate red road jerseys that were equally likable and rocked in the same 1997-2001 timeframe, the Sonics thought like the Oregon Ducks and Green Bay Packers; You simply can’t go wrong with green and yellow.

Detroit Pistons road (1995-2001)
The Pistons had the only teal-colored jerseys in the league at the time (other than the Hornets epic joints). It went well with the secondary burnt red color, but the best part of this era was the logo. While the flaming, angry mustang makes me question whether Ford Motor Company had some stake in Motor City’s team, the Piston’s dual-exhaust lettering was pretty darn clever.

It also looked bada–. Of course, we all know the jersey reminds us of Grant Hill in his prime and Jerry Stackhouse averaging nearly 30 points per game in his best scoring season of his career.

Denver Nuggets home/road (1982-1993)
On the front of the jerseys, the blocky city skyline was cast in front of the backdrop of the surrounding mountains in clever fashion, the rainbow-colored strip wrapping itself around the entire jersey to the player number on the back.

Simple yet unique, the Nuggets’ rainbow skyline jerseys are burned into even the minds of us younger folk. Both the home and road jerseys, for more than a decade, remained as a dazzling reminder of how crazy peoples’ tastes in the 1980s really were, the perfect example of retro existing not all that long ago.

Orlando Magic black pinstripes (1989-1994, 1994-98)
I can’t tell you why these are daring, other than the fact that nobody had tried to do a jet-black pattern with white pinstripes before. First issued as the standard road jerseys, the Magic’s pinstriped black jerseys were later switched to an alternate. Why? I have no idea, but they were the classic retro look of the Orlando teams with the Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway duo.

Though the look was supplanted by the blue road unis, the swag level on the black with white pinstripes jumped out more; The blue outlines on the Orlando logo with the star-shaped letter A popped set next to the black.

Honorable mention: Atlanta Hawks (1970-72), Atlanta Hawks (1982-1992), Philadelphia Sixers (1997-2000), Utah Jazz (1979-1984)

Which jerseys do you think took the biggest risks?

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