The Top Ten Vintage NBA Jerseys

I’m not much of a ‘jersey wearer’, to be quite honest.  What I mean is that I only wear jerseys when cheering for my sports teams, but aside from that, I don’t include jerseys as part of my fashion wardrobe.  In addition, I’ve never really been able to pull off the ‘basketball-jersey-with-no-shirt-underneath’ look (I’m a proponent of T-shirts underneath basketball jerseys as long as they’re not large than a normal T-shirt one would wear).

As a result, the following list is probably 90% hypothetical, since I probably won’t ever own any most of the following gems, but if I was going to buy 10 retro NBA jerseys tomorrow, the 10 below would be them.

Honorable Mention

First, here’s five that were highly considered, but ultimately did not make the final cut.  In no particular order:

Shawn Kemp – Seattle Supersonics


Oh man, starting to rethink not putting this in the top ten.  I’m pretty sure green and yellow is the greatest combination of colors in all of sports.

Ray Allen – Milwaukee Bucks


Jesus Shuttlesworth himself.  The day the Bucks traded Allen to the Supersonics for Gary Payton effectively marked the end of my Bucks fandom.  Until my birthday a few weeks ago, when in a blind rage adult-beverage-influenced stupor I declared my allegiance once again.  I am now officially ‘all in’ on the Bucks.  Fear the Deer.

Kerry Kittles – New Jersey Nets


Those old school Nets jerseys sure are sweet.

Magic Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers


This is another one that should could be in the top ten.  The yellow plus the 3-D letters are so 1986.  I don’t love the Lakes, but I love this jersey.

Charles Barkley – Phoenix Suns


Sir Charles.  So 90s.  So enjoyable.

The Top Ten

10. Jamal Mashburn – Dallas Mavericks


First of all, the green on blue is AMAZING.  Second, Mashburn was the man in NBA Jam.  Thus, he’s in the top 10.

9. Chris Webber – Golden State Warriors


The Warriors had it right back in the 90s.  Simple blue and yellow color scheme.  Not too fancy.  Straight to the point.  Then they made a mistake by switching to the ugly version of the 2000s.  They’ve recently realized the error of their ways and switched back to the blue/yellow/white color scheme.

8. Clyde Drexler – Portland Trail Blazers


If there is one team that I wish I was a fan of, simply so that I could genuinely wear an awesome jersey, it’s the Portland Trail Blazers.  The black is sweet, but those diagonal stripes are EVERYTHING.  Well played, Portland.

7. Scottie Pippen – Chicago Bulls


The Chicago Bulls jerseys are synonymous with winning titles, and you can’t think about said titles without giving Pippen his due.  During the 1990s, the Michael Jordan jerseys were clearly all the rage, but the Scottie 33 is a nice change of pace.

6. Grant Hill – Detroit Pistons


Aside from the fact this jersey is phenomenal, it really makes you realize how long Grant Hill has been in the NBA, how good he used to be, and what a testament it is to him as a player for working hard and reinventing himself after several injuries early in his career.

5. Glenn Robinson – Milwaukee Bucks


While I love the Ray Allen Bucks jersey, the Glenn ‘Big Dog’ Robinson version is the original.  The sad thing about this jersey is that at one point in my life it was part of my regular wardrobe.  It made its most famous appearance during my 4th grade ‘Picture Day’.  I wore it over the traditional short-sleeve white tee like only a real baller would.  Man, I miss that jersey.

4. Hakeem Olajuwon – Houston Rockets


Also in the category of ‘Teams I Wish I Was a Fan of So I Could Wear the Jersey’.  My lord, just look at this jersey.  The red + gold is just genius.

3.  Larry Johnson – Charlotte Hornets


If you were a kid in the early to mid 1990s, enjoyed the NBA, and didn’t (a) have at least a small affinity for the Charlotte Hornets and/or (b) at least think about buying the above jersey, you’re an absolute liar.

EVERYBODY liked the Charlotte Hornets or had some form of memorabilia.  I had a white tank top.   It was glorious.

2. Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls

Real talk now.  In the world of vintage NBA jerseys, there is NOTHING better than this:


Or this:


Or this:


Well, except THIS:

1. Michael Jordan – Team USA


It’s true, the only thing better than Michael Jordan is Dream Team Michael Jordan.  Not only does this jersey represent the greatest player of all time, and the greatest team of basketball players ever assembled, but Jordan was NUMBER 9!  When I was six years old, I couldn’t begin to understand this.  At 27, I still can’t make sense of it.  But there is no doubt it is the greatest thing ever.

Just like the red/black/white number 23 Bulls jersey is synonymous with MJ, so is the number 9 Dream Team jersey.

I want one more than I could possibly explain.

They are only going for  $99.99 on ebay.  If anyone reads this who has said jersey (preferably in size 40 or 44), I’m sure we can work something out.  Please give it to me.


2 thoughts on “The Top Ten Vintage NBA Jerseys

  1. sethlareau Post author

    I think the Larry Johnson Hornets jersey outdoes the Alonzo Mourning. The Shaq Magic jersey was in the mix (as was Penny Hardaway), but ultimately I had to make cuts.


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