This season has been a treat, if you're into retro NBA jerseys and especially if you're a fan of Canadian basketball. Each celebrating their 25th NBA season, the Toronto Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies threw it back to their original jerseys from when they entered the league, with the Grizzlies using the original Vancouver wordmark.
The return of both jerseys has been met with much excitement, since those are two of the most popular jerseys ever. Really, that era of basketball, from the 90s to the early aughts, might have been a high point for NBA uniforms.
The vibrancy of the colours, designs and cartoon logos might actually have aged better with time, too — especially if you’re not so much into the minimalism wave that seems to be standard around the league right now.
The original Raptors and Grizzlies jerseys are tried-and-true classics, but are there any other throwbacks that can compare? Here are a few for your consideration.
Raptors purple dinosaur jersey (1995-98)
The Raptors brought back their home white retros from this era during the 2019-20 season, following the return of these purples for their 20th anniversary season five years ago. They definitely remain classics to this day, and with rumours of a jersey update coming, we would love to see design elements from this jersey make a comeback.
Rockets pinstripe jersey (1995-2003)
We think of pinstriping as a detail suited for baseball jerseys moreso than basketball, but like the Raptors jersey above, here is even more evidence that it works on hardwood. Plus, another cartoon logo! The Rockets have recently thrown it back to their ‘ketchup-and-mustard’ uniforms, but these would really be fun.
Hawks gradient jersey (1995-99)
Oh, the gradient jersey. It was bold then, and it would be bold now — especially with that huge spread eagle across the front — but it seems like enough time has passed for teams to get a little weird and bring it back. This may be an unpopular opinion, but we’re definitely fans! Besides, the Hawks’ current kit already boasts a, uhh, *distinctive* triangle pattern as well as a splash of volt yellow, so weird is nothing new for them.
Pistons teal horse jersey (1996-2001)
Teal looks great on jerseys, and if the Grizzlies can bring back their old teal jerseys, then so should the Pistons with this (sadly short-lived) throwback. Plus, the logo looks so good on this uniform! More cartoon logos, please!
Nets ABA jersey (1984-90)
When it comes to minimalistic designs in today’s NBA, there may be no worse offender than the Brooklyn Nets. Reaching back into the franchise’s history with the pre-merger ABA, though, you have this bright and delightfully asymmetric stars-and-stripes jersey. The good old days of Julius Erving!
Suns fireball jersey (1992-2000)
The Charles Barkley era jerseys! The Portland Trail Blazers actually have something similar going on with the diagonal stripe that adds some asymmetry (read: character) to their jersey, but these Suns uniforms obviously have that fireball across that chest that levels it up so much more.
Nuggets rainbow skyline jersey (1985-1993)
Okay, technically speaking, the Nuggets have brought a more minimal version of this jersey back, and those are perfectly fine. The originals, of course, are better, with a much louder colour palette. It isn’t really the Nuggets rainbow skyline jersey if the colours don’t hit you like a brick wall!