Arguably, the 1990’s may have been the greatest cultural decade in America. Legendary rock music stormed onto the scene, hip-hop was in its “golden era,” Blockbuster video was the place to be, and the NBA featured some of the greatest basketball talent to ever play the game. During the ’90s, NBA teams also sported some classic uniforms.
Many of these looks are making a comeback. In fact, my kids’ in-town youth programs even opted to forgo the traditional jersey with the town name on it this year. Instead, each team was assigned the name of a NBA squad. Better yet, their uniforms are all a nod to the classic looks from the ’90s. We’re talking the likes of Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets, and Orlando Magic originals.
In order to compile this ranking of which five teams in the NBA rocked the best and most classic uniforms, some conditions needed to be set.
Best 1990 NBA Uniform Criteria
Yes, the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers were prominent franchises during this decade (All 6 of Michael Jordan’s championships happened in the ’90s). However, teams that have not changed their uniform design presently are excluded. So, teams like the Bulls, Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, Spurs and Trail Blazers are out.
Here is what I was looking for. The teams from the 1990’s had the perfect combination of classic uniforms, that were worn by beloved players. Furthermore, these looks still represent tradition and memorable years where the teams saw some success. For example, if you were to ask a NBA fan what do you envision when I say the name Karl Malone, the answer would be “The Mailman” taking the rock to the hoop in his physical one-hand-on-the-head pose, wearing the purple and yellow Jazz insignia.
It’s important to note, each player was able to seek their own sneaker endorsement at this time (much like today). However, pro basketball players had to follow some guidelines with what they could wear. Often it was a white or black sneaker only.
The irony here is that although the creative color options were limited, the sneaker game from the ’90s was also legendary. Air Jordan Jumpman’s from throughout this decade remain some of the most sought-after (and expensive) shoes.
In addition, there was a uniform format of the ’90s. Teams strictly wore white at home, and color away.
Not that we have fully set the stage as to what the best decade in the NBA looked like, let’s rank the five most legendary 90’s uniforms.
*Honorable mention for teams not included in this list include the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.