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Ball Don't Lie

If you enjoyed the 1990s, you will love the NBA’s newest batch of alternate retro uniforms

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Milwaukee and Sacramento anticipate 2013 fashion trends (Getty Images)

Because the internet “helps” reaction move at incredible speed, there is a backlash to the backlash that once got in the way of appreciating 1990s culture for its fads and taste. Harmless and well-meaning sites like BuzzFeed mine that nostalgia for hits (and also because the genuinely like writing about things that make them happy), and recently the team behind that site has taken some hits for churning out content that may or may not reference things from 1997. Some of these criticisms have come from types that made their original scratch as cultural tastemakers by going all Beavis and Butt-Head whenever Peyton Manning shares an awkward hug with another man.

We’re instituting our own backlash, though. The new retro NBA jerseys that several teams will be outfitted in over the next few weeks are straight out of the 1997 fall catalog, and we hated that catalog. They feature pinstripes, garish cartoon mascots designed to be frightening, and all the hallmarks of something Sasha Danilović used to sport.

They’re cool, but they’re ugly. Not unlike the 1990s. Take a look:

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(Courtesy Adidas)

Over the past few years minimalism has taken over jersey design, in a move we applaud. The Milwaukee Bucks, for example, feature a jersey that wouldn’t seem out of place on Jon McGlocklin, mainly because he used to wear the same style of jersey the Bucks currently sport in the late 1960s. The Pacers eliminated their pinstripes years ago, and the Suns black alternate hasn’t been around since Jason Kidd decided to bleach his hair.

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Jason Kidd after a trip to the salon (Getty Images)

(Cedric Ceballos bleached his one time, as well. It was the 1990s, and it was terrible.)

And Chicago’s pinstripes? They were routinely loathed by Bulls fans back in the late 1990s for the disproportionate amount of times the Bulls seemed to lose while wearing them. When you only lose 23 regular season games in 164 attempts over two years, as the Bulls did from 1995-97, you tend to notice a pattern when most of those losses seem to come while sporting pinstripes.

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Michael Jordan and the Bulls lose to Phoenix in 1996 (Getty Images)

As a one-off, though? Something to keep us NBA fans interested as we wait out the regular season? Of course this is the way to go.

It’s fun to mix these things up, and to give fans a chance to relay the news to younger followers that at one point there was a player named Kurt Thomas, long-retired, that used to wear that red Miami Heat jersey during Bill Clinton’s first term in office.

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Kurt Thomas, many years ago (Getty Images)

Oh. Never mind. Sorry, Kurt.

We think most of these uniforms are terrible. That’s not the point, though. It’s a gimmick that will sell more jerseys, ones that Adidas (the manufacture behind them) notes are made with the same modern materials that help these ridiculous logos go down a lot easier – all the sweat-influenced technology that goes into modern threads. And for something to pass the time during dog day games in February and March? Very, very cool.

Even if we don’t want to admit that the jerseys we covered in high school and college and now considered “retro.”

(All your retro fashions are available for purchase at NBAStore.com)

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