August 31, 2009
OK, we know the first decade of the 21st century doesn't really end until 2011. We think. But we also know there have been 10 full NBA seasons played since the phrase "Y2K" was on all of our lips (1999-2000), and here at Ball Don't Lie we've decided to use this as an offseason excuse to rank some of the best and not-so-brightest of the 10 campaigns in question. The result? Why, top 10 lists!
I think it's pretty fair to point out that I'm not much of a fashion plate, my day-to-day wardrobe is straight out of the Dave Edmunds Collection, and it's remained hardly unchanged since the Clinton administration. And the next NBA-official uniform, hat, shirt, jacket or pair of logo-pants will be my first.
This doesn't mean that I don't know what I like, when I see it. And though not all of these uniforms were introduced initially during the first decade of the 21st century, they have been on prominent display over the last 10 years. Here's a ranking of some of the best uniforms of that term.
10. Detroit Pistons' return to red, white and blue
The Pistons duds make the top 10 partially because we're legally required to include Ben Wallace(notes) in each of these top 10 lists, partially because the teal-based styling that came before it was so horrid, but mainly because it's a cool-looking, simple uniform. Also, Ben Wallace wore one.
9. Los Angeles Lakers Sunday whites
It's pretty cool to get a little tradition out of this modern-as-tomorrow league, and the idea that most Sunday nights since the 2002-03 has seen the Los Angeles Lakers working at home while wearing these white uniforms just scans as pretty cool to me. Also, 18 seconds worth of research revealed that the whites are a tribute of sorts to the late Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn.
8. Los Angeles Clippers cursivey goodness
The team is usually miserable, and any outfit that has Chris Kaman(notes) and/or Sam Cassell(notes) sporting it for good stretches usually has its work cut out for it. But you've got to dig the '60s-style cursive Clipper font, alongside the basic-but-still-fetching color scheme. Yeah, I said "fetching." What of it?
7. New York/Jersey Nets ABA throwbacks
Stuck in an otherwise dreary, low-scoring Finals, the Nets livened things up a bit in Game 5 of the series by busting out the only throwback jersey to be used in a playoff game that I can remember. The look didn't really help New Jersey's chances, the Spurs took a 3-2 lead in the series after the pivotal Game 5 win, but the switch in style was much appreciated.
6. San Antonio Spurs' staid, simple, solid
Apologies to their fans for busting out the Thesaurus once again to find a new word for "boring," but I dig the basic black and silver that San Antonio has been tossing out from October to June in just about every year of the Tim Duncan(notes) era. Of course, that simplicity was once threatened by the fiesta-era Spurs, but once the team ditched Charles Smith, it just all came together.
They're just cool uniforms, and a huge departure from the crap duds that the Washington Wizards dress up in most nights. And, yes, there have been four uniforms with a red, white and blue color scheme in the first six rankings of this list. From the mountains to the prairies, my man, to the oceans white with foam.
Menacing and cool, the red and the black. I once read an album review for the Pretenders' first album that took three paragraphs to mention a single musical hallmark of the LP, instead spending its time discussing just how the prominent red and black on the album cover represented sex and the devil and death, and that sex and the devil and death would always be cool, so this album is cool. All I know is this uniform even made Brad Sellers look cool, so I'm into it.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers' wine and gold
A fantastic throwback uniform that looks like it was cooked up in some hipster-driven, Undrcrwn sweat shop. Toss in what is easily the coolest warmup jacket I have ever seen, and you have something worthy of a Brookynite with a PBR in his hand. A fan of the comedic stylings of David Wain, I'd guess.
2. Golden State's "The City"
It says "The City" on the front, there is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, and there's a cable car on the back. Tell me you don't want one. Hell, Speedy Claxton(notes) (pictured, above) is still limping around Atlanta in his "City" jersey to this day.
It's green and white. When they're at home, they wear white. When they play on the road, they wear green. It looks fantastic, and it's been around for about a trillion years. Or 63 years. Whatever. Basic is good, classic is good, and 17 championships help.