Chris Kelly dies: Kris Kross rapper’s sporty style included lots of baseball jerseys

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

I was 12 when I first encountered Kris Kross. They were performing their single "Jump" on "In Living Color" in May of 1992. It was the era when sports jerseys were the coolest things for teenagers to wear. At my junior high in particular, basketball jerseys were all the rage. Especially a few months later, when Shaquille O'Neal's Orlando Magic jersey debuted.

If you watch those early Kris Kross videos again — as I did Wednesday night after news broke that Chris Kelly, one half of the teen rap duo, died in Atlanta at age 34 — you'll notice how Kris Kross pretty much only wore sports gear. Perfect for a time when having a Starter jacket in your wardrobe was essential.

What's interesting, though, is how much baseball clothing they wore. Either actual baseball team jerseys and jackets, or baseball-styled jerseys of teams from other sports. For instance: On the cover of their 1992 debut "Totally Krossed Out" (I had the cassette tape, how 'bout you?) Chris Kelly wore a New York Yankees jersey and Chris Smith repped the New York Knicks with a baseball jersey. Both backward, of course, because that was the style Kris Kross created.

Now journey with me, as we reminisce about Kris Kross, the early '90s and sports clothing.

Featured in "Word Up" magazine, Kris Kross wore these very bright, original Florida Marlins jerseys.

The "Warm It Up" video is filled with sports gear — perhaps even more than "Jump." Including these Oakland Athletics jerseys.

In the video for "I Missed the Bus" — their third single — the Chrises wore gear from both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox.

Back then, you could get away with wearing a baseball jersey of a team that didn't play baseball — like the San Francisco 49ers in the "Jump" video. Or even a random college, like the University of Illinois in the "Warm It Up" video.

Also in the "Warm It Up" video, the Kris Kross boys proved they had no problem with blurring rivalries, wearing baseball jerseys of North Carolina and Duke in consecutive shots. Brave.

It wasn't just music videos. In an appearance on BET's "Teen Summit," they wore jerseys of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, a Negro League team.

This isn't a baseball team or a baseball jersey, but these Alonzo Mourning/Larry Johnson-era Charlotte Hornets jackets are still fresh to this day. Had to include them.

Oddly enough, even though they were from Atlanta, Kris Kross never wore Braves gear. Or the Falcons or the Hawks. Shrug.

If you've made this far, you probably want to watch Kris Kross videos about now. Here you go.

Baseball is back. Don't miss anything.
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