The 3 Worst Uniforms in NBA History

Blake Griffin wears new Los Angeles Clippers uniform
Source: Uni Watch

If you’re into the fashion of the NBA, you were probably excited when the Los Angeles Clippers unveiled their “much anticipated” new logos and uniforms for the upcoming 2015-16 season. And if you thought owner Steve Ballmer was enthusiastic in person, your suspicious were reaffirmed by the energy he was exuding via the team’s official press release.

“This is an exciting time to be a Clippers fan,” said Ballmer. “We have one of the top teams in the NBA, and now we have introduced a new look that is bold, edgy, powerful and truly representative of us turning the page and entering a brand new age.”

Considering all the negativity that has been associated with this franchise over the years — be it the consistent losing or anything  Donald Sterling-related — we can understand why Los Angeles’ other basketball organization would want to enter the next chapter of its existence with a fresh look. But we have to believe the Clippers could’ve come up with something better than this. When we look at the above gear, we don’t see ‘bold and edgy,’ we see ‘confusing and cartoonish.’ We’re just not fans of either of these uniforms. And we’re not the only ones (thank you, Paul Lukas of Uni Watch).

Based on the description in the press release, it’s pretty clear that Ballmer and company weren’t just going for an overall rebrand of the franchise — a turning of the page, if you will — but were also looking to incorporate notes of symbolism into the new designs:

The curved lines in the primary Clippers wordmark symbolize the horizon of the ocean as seen from the bridge of a Clipper ship – alluding to the team’s nautical theme roots.

Unique, iconic and a distinctly “L.A.” logo, the Clippers new LAC monogram depicts a blue “C” wrapping around the “L.A.”, literally embracing the city. The stacked LA also takes the shape of a basketball court signifying “LA Basketball”. In addition, the silver lining seen in the Clippers wordmark signifies the renewed collective optimism of Clipper Nation.

The Clippers home uniforms will be white featuring the new CLIPPERS word mark across the front. The team will wear red road uniforms in 2015-16 which will feature the LAC monogram. Additional alternate black uniforms will be introduced at a later date.

If you try really hard to focus on the intentions, rather than the overall execution, then you should at least be able to acknowledge that the new Clippers regime is making a valiant effort. However, all in all, these new duds fall flat. However, not to worry, it’s not as if the league hasn’t seen poor uniform choices before. With that, here are the 3 worst uniforms in NBA history.

1. Atlanta Hawks

Dikembe Mutombo complains to referee
  •  Years: 1995-99

The Atlanta Hawks have done alright over the years in the uniform department. In fact, they have a classic throwback that coincides with the “Pac-Man” days that continues to stand the test of time. But these road unis the organization sported from 1995-99 are scary… bad. The Hawk on the front is ridiculous, and it’s totally and uncomfortably disproportionate. If the intention was for the bird to be fierce, the illustrator clearly missed the mark. Also, if you look closely at the color scheme, the black sort of dissolves into the red. It simply does not work.

For the record, if you think Dikembe Mutombo (above) is complaining about a bad call, you’re mistaken. He’s clearly upset over the gear he’s being forced to wear. Wouldn’t you agree?

2. Sacramento Kings

Mike Bibby dribbles up the court in 2007
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  •  Years: 2005-07

There should be a rule in pro sports: Just because your team is affiliated with something regal, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to put an obscene amount gold in the uniform. The Sacramento Kings clearly did not follow this suggestion with their alternate uniforms from 2005-07.

The multi-color trim doesn’t work either, but we could probably overlook it if we weren’t so blinded by the shine given off by the primary color. In the above picture, it looks like point guard Mike Bibby is wearing a golden silk robe that has been remade into a basketball uniform. Considering the overarching royal theme of this look, the cursive writing makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, we can’t get over the exaggerated “K.” Or is it an “H?” Honestly, we can’t tell. There’s just so much wrong here. Let’s just give Sacramento a royal pardon on this one and move on.

3. Vancouver Grizzlies

Greg Anthony and Bryant Reeves talk during a game in 1997
Elsa/Getty Images
  •  Years: 1995-00

The organization formerly known as the Vancouver Grizzlies had road uniforms from 1995-00 that were literally an eyesore. Although the picture is a bit faded, it is, in fact, some shade of green that has no business being part of the color spectrum. If that weren’t bad enough, “Grizzlies” font is a goofy-looking attempt at 3D, that somehow even manages to make the claw marks appear weak and unintimidating.

But the real kicker on these uniforms is the patterned trim outlining the neck and sleeveless areas. What are those symbols supposed to be? Can anyone tell us? We refuse to guess — out of fear of legitimately insulting anyone — but we remain firm in our overall assessment of these uniforms. They are among the worst to have ever graced the sacred hardwood of the National Basketball Association.