There is no shortage of the best NBA throwback jerseys. From the classic designs of the early days to the more modern looks of today, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, with so many great options out there, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. Here are some of the greatest NBA throwback jerseys to help you decide.
Who Should Get This
If you remember how awesome the NBA used to be, these jerseys are for you.
Missing Jordan, Bird, Magic, and others is a serious issue for those who saw their excellence. You can relive it by purchasing one of their vintage jerseys.
Throwback jerseys are a terrific opportunity to sport your team’s colors from the past if you are a younger NBA fan who missed these earlier periods and their beautiful uniforms.
They will also get you some street cred among the old dogs.
Best NBA Throwback Jerseys: Our Picks 2022
Chris Paul, 2011
What is the ideal NBA retro jerseys for a 15-year-old team that lost its original mascot to another city? Consider the Mardi Gras-themed “NOLA” jerseys worn by the franchise previously known as the New Orleans Hornets some years ago, when Chris Paul was still the point guard of the team that selected him.
It isn’t easy to think New Orleans wouldn’t embrace reintroducing these purple, green, and gold jerseys, particularly next February.
Abdur-Rahim, Shareef, 1997
The teal Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys from 1995 to 2001 are the coolest in the history of the NBA. What’s not to love about this jersey? The big club name across the chest, the quirky color scheme and trim incorporating red, brown, black, and white, and the fearsome emblem of a grizzly bear clawing coolest basketball jerseys on the shorts.
After six seasons in Canada, the team moved to Memphis and kept the same mascot. So it’s only fitting that Nike enables Memphis to pay tribute to the team’s previous home with these magnificent jerseys.
Wilt Chamberlain 1971-72 Lakers of Los Angeles
What’s not to appreciate about a guy who once scored over a hundred points in a single game? Anyone who sees the large gap between the numerals and the instantly identifiable purple and gold will be drawn in.
What We Like:
- The large space between numerals is outdated.
- The white numerals stand out.
- The three-color borders look fantastic.
Allen Iverson, 1996
Of course, a rookie Allen Iverson with no cornrows, one tattoo, and “SIXERS” on the breast of a bright red jersey, along with his red and white Reebok Questions, is nothing short of legendary. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz, take attention. This is where the process started.
Dikembe Mutombo, 1997
*Wiggles finger* “No, no, no,” as Hall of Fame big man Dikembe Mutombo would say – there is no greater Atlanta Hawks jersey in history than this red, black, and yellow ’90s version with a hawk grasping a ball in its talons. Mutombo’s No. 55 was retired by the Hawks in 2016. I’m hoping it’s in the rafters.
Julius Erving 1982-83 76ers of Philadelphia
The red, white, and blue, sure. The 76ers’ patriotic colors are loud and clear here, and they look fantastic with Dr. J’s name on the back. The Sixers typeface and the proud number 6 make the front seem clean and menacing.
What We Like:
- The color scheme is red, white, and blue.
- The Sixers’ name is on the front.
- The blue outline provides excellent contrast.
Kevin Garnett, 1998
A teenage Kevin Garnett in the Minnesota Timberwolves black alternative clothes, with Frankenstein-esque writing and green pine trees lining the jersey and shorts — SO tough. As the Timberwolves try to build a name for themselves in the deep Western Conference this season, their youthful core may benefit from some scary flair, similar to what Garnett and the Timberwolves possessed in the past.
Bill Russell, 1967
In the 71-year history of the Boston Celtics, the uniforms have scarcely altered. The hues are the same. The typeface and letters are identical—the same timeless vibe. However, back in the days of Boston’s great Bill Russell, Celtics players wore their jerseys without names on the back. So, if you see Isaiah Thomas wearing just his No. 4, you’ll know Boston is going throwback.
Nate Archibald, 1975
Before moving to Sacramento in 1985, the club was known as the Kansas City Kings, and they wore royal blue, red, and white jerseys with a logo that has since been changed to match the team’s current purple, black, and gray color scheme. If the Kings wore Kansas City jerseys, Nike would undoubtedly have to create a visor for rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox.
Clyde Drexler 1983-84 Portland Trail Blazers
During his playing career, Clyde “The Glide” was fortunate enough to wear this magnificent jersey. This jersey is a work of art, from the familiar lower case text to the white and black stripes.
What We Like:
- Fantastic lettering.
- Stripes in black and white.
- The color red is striking.
Julius Erving, 1975
The Brooklyn Nets were once known as the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association. Julius Erving, a three-time ABA MVP, was at the top of his abilities — and so was his gorgeous Afro — and wearing the classic American flag-themed jerseys of the time. In the 2003 video game NBA Street Vol. 2, a cartoon version of Erving debuted, wearing the same jersey and sporting the same magnificent ‘fro.
Magic Johnson 1984-85 Los Angeles Lakers
No retro coolest NBA jerseys list would be complete without a “Showtime Lakers” jersey. Magic Johnson’s name is synonymous with this period, and this jersey harkens back to their spectacular run of titles in the 1980s.
What We Like:
- A wonderful touch is the tiny purple line on the edges.
- The thick white number shadowing looks fantastic.
- The classic Lakers name is the icing on the cake.
Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues, 1991
The Charlotte Hornets were a style force from 1988 through 2002, when the club moved to New Orleans. It’s difficult not to remember the white, teal, and purple pinstriped outfits of strongman Larry Johnson, 5-foot-3 point guard Muggsy Bogues, a youthful Alonzo Mourning, and Steph’s sharpshooting father, Dell Curry.
After a two-year hiatus without a professional basketball club in the city, the NBA added the Charlotte Bobcats as an expansion franchise in 2004. For ten years, the Bobcats wore forgettable blue, orange, and white outfits until the Hornets’ name and colors were reclaimed from New Orleans in 2014.
Getting Nike to bring back these vintage outfits should be at the top of team majority owner Michael Jordan’s to-do list. Of course, the jerseys include the Jordan Brand Jumpman emblem.
Vince Carter, 1999
The Toronto Raptors should have preserved their 1995 jerseys from when they first joined the league. In more than two decades, the team has failed to beat its 1990s purple away uniform, with red, black, and gray accents and a screaming raptor dribbling a basketball.
This is one of the coolest nba jersey of all time, worn by Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter early in their careers. During the 2014-15 season, the Raptors wore retro “Dino” jerseys to commemorate the team’s 20th anniversary. Although there will not be another anniversary year, why not do it again for the 2017-18 season?
Larry Bird 1985-86 Celtics of Boston
It’s only natural to follow up the Magic Johnson jersey with Larry Bird’s “nemesis.” The battle of their retro jerseys only surpasses their tremendous 1980s battles. The green of the Celtics jersey stands out against the white accents. In every sense of the term, this is a classic jersey.
What We Like:
- All that lush green.
- The huge Celtics name is fantastic.
- The white border stripes are well-known.
Michael Jordan, 1984
Nothing screams “freshman year” More than the photographs from the 1985 dunk contest, in which the then-21-year-old Michael Jordan took flight, his gold chains swaying in the wind while wearing a red Bulls jersey with “Chicago” in slanted cursive. This is, without a doubt, the greatest Bulls jersey of all time. Who would put it on with some swag? Butler, Jimmy Actually, forget it.
Anfernee Hardaway 1994-95 The Orlando Magic
This unforgettable jersey has the old Orlando Magic emblem across the breast. During the Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal eras, the blue and white pinstripe jerseys that have been regarded as some of the best in the history of the NBA gained international fame.
What We Like:
- Pinstripes look fantastic.
- The Orlando star logo is well-known.
- The song has a fantastic, almost comical appearance.
Terrell Brandon, 1997
The team’s warm-ups, which feature a ball swishing through a hoop on the backs, are even better than these late-’90s alternative Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys in black, blue, orange, and white (far sharper colors than the Cavs’ wine and gold). During his last season in Cleveland, LeBron James would seem too tough on them. I’m joking in a way.
Earl Monroe, 1969
Forget about the old red, white, and blue Washington Bullets jerseys that inspired the Washington Wizards’ current uniforms. Bring back the late 1960s blue, orange, and white Baltimore Bullets outfits. Given the extended-arms style of the L’s in “BULLETS,” they’d be termed “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” jerseys nowadays.
Shaquille O’Neal 1996-97 Lakers of Los Angeles
Following Penny Hardaway with Shaquille O’Neal seemed to be the natural move. When Shaq departed the Magic to join the Lakers, his new jersey quickly became a collector’s item. That is still true now, as this Lakers jersey recalls a youthful Kobe and Shaq tearing up the league.
What We Like:
- The stitching is visible and looks amazing!
- The addition of extra white around the name and numbers enhances contrast.
- Overall, they appear comparable to previous Lakers jerseys, which is a positive thing.
Grant Hill, 2000
The Detroit Pistons changed their jersey colors from red, white, and blue to teal, black, yellow, and red in the summer of 1996. They also debuted one of the league’s most ferocious logos.
The new logo incorporates a stallion with a flaming mane and the engine element, after which the team is called a piston, to play off the notion of a car’s horsepower. The S’s in “PISTONS” on the front of the jerseys extend into exhaust pipes to add to the notion. Nike needs to bring back whoever produced this design as soon as possible.
Tracy McGrady 1998-99 Toronto Raptors
The “old school” Raptors jersey is one of the most divisive jerseys in history. The cartoon raptor in the center of the chest complements the ripped-looking pinstripe accents perfectly. Whatever your opinions are about the rest of the design, the colors look fantastic.
What We Like:
- The colors are fantastic.
- The Raptors’ lettering is attractive.
- The “ripped” pinstriping is a nice touch.
Alex English, 1990
Sweet 8-pound-6-ounce newborn baby These colorful Denver Nuggets outfits from the 1980s and 1990s are amazing. Consider naming best vintage NBA jerseys with a centerpiece emblem as eye-catching as Denver’s rainbow city skyline.
But it works because there isn’t one as bold and magnificent as Hall of Famer Alex English put on his chest before numerous current Denver players were born.
Reggie Miller, 1995
Reggie Miller, the greatest Indiana Pacer of all time, wore this outfit during two of his finest moments: his eight points in 8.9 seconds and his notorious choke sign intended at filmmaker and Knicks superfan Spike Lee.
Honorable mention: the 1989-90 away jersey had a lighter blue with “PACERS” in a yellow strip across the front. Both outfits are much superior to Indiana’s ugly Hoosiers-themed “Hickory” jerseys from 2015.
Kevin Durant 2007-08 Supersonics of Seattle
If you’re a fan of the Seattle Supersonics like us, this Kevin Durant Supersonics jersey is a must-have. The team that should never have been relocated will live on in our memories as legends like Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and Kevin Durant worked tirelessly for the city and its residents.
What We Like:
- The final Supersonics jersey design is simple, with a white arc.
- The black edge creates a strong contrast.
- The white and yellow numbering stands out on the shirt.
Bob McAdoo, 1974
This was a difficult choice. It was difficult not to choose the retro Zeke McCall cursive-lettered Clippers jersey, worn by a young Quincy McCall in Love & Basketball. Long before the 2000 film and current Clippers players Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the team was known as the Buffalo Braves and was captained by Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo.
McAdoo and the Braves wore baby blue jerseys for eight years until moving to California in 1978 are as simple as they are timeless. Even Jay-Z is aware of the throwback McAdoo jersey.
Glenn Robinson, 1996
The Milwaukee Bucks’ greatest jersey ever, an alternative hunter-green number with a large deer on the abdomen and the team’s name that fades from white to purple. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ superstar, was a child when these jerseys first appeared in the mid-1990s. The Greek Freak would undoubtedly make them pop if Nike brought them back.
Adrian Dantley, 1989
The Dallas Mavericks should undoubtedly revert to its original design, which featured a large blue letter M capped with a cowboy hat within a green basketball. This famous pattern graced the shorts of Mavericks uniforms for decades, the greatest of which came in the shape of alternative green jerseys with Wild West-Esque text on the front. Mark Cuban, pull some strings!
Al Attles, 1968
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green played eight games in the alternative yellow variant of the team’s classic “The City” jerseys, initially introduced for the 1966-67 season, over ten years before the club won its first NBA championship.
The throwbacks, worn by Rick Barry, Nate Thurmond, and Al Attles, depict the Bay Bridge in a circular graphic on the front of the jersey, with the words “The City” in strong lettering above it similar to Golden State’s current jerseys.
The finest aspect of the jersey is each player’s number on the back, which is shown as a cable car in the Bay Area above his name. These clothes must be worn as the Warriors seek their third championship in four years. You can read more about: Best NBA Players 2022: Greatest Players Of All Time
Useful Tips and Resources
You will wash your jersey after a few wears to keep it fresh. We strongly advise against throwing it in the washing machine, since this might result in irreversible damage. Handwashing in the sink with soap and water is your best bet.
If you spill anything on your jersey or stain it, there are a few things you may do to fix it. One of the most effective methods we’ve discovered is similar to what’s seen in this video:
It’s been a great season for best throwback nba player jerseys, and we want to thank you for reading and supporting us throughout the year. We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage and find our rankings helpful in your search for the best throwback jerseys NBA. Thanks again, and we’ll see you next season!