NBA Throwbacks Give us ’90s Designs

Written By:  •  Friday, February 1, 2013

Forget about throwing all the way back to the ‘70s. Or even ‘80s. The NBA is tossing its uniform set back just a little less. Think of it more as a free throw, instead of a three-pointer. It’s time for the ‘90s.

This year’s NBA Hardwood Classics nights, now a tradition in the NBA that invites teams to place nostalgic designs on uniforms, features a 1990s generation of uniforms, complete with the oversized graphics, pinstripes and oh-so-much drop shadowing.

In the first image released by Adidas on Friday, Feb. 1, we get to take a look at the pinstripe-heavy Pacers and Bulls. Indiana’s blue stripes on a white background accented with plenty of yellow may be the most classic jersey of the set.

In terms of bold graphics, you’ve got your pick between Phoenix’s crazy orange—and not the cool PHX orange worn in more recent years—the in-your-face hawk from Atlanta, complete with gradient shading, mind you, and the buck for Milwaukee reminiscent of a Cabela’s store. They all come at your in an oddly different way.

Of course, if you simply want some basic ‘90s design, you can feast your eyes on the drop-shadow the Heat offer, or the checkered pattern from the Kings.

The ‘90s certainly provided an “interesting” era for uniforms in the NBA and fortunately it dissipated relatively quickly. But we have it again, large bucks and all.

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Tim Newcomb

Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest covering news, culture, sports design and entertainment. He has written on uniforms and sports logos for TIME Magazine, Sports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. Visit his website here.

  • did they ditch a couple of them? i remember seeing the raptors going back to their purple one with the raptor on it.

  • That was apparently “not official”… the Raptors denied they were wearing that jersey the second we posted it back then

    • Cuserell

      That doesn’t make any sense that the Raptors, Sixers and Cavs jerseys weren’t included especially since they were in the adidas lookbook for retailers. Something happened between now and then, because those were all but final.

      • Jason Korona

        The raptors refused to wear their 90s jerseys because the 90s was the era of vince carter and he was a disgrace to all of tornoto and all raptors fans.

        • Chris Creamer

          That’s a load of bull – besides, Vince Carter only wore those 90s jerseys for half a single season

  • Brandon Wilson

    I actually miss that Hawks Jersey! It was so cool.

  • Zach

    I actaully like the throwbacks from Sacramento and Phoenix. Indiana i don’t really get because those were just their last jerseys. What happened to the track uniforms?

    Also, I thought Toronto was also boasting a purple throwback this year, the one with the dinosaur on it?

    • Joe

      those were also Phoenix’s last jerseys too, so why not “get” Indiana?

  • I want the Wizards to use the throwback from the 70s

    • Aaron

      Don’t forget they were still called the Bullets until 1996. So really it should be Bullets’ last jersey.

    • Ryan

      The Wizards should wear the Gilbert Arenas gold jerseys as their throwback, I hated the logo back then, but those gold ones were classics.

  • carter23

    any idea when they’ll be wearing them? i know heat are tonight, and PHX were wed..

    i’d love it if the bucks wore it tonight against my ny knicks

    • carter23

      i just checked the bucks’ site, and they are wearing them tonight – with lots of pics included

  • mvs

    That half-black half-purple Kings throwback is the epitome of 1990s NBA design

  • Aj Crisp

    Love the Bucks, Suns and Hawks ones. I miss those days. I also miss the Raptors ones from the 90s.

  • Awww the Pacers went with the pinstripes instead of the FloJos…

  • Joe

    I wish more teams got involved: Cavs’ baby blue/orange/black splash, Pistons’ teal, Warriors’ lightning bolt down the side, Rockets’ pinstripes, Orlando’s pinstripes, Philly’s gradient, Raptors’ purple & pinstripes, and Utah’s mountain…90’s throwbacks need to be representative of what the designs were: overblown.

  • Mike Majeski

    I’ll second the Cavs. Would love to see the black splash ones. And what about the Nets 90s tie dye looking ones?

  • Aaron

    A couple things, the pinstriped Pacers jerseys were afer the 90’s. Secondly, why weren’t the Suns’ purple jerseys from the 90’s posted instead of the black jerseys. Now don’t get me wrong, out of most of the jerseys from the 90’s, the Suns, Heat, and Pacers ones were great and ones I wouldn’t have minded seeing in this decade albeit slightly modernized. Also where are the Pistons’ horsepower jerseys anyways?

    • Ryan

      The Pacers played with the pinstripe from 1997-2005 (so it was the 90’s), everyone who wants the “track” uniform as the throwback go look at it…it’s horrible. I agree with the Pistons jerseys also, but if you throw those in there then we must add the Rockets cartoon jersey too. And as I said before the goldWizards jersey. I agree with the guy below that said add pinstripes to the current jersey now.

  • the indian pacers should still use those! or give their unis pinstripes now

  • Trell93

    Best one is the Bucks Jersey

  • Aaron

    Oh yeah, even though they’re not in Vancouver anymore, the Grizzlies should get involved with their original turquoise uniforms. Also the Nuggets navy uniforms should be included.

  • the bulls one is still sick til this day!!!

  • No Utah??????? Damn, my last six months of waiting just went to waste…

    • that’s why Utah Jazz wore hardwood classics

  • CG

    Phoenix and Miami should keep those permanent. I was surprised how amazing those Suns uni’s looked on the court the other night.

  • Where’s the tie-dyed Nets jersey? Dražen Petrović rocked that uni.

  • Where’s the tie-dyed Nets jersey? Dražen Petrović rocked that uni.

  • Where’s the tie-dyed Nets jersey? Dražen Petrović rocked that uni.

  • Aaron

    Another one to add, the Rockets pinstriped uniforms.

  • Iamthere4Iam

    I actually always liked Indiana’s pin-stripes. I’d rather they still use them. They’re were a ton more 90’s jerseys they’re forgetting. The Pistons, Magic, Soni- oh right… Minnesota, Utah, Houston

  • ingmar66

    Only the Bulls and Suns uniforms are nice in my opinion. The rest is so stomachturningly ugly in all its gradients and drop shadows and reminds me of the spandex biker shorts, cloggy basketball shoes with pumps and straps and tasteless television network graphics that we had to put up with in those nineties. And horrible music in NBA arena’s. And that boring official magazine of the NBA, Hoops (with very uncool posters of jump shots or free throws instead of dunks and shattering backboards and those disgustingly polished Q&A pieces that were totally scripted). But at least a lot of NBA playoff series in the 90’s were very exciting, that’s for sure. I cannot say the same thing about the uniforms (or these replicas).

  • Is there an official release from Adidas about this set of unis?

  • carg0



  • 54321

    Those unis give me weird high school memories. Raptors should totally rock the dinosaur once a year.

  • 90s unis making me feel old. Wish Reebok (owned by adidas) would do this more often in the NHL. Then again the design changes made with the Edge may not be old enough yet. By the 10 year mark they should try to create 90s era designs for some teams. Isles fisherman, Cats old jersey, Lightning storm, the old Sens profile jersey.

  • Brent

    Anyone know if will allow customization of these unis?
    Would love to get a Ray Allen (Bucks), MJ & Pippen (Bulls), Reggie Miller (Pacers), Dikembe (Hawks); Barkley (Suns), C-Webb (Kings), Mourning & Hardaway (Heat) jerseys in my collection.

  • Quikee

    Bulls, Hawks & Kings throwbacks are the best. all other teams design are terible.

  • T.Cart

    The Indiana uniforms before the stripes were created by Flo’ Jo and by far the best ones to me

  • Jason

    Do you think the Pistons will bring out the teal uniforms? I hope not

    • Cesare

      Was kinda wondering about the Pistons, myself. As soon as I saw these 90s unis, I remembered the short lived teal, with the horse logo. I liked the logo, but it didn’t fit in with the history of the team.

  • Danny Two Step

    I’d love to see the Nuggets navy blue with gold lettering and maroon accents (think Mutombo era). Those were sick.

    Question: if you buy one of these jerseys from the nbastore, is the lettering and numbers screened on or embroidered?

  • Jab

    I love these 90s jerseys especially the Bulls, Pacers, Heat, & Hawks. Damn I really wanted to see the Raptors (I know they were dropped early from the set), Sixers, & Cavs cause they were really interesting looks to say the least lol. So will there not be any Sixers & Cavs as well? Any word that they may bring’em back out for next yrs hardwood classics?

  • Ben

    Hawks ones are so awesome…they should get new ones similar to that design, just updated

  • Bobby

    I’d love to be able to buy one of those Hawks jerseys.

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