It’s official, folks.
Portland Trail Blazers jerseys are dope.
Sports Illustrated’s The Crossover has put out its rankings of the top 30 NBA jerseys of all time. Rip City, donning red, white and black since the beginning of franchise history, has landed No. 5.
In the words of SI.com’s The Crossover Staff:
“If the topic is best NBA jerseys, the Blazers are the standard bearers. Blazers jerseys are crisp, distinct, and always a pleasant addition to League Pass at 12:30 a.m. on the East Coast. They work in black, in white, or as a throwback with this old Clyde Drexler jersey. So SI’s staff was asked to choose three jerseys for this exercise, and I choose those three Blazers jerseys.”
Let’s try an exercise. Raise your hand if your favorite color is red—or if your favorite color was red when you were young enough that grown-ups were constantly asking you what your favorite color was.
Okay, great. Most of you.
Now, keep your hand raised if that’s because of the Trail Blazers.
You’re not alone. A certain Oregon Sports News writer (let’s call him “yours truly”) falls into the same category.
The Crossover continued:
“Some of the appeal is ineffable, and that’s true of any great design work. If we want to be more specific: the red and black colors in Portland already give the Blazers a higher baseline than most teams enjoy. It’s hard to make any red and black uniform that isn’t at least above-average. From there, the band across the front adds the proper amount of flair, but that flourish remains understated. The band fits cleanly with the look and doesn’t distract anyone. The lettering on the throwbacks is rounded and whimsical and will make you nostalgic about the ’70s and ’80s. The lettering on the modern jerseys is angular and more formal, but probably cooler. The pinwheel logo is its own design success story, but the logo isn’t featured on the jerseys.”
The Crossover (courtesy of Andrew Sharp) shouted it once more for the people in the back:
“The jerseys don’t need the help. Both the home and away looks will pop every time they are on screen. The black jerseys probably get the lion’s share of love, but the white version is among the best in the league in its own right. A few weeks ago the Lakers were wearing their grape cough syrup and black stripe TJ Maxx monstrosities and those crisp white Portland jerseys were all fans had to keep them sane. (These red alternates are pretty fantastic as well.) In the end, Blazers jerseys live at the intersection of cool and traditional. They have been there for almost 50 years. Ask basketball fans to choose a favorite jersey and some will mention the Lakers, others the Celtics, and maybe a few will mention the Sixers or Bulls. Those disagreements are reasonable. All of this is subjective. But if you ever add the Blazers to the conversation, the arguments will usually stop for a minute. No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone can agree that the Blazers jerseys are pretty great. And that’s why they’re best.”
Although it’s the product on the court that matters far more than the aesthetics of it all, certain uniforms will always provide fans a sense of enjoyment or nostalgia.
Oppositely, some uniforms will take you to a dark, dark place. (See: cough syrup purple Lakers jerseys.)
Maybe you love an old-school Charlotte Hornets jersey (think Alonzo Mourning) or Penny Hardaway’s pinstripes in Orlando. Maybe you’re like The Crossover Staff and you already have Minnesota’s “Prince” City Editions and the Heat’s “Miami Vice” colorways in your top 30 all-time.
Either way, we can all agree on one thing: Deion Sanders said it best.
“Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.”
Primetime is right—even if his grammar could use a bit of help.