The Portland Trail Blazers have long been hailed for their eye-pleasing jersey styles. White, black, or red, upper-case or lower-case, Rip City or classic, they’ve not strayed far from basic excellence. This week they were rewarded for perseverance by the staff of The Crossover at SI.com who ranked the 30 Best NBA Jerseys of All Time.
After hat-tipping some classic wear and the new hotness of Prince in Minnesota and Miami’s vices, the Crossover placed the Trail Blazers 5th overall in the ranking. They didn’t pick a single Portland jersey edition, rather rolling them together into a massive Katamari of goodness. Andrew Sharp explains:
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.
After praising Portland’s color selection, he wraps up with the slam dunk:
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.
That said, The Crossover didn’t put Portland atop the list. The Blazers weren’t even the highest team in the “every jersey together because they’re all too awesome” category. The Boston Celtics won the latter award, coming in 3rd overall. The Los Angeles Lakers jerseys from 1978-1999 (the exact ones you remember most) took the top spot in the survey.
Was fifth high enough? Do you want to get more granular and nominate a specific favorite Portland jersey to topple L.A.? Have at it below.