Everyone in the NBA is all in a tizzy about throwback jerseys, and it makes absolute sense. Why wouldn’t a capitalist entity dust off some old designs, re-market them and have legions of fans re-buy apparel? There’s a delightful Scrooge McDuck quality to it all.
The Pistons are bringing back their mid-90s teal, Golden State is paying homage to the “Run TMC” era Warriors, and on Thursday the Bucks unveiled their “classic” look from … 2006. Okay, it doesn’t matter if a throwback isn’t that old as long as people enjoy it.
The problem is that the colorways and logos really only one small piece of the puzzle. It’s not just what a uniform looked like, but how it was worn — and that’s what gets lost when we do these kind of things. It just wouldn’t hit the same to see Utah’s classic Malone-era Jazz jerseys without at least one player wearing shorts so tiny you’d half expect to see one a testicle fall out of a pant leg without warning.
So, we need these teams to not just commit to their old looks, but convince their players to rock it how they used to. That’s where this concept becomes really magic. I’m not a sadist, I’m not expecting players to wear Reebok Pumps from 1989 when there’s been advancement in shoe technology, but at least something like these.
T.J. Ford’s comically large shorts
This was the closest we’ll get to capris in the NBA. I need shorts that say hello to the socks like “hi neighbor, we just moves into the shins and wanted to introduce ourselves.” Hell, I bet T.J. Ford was rocking 5 XLs to make this work and he was 6’0. If Giannis tried to pull this off I need to see the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXLs needed to make this work, and then have them donated to be turned into blankets for the needy.
The tight Pistons
The thing that always amazed me about the mid-80s Pistons is how they chose the absolute tightest uniforms possible for a sport that inherently needed so much freedom of movement. Hell, look at Dennis Rodman here, one flex and he’s busting out of this thing like The Incredible Hulk. I know some might say this is a competitive imbalance, but fashion waits for no one.
Tiny shorts, long socks and kneepads on huge people
I know this isn’t photoshopped, but man does it feel photoshopped. What we have here is the complete inverse of the T.J. Ford giant shorts situation. Manute Bol slayed in his absolutely tiny shorts while playing for the Bullets, and I know these were absolutely normal sized human shorts because look at Muggsy Bogues in the same ones.
Either way, I want more extremely tall people in shorts that look miniscule.
Magic Johnson’s pants
I know this was from a 2002 celebrity game, but the Lakers should wear pants, dammit.
I know this is a little against the rules because Kobe wore a glove after breaking a bone in his hand, but still — it’s a basketball glove. I’m not going to ask everyone to wear a Rip Hamilton see through mask, or LeBron’s blacked out one — but I will ask all the Lakers to wear a single glove for one game.
Who knows, maybe they’ll like the single glove life? You never know if you don’t try.