Arguably, the 1990’s may have been the greatest cultural decade in America. Legendary rock music stormed onto the scene, hip-hop was in its “golden era,” Blockbuster video was the place to be, and the NBA featured some of the greatest basketball talent to ever play the game. During the ’90s, NBA teams also sported some classic uniforms.

Many of these looks are making a comeback. In fact, my kids’ in-town youth programs even opted to forgo the traditional jersey with the town name on it this year. Instead, each team was assigned the name of a NBA squad. Better yet, their uniforms are all a nod to the classic looks from the ’90s. We’re talking the likes of Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets, and Orlando Magic originals.

In order to compile this ranking of which five teams in the NBA rocked the best and most classic uniforms, some conditions needed to be set.

Best 1990 NBA Uniform Criteria

Yes, the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers were prominent franchises during this decade (All 6 of Michael Jordan’s championships happened in the ’90s). However, teams that have not changed their uniform design presently are excluded. So, teams like the Bulls, Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, Spurs and Trail Blazers are out.

Here is what I was looking for. The teams from the 1990’s had the perfect combination of classic uniforms, that were worn by beloved players. Furthermore, these looks still represent tradition and memorable years where the teams saw some success. For example, if you were to ask a NBA fan what do you envision when I say the name Karl Malone, the answer would be “The Mailman” taking the rock to the hoop in his physical one-hand-on-the-head pose, wearing the purple and yellow Jazz insignia.

Color Codes

It’s important to note, each player was able to seek their own sneaker endorsement at this time (much like today). However, pro basketball players had to follow some guidelines with what they could wear. Often it was a white or black sneaker only.

The irony here is that although the creative color options were limited, the sneaker game from the ’90s was also legendary. Air Jordan Jumpman’s from throughout this decade remain some of the most sought-after (and expensive) shoes.

In addition, there was a uniform format of the ’90s. Teams strictly wore white at home, and color away.

Not that we have fully set the stage as to what the best decade in the NBA looked like, let’s rank the five most legendary 90’s uniforms.

*Honorable mention for teams not included in this list include the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.

  • #5 Utah Jazz

    This Jazz logo is back these days. However, the purple away threads with yellow Utah Jazz across the chest remains a very 1990’s look. The basketball embedded in the “J” brings the logo to new level. The home look was exactly the same , it just featured a white uniform. Jazz Legends that wore this include Karl Malone and John Stockton.

    Shawn Kemp #40 of the Seattle Supersonics drives against Karl Malone #32 of the Utah Jazz.

    Photo: Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images

  • #4 Orlando Magic

    This was the original Magic look. The team’s first season was in 1989, and they wore the white pinstripe home, and black pinstripe aways until 1998. The team made it to their first Finals appearance, sporting this look in 1995. Magic legends who wore this include Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway.

    Forward Antonio McDyess of the Denver Nuggets goes up for two as Orlando Magic center Shaquille O''Neal covers him during a game at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida

    Photo: All Sport / Getty Images

  • #3 Phoenix Suns

    The Suns sported a similar design model to the Jazz with a prominent graphic wrapped around the chest. The Suns made the list for two reasons. First, this look was such an upgrade from the previous uniform design, which really bland. Second, it was synonymous with that infamous team that took the Chicago Bulls to six games in the 1993 Finals. Suns legends that wore this include Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle.

    Forward Charles Barkley of the Phoenix Suns goes up for two during a game against the Chicago Bulls

    Photo: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport / Getty Images

  • #2 Seattle Supersonics

    Oh wow. The green with the white Sonics ribbon and yellow numbers is as classic ’90s basketball as you can get. The green and yellow may also be the best color combination in NBA history. It just fit Seattle and even rock stars like Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament wore these jerseys loud and proud. The Sonics should have never gone away from them in mid-’90s and Seattle should have never let the Sonics go. Supersonics legends who wore this include Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton.

    Xavier McDaniel #34 of the Seattle Supersonics looks on during a game.

    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

  • #1 Charlotte Hornets

    The teal and purple were just so out of the ordinary. When the Hornets came into the league in 1988 they immediately took the court marching to their own beat. They embraced the clip-art bumble bee. In contrast, both their home and away jersey only said “Charlotte” across the chest as opposed to “Hornets.” A more modern, upgraded look is what the team wears now. It slightly pays respect to their beyond entertaining teams of the ’90s.  Hornets legends that wore this include Larry “Grandmama” Johnson and Alonzo Mourning.

    #2 Larry Johnson of the Charlotte Hornets at the free throw line about to take a shot.

    Photo: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

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