NBA Collectibles Every Fan Would Love to Own
Of all the pro sports, basketball fans are undoubtedly the thirstiest when it comes to throwback gear and collectibles. With so many star players that transcend time, nostalgia levels are high. Luckily, the NBA (and its fans) provides an endless array of options when you’re looking for something old-school that will keep your style game on point. Remembering the golden moments of basketball’s past through clothing demonstrates your true fandom, with credible knowledge of the sport’s history and the fits to display your expertise. Rocking the gear below will intimidate competitors in your fantasy league, and let executives at your job know you’re enough of a basketball fan to be worth giving extra game tickets to.
No. 45 Michael Jordan Jersey
Michael Jordan is an iconic figure in sports and culture. His No. 23 is arguably the most famous number in sports; symbolic of the man regarded as the greatest player in the history of basketball. Even today, players still wear 23 in homage to His Airness. But you know what they’re not wearing? No. 45
. For 22 games during his comeback season in 1995, Jordan wore 45 after the Bulls retired 23 at MJ’s own request. Following his struggles in the playoffs against Shaq, Penny Hardaway, and the Orlando Magic, Jordan reverted back to 23. The 45 jersey has become part of the Jordan lore and a must-have for any MJ diehard.
Costacos Bros. Posters
John and Tock Costacos redefined the poster game
forever in the mid 1980s with their photos of athletes that meshed pop culture imagery, catchy nicknames, and humor. Today, they represent unique windows into the NBA of the ’80s and ’90s. No true fan will be able to see your Shawn “Reign Man” Kemp or Isaiah “Sky” Rider poster and not get insanely jealous.
1990s "Cartoon" Jerseys
Everyone loves a good throwback jersey, but it seems like the same designs get reused over and over again. However, there is one garish design scheme that’s not only rare, but is also the style perhaps most reflective of its era: the mid-1990s “cartoon” style jerseys. Teams like the Raptors
, and Hawks
(among others) wore jerseys with the front featuring some sort of massive cartoon animal. While conventional thought would say these are some of the ugliest uniforms ever worn, they’re also a reflection of the time period and are certain to get a reaction out of anyone who watched mid- and late-’90s NBA basketball.
Original Dream Team Gear
You really can’t go wrong with the original Dream Team. Not only are 11 of the 12 players and three of four coaches from the squad in the Hall of Fame, but they were so good and so iconic that the entire team was inducted in 2010, as well. Fortunately, there are many ways you can rep your favorite player from the greatest basketball team ever assembled. Whether you go mainstream and snag some Michael Jordan
gear, or if you want to go deeper down the roster for thatClyde Drexler
or Chris Mullin
swag, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to paying homage to the legendary 1992 Dream Team.
Classic Early NBA Jerseys
The names of the first NBA greats roll off the tongue for any big basketball fan:Russell
. They’re the pioneers of the game to whom all modern players are compared. Their legacies as all-time greats are secure. So who better to add to your jersey collection, instead of the latest free agent du jour? The clean, simple look of early NBA jerseys make them ideal for mixing and matching with your favorite fits, and wearing them is an excellent way to pay tribute to the dudes who paved the way and helped make basketball what it is today.
Throwback All-Star Game Jerseys
After a while, buying jerseys of the same teams and players gets boring. There’s no better way to mix it up by snagging a throwback NBA All-Star Game jersey
. The designs have been all over the map through the years—as was customary during the '80s and '90s (teal was popping in the 1990s)—leaving you with no shortage of options when it comes to picking the design and style that look best.
Player or Team "Caricature" T-Shirts
Modern takes on these tees have recently become trendy, but really there’s no matching the original " Caricature
" shirts of the 1980s and 1990s. Cartoonish exaggerations of players’ features make everything from Charles Barkley’s bald head to Phil Jackson’s mustache stand out that much more, and when you can find a full team shirt, you get the added bonus of trying to figure out who every player is. I mean, we all know Jordan and Pippen, but what about Bill Wennington and Jud Buechler?
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