Jersey Watch - Ranking 1990s ECFs

A Profile in Style continued

Welcome to the long-awaited sequel to Jersey Watch - Ranking 1990 WCFs!

Just like before, I’ll be ranking the jerseys of conference finals participants, but this time from the East instead of the West. And just like before the countdown is from best (#10) to worst (#1). Lastly, each franchise’s jersey will be scored separately and then combined for a final tally that sets the rankings.

For example Team A gets a 7.5 out of 10 and Team B gets a 6 out of 10, it’s a score of 13.5 for that particular ECF.

Unfortunately, unlike the West, the East during the 1990s didn’t have much variety. The West certainly had routine appearances from Houston, Portland, et al, but they were paired in a variety of intriguing match ups that provided good jersey contrasts.

The Chicago Bulls made the ECFs seven out of the 10 years in the 1990s. At least that saves me time on writing new descriptions.

Also, I am by no means an expert for the correct lingo concerning jerseys and uniforms, so if you are dear reader, forgive my crass statements below.

Let’s get it on!


#10 — 1995 Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

Pacers score: 9.5
Magic score: 8.5
Total: 18

These Indiana Pacers jerseys are probably the best jerseys any franchise debuted in the 1990s. And they also are probably the best jerseys in Pacers history, which is quite a statement considering they’ve had some pretty great ones. The only competition comes from their groovy 70s threads.

So what makes these jerseys so special? I dunno, man. I can’t put my finger on it. They look like a deck of Uno cards repurposed for the basketball court. Which according to my score is an awesome development. The color scheme is perfect. The logo is awesome and well-placed on the trunks.

I guess the feature that makes them so good is the slight tilt on the stripe separating the primary color (blue on the road; white at home) from the scondary color (white on the road; yellow on the road). It’s so subtle but gives the jersey movement.

If that stripe was completely vertical instead of titled, it’d still be a very good jersey, but not this awesome. Proof that the little details matter.

As for Orlando, normally I hate the cartoonish jerseys that began populating the 1990s NBA. But these uniforms aren’t over the top (Orlando would eventually get there in the early 2000s) and besides, being the Orlando Magic gives them some proper leeway in being a little Disney in their presentation.

The big stars on the trunks and the pinstripes somehow work. I dunno, I surprise myself with how highly I rate these jerseys.


#9 — 1994 Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks

Pacers score: 9.5
Knicks score: 8
Total: 17.5

What was said above still applies for the Pacers. Best jersey we’ll see in these rankings.

As for the New York Knicks, these jerseys aren’t my style, but I can appreciate how good they are. Can’t go wrong with a dark blue and white splashed with a little pumpkin orange for that distinctive Dutch flavor. Only drawback in my mind is that the lettering of “New York” on the jersey is kinda thin and doesn’t feel right with the number font. If the lettering is going to be shadowed or surrounded by another color, I prefer teams go the way of the Pacers instead of the Knicks.


#8 — 1996 Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls

Magic score: 8.5
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 17

Here we go. This is why I love the Orlando Magic jerseys. The road blues are a big step above the home whites. (In isolation I’d probably give the whites a 7 or 7.5). Otherwise, y’all know my feelings on them already.

The Chicago Bulls make their first of numerous appearances and their jerseys are just stylish in their simplicity. The name “BULLS” in straightforward non-fancy font. Unlike the Knicks, the font for the number fits right in with the lettering. And like the Magic, they have a diamond touch on the trunks with that mean-looking Bull centered.

Just a stoic understated, but still intense jersey that fits the Bull mascot.


#7 — 1997 Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls

Heat score: 8.5
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 17

Them black Heat jerseys are a perfect 10. Appropriately fire, they are.

Their red and white jerseys aren’t as great, though, so I’m settling on an 8.5 score, which is still pretty great obviously. Anyways, all the Heat jerseys are essentially the same with HEAT emblazoned across the chest with the gorgeous touch of having that little flame sizzle off the edge of the “T”. And Miami’s logo (also a 10) is stamped on the trunks further helping the cause.

So, the 8.5 score is because I love the shadow work on the road uniforms, but don’t like the stencil feel of the home jerseys.


#6 — 1990 Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls

Pistons score: 8
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 16.5

Same old story for the Bulls. Moving on.

I really like the Detroit Pistons jerseys, especially their home uniforms. The double stripe of blue and red running down the side of the jersey and trunks is some low-key goodness.

However, their road blues aren’t as enticing in my eyes. Especially since the the side stripe is double red instead of being red and white. Also, they need to slap their logo on the trunks. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a fan of the logo being on the trunks.

Also, the Bulls’ road red looks pretty good opposite the Pistons’ home white.


#5 — 1991 Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls

Pistons score: 8
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 16.5

See? The road blues are just inferior to the home whites. Also, this isn’t unique to Detroit, but I hate how the lettering and numbers look like plastic, especially when the light hits just right. Terrible clothing technology.


#4 — 1993 New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls

Knicks score: 8
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 16.5

Y’all know my feelings on these two by now.


#3 — 1998 Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls

Pacers score: 8
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 16.5

Fuck, the Bulls. Again?

Hey, at least the Pacers have new, worse jerseys. Particularly the white jerseys. I dunno, y’all. After thinking back on the Magic jerseys, too, I don’t think pinstripes work that well on white jerseys.

Indiana’s home uniforms just come across as busy with the pinstripes and then all the blue and yellow just running all over the place elsewhere on the jersey. Meanwhile, the road blues look lesse offensive because the uniform looks like blue-and-yellow splendor.

Based on the final score of an 8, you can tell I still like the jersey overall, but they’re a relatively big step down from their previous jersey which was just a touch away from perfection.


#2 — 1992 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls

Cavaliers score: 7
Bulls score: 8.5
Total: 15.5

The Cleveland jerseys go back to a problem I had with the Knicks. The lettering and numbering don’t fit. “Cleveland” is blocky while the numbers are sometimes more rounded. Just look at Daugherty’s jersey. His “4” is blocky while the “3” is curvy. Gimme some consistency.

Also, I despise that the trunks don’t have Cleveland’s cool logo from this era. Put that “V” that looks like a basketball hoop on their. Jeez.

Anyways, despite my carping, I still like them overall. They do still score a 7.


#1 — 1999 New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers

Knicks score: 6
Pacers score: 8
Total: 14

Indiana’s pinstripe whites are still too busy, but what the fuck is New York doing?

The addition of that big ass black paneling is just unnecessary. Were they trying to be edgy? I honestly don’t get it. Black had never been Knicks color. Always orange, white, and blue dating back to 1946, then they decide to just drop in black. And they kept that nonsense on for over a decade.

What truly sucks is that these new unis actually addressed my previous gripe: the numbering and lettering are more harmonious because there is a side panel. But that side panel is a fucking black void of doom.

One step forward three steps back.

Ah well, at least the East didn’t disgrace themselves like the West did. The Knicks getting a 6 and having that be the lowest score is wondrous compared to the Western teams of this era (think the cartoon Rockets).