Decade’s Best: Jersey
The Lake Show is the best show.
Ahh, those Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout the entire 64-year history of the National Basketball Association, the Lakers have always been identifiable in some way, notably with their distinguishable “LAKERS” type and numerals that have been prominent features of the franchise’s identity. In choosing the best jersey of the decade, there were some personal points that teams had to be measured by, and those qualities were multifold in bringing forth the best candidate. The Lakers were the only team that capitalized on them all.
When you see a Lakers uniform, one of the first things you note is the classic styling of the uniform. It’s classy, too. It’s not busy like the Rockets uniforms of the Charles Barkley-Steve Francis era, it’s not cluttered like those old Hawks jerseys with the bird in full extension. It’s basic, yet possesses the right amount of detail (from the side panel piping to the close-hole knit mesh body of the jersey and short) to bring forth an image that is very aesthetically pleasing.
It’s also iconic in nature. Some of the league’s greatest players, be them superstars or superstar role players, donned the Lakers uniform. Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar automatically come to mind. You could easily also include Shaquille O’Neal and the current KB24, Kobe Bryant, and James Worthy as well. Even the aforementioned star role players like Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Derek Fisher and Mychal Thompson can get some love for being in the gold and Forum blue (I see you, too, Rick Fox and Robert Horry).
Not only that, but championships were won in this look. 15 of them, and 10 being in the City of Angels (the previous five were when George Mikan led the team in Minneapolis). When the great teams and players of basketball are thought about and looked upon, many times the images that are brought forth are of the purple and gold with that unique “LAKERS” type emblazoned across the chest.
And speaking about that image, the Lakers actually going into their 11th season in their current uniforms. In 1999-2000, while the team was being outfitted by Nike, Los Angeles was refitted with a new form of their past jerseys with the unique curvy collarbone V-neck shape top; it was also updated with the numerals losing the backdrop shadowing, a flip-flop of the number colors and both the jersey and shorts were restyled with new side panels and logos (borrowing from the old 1970s uniforms with logos on the shorts). With Nike’s patented-DriFit technology (and now adidas’ ClimaLite), the jerseys are fitted to minimize collarbone irritation and keep a dryer, more comfortable fit from a performance aspect, while evolving in appearance without losing historical continuity–with no weak points anywhere when they’re matched up with other modern looks of rival franchises.
Truly, the L.A. Lakers’ unis are so well-received that their jerseys have been a hit with fans ever since they were made for retail. The type, the colors, the history and what the jerseys mean to fans of the NBA show how well-received the look is. At its best, the representative jersey of the Los Angeles Lakers is untouchable in all of its glory.
For more Decade Awards, check out the archive.