Thursday, February 18, 2016

Uniform History: Nets Franchise

Welcome to the first of what will eventually be a series of more than 30 posts documenting the entire Uniform History of each NBA team. All 30 current teams will get a post, and there will also be a post or posts (as needed) for defunct NBA teams and ABA teams as well. Unlike my just-concluded countdown of my top 20 favorite sets, these posts will not be done on consecutive days!

I have chosen the Nets, my favorite team and the one I am the most knowledgeable about to kick off this look at all the different jerseys worn by the teams- or at least those that appear on trading cards in my collection.

Current Logo: (All team logos shown in this series have been cropped off of the backs of 2015-16 Complete base cards)
History: Founded in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans, the team now known as the Nets was one of the charter ABA franchises, and the only one to directly challenge an NBA team for city supremacy, a rivalry that is still ongoing all these years later. The team played one year as the Americans, and there are, to my knowledge, no cards whatsoever that show any Americans players.

For the 1968-69 season, the team was rebranded as the New York Nets, after a move to Long Island, and would remain the New York Nets for the remainder of the ABA's history.

The first Nets cards would appear in the 1971-72 Topps set, but the jerseys are poorly shown at best. These jerseys worn in this set would not appear again. In fact, I have no clue what the road uniform looks like beyond what appears on the card shown.
1971-72 Topps #199
Home white
1971-72 Topps #182
Road Red

I suspect they may have looked like the second New Jersey era road jersey, only red instead of blue. I looked on YouTube but was not able to find any footage of any Nets games before 1974.

With the 1972-73 season, the Nets debuted the jerseys they would wear for the longest time in franchise history- with only minor changes these would be the primary Nets uniform up to and including 1989-90! In fact, the Home Whites did not change at all. They were worn in the ABA as the New York Nets, in the NBA as the New York Nets, and in the NBA as the New Jersey Nets!
1984-85 Star #93
The Road Blues, however, are a different story. Originally, in the ABA and the Nets' only NBA season as the New York Nets, they looked like this:
1977-78 Topps #127
(not visible: there was a white stripe with blue stars to the left of the red stripe. You can just barely see some of the white stripe on his leg. The jersey was essentially a reverse of the home uniform)

But in 1977 the Nets moved back to New Jersey, which meant the uniform had to be changed. The New York wording was replaced with "Nets" and New Jersey was added vertically in the red stripe. The Nets would wear these uniforms from 1977-78 through 1989-90. The white Home jersey has also been worn several times as a Throwback.
1989-90 Fleer #95
In 1982-83 and 1983-84 the Nets also wore what I believe may be the first alternate jerseys in NBA history. I may not be correct as both seasons were before I was born, and the photographic evidence on cards is slim- and also appears from seasons where the normal jerseys also appear. These uniforms are significantly rare to see on cards- I am aware of only one card for home and two for road jerseys. To my knowledge, there were no cards produced when these were current to show the road blue.
1984-85 Star #93

2003-04 Finite #114
For 1990-91, the Nets rebranded with a new logo and new uniforms. The team colors remained red, white and blue, and once again, the home uniform stayed the same while the road blue changed after only one year.
1996-97 Skybox Star Ruby #171
The road blues started out not as a solid blue, but with white "fading" starting at the bottom and getting progressively lighter as it goes up. Like most of the complex jersey designs in NBA history it did not last long, in fact it was used during 1990-91 only.
1991 Starting Lineup
Beginning in 1991-92, and lasting until 1996-97, the road jerseys were solid blue. The blue was also slightly, but noticeably, darker.
1995-96 Topps Gallery #106
In 1997-98 the Nets rebranded again, and would find their greatest NBA success wearing these uniforms, going all the way to the NBA finals in both 2001-02 and 2002-03. The team was then broken up and never again achieved such success.
1999-00 Impact #40

2003-04 SP Authentic #53
 Although it does not generally show on card images, the lettering on the road blue and the borders of the letters and numbers on the home jersey is not actually white- it's metallic silver. I was quite surprised to learn this when I pulled my first Nets patch card. It doesn't show as metallic on TV either, but I soon learned that multiple teams were using metallics in their jerseys.
2001-02 Fleer Platinum Name Plates
The Nets also had two versions of an alternate gray uniform, which was pretty much the same as the blue road uniform, only gray. The gray version (either) is my favorite Nets uniform.
The first version, with blue numbers, was used in 1998-99 and 1999-00.
1999-00 Ultra #9
The second version, with white lettering, was used in 2000-01 through mid 2004-05, when production issues led to the jerseys not fitting properly and choking the players.
2003-04 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #65
Beginning in 2006-07, the Nets introduced a red alternate. This would remain the alternate through 2008-09, and then, for the Nets' final two years in New Jersey, would be the main road jersey, replacing the blue.
2011-12 Hoops #147
In 2012-13, under new ownership, the Nets moved back to New York, and rebranded themselves the Brooklyn Nets. For the first time in team history, Red, White & Blue were not the team colors, replaced by rather bland black and white.
2014-15 Hoops #63
2013-14 Panini Prizm Greem Prizm #139

The Nets have also added several alternates to the lineup- all of which are sleeved.

Beginning in 2013-14 and still in use in the current 2015-16, the main alternate is gray with blue lettering.
2014-15 Panini Excalibur #74
The second alternate, which debuted in 2014-15 and is also in use again this season, is somewhat modeled on the design worn from 1972-89. Not visible in this photo is the black stripe that runs down under the left sleeve with three large white stars on it. This is the only card (available in three versions) to show this jersey, as far as I know.
2015-16 Complete Silver #98
In addition to the standard alternates, the Nets also played on Christmas 2013, where every team wore special uniforms. These jerseys were sleeved and did not feature a number on the front- highly unusual. The basketball design behind the B was actually a metallic silver.
2013-14 Select #121
The Nets also played on Christmas 2012, the first season that all teams playing wore special jerseys. That first season did not have sleeves, and every team playing that day wore jerseys where all writing on the jersey was the same color as the jersey itself. (a concept I hated, personally). To my knowledge there are no cards that show that Nets uniform, but there is a video on YouTube that has game highlights.


  1. There's a great website that has tons of ABA information, including uniforms. Long live the Baltimore Claws!!!

    1. I have not been on there in years...forgot about it totally. Thanks for the heads up!