Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lost & Found: My First Jersey

All sports fans love to show their support for their favorite team or players by wearing jerseys. I am no exception. I don't do it too often anymore, but when I was in school I wore jerseys on a regular basis. Every day of the week was not uncommon. Then, I got too fat to fit into most of them. Some of them got put into storage, and were unseen by human eyes for over a decade. One of the missing jerseys was the very first one I ever had....

It is missing no longer! Even better, it did not take any water damage- a couple of jerseys did and will try to salvage them later, but 8 jerseys were in this bag and have been photographed.

The key one, though, is my very first jersey, something I've been trying to find for quite some time!

Keep in mind, these were just in a bag in storage, exposed to every temperature change and several leaks, so they are all wrinkly and not too nice looking. I don't care. I am thrilled to have them back!

For many years I thought that it was April 1996 where I discovered the game, but then I determined it was actually February 1996. A small difference, but important, because it means I got to see more of the 1995-96 season than originally thought. What I now think, on retrospection, was that the date of April 1996 that stuck out in my mind so much was the date I got this, my very first jersey. I can still remember where I got it, too. A sporting goods store on the upper level, about halfway through the mall, in the Poughkeepsie Galleria. It's long gone. The memory remains.

In Hyde Park, just a short drive away, there was a Champion outlet. As the maker of the jerseys, both worn on court and sold to fans, they always had a jersey supply. There was usually something wrong with them...I could never usually figure out what...but I didn't care. Just like with cards, I collected everything I possibly could, and when we would visit it- a couple of times a year- we would usually get whatever jersey they had that I could fit into. It didn't matter the player or the team. If I could fit into it, it went into the cart...or at least that's my memory of it. It may not be totally accurate. Occasionally I would get jerseys elsewhere as well, but most of my collection came from that long closed Champion outlet. Sometimes they would get older jerseys there too. I discovered the NBA in 1996, as I mention, yet I was able to get jerseys there as old as so.

The Hurley did take some slight water damage, but not too horrible. Not bad enough that if I could get into it, it would prevent me from wearing it. That's a big if, but hopefully some day. Not that I have anywhere to go is long done, haven't had a local card show to go to since 2005.
The one problem with getting these jerseys was that they were not too accurate to the actual jersey. Pinstripes were NEVER included, but this Sixers jersey is really far off. This is what it is supposed to look like:
As you can see, pretty much the only thing that's accurate is that it was red and had the NBA logo. Even the font on the jersey number is wrong. I didn't actually remember having these two. Some of the jerseys I had I remembered having and wearing, but these...I had no memory of whatsoever. when they came out of the bag was akin to the first time that I had ever seen them. I thought the Kings were one of the teams that was not represented in my collection...I was wrong.

I've pegged this jersey as from the 1994-95 season. It's another I had no memory of having. I remembered having a John Stockton jersey which is still missing...which makes me wonder if I was remembering this one and pretending the 4 was a 1. It's possible. Tom Chambers actually stuck around in the NBA until the 1997-98 season. I don't remember seeing him play although I'm sure I did. Memory is just bad, I guess.
I didn't remember having this Shaq jersey until it came out of the bag, but then I remembered it. Its' from 1995-96, although the jersey would have been the same from 1992-93 through 1995-96.
I have this Damon Stoudamire jersey tagged as 1996-97, but it could very well be 1995-96 as well. Stoudamire won Rookie of the Year in 1995-96. I've always loved this jersey design, but this is a rather poor representation of it. Like the Magic jersey and the Hornets jersey later in the post, it's missing the pinstripes that "made" the jersey. You get what you pay for I suppose. I had no memory of this one either. Keep in mind it's been about 15 years since I've seen these.
This next one I actually remember. It's also one of the very few that I have a period photo of me wearing. I am one of the very few people who liked the Teal era Pistons jerseys and I still do. This one is for sure the 1996-97 season. I'm not going to post the picture because it was taken at a family outing but I certainly remember it.
This last jersey defies my memory. I remember trying to find this jersey, or any one of the three colors that the Hornets wore, of Muggsy Bogues. I remembered not being able to find one in my size.
Turns out, I was wrong!
The purple was the rare alternate, as well! This was the first one to come out of the bag and it was a total shock to me. I just wish that they hadn't cheaped out and put the pinstripes on it.

I also wish I wasn't too fat to fit into any of these, but, maybe some day. It's one of my "life goals" to be able to fit into my original jerseys but time will tell.

We did find a couple of other jerseys but they need some work before they can come home. I am loathe to put any of the jerseys with the painted on graphics into a washing machine- the paint can crack and was brittle in some places when new- but they took some water damage and smell quite poorly so I think I am going to risk it.
They are:
  • Eddie Jones - Los Angeles Lakers, believe 1995-96 season
  • Michael Jordan- Chicago Bulls - probably 1995-96 or 1996-97
  • Wilt Chamberlain - Philadelphia 76ers, from 1996-97 50th Anniversary season. I had no memories of this one. I remembered the Elgin Baylor Lakers jersey, which never got lost in storage, but not the Wilt.
  • there were one or two more that I can't remember which ones they are now. Possibly my Dennis Rodman Bulls jersey. 
Even though I can't fit into these jerseys anymore, and have not been able to for a long time, I'm still really thrilled to have found these. I may not be able to wear them, but I'm still a basketball fan and collector, and I'm not letting them out of my sight any time soon, ever again. Right now I have them folded up in a box right next to my computer. I need to come up with a better storage space for them but for now I am just happy to be able to look at them whenever I want to.

While I have not finished photographing the jerseys I do have/wear/can find, you can see my collection by clicking HERE. I do plan to rephotograph most of my jerseys soon...with my brother's help I was able to get better photos than I had been taking while using a clothes hanger. They are sufficiently better enough that I am leaning towards reshooting them all. It's not like I have that many to do...


  1. Glad you found your jerseys, especially since you didn't remember some of them. It makes them like new, although wrinkly, again!

    1. Me too! It's funny, there were things I was looking for and am glad to have found, but the stuff I totally forgot about might be more exciting.

  2. I only ever owned 1 NBA jersey and that was a Dennis Rodman Spurs jersey. I don't know if I got rid of it or if it's in a box. Either way, I have not seen it in a long time

  3. That Hurley is a classic Kings design. They really need to drop what they are doing and go back to something like that.

    1. It's funny, they only wore this design for a few years, but it looks so much like their earlier designs that it seems more iconic. I like the sky blue throwbacks they wear much more than the current jerseys. I hate abbreviations on jerseys which doesn't help.

  4. I owned a Magic Johnson jersey as a kid. That Bradley is a thing of beauty.

  5. These are awesome, glad you found 'em. It's funny what you remember (and what you forgot) about old collections when digging them out. This brought back a few basketball jersey memories of my own; I know I had a Christian Laettner T-Wolves jersey from his rookie season that I bought at the basketball HOF (my friend later "borrowed" it and I never saw it again), my favorite was a red and yellow Olajuwon jersey and I might have had one or two more. Almost bought a Bobby Hurley Kings jersey in the black/purple design (the one after yours) and I'm not sure why I didn't.

    Really neat collection of jerseys here. Hope you're able to iron out the wrinkles, and fit into them again one day!

    1. Thanks! I have really been enjoying these trips down memory lane...even if I didn't have any actual memories. Sorry to hear how you lost your Laettner jersey. I have his Hawks jersey with the big hawk on it.