If you look into a sports fan’s closet chances are you’re going to find at least one jersey from their favorite team. Every Bulls fans has a Michael Jordan jersey and every Yankees fan has a Derek Jeter one, but those jerseys aren’t the ones I’m interested in.
Sure I’ve got a few from my favorite teams hanging up, the classic Eli Manning one, a Kevin Durant one that many would consider a sin to sport right now, but the jerseys I’m talking about have a different appeal to them.
I want to take a look at the greatest non-sport jerseys. These are jerseys that your favorite player from the Mighty Ducks might have worn, not the Anaheim Ducks but rather the Coach Bombay led Ducks.
I’ll be honest I didn’t even know that many of these were in existence, until a recent deep dive opened my eyes to a whole new world of pop culture sports nostalgia I could have only dreamed of.
These are the jersey we all know and love, many of which might actually be hanging up in your closet.
Lincoln High School Railsplitters #34 Jesus Shuttlesworth
When you’re the nation’s top recruit you’re bound to have a pretty popular jersey. I’m not sure if there is a more iconic jersey than Lincoln High’s #34. I often wonder how the jersey sales from this actually match up against Ray Allen real life jersey sales.
Mighty Ducks #96 Charlie Conway
Who would have thought that a youth hockey team coach by the often misguided Gordon Bombay would skate their way into our hearts? Yet here we are 25 years later still trying to learn the knuckle puck. I know back in the day I would have given anything to be Charlie Conway, except I kind of enjoy knowing my dad…Anyway you could have your pick from Mighty Duck jerseys but Conway will forever have a special place in my heart.
Bel-Air Academy #25 Carlton Banks & #14 Will Smith
Honestly these two jerseys are the perfect duo for my brother and me. He of course would be wearing Smith’s jersey, while I would rock that Carlton one with pride. Fun fact, I once reenact the scene where Carlton wrestles the ball away from Will and take that terrible shot completely missing the net and backboard all together. While I didn’t wrestle the ball away from my brother, or anyone actually, my shot was just as terrible. I also never saw the court again that season.
Polk High Panthers #33 Al Bundy
This has to be the go to for every middle-aged man in Middle America. I can hear them all talking about the good old days, when they ruled the football field and concussions didn’t matter. Telling stories about their record high number of touchdowns between each sip of that Bud.
Miami Dolphins #5 Ray Finkle
With Ace Ventura: Pet Detective coming out over 20 years ago in 1994 it isn’t a mystery why this jersey might be often overlooked. Not to mention it might be the only kicker’s jersey in circulation next to Sebastian Janikowski’s. Honestly though how could you pass on “The Mule” Ray Finkle’s jersey? After all according to Mrs Finkle, Ray’s mother, it was all that Dan Marino’s fault. If he held the ball,laces out, like he was supposed to, The Mule would have never missed the kick.
Western University Dolphins #50 Neon Boudeaux
Between Pete Bell and Rick Pitino how many recruiting infractions do you think they could mount up? Sure Pitino was able to get Tony Delk & Antoine Walker but Bell landed one of the greatest fictional centers of all time Neon Boudeaux (Oddly enough played by a real life all-time great Shaq). More people really need to be sporting this jersey.
South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs #9 Bobby Boucher
I can’t lie this might be the ugliest jersey I’ve posted on this, but it’s The Waterboy so I can’t leave it off. With that being said I get why not many people rock this one, orange was my go to color in 8th grade, but ever since then it’s been a difficult color to rock and this would be no different. However I feel like it’s one of those jersey you’d need to incase and post up on your bedroom wall.
Bad Boy #72 Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace
This has the rare pleasure of being the only non-sports related jersey on this list. There was no way I was going to make a list of the best pop culture jersey and leave off a masterpiece such as this. If Diddy for some reason is checking this piece out….I’m a large. I was going to include the baseball one as well, but in my mind I needed to choose just one so here it is baby bay-bee.
Bayside Tigers #25 Zack Morris
My first crush ever was Kelly Kapowski, for that reason I grew up with a strong love/hate relationship for Zack Morris. Not only did he have the girl of my dreams, but he had one bad ass phone. When I think back to Save By The Bell I barely remember any sports being played outside of Slater’s wrestling career, but this jersey is too good to pass up.
My Personal Favorites
Now we’ve reach the point where I drop my personal favorites. Eventually my end goal would be to own all the jerseys that I’ve listed, but these are at the top of my list.
Somewhere in the top five basketball icons you have Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Air Bud. All three men have done things on the court that seemed impossible to the everyday man…or dog. I plan to buy this jersey, rent a golden retriever and spend the day taking pictures at every basketball court I can find.
Dillon Panthers #7 Matt Saracen
When you think of great underdog stories you think of ones like Rudy Ruettiger, Miracle on Ice, Daniel Bryan and last but not least Matt Saracen. From sophomore back-up to State Champion to landing the coaches daughter there was nothing this man couldn’t do. Saracen might have been the most awkward hero in Texas football history and for that alone his jersey should be in everyone’s collection.
You remember that time that you joined the high school basketball team in spite of your half-brother who you just really met for the first time, if so you probably own the Lucas Scott Raven’s jersey or if you’re that douchey other brother then you most likely own the Nathan Scott one. One Tree Hill was a solid 90210 cliché show for about 3 seasons during which I would throw on a grey sweatshirt, put on Gavin DeGraw and go bounce a basketball like the mindless pop culture geek that I am.
Beacontown Beavers #42 Scott Howard
An awkward, puny point guard who can’t even lead his team to a respectable loss hit a certain chord with me. Naturally I hoped that turning my high school years I would eventually turn into a werewolf thus allowing me to gain the ability to play basketball like Michael Jordan and leading my team to countless State Titles. Unfortunately I ended up more like Chubby, but Scott would always hold a special place in my heart, almost enough for me to endure a certain TV show that pretends to be this classic.
If you think I left off anything important let me know @DanielSoden on Twitter.