Jerseyhead 101: Your NBA Throwback Starter Pack

The NBA community is chill. How chill?

The league and its fans have embraced public activism, the NBA is the anti-NFL when it comes to embracing social media, and players, media types and even parents (!) are allowed to let their personalities shine.

In other words, the NBA community is colder than a polar bear’s toenails.

The culture is so lax that fans can rep teams other than their own with little to no repercussions…as long as they’re rocking throwback jerseys when doing so. Sorry, Bron Bandwagoners.

Given this phenomenon, the throwback game can seem pretty intimidating to fans that want to break into jerseyhead culture.

I’m here to help.

These five jerseys can help any aspiring jerseyhead lay the foundation for their throwback arsenal, making their time scouring the net and thrift shops more effective.

Franchise Favorite

Even though NBA fans have more leeway to pay homage to the past by repping players that aren’t a part of their favorite organization, you still want to rep YOUR team first and foremost.

That’s why every jerseyhead should have at least one old school jersey from their favorite squad in their collection. You can go the easy route and cop a jersey of one of your favorite franchise’s hall of famers (see: Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier), but rolling with a cult hero’s jersey (see: John Starks, Anthony Mason) gives you instant street cred.

Everybody knows who Ewing is, but repping the other players on this squad will give you credibility. (Credit:

Rep the Red, White & Blue

From holidays to various international competitions, it seems like there are countless opportunities to rep the USA. That’s why having some sort of Team USA basketball jersey in your closet is a must.

These colors don’t run. (Credit:

After you cop your first couple 1992 Dream Team jerseys, take it up a notch by snagging an old school 76ers jersey. Bonus points if you can find a no. 76 Shawn Bradley jersey. #1776tilinfinity

What’s more American than this?

The “Oh sh*t!” Jersey

It’s one thing to wear a jersey for fashion’s sake. It’s an entirely different thing to show off your NBA knowledge through what you’re wearing.

That’s why any true jerseyhead needs that one jersey that makes passers-by go “oh sh*t!”. You’ll get this type of reaction by sporting a jersey of an obscure, yet recognizable player of yesteryear.

Think the Kendall Gills and Vernon Maxwells of the world.

Jerseys of players on teams most fans don’t remember they played for totally falls into this category as well (see: Nick Van Exel on the Nuggets).

Everyday Use

You’ll learn this right away: there will be jerseys you buy that you want to guard with your life.

You only wear them during “special” occasions and if there is even the slightest hint of rain in the forecast, you don’t even think about taking them out of the closet.

That’s why you need a few jerseys you can wear at anytime that you won’t care too much about if they end up damaged.

Have a cookout at the lake you have to go to this weekend? Pull out that cracked Champion jersey you purchased for $20 on eBay.

Have to mow the lawn but still want to rep your team in front of your neighbors? That jersey your parents gave you back in middle school that somehow still fits will do just fine.

Rep your team during everyday tasks. (Credit:


Maybe it’s the 1990s nostalgic in me, but owning a Michael Jordan jersey is a must for any jerseyhead.

Start with a basic red, white or black Champion MJ jersey and then work your way up to his no. 45, Wizards, Bullets and all-star game options.

Everybody needs an MJ jersey.

EVERYBODY owns an MJ jersey, but for good reason. He’s the gold standard. That’s good enough reason for you to have no. 23 be the foundation of your collection.

Owning these jerseys won’t put you on Fabolous’ level (seriously, check out this thread), but the sooner you can get the basics out of the way the sooner you can widen your search.

How does your collection stack up against this starter kit? Let us know in the comments section.

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