||The Rolling Stones, "Goodfellas," a Hershey's with almonds -- the classics are classic for a reason. That definitely applies to the Celtics' set. No goofy side panels, no extraneous bells or whistles -- just a perfect, vertically arched wordmark and a simple green-and-white color scheme. They rank atop this list despite sometimes wearing that black-trimmed alternate.
||San Antonio Spurs
||The Raiders aren't the only team that knows how to wear silver and black. In addition to the killer colors, the Spurs are also among the few NBA teams that have successfully incorporated a graphic image into their chest typography -- a small element that goes a long way. Kinda wish they'd go back to the scoop-neck collar instead of the V-neck, but that's a minor complaint.
||Los Angeles Lakers
||Even for a confirmed purple-hater, the Lakers' uniforms have achieved the kind of rarefied status reserved for upper-echelon designs. The big fly in the ointment is the completely unnecessary white alternate. Come on, guys, you used to be special because you were the only team in the league without a white uni.
||Golden State Warriors
||It was downright depressing to see a franchise with such a proud tradition of uni design innovation devolve into a pit of utterly generic tedium. But the Warriors' current set shows that this team -- and this league -- can still think outside the box. Too bad about the typeface (Copperplate Gothic is sooooo 1990s), but everything else here gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Easily the NBA's most interesting uniform set, and also one of its best.
||Right, we all know it's silly to have a team in Utah called the Jazz, but so what? There are no lakes or trolleys to dodge in L.A., but nobody complains about the names of the Dodgers and Lakers. Team names aside, the Jazz's current set is a beauty, and it's so much better than all the purple and teal nonsense they'd been using previously.
||The Bullets live again! OK, not quite, but this is a close enough facsimile. Kudos to owner Ted Leonsis for bringing back an updated version of the old striped design, and to the league and adidas for executing it so nicely. One of the better uni-related success stories of recent years.
||Oklahoma City Thunder
||Very underrated. The home design is particularly strong -- one of the best in the league -- in large part because of the orange-and-gold trim, which really pops. The road design would probably be stronger if they put "City" below the uni number instead of stacking the two words, but it still works. Sort of amazing that they haven't come out with an "OKC" alternate yet, but that's presumably right around the corner.
||Amidst all the ho-hum typography found on today's NBA jerseys, the Heat's flaming "T" is a brilliantly simple detail that totally works. Why can't other teams come up with something like this? No extraneous nonsense under the armholes or on the shorts, either. A uniform worthy of the league champs.
||New York Knicks
||Not many NBA clubs can get away with not wearing their team name anywhere on their jerseys, but it works for the Knickerbockers. Although it hasn't been formally announced yet, all indications are that they'll be dropping the black trim from their uni program this season (they've already excised the black from their logo), which means they'll probably be moving up in the rankings next time around.
||Portland Trail Blazers
||A handful of NBA teams have worn diagonal stripes over the years, but the Blazers are the only team currently employing that concept. It works -- here's hoping they never move away from it. Fun fact: The Blazers' pinwheel logo is a graphic representation of a five-on-five basketball game. It's also one of the few logos in the league that doesn't include a depiction of a basketball.
||So many NBA teams these days are using these round-ish lettering fonts, and they all lack punch. The chest mark feels soft, inconsequential. Not an unattractive uniform, but not a memorable one either.
||Like so many middle-of-the-pack NBA design packages, Indiana's uni set is blandly adequate -- no more, no less. The gold accenting on the home whites packs a nice little punch, though.
||The Bulls' uniform set is more or less equivalent to the Celtics'. Both teams have rich championship heritages, and both teams have pretty much stayed true to their aesthetic roots. So why does Boston rank higher than Chicago? For starters, green is a more unique color -- the Celtics own it, while a few jillion other teams wear red. Second, the Celtics' black-lettered alternate is bad, but the Bulls' solid-black alternate is worse. And third, the Celtics have arguably the best logo in the sport, while the Bulls' logo -- which appears on their shorts -- looks like a cartoon steer for a middlebrow steakhouse.
||Well, you certainly can't accuse them of overdesigning it. In a perfect world, the Sixers would wear a classy stars-and-stripes treatment, but another team already beat them to that concepta few decades ago, and the Sixers' own attempts at stars and stripes haven't worked out so well, so their current minimalist approach is probably for the best. Not much juice, though.
||New Orleans Hornets
||New Orleans is a party town, so a bit of gaudiness is OK. But the Hornets are treading a fine line between gaudy and garish. Meanwhile, here's something weird: Team owner Tom Bensonwants to change the team's name, but the current team name doesn't appear on any of the team's four (!) uniforms, so they could actually get a new moniker and keep their current uni set if they wanted (although that seems highly unlikely).
||The basic template is refreshingly straightforward, and the uni number going through the hoop is a simple concept that totally works. So why don't they rank higher? Simple: Purple and gray is a brutal color combo, and orange and gray isn't far behind. Why have any gray at all? You're called the Suns, not the Clouds. Jeez.
||See if this sounds familiar: You're looking for a place to live, and you look at lots of apartments and houses. You keep thinking, "Yeah, this is place is OK ... and so is this place ... and this place," but nothing really grabs you until you walk into that special place and think, "Wow -- this is it. This is totally where I'm going to live. Where do I sign?" The Grizzlies' uniform set is more like all those other places you looked at first. It's OK, and you could live there if you had to, but it doesn't exactly make you feel like throwing a big housewarming party.
||Not a terrible design, but there's something about those super-rounded numbers that feels a bit juvenile, like they're saying, "Don't take us seriously." Aside from that, this is your basic so-so NBA design -- nothing special, nothing awful.
||With today's billowy NBA uniforms, those stripes just look too swoopy -- the effect is almost clownish. Also, the chest lettering feels scratchy and primitive, which doesn't match the team's space-age name. Also-also, the big "R" in the center of the team's logo is supposed to look like a rocket blasting off, but it really just looks like dripping paint.
||The Hawks have featured a lot of audacious looks over the years, so it's a shame to see them wearing something so uninspired. It's safe, it's inoffensive, it's nothing to complain about -- and it's completely unmemorable.
||Another team with an identity crisis. First they're all about the purple. Then they're all about the black. Now they're all about the red. Would anyone be surprised if they switched to blue in two seasons? More importantly, would anyone care? That's what happens when your visual program doesn't stand for anything -- people lose interest.
||Attention uniform designers: Despite what so many of you apparently think, enlarging the first and last letters of a chest insignia does not provide symmetry; it just makes it look like you don't know anything about capitalization. While we're at it, excessive beveling does not make uniform lettering look like it's been carved from granite; it makes it look like you just discovered Photoshop last week. Oh, and using green and red together is too Christmas-y, but that's the team's fault, not yours.
||When LeBron James played in Cleveland, the Cavs had one of the best uniforms in the league. As soon as he left, they suddenly started dressing like the local semipro team that plays at the high school gym and uses the janitor's closet as a locker room. Started playing like a semipro team, too. Coincidence?
||Dear Mark Cuban: We all know you're very eager to put advertisements on your team's uniforms. So while you're at it, how about making a few other changes? For example, navy lettering on a royal background doesn't look so good, and there's no good reason for your front uni numbers to be off-center. Someone probably told you that the weird panel on the back of the shorts looked cool, but that someone was lying. And now that you've worn the P-Diddy alternate design in three colors, don't you think maybe it's time to retire it already? Sincerely, Uni Watch.
||Los Angeles Clippers
||If ever a team needed a uniform overhaul, this is it. From the logo (which looks too much like the logo of that other NBA team in Los Angeles) to the characterless home and road scripts (look up "generic" in the dictionary and this is what you'll see), everything here feels like it was picked up on the cheap at the discount store. Also, the odd collar design has the effect of making the little chest logo look like it's sitting too low.
||The Bobcats haven't even existed for a decade yet, but they're already on their third uniform template, and it's been a steady downward trajectory. Their inaugural set featured snappy graphics and a bold color scheme, but then they scrapped that in favor of a much more boring design, and now it feels like they've stopped trying. True, their 2012-13 set was unveiled in June, so maybe it isn't fair to judge it so harshly since we haven't yet seen it on the court -- or have we?
||Man, remember when this team had a unique logo and a distinct look? All that's left now are the pinstripes (always the weakest part of the package, since NBA players don't really need to accentuate the vertical). Seriously, has anything ever looked more unmagical than that chest insignia? No wonder Dwight Howard wanted out.
||The Wolves' numbering and lettering have evolved over the years from illegible to semi-legible to childish, which only counts as progress if you think getting a D on your term paper is better than flunking out. Meanwhile, the uniform design has featured one useless gimmick after another (the "tree line" on the shorts, the odd collars, etc.). Instead of tweaking the same concept over and over, they need to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch, pronto.
||The Nets will unveil their new Brooklyn uniforms in September, and not a moment too soon. This ranking is based on last season's set, which has to rank among the most uninspired designs ever to (dis)grace a basketball court. The new design is bound to be better.
||Every class has a slow kid pulling up the rear, and in this case it's the Kings. Where shall we start -- the brutal color scheme? The illegible chest lettering on the home jersey? The oddly off-center front uni numbers? The clownish number font? The completely incongruous old-school script on the black alternate? A disaster from start to finish. On the bright side, there's nowhere to go but up!