With the checkerboard controversy being brought back up since Shannon asked Mitch about the uniforms, it is being rumored that there has been some discussion about maybe a new design for next years team (we hope). Since Cal has been here, every uniform has involved some iteration of the checkerboard pattern. Some of them have knocked it out of the park, and others have failed miserably. IF UK is indeed going to go back to the drawing board for next year’s uniforms, maybe this ranking can give them the right blueprint to follow when incorporating the checkerboard. Here are the best uniforms in the Cal era.
Debut: November 2016
Coming in as the worst uniform on the list, this uniform is the uniform that has drawn a lot of complaints. Debuting in the offseason before the 2016-17 season, the look brought a lot of attention, with its prominent checkerboard pattern down the side, the thin jersey sleeves that make the top look like a wife beater, and the shorts that sit a little bit too high. This uniform was an easy selection for the worst uniform on the list.
10. 2013 Nike Hyper-Elite
Debut: February 2013
These weren’t really all THAT bad, but this uniform incorporated no creativity whatsoever. Looking like a practice jersey with the top, a child could’ve designed these. It’s just the logo for crying out loud. There’s not much to say about this uniform except it’s too easy.
Debut: February 2016
These uniforms, while falling low on the list, aren’t all that bad in my opinion. In fact, I think this uniform is some of the best use of the checkerboard pattern with the pattern being inverted only to fade out while going up the jersey. This uniform was also the first Kentucky basketball uniform to use the new UK logo that we’ve come accustom to over the past few years.
Debut: October 2008
Leftover from the days of Billy Clyde, this was the first iteration of the checkerboard on any Kentucky uniform. With the front being pattered in checkerboard subtly, this looks captures more of the “secretariat silk” it seems Mitch Barnhart is going after. Not a bad look for its time, with the slanted thick stripe going across the leg, Cal’s team only has these uniforms for a half a year before moving to a more modern look later that season.
7. Nike 2012 Platinum
Debut: January 2012
Contrary to the belief that we should only have blue or white on our uniforms, I think these platinum uniforms were an excellent addition to the Kentucky basketball uniform catalog. The color combination of the blue and gray, I think, looked great along with the nice touch of silver letters with the blue outline. Only worn once against Tennessee, these uniforms wouldn’t have been around much longer because the back of the jersey featured seven stars, each representing a championship. The year Kentucky dawned these uniforms, they won the National Championship.
6. 2014- 2016
Debut: October 2014
These simple uniforms first made their debut in 2014. With nothing, if anything is going on up top, but the shorts design is what makes this uniform work. With the miniature checkerboard growing into some bigger checkers, this was a decent look for an outstanding team. Simple, but effective.
Debut: February 2010
This jersey first debuted against Tennessee in 2010 was a hit. With the simple blue piping on the sleeves and collar, the cool mesh design on the back that looked like a mural of Kentucky’s rich basketball history. What’s been the longest tenured jersey under Cal, this uniform has seen many great moments. Boogie’s SEC championship tip-in, Brandon Knight’s shot to beat Ohio State, all of Aaron Harrison’s shot from the 2014 tournament run, and a national championship.
4. 2012 Nike Hyper-Elite
Debut: November 2012
One of the most simple looks on the list is also one of the best. Going after the same pattern down the sides as Kentucky has on their uniforms right now, this one almost perfects it with only two checkers going down the side and the color of the opposite checker is gray. This uniform is a super clean look that I think would still look great. Sometimes less is more, and Nike nailed it on this uniform.
3. 2012 Nike Hyper-Elite (Chrome lettering)
Debut: December 2012
This look follows the same exact layout down the sides as the all-white uniforms for earlier in the season, this time it’s just blue. The feature that made this jersey so great was obviously the chrome logos, letters, and numbers. Only worn once in a poor performance against Baylor in Dallas, it’s understandable why this was only worn once as the blue and chrome color scheme wouldn’t stick to the traditional UK color scheme, but it made for a great one-off. Like in football, there’s just something about that blue and chrome that looks so good.
2. 2015 Nike Hyper-Elite
Debut: February 2015
The iciest look on this list is a fan favorite for many reasons. I’m sure the fact we were undefeated for most the time the cats were wearing these helps but this look had good use of the checkerboard and Kentucky typing across the chest. The silver inverted checkerboard down the short was a fantastic look along with the white letters outlined in blue it really signified that “Number 1 overall seed” look. I wish we could’ve kept these longer.
1. Nike Elite Dominance 2014
Debut: February 2014
Hands down the best uniform Kentucky has worn in the Cal era, are the ones that have the least checkerboard involvement. Everyone loves a throwback jersey, with the traditional rounded Kentucky across the chest and almost no modern features on the top, this truly captured the throwback look. While remaining modern, with the clean white and gray stripes going down the shorts with the blue line splitting the gray and white stripes, it was a nice sleek look. Only worn once against Florida, I wish UK still got to wear these a few times a season.