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A look back at UK’s alternate uniforms

With the unveiling of the Nike Platinum jerseys yesterday, it got me thinking back to some of the other alternate jerseys that Kentucky has worn over the years. Some were better than others, but it’s worth taking a look back to see a little of the history when the Cats stray from their more traditional uniforms. Here are a few of them:

The Denims:

Of course, any list of UK’s alternate unis must begin with the denim. Depending on who you ask, they’re either the best or worst uniforms the Cats have ever worn. They’ve been ranked the ugliest uniforms in all of sports by people outside the Commonwealth, but they hold a special place in the hearts of UK fans because they were a part of one of the greatest seasons in the Big Blue’s history. Kentucky broke them out midway through the 1996 season and rolled all the way to the national championship. Although our hopes of seeing them make a special appearance for Jorts’ senior day last year were dashed, they still are the most memorable uniforms in Kentucky lore.

The Black Jerseys:

Arguably the best looking alternates Kentucky ever wore came to be under unfortunate circumstances, as the black uniforms of 2008 were originally worn in remembrance of the late Bill Keightley. The Cats first wore them for a visit from Mississippi Valley State, who was coached by one of The Unforgettables, Sean Woods. All of the jerseys bore Keightley’s name on the back to honor Mr. Wildcat, and in addition to being a fitting memorial they were also just flat out cool. A little of the luster of them was lost, however, when the Cats wore them again in the SEC tournament against LSU, a loss that sealed their trip to the NIT.

The Throwbacks:

I’m cheating a little bit here because the throwback uniforms that Kentucky wore late in the 2006 season were part of a conference-wide throwback movement, but I like them so they make the list. They were reminiscent of the 1978 title team, and the Cats wore them for the last few weeks of the season and the SEC tournament before switching back for the big dance. Kentucky was only 5-3 in the uniforms, but they were still cool and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cats don some more throwbacks in the future. Minus any short shorts, of course.

The Silver ones:

And finally, these. The silver uniforms were created to mark the 100th anniversary of Kentucky basketball and were supposed to be used as an alternate periodically throughout the 2002-03 season. But, after the Cats lost the first game in them to Michigan State, they went into the closet and were never heard from again. That was probably good on two accounts, as the uniforms were ugly anyway and that year’s team recovered to become one of the best in recent memory. They won 26 straight games, went undefeated through the SEC season and tournament, and were the #1 overall seed in the NCAAs before eventually falling in the Elite Eight. I hate Dwyane Wade.

The Platinums:

I think you’ve met these, already.

Now that we’ve reacquainted ourselves with some of the alternate uniforms of the past, which ones do you think were the best?

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.

72 Comments for A look back at UK’s alternate uniforms



  1. Hey Han
    6:03 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Throwback



  2. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    6:06 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I like the black ones the most if they had their own names on the back. (No disrespect to Bill Keightley intended, obviously.)



  3. Wilding
    6:07 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    What about the greatest of all, the TIGER STRIPES!!!



  4. tom5673
    6:07 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    without question, the throwbacks uk wore in the ’06 season were the best. classic. baggy enough. kentucky across the chest. the shorts were perfect. they need to bring those back!



  5. Dennis Weaver
    6:07 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Liked the black ones the best. When the denim jerseys came out, everyone freaked and hated them. Now, we remember them fondly because we won the title with them. I actually like the ’78 throwback jerseys a lot too.



  6. H
    6:08 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    From the front these look awesome! I’m usually not a fan of mid season jersey changes. The Pitino years they had some of the ugliest jerseys ever. I love what they’ve done recently though.



  7. Eloy the Destroyer
    6:08 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    The throwbacks we wore in 06 are sweet!!!!!



  8. H
    6:10 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    #4. Agreed. The tiger striped ones made the denim look trendy. I remember other teams making fun of us in those. I actually liked the denim at the time.



  9. Mr Schwump
    6:11 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    UK’s colors are blue and white, not gray or silver or black. Pure crap.



  10. New Uni
    6:11 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Black and platinum are awesome!



  11. Bledsoe's Biceps
    6:14 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I liked the black ones. Those were sharp. Second would be the throwback. I like the latest one, but wish they had used blue for the numbers and lettering. The denim are probably the most memorable because of the championship, but those were some fugly uniforms.



  12. MN CAT
    6:15 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Throwbacks, and it’s not close.



  13. JoAnne
    6:15 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I prefer blue and white. But the black ones sure are sharp.



  14. JoAnne
    6:18 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    If you want to talk about throwbacks, then let’s go back to those worn by Rupps Runts. Their uniforms look like bikinis compared to today.



  15. TheBurghCat
    6:18 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I loved the black ones, but the silver ones are butt ugly.



  16. nassau65
    6:19 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I kinda like the silver ones, then the throwbacks second.



  17. Chad
    6:21 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I like the Black alt unis the best. The Platinum ones look pretty sweet as well.



  18. sweetJ
    6:25 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Silver ones with the belts were the best!



  19. UKBlue
    6:26 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Black is cool because it’s so different. I don’t get the obsession with putting UK in Blue & Grey/Silver; they might be cool, but UK colors are Blue & White, it’s even in our fight song fight fight fight for the blue & white. What about a blue jersey in grey lettering or an all blue or all white, or black with white lettering uniform.

    That denim was beyond stupid, the fact that Makers Mark had denim bottles was an even worse idea.



  20. MKG
    6:27 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Denim!!! Bring it back! bring it back!



  21. Hal
    6:31 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    9- that’s why the word “alternate” is used in describing the uniforms you dumb&*&^%%$^%*$….



  22. zmoney7276
    6:31 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    By far the black ones. Love Keightley on the back as well. The throwbacks were great too, just a little too baggy for me though. The new ones are hideous, I think worse than the denim or silver ones…



  23. Jorts
    6:32 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    What’s wrong with denim?



  24. GOCATS!!!
    6:34 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Where’s the podcast?????



  25. Alice Stevenson
    6:40 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    They could wear tutus and platforms but as long as they keep winning, I don’t care!



  26. GODSAZNO
    6:41 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Think ’95 was the year of the icicle striped shorts. Those were the worst.



  27. i agree
    6:43 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Love the retros from 06 for the same reasons everyone else does. But as a guilty pleasure I will beg for the denims to come back. Just one game PLEEEEEEEZZE!



  28. BlueBloggin
    6:44 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I happen to like the new “platinum” unis.



  29. Booney72
    6:44 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    The black ones and the new platinum’s look the best point blank period.



  30. CATSCATSCATS
    6:44 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    The throwbacks worn in 2006 were the best of this list for sure. I love those!



  31. Heshimu
    6:50 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    throwbacks easily.blue and white. clean.less is more.



  32. Eric
    6:52 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    The new jerseys look awesome. Give them a couple of days to grow on you before bashing them. They haven’t even wore them yet. They will look great on the court. I personally can’t wait to buy mine



  33. BlueNotes
    6:57 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    78 throwback



  34. Bulldawg
    7:04 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Goin’ Platinum!!!!



  35. twv
    7:04 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    all of them



  36. Matty G
    7:06 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Did anyone notice how the better the alternate jerseys were, the worse the team’s season was? And vice versa?

    We should send them on the floor in garbage bags for a game.



  37. ShelbyCatFan
    7:07 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Gotta be the throwbacks!! I’d take those back permanently!



  38. Jorts in NYC
    7:07 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I love the denim ones!!



  39. Matt
    7:12 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    If u will look up history, uk’s original colors were grey blue and white. I love the silver/ grey ones!



  40. @bigbluesean
    7:16 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I LOVE THE DENIM!!!!



  41. DMILBY502
    7:26 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I think the platinum ones are gonna look amazing. No offence to the elders of the group(#9) but us young punks like a little mix up of wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong. I love the traditional blue and white. But these unis look really cool. Plus its only one game. And if your so traditional when did Denim become our school colors. Gotta love em tho right? Exactly. GO BIG BLUE!!!!!



  42. fullercast
    7:30 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    i love the keightley jerseys and wish they would break them out every now and then. but i also love the new jerseys and don’t see why ppl hate them so badly. yes, platinum isn’t our color, but it’s still a cool looking jersey. besides, a lil change every now and then is good.



  43. dc1708
    7:31 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    why would anybody not like these great alternate unis i think the are the freakin’ bomb baby



  44. bcat
    7:35 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Wahh! I fear change! Wahh! Where’s my blankie? I’m going to go complain about Facebook’s new look for a while.



  45. CATFANRAN
    7:41 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    definately the “BLACK”



  46. CATFANRAN
    7:43 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Does anybody know if the UK shops will be selling these jerseys in the future????????



  47. Kev-Tubby
    7:55 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I remember the striped uniforms as the ones they wore when they came back against LSU!
    http://www.ukwildcatsblog.com/2010/07/uk-uniform-history-199394.html



  48. Gil-CHRIST
    8:01 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    UAB beat UK the year they won 26 straight and were the #1 overall seed, not Marquette.

    How did the icecicle shorts not make it?



  49. make a swish
    8:27 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Buttsniffers…had the denims not been made of denim and had been regular color/fabric, they would have been fresh. Bring back that design, lose the denim.



  50. Mark Wilson
    8:52 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    THROWBACKS!!!



  51. Claydwildcat
    8:53 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    #48. Wrong!



  52. Mark Wilson
    8:53 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Those silver jerseys worn by Fitch in that Pic are the worst



  53. here ya go
    9:08 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    why do kids have problems with shorts that don’t hang to your knees. but have no problem wearing jeans that hang below your butt?



  54. realjoemathis
    9:26 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    those throwbacks were pretty slick looking. i liked the black but ONLY for that one game honoring Keightly. Billy G must’ve been drunk when he let the players wear it in the SEC tourny



  55. BiG JiB
    9:27 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Black, Throwback, Platinum, Denim, and Silver… in that order.



  56. Wall2Cousins
    9:38 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    those black ones are sick! for old people on here that means I LIKE THEM



  57. What
    9:41 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    All of them are cool. Its fun to wear a different uniform for a little while. The denim were awesome and even though I was really young, I remember the outcry that they looked like UNCs to much. I thought they were a great addition,lets no kid ourselves that converse threw all kinds or random designs at us in the early 90s. The black ones are my favorite. I just hate that they are the same as the jerseys that were unveiled with Gillispie. I would love to see a black version of our current uniforms. The silver in 03 were cool cause again it was just for 1 game. The SEC throwbacks were pretty cool to. In the end I like anytime the norm is broken for a game or two with uniforms. I dont see why there is so much hate for the ones that were shown yesterday. They are awesome and the players love them. Recruits love them. Lets face it. Thats all that really matters. Grey is an alternate color with white and black. Half of the shirts worn in Rupp Arena on gameday are grey



  58. Wall2Cousins
    9:42 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    those Converse jerseys are the worst? Denim in basketball…bad idea



  59. UK Above All
    9:49 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    These platinum uniforms are about as cool as Bruce Pearl



  60. Jenny Craig Pitino
    9:53 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Why didn’t they turn the lights on before they took the picture of the new uniforms? Maybe more people would like them if you could see them better.



  61. JJ in Florida
    10:09 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    I personally loved the 1996 uniforms because they were different and also because we kicked the crap out of everybody! If we had lost the title game I would not have liked them at all! A little change is good and lets recruits know that we are not boring Indiana. NIKE gear is cool with every young player and most of our recruits do not care as much as we do about our rich history. The young recruits come here for Cal and TV…eventually they understand our passion and learn our history and become Cats for life!



  62. Bubble screen
    10:39 pm January 26, 2012 Permalink

    Silver was awesome! Then the black. MAYBE next tidy whitey shorts



  63. BoomBostick
    1:37 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    It really doesn’t matter what we think. I propose the players get to pick, and would assume from past comments that they would like the black and/or gunmetal. Those are also the ones I prefer over all others. I DO think they care about what they look like on national TV. How about keeping home jerseys white for the traditionalists and the occasional black or gunmetal jerseys mixed in with the natural blue for some away games. I’d especially use the black/gunmetal on nationally televised games. Kids love those looks. Key question: What would Shabazz think? Nerlens? Julius? Jabari? etc…. Enjoy it…it’s just entertainment!



  64. ParkDaddy
    2:05 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I would have to say the most tragic thing about the black unis was the fact Porter was a starter



  65. dukesofmaggard
    4:26 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    the blacks were my favorite, they just look menacing



  66. TrashCanMan
    8:16 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    You forgot the best ones. The Icicle Pitino uniforms. Those were hott!!!



  67. JT
    8:48 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m liking the new Platinum uniforms….the black ones are pretty cool also.



  68. GummyBear
    9:03 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    Why is everyone so down on the silver ones. They were, by far, the best of the group. Complete with the old school belt. I was very disappointed when they put those away for good. With that said, I’m looking forward to seeing the platinum unis in action.



  69. 1992
    9:31 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    One of my all-time favorites (though not an alternate) were these worn by the Unforgettables: http://www.mearsonlineauctions.com/LotImages/35/52570h_lg.jpeg



  70. Jones Returns
    11:47 am January 27, 2012 Permalink

    I suggest a post that shows every UK uniform worn since 1990. I would love to see every singe one. If you can make that happen it would be awesome! Please and thank-you.



  71. elstie01
    1:39 pm January 27, 2012 Permalink

    ^70* Yes…I agree! Denim were by far my favorite…I had the Delk Jersey, shorts, and even a denim UK hat as a kid…I wish I still had them..and the shoes! SIGH.



  72. UKELVIS
    7:24 pm January 28, 2012 Permalink

    The absolute worse uniforms are the zig zag pants the cats wore in 1994. Terrible!! Pitino also tried to break out the Alexander Julian pansy designer stripe Jerseys (there is one that hangs in a local establishment some where in Lex)

    I think the old school sstin greys with the belt were pretty cool, too bad they took a loss and canned them

    The Denims were cool except they boardered on UNC blue, I still have my denim hat they handed out in a 1996 game