The checkerboard debate might go down as one of the most controversial topics in the history of Kentucky athletics.
Did Kentucky rip off Tennessee? Why are the honoring a horse? Do the players actually hate them?
The football jerseys are not that bad. The amount of checkerboard is subtle and it actually looks good. The basketball jerseys are a different story.
Throughout the entire history of Kentucky Wildcats basketball, they have have had some uniforms that have been liked by the fans, and some that have been trashed by the fans. I am only 20 years old, but the jerseys that I have grown up seeing have all been good looking, except for the horrendous checkerboard. So, it’s time to rank them. The best uniforms in Kentucky basketball history, ranking them from 10 to one. I am excluding anything past the 90’s because, let’s be honest, almost all of the jerseys back then were terrible.
Honorable Mention: The Platinum Letter alternates
Yes, these are only an honorable mention. Worn for one game only against Baylor during the 2013-14 season, the platinum lettering is a subtle change to what was the normal road uniforms, minus the white striping. Don’t get me wrong, I love these, but there are just so many that I love more than these. These are fantastic alternates though.
Bill Keightley Jerseys:
In a touching tribute to the late, great Bill Keightley, Kentucky rocked all-black uniforms with Keightley’s last name gracing the back of it. A truly meaningful and great jersey.
The uniforms that were worn from Billy Gillispie’s first season as head coach until John Calipari’s first season were good. Not great, but good. They were clean, simple, and looked good. I currently have one of these jerseys, as everyone bought one once John Wall stepped foot on campus, and they are my No. 10.
#9: Late 90’s-2000’s
These jerseys were implemented in the late 90’s, right around the time that Tayshaun Prince stepped foot on campus. A classic design that Kentucky wore up until around 2006, it is a simple design that is not too flashy, but yet does not have any reason why someone would hate them. I’m still searching for a Tayshaun Prince jersey in this style, by the way, so if anyone has one, please hook me up.
#8: 1993, Converse
Back when Converse was the supplier of Kentucky jerseys, they rocked a sleek, vintage look. The shorts could have been toned down on the amount of blue that is featured, and should have gone all white, but nonetheless, the jersey itself still looks clean. How would this make for a throwback for a couple games, huh?
#7: 2010-2014, The Cal Era Jerseys
First arriving on College Gameday in a No. 2 vs No. 12 matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers, these jerseys were a staple in the Calipari era until they were ditched before the 2014 season. They were an upgrade from the jerseys that I put at my No. 10 entry, with a sharp white outline on the road uniforms and blue one on the home uniforms, every member of Big Blue Nation loves these uniforms, I would hope.
#6: 2016 Road Uniforms
These road uniforms were put into the rotation during the middle of the 2015-16 season. These, in my opinion, are the best (actual) road uniforms that Kentucky has worn in the Calipari era. These uniforms came one season before the checkerboard and just look how good they look.
#5: The Platinum Jerseys, 2012 one-game alternate
One of my favorite looks of the Cal era, these were worn one time and one time only, as alternate jerseys in a home game against Tennessee. The platinum grey looked sleek, along with the blue streaks down the side and of course the name on the lower part of the jersey. It saddens me that Kentucky doesn’t do more alternate game uniforms anymore. I hope they bring back alternates for the upcoming season.
#4: 2005 Throwback Jerseys
Kentucky wore these quite a few times during the 2005 season, and you can see why they would. Such a simple design and a homage throwback. I sincerely hope to see these rebooted in the future.
#3: 1996 Denim Jerseys
Okay, this one I might catch a little flack for, but in my mind, the denim jerseys are some of the best Kentucky has ever done. Sure, they were considered terrible back in 1996, but you would be lying to yourself if you said you didn’t want to see the 2018 squad roll out in these one game. Sure, they’re different, but that’s what makes these absolutely beautiful.
#2: 2015 Tournament Run
Kentucky started wearing these during the end of the 2015 season as a special Nike uniform. These replaced the original home uniforms that they wore earlier during the year. This is one of my favorite jerseys. The white-on-white lettering is beautiful along with the grey and white subtle checkerboard on the shorts. Gorgeous uniforms.
#1: 2014 Throwback Jerseys, alternate
Coming in at our number one entry is the one-game throwback that Kentucky wore against the No. 3 Florida Gators during the 2013-14 season. Such a classic design that they decided to go with, I would be all for making these the official uniforms. Seriously, I am begging the athletic department to bring back these for a couple games a season. These are lovely.