The Philadelphia 76ers (nicknamed the “Sixers”) are an American basketball team that plays in the NBA. The team competes in the Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division and is based in the metro area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their current coach is Doc Rivers and current owner is Josh Harris, a private equity investor and philanthropist who is also the principal owner of the New Jersey Devils.
Over the years, the Sixers have achieved great success with star players. Some of the members of the Basketball Hall of Fame played for the organization, including Charles Barkley, Julius Erving (Dr. J), Dolph Schayes, Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Chet Walker, Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones, Allen Iverson, and George McGinnis. The team has won three NBA championships, although one instance occurred when the team was still known as the Syracuse Nationals.
Since the city of Philadelphia played a significant role in the history of the formation of the United States, the sports teams from all leagues located in this area often reflect the national colors. This is true of the Sixers, whose main team colors are red, white, and blue. The accent colors are silver, navy blue, and black. The team uniforms have featured these shades prominently over the years since the team’s induction in 1946. The organization was renamed from the Nationals to the 76ers in 1963.
Ranking the Uniform Designs
In the last few decades, the Philadelphia 76ers uniforms have changed substantially. We’re breaking down the top 11 uniform designs and what made each so appealing.
Since the team name changed from the Syracuse Nationals to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963, it makes sense that their first uniforms under the new name would make the list of the best Sixers uniforms in history. This jersey design featured the number “76” surrounded by 13 stars on the shorts. The stars represent the original 13 colonies of the United States at the time of its formation. The team used this uniform for two seasons. It was also the first 76ers uniform worn by Wilt Chamberlain, an all-star in the league.
Chamberlain remained with the team for several seasons, so he also wore the uniform of the 1965-1966 season that featured simple blocks of color. Many fans of the all-star recall this uniform when thinking about Chamberlain’s early days in the league. The vintage styling featured a red block across the abdomen area, creating a cummerbund-inspired look. It also included block letters that spelled out “PHILA” on the chest and continued with the shorts with the circle of stars around the number “76.” This particular look hasn’t really been seen on another NBA player since the team retired the uniform.
For a few seasons, the 76ers players wore uniforms with classic styling. They showed off block letters spelling out “PHILA” on the jerseys, along with trimmed shorts. The home uniforms were white with red accents, while the road uniforms were red with blue lettering and neutral white trim. The team wore these uniforms over a four-year period.
Because the early uniforms worn during the 1970-1971 season weren’t particularly popular among team suppliers, the team made a change in the middle of the season. The first half of the season included custom-sewn pieces that showed off a flowing script that spelled out the team name, so it was difficult for the suppliers to create them for players who joined the team during the season.
The organization switched to a uniform with “PHILA” on the jersey rather than “Seventy-Sixers” in script. The version with the cursive font popular among fans and players, and the team brought it back as a classic throwback during the 2019-2020 season.
During the reign of Dr. J, the 76ers were one of the must-watch teams of the league. The uniform worn by the players during this time marked a transition into a new style of play that included slam dunks and spins and whirls done mid-air. Much of the flashy style of play that fans love to watch originated with Dr. J during this era. The 1976-1977 uniform featured cursive lettering and numerals that drew inspiration from the uniforms worn during the 1970-1971 season. According to the designers, the style honored the country’s bicentennial celebration.
Prior to the 1978 season, teams in the NBA had more flexibility and control over their uniforms and suppliers. However, a rule went into effect in 1978 that required teams to use one particular outfitter and provide advanced notice to the league of any plans to change their uniform design. In response to the new requirements, the 76ers organization created its hallmark design with the number “76” surrounded by stars and block letters spelling out “SIXERS” on the jersey.
Changing the jersey design became more complicated due to the implementation of the league’s rule, so the team kept this look for nearly a decade and a half. Players wore this uniform more than any other uniform in franchise history, donning it for 1,066 games. As a result, it’s a popular piece of Sixers memorabilia due to its significance and tenure in the team’s history. During the 2002-2003 season, the team celebrated the 20th anniversary of winning the NBA championship and brought this uniform back.
Fans were somewhat divided on the uniform worn by the team over several seasons beginning in 1991. It marked a significant change from the previous style, which was simple and traditional. This uniform was less conservative, showcasing red, white, and blue stars set on a royal blue background that curved from the side of the jersey down to the shorts.
It also had block letters that spelled out the team’s full name placed on the chest with the player’s number placed on the right side of the jersey next to the stars and blue backdrop. When playing at home, the players wore a white version of the uniform, while the away version had a red background.
Lucy Loeb designed the uniforms worn by the 76ers starting in 1994. The block letters on her design were more ornate when they spelled out “Sixers” on the chest. The home version of the uniform had a white backdrop, while the away version featured a red backdrop with blue and white trim. When Allen Iverson campaigned to be named Rookie of the Year during his first season in the league, he wore this particular uniform. He won the award in 1997.
1997-2007 Away Uniform
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many NBA teams started to make adjustments to their primary color schemes, and the uniforms reflected these changes. This was true of the Sixers uniform worn during away games beginning in 1997, which featured a black background and different block text that spelled out “Sixers” on the front. Each letter of the word got progressively smaller and featured a swooping basketball beneath it.
During this timeframe, the organization chose black, white, red, and gold as its primary colors. Since many fans revere the red, white, and blue color scheme, this transition was a sore spot in the team’s history for some. But those who love this particular uniform appreciate that the font is unique yet easy to read, even from a distance. Fans of Iverson may also have a special place in their hearts for this look, as he wore it for nearly a decade of his career.
2019 Earned Edition Uniform
The league started a new tradition in the 2000s, giving teams that earned a spot in the playoffs the chance to create a unique jersey that the players would wear during the following season. This jersey, known as Earned Edition, was particularly appealing to fans because it represented their favorite team’s success in the previous playoffs.
After the 76ers made it to the playoffs in the spring of 2019, the organization created its own Earned Edition jersey that players wore during the 2019-2020 season. It was quite simple, featuring a white backdrop with 13 blue stars that surrounded the player’s number on the chest. The shorts that complemented this jersey were white with red and blue trim.
Although design elements have shifted over the years, the Philadelphia 76ers uniforms returned to more traditional styling in 2017 and maintain this design during the current season. One of the uniform designs, the Icon, features a blue backdrop with block letters that spell out “PHILA” on the chest and stars running down both sides. This uniform also boasts the circle of 13 stars on the waistband of the shorts and red and white trim.
During home games, the players wear a white version of this uniform that has blue and red trim. It reflects some of the more traditional elements from uniforms past yet features text that is clean and easy to read.
No matter which of the Sixers uniforms is your favorite, you can shop the selection at Fanatics to outfit yourself with officially licensed sports apparel and other sports collectibles. Options include modern-day jerseys from the top players on the team as well as throwback and classics that allow fans to showcase their long-standing commitment to the 76ers organization.