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Worst MSU Uniforms of Nike Era

MSU’s new all white uniforms are a hit, but there have been more than a few questionable wardrobe decisions in recent years.

It was announced this morning that Michigan State would wear all white uniforms, including a white helmet, for the game against Western Michigan on September 9th. The look seems to be receiving mostly positive reviews, as a lot of fans have been calling for a white helmet for the last several years.

Last week, our illustrious co-manager Austin (@ACSmith06) started a discussion on twitter about some of the worst Michigan State uniform decisions in recent years.

Eventually The Only Colors official account got on board and starting asking for suggestions for worst MSU uniforms. Both football and basketball were on the table for the discussion. After taking into consideration the options submitted both by Austin and the general public, as well as my own personal thoughts and feelings, I decided to compile a list of the five worst Michigan State uniforms in recent history.

For this the only criteria that matters is that the uniforms were used sometime after Nike took over for Reebok in 2000. They could be one time wears, or they could have been more permanent options. So let’s see what horrors await us as we dive into this tunnel of bad fashion.

Fifth Place: Yoke Shoulder Football Jerseys

For this we are going to go back to Austin who got this all started with his dislike of the football jersey with the shoulder stripe. The green shoulder stripe (or yoke) was part of the permanent away jersey from 2010-2013. The home alternate jersey featured a white shoulder yoke. The hydrochrome helmets were also worn with the away jerseys on a couple of occasions.

Road jerseys with green yoke paired with the chrome helmet

These were pretty standard jerseys for several years and while I certainly was not a fan of the shoulder yokes, it was something I could live with. Those teams also provided some pretty great memories in those jerseys (see Little Giants above or Rocket). The chrome helmets didn’t bother me as much, although they would look better with an all white jersey to set it off better. All in all they weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible either.

Fourth Place: Lime Green Basketball Uniforms

This was the most controversial of the nominations because there seems to be only two schools of thought on them. They are either awesome, or an eyesore. A twitter poll done by TOC proved these to be more popular than not. I however, present an alternative point of view.

These were worn once on January 23, 2016 against Maryland at the Breslin Center. The Spartans knocked off the 7th ranked Terrapins 74-65 in a game that gave us the famous Costello-Izzo hug.

Personally I think the only reason people have a positive feeling about these uniforms is because they were worn once for a game that ended up being a big win for the team that year and propelled them to a strong finish to the regular season and a Big Ten tournament championship.

For me, they are a hideous retina burning mistake that has thankfully never been repeated. The shorts look like lizards legs and the shoes look like green skittles. The tops look like something worn by characters in an original NES game back in the early 90’s. Thank God they never wore these against Michigan’s all yellow combo or we would have had to watch the game using those sunglasses they give you to watch an eclipse.

Third Place: Silver Basketball Jerseys

Another one time combo that we never saw again, although this time the outcome of the game was not a positive. In case you forgot here is what they looked like:

Photo: Al Goldis, Copyright 2003 Lansing State Journal

These were worn against Duke at the Breslin Center on December 3, 2003 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. The Spartans were ranked fifth in the country, while Duke was number six. It was a big time matchup in East Lansing that proved to be a massive letdown as the visitors smoked the home team 70-52, in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score.

The above picture doesn’t quite do justice to the shininess of those jerseys. They weren’t just silvery-gray instead of the usual home white, they were an abrasive shiny silver. They looked like a bad car paint job. I know all this because I was at that game, and we were debating whether the uniforms, or the level of the Spartans play that night was the worst thing about the game.

Unlike their lime green brothers above, no one was clamoring for a repeat of the silver bullet jerseys after the thrashing the Spartans endured in them. Quite frankly I think that if MSU wins that game, or at least isn’t blown out, people think of those jerseys in a more positive light, similar to the lime green ones. But alas, the legacy of that game and the jerseys worn for it are forever linked.

Second Place: “Bronze” Basketball Jerseys

It is pretty impressive to screw up the script “State” design. If we did this same article for best MSU jerseys there is a good chance that the script State home whites would be at the top of the list. But alas, Nike, in an attempt to push the alternate bronze color upon us, gave us these.

Good lord are these bad. First of all, they look like puke yellow. Or tan. Or something. I doubt anyone sees these and says, “look at those bronze jerseys.” The reaction I most often heard was something closer to this:

And the worst part is they didn’t just wear these once, but multiple times. The one that sticks out for me was a neutral site loss to a bad Georgetown team. Unlike some of the other uni’s on here, this one is just a single terrible mistake, that color. You cant get past it. They mucked up the best jersey combo, by washing them in muddy water and then wearing them to the game. Double whammy.

First Place: 2002 MSU Football Uniforms

Here they are, your grand champions of awful, so bad they were a re-design that only lasted a single season.

These things are such a disaster it is hard to know where to begin. I guess we start with the spider leg stripes on the shoulders. It isn’t just that they are weird, it’s that, when combined with the tight cuff, creates a puffy shirt, shoulder tassel look reminiscent of an old-school European general.

Then there is the cut-out on the sides that don’t go anywhere and don’t really match up with the ones on the pants on the away uni’s, and are totally out of place on the home ones.

The “State” across the front of the jerseys is tiny, almost as if they decided at the last minute to put it in there but didn’t want it to draw attention away from the shoulder design.

Oh, and the top half of the jersey is mesh for some reason.

Also from that view you can see that it looks like the number, the “State”, and the helmet are all using different color greens. That also gives you a nice look at the puffy shoulder look.

This design was all over the place. Plus it is associated with a team that went completely off the rails and fired their coach mid-season. For me, these are by far the worst Michigan State uniforms of the last 18 years, if you still have one I suggest you burn it while saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

So that is our list, what do you think is the worst Michigan State uniform of the 2000’s? Vote in the poll or add your own suggestion in the comments.


What is the worst uniform?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Yoke Shoulder Football
    (54 votes)
  • 15%
    Lime Green Basketball
    (142 votes)
  • 2%
    Silver Basketball
    (20 votes)
  • 12%
    Bronze Basketball
    (116 votes)
  • 63%
    2002 Football
    (568 votes)
900 votes total Vote Now