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UNC Basketball: SI Ranks the Top Uniforms

It shouldn’t be surprising who is number one.

Donald Williams

Before the 1991-1992 basketball season, North Carolina introduced new uniforms for their team. The announcement at the time was huge, as Carolina had been going with the same look since the 1970’s.

University of North Carolina Tar Heels Photo by Getty Images

The 90’s being a time when how you looked on an ever-growing amount of time on TV was important, Dean Smith enlisted the help of Alexander Julian to create the new design. Julian is credited with the design of the original Charlotte Hornets uniform, and it was only fitting the Chapel Hill native and huge Carolina fan would be behind a new look for the team.

What Julian created, the thicker “North Carolina” font with the argyle on the side was a unique look to all of college basketball. It was bold, for Carolina at least, and it quickly became the signature style for the team. I mean, look at these uniforms through the years. The shape of the jersey has shifted to keep up with the times, but Julian’s argyle has remained.

1995 version, with Rasheed Wallace
\Vince Carter UNC
1997 Version, with Vince Carter
Ed Cota #5...
The only big variant since 1991-Ed Cota and the NC
North Carolina Tar Heels v Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
By the 2005 National title, Marvin Williams shows “North Carolina” was back but the argyle on the side was contrasting on the home uniform
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels
The ‘09 Title Team had little change except with a bigger shoulder area, as Tyler Hansbrough shows
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Quicken Loans Carrier Classic - North Carolina v Michigan State
In 2011, The wide shoulder still was around, but the Tar Heels had added the “Sweatback,” and Harrison Barnes shows off the Camouflage design for the first Carrier Classic.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
2015 CBS Sports Classic - UCLA v NC
In 2015-16, the shoulders were narrowed again. This is from the only time Carolina wore black uniforms, as Isaiah Hicks models special set at the CBS Sports Classic
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Gonzaga v North Carolina
The 2017 Title team shows off the current set, which removed the sweptback, shrunk the top, and forced the “North Carolina” to be smaller in order to fit the numbers.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

On Friday, the staff at Sports Illustrated released their rankings of the top uniforms in college basketball. The kicker was that it could only be based on the ‘17-’18 set, but when you have a theme and you stick to it, Carolina was always going to come out on top:

The Tar Heels cruised to the top spot in this ranking as the SI staff’s clear favorite uniform in college hoops. The Carolina blue-dominated unis are a staple of the sport, and the argyle stripe down the side of both jerseys adds a unique touch

There are so many things to like about the UNC set: the simplicity of the design, the use of arched lettering which is seen less and less, the argyle that is a simple yet distinctive pattern, and the blue that is all their own. It’ll be interesting to see what the next tweak will be as they’ve had this template for two seasons, and for sales Nike/Jordan Brand likes to shake things up as you’ve seen above.

Which uniform was your favorite? Is there one you wish they’d bring back? Let us know below!