Sports jerseys are so versatile… they’re not just for wearing to the big games anymore! They can be framed, sold as collectables, worn in the gym, with your lounge wear or as a fashion statement. Take a look at the 5 most iconic sports jerseys we think you should own.
1. Chicago Bulls number 23 - Michael Jordan:
You don’t have to be a basketball fan to know who Michael Jordan is, he’s a household name! The recent Netflix documentary “The Last Dance” focuses on Jordan’s career, in particular, on his (and Phil Jackson’s) last season with the Chicago Bulls.
Known by his initials MJ, Michael’s individual and team accolades have made history. We could write forever and a day about his accomplishments. If you haven’t already done so, then I strongly recommend that you watch “The Last Dance”, I promise you won’t regret it.
Back to the jersey… So, why did Jordan choose number 23? Whilst playing on the varsity basketball team, Larry Jordan (Michael’s older brother) wore 45. So when MJ made the team, he choose 23 because it was roughly half of his brother’s number. A number he would stick with throughout his career (He briefly wore 45 when he returned to the NBA in 1995 but quickly switched back to 23)
It’s been 22 years since MJ last played in the NBA wearing the famous number 23 shirt, however, the legacy of it lives on. LeBron James is currently the most famous player to wear it, paying tribute to the man who inspired him as a boy. However, no matter where you are watching basketball you will see people wearing that famous 23 on the back of their jersey in honour of him.
More than just a basketball player, it was MJ’s popularity off of the court as well as his ability on it, that made his 23 jersey, along with his Air Jordan’s, so iconic.
2. England, World Cup 1990, Number 19 - Paul Gascoigne Gazza
Nicknamed Gazza, he is widely recognised as the most naturally talented English footballer of his generation.
One of the most iconic images of the 1990 World Cup was came when Gazza cried after receiving a yellow card in the Semi-Final against West Germany. The booking meant that he would have missed the final through suspension had England won the game.
Plagued by injuries (often caused through his own poor tackling) and challenged by off the field problems relating to mental illness and alcoholism, Gazza never managed to live up to his full potential.
A career that started at Newcastle United, would go on to see him shine at Tottenham, make a high profile move to Serie A with Lazio, head to Scotland with Glasgow Rangers (where he would win two league titles) and eventually play in the Premier League with Middlesborough and then Everton.
A character unlikely ever to be seen again in football. The British media revelled in his struggles, yet despite all his downfalls and bad decisions, the fans continued to forgive and accept him. Who know’s what might have happened had he not injured his knee in the 1991 FA Cup Final. Maybe those demons wouldn’t have risen, stopping him becoming the best player in the world. Gazza is the story of what could have been.
3. Any Baseball Shirt with number 42 on it! - Here’s Why:
Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. In April 1947, Jackie broke the baseball colour divide when he started at first base for the then Brooklyn Dodgers (Now the LA Dodgers). Spending the next 10 years ripping up the league and helping the Dodgers to win the 1955 World Series Championship.
In 1997 MLB retired his number 42 uniform number across all teams, making him the first professional athlete in any sport to be honoured in this way. MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, Jackie Robinson Day, on which day, every player on every team wears No 42 on their jersey. Can you get more iconic than that?!
4. Dallas Cowboys number 22 - Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys from 1990 to 2002. Still the leagues all-time leading rusher, Smith brought glory back to Dallas helping them win their first Super Bowl in 16 years. Wearing the famous white and blue, Smith and the Cowboys went on to win a total of 3 championships in 4 years.
In 1993 Smith became the first (and still the only) running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL MVP award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl MVP award all in the same season. He led the league in rushing in all three seasons that the Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl.
In 2010 he was inducted into the NFL Hall Of Fame. Presenter Jerry Jones said “Emmitt Smith is Dallas Cowboy royalty. He’s NFL royalty. Emmitt Smith’s about durability. He’s about dependability. He’s got the heart of a champion. I think it’s fair to say that a runner of his kind will not be seen again. No one will perform at that position, with that type of production, for that length of time again. It’s just too hard to do”
Smith finished his career by playing two final seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, but it was his time at the Cowboys wearing the number 22 that made him an iconic figure of the game.
5. Los Angeles Lakers number 8 or 24 - Kobe Bryant:
Kobe Bryant's death in 2020’s helicopter accident along with his beloved daughter Gianna and 7 others, shook the world. All taken from us far too soon, the initial shock took time to settle, but once it did, and led by his former team The Los Angeles Lakers, an outpour of tributes came for one of the finest players to have ever graced a basketball court.
Kobe won many accolades including 5 NBA championships, 18 All Star Appearances, 15 time member of the All-NBA Team, 12 time member of the All-Defensive Team, 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and two-time NBA Finals MVP winner
“I grew up a diehard, I mean, a diehard Lakers fan, to spend 20 years here, I mean you can’t write something better than this!” - Kobe Bryant
Fit to hang on any wall or wear with the upmost pride. A Kobe Bryant jersey is a must have for any sports fan.
Mamba out. But not forgotten. Live on brother.
What’s in a jersey
Whichever jerseys you choose to wear, they represent so much more than just the team you support. Which ones would you frame or wear? Here at SportsX we’re passionate about sports and love the industry we work in. If like us you’d would love to work in sports or one of its related industries get in touch with one of our team!