Uniforms are a team's identity. Think the New York Yankees' iconic pinstripe. The gold and purple of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Cowboys' classic blue star.
Athletes across all professional sporting leagues proudly display their team name across their chest, but some jerseys aren't deserving of that honor. While credit is due for trying to creatively reimagine branding and pay tribute to their history, some teams' alternate uniforms will live out their days in the hall of shame.
Other teams knocked it out of the park.
From the Pittsburgh Steelers' infamous bumblebee jerseys to the Washington Wizards' upcoming cherry blossom jerseys, here's a look at the worst (and best) alternates.
Washington Nationals, 2022
The Nationals paid homage to Washington, D.C.'s famous cherry blossom season with blossom-themed City Connect jerseys. The uniforms feature architectural typeface, representing our nation's capital’s strength, while the tonal floral toile is a symbol of its beauty. While the pink and ivory color palette differs from the Nationals' traditional red, navy and blue, the springtime colors feel like a breath of fresh air.
The Nationals' spring uniforms were created in collaboration with the Washington Wizards, marking the first Nike campaign joining MLB and NBA teams from the same market. The Nationals received top marks, but you'll have to scroll to see the Wizards.
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Los Angeles Lakers, 2021
The Lakers are known for the iconic Laker purple and gold, but the 2021-22 City Edition uniforms substitute the latter for Minneapolis baby blue. The striking jerseys honor each Lakers dynasty, from the color of the Minneapolis era of the 1950s to the drop shadow numbering of the Showtime Lakers in the 1980s.
Seattle Sounders, 2021
Seattle paid tribute to legendary guitarist and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix with the Jimi Hendrix Kit, a purple, orange and yellow alternate jersey that embodies Hendrix with bold colors and psychedelic patterns. The jerseys are finished with Hendrix’s authentic signature stamped on the front and lyrics from his song “Straight Ahead" on the neck tape. What's not to love?
On Sunday, we're playing in The Jimi Hendrix Kit! 💜⚽️ pic.twitter.com/9hpHpAafHB
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 17, 2021
New York Liberty, 2021
The Liberty's 2021 Nike Jersey Collection is inspired by the Statue of Liberty, a famous landmark in New York that represents freedom. The seafoam green color is vivid, but the most striking part of the jersey is the word "Equality" across the chest in copper, black and white. The message is not only relevant to Lady Liberty, but the WNBA's continued fight for equal pay.
New Orleans Saints, 2016
The Saints have the best "Color Rush” alternate jerseys in the league, hands-down. The bright gold accents pair perfectly on the crisp white uniforms that catch our eyes on the football field.
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... The Bad
Seattle Seahawks, 2016
The Seahawks' all-Action Green Color Rush uniforms are as polarizing as they are bright, and that's saying something. The combination of the neon green jersey, neon green pants and neon green socks is overwhelming. Although the uniforms may be an eyesore, they are good luck for the Seahawks: They are 4-1 when wearing the all- Action Green jersey.
Miami Heat, 2020
The Heat's "Miami Vice" collection contains some of the coolest sports jerseys ever made. The first four iterations of the collection spanned white, black, blue and pink jerseys, but the fifth and final "Vice Versa" uniform appeared to combine them all together and push the boundaries too far. The blue and pink ombre is reminiscent of cotton candy.
San Francisco Giants, 2021
The Giants Nike City Connect uniforms are supposed to evoke fog and the Bay Bridge, but the plain-Jane jerseys look like Thanos snapped his fingers and are partly disappearing. Although the sleeves have a Golden Gate Bridge imprint, it seems like Nike could have done so much more with this design. It seems like a missed opportunity.
Green Bay Packers, 2016
The Packers took the green out of Green Bay with these 1937 throwback jerseys. The navy blue alternate jerseys include a gold yoke across the shoulder pads, as well as faded gold pants and navy blue socks.
Houston Astros, 2019
Here's another jersey that is extremely polarizing. While many love the iconic red and yellow rainbow stripe, it is a lot to take in. Although this jersey was daring and ahead of its time when it first debuted in 1975, the contrasting horizontal stripes have proved to be a fashion faux pas through our current lens.
— Sports Days Past (@SportsDaysPast) June 1, 2019
... And the Ugly
Washington Wizards, 2022
The Wizards' blossom-themed jerseys haven't even made their debut yet and we already are dreading them. The idea behind the jerseys is cool and the bright pink uniforms seem to be right up Kyle Kuzma's stylish alley, but this is an example that sometimes less is more. The blue and pink ombre paired with falling Cherry Blossoms is just too much for the eye. The Wizards' jersey will debut during the 2022-23 season.
Florida Gators, 2017
The Gators took their mascot a little too literal with these gator-inspired alternate uniforms, which were created to honor the 25th anniversary of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium being named "The Swamp." The jersey features "swamp green" alligator skin with blue alligator-skin sleeves and bright orange number decals. The cleats also don alligator-skin. This uniform looks like PETA should be called.
This weekend, when the Florida Gators play Texas A&M, they will play AS GATORS. pic.twitter.com/jal2Hmr3WJ
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 10, 2017
Pittsburgh Steelers, 2016
The Steelers took the "Killers B's" (a nickname for the lethal combination of QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le'Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown) too literal with their 1934 throwback uniforms. The striped black-and-yellow, bumble-bee jerseys sting the eyes and the matching striped socks are overkill.
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Denver Broncos, 2009
The Broncos are known for bright orange and navy blue, but did you know that the original team colors were brown and mustard? The newly-formed team wore mustard jerseys, brown pants with yellow stripes and the infamous vertically striped socks from 1960-61. The getup was so awful that the Broncos held a public burning ceremony for the socks in 1962. Ouch. But the jerseys rose from the ashes in 2009 when the Broncos wore the throwback jerseys to commemorate their 50th season. They were horrible then and they are horrible now.
Montreal Canadiens, 2009
Stripes have appeared to land heavily under the worst uniforms and the Canadiens 1912 Throwbacks are no exception. The jerseys feature blue, red and white stripes that resemble a barber shop pole.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The best and worst alternate jerseys in sports