Washington Bullets – Champion Jersey

In 1995, Bullets ownership looked to change the name of the team out of sensitivity to gun violence in the city. After 30+ years, the Bullets officially became the Wizards at the start of the 1997-1998 season. As a result, Champion only produced Bullets jerseys for six seasons. Therefore, there aren’t many players available compared to other teams.

One of the rarest Champion Bullets jerseys is Bernard King. King had a resurgent year with the Bullets in the 1990-1991 season, becoming an All Star despite playing on a surgically repaired knee. Therefore, Champion released King replica jersey for the 1991-1992 season. However, King wouldn’t even step on the court of the 1991-1992 season due to complications with his knee, and he would never play another game for the Bullets (in fact, he was out of basketball for a year and half and only played 32 games with the Nets in 1993 before officially retiring). So there was only one limited production run of King Bullets jerseys.


Bernard King Washington Bullets Red

Champion issued the Bernard King jersey for the 1991-1992 season, but King would not suit up for the Bullets that year or ever again.


Most early Bullets jerseys are tough to find since they didn’t have much star power and were a mediocre team. So the jerseys were limited to a few players and production runs were small, with most sales locally in the DC market. The exception would be Calbert Cheany, who was drafted prior to the 1993-1994 season. Cheaney was a popular collegiate player at Indiana, so Champion did nationally distribute his jersey.

In 1994-1995, the Bullets would pickup Chris Webber from the Warriors and draft Juwan Howard out of Michigan. Having two members of Michigan’s Fab Five reunited on the same NBA team immediately created a huge demand for Bullets jerseys. As a result, Champion nationally distributed Webber and Howard jerseys, and those are the most abundant Bullets jerseys around. For Webber’s initial season with the Bullets in 1994-1995, he wore #2, because Scott Skiles had #4. So Webber’s #2 jersey was only produced for one season, but they aren’t hard to find because Champion printed a lot given Webber’s popularity. Champion Bullets jerseys produced from 1991-1992 through 1994-1995 have the player’s name in blue on the back with white outline.


Chris Webber Washington Bullets Red Rookie

Chris Webber joined the Bullets for the 1994-1995 season after a rookie season with the Warriors. He wore #2 for his first season with the Bullets since Scott Skiles had #4.

For the 1995-1996 season, Champion changed the players name on the back of the jersey to be white with blue outline. Scott Skiles was traded to the Orlando Magic, and as a result, Chris Webber changed to his traditional #4 jersey. That same season, the Bullets would draft Rasheed Wallace out of UNC, and Wallace’s jersey was also nationally distributed and produced in a large quantity. Champion would release white home jerseys starting in 1995-1996, but only for Chris Webber and Juwan Howard. As usual, the home jerseys were printed in very limited quantities and are extremely hard to find.

Chirs Webber Washington Bullets Red White Name

For the 1995-1996 season, Webber would get his #4 back. Champion changed the players names on the back of the jersey from blue to white.


While Webber, Howard, Wallace and Cheaney jerseys are relatively easy to find given their large production runs, the other player jerseys are quite scarce. Gheorghe Muresan is probably the most collectible Bullets jersey given his cult status as one of the few 7’7 players to every play in the NBA (and starring in the movie My Giant).

Milwaukee Bucks – Champion Jersey

Champion produced replica jerseys based on team popularity and player popularity….basically on what fans would purchase.  Therefore, on a team level, there are lots of Bulls, Knicks and Lakers jerseys. On a player level, there are a ton of Michael Jordan, Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway jerseys. These teams and players were distributed nationally. The Milwaukee Bucks in the 1990s were terrible and lacked star power (other than Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen). Add to that ugly jersey design, and that’s a recipe for limited production runs and jerseys that were mainly sold locally in the greater Milwaukee market (again, not counting Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen).


Champion produced very few Milwaukee Bucks jerseys for the 1991-1992 and 1992-1993 seasons. In fact, for the 1991-1992 season they only released Alvin Robertson. I personally really like these jerseys. When I was young I never even saw one of these in person, and rightfully so. No kid would possibly spend money on a Blue Edwards jersey when given the choice of buying a Jordan, Magic Johnson or Bird jersey. So I imagine these were mainly sold at the Milwaukee Bucks arena and local Milwaukee sports stores. As a result they are extremely rare and you seldom see them. As with most Champion replica jerseys, these lack some of the side detail that you would find on the authentic jerseys that the players actually wore on the court. As mentioned in my previous Trailblazers post, lack of detail was due to printing limitations. And Champion at this time was not sewing separate side panels onto jerseys…they were simple monochromatic  nylon jerseys with the only color variation coming on the neckline trim. And Champion only produced green road jerseys…there are no white home jerseys in existence.

Alvin Robertson Bucks Front

Champion produced this style of Bucks jersey for the 1991-1992 & 1992-1993 seasons.


For the 1993-1994 season, the Bucks completely redesigned their logo and uniform colors. Despite the redesign (which is generally considered one of the uglier uniforms), the Bucks were still horrible and lacked star power, so again, there were limited production runs. When the Bucks drafted Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson in the 1994 draft, Champion mass-distributed his jersey, and as a result you’ll see a lot of Robinson jerseys around. These new replicas were spot on with the authentic jerseys that the players actually wore on the court. As with most teams, Champion released most players and quantities in the purple road version, while the white home jersey were limited and are hard to find.

Glenn Robinson Bucks Purple Front

For the 1993-1994 season the Bucks redesigned their logo and uniform colors. The following season, Glenn Robinson was drafted and the Bucks finally had a replica jersey that was nationally distributed.

 For the 1995-1996 season, the Bucks introduced an alternate jersey (which they would wear for the next three seasons). The jersey went back to the classic green color and featured the big buck on the front. They were extremely hard to find during their initial release and mainly sold locally in Milwaukee. The awesome design and scarcity have thus made these extremely collectible. The print on these jerseys was not great, so a lot of times the buck image has disintegrated since people have washed them. So to find these in pristine condition is difficult and makes them that much more valuable.

Ray Allen Bucks Alternate Front

1995-1996 Bucks alternate jersey

Champion made a minor adjustment to the Bucks replica jerseys for the 1999-2000 season. The neckline went from a crew neck to a v-neck. I have never seen a white home version of this jersey.

Glenn Robinson Bucks Purple Vneck front

1999-2000 Bucks replica jersey had a v-neck instead of a crew neck

In 2001-2002, the Bucks went to a vest style jersey and added side panels. Champion replicas were spot on with what the Bucks wore on the court, as Champion was now sewing side panels onto their replica jersey vests. As usual, the white home versions were limited and are very difficult to find.

Sam Cassell Bucks new Front

2001-2002 Bucks went to a vest style jersey with side panels

Portland Trailblazers – Champion Jersey

Although Champion began producing jerseys for all NBA teams for the 1990-1991 season, they didn’t start producing replica jerseys for resale until 1991-1992 (most likely the summer of 1991, prior to the start of the season). Evidence of this can be seen in the Portland Trailblazers jersey design. For the 1990-1991 season, the Trailblazers had the “lower case” Blazers logo. No Champion Trailblazers replica jerseys exist with the older “lower case” Blazers logo from the 1990-1991 season.

clyde drexler hoops card

1990-1991 Blazers “lower case” logo jersey

For the 1991-1992 season, the Trailblazers updated their logo to the “upper case” Blazers logo. All Champion Trailblazers replica jerseys have this logo. However, the heat-transfer/screen-printing techniques that Champion used during the 1991-1992 production run were primitive. In fact, it appears that Champion rushed jerseys to market. A lot of the initial replicas from the 1991-1992 season were very basic and lacked the detail of the jerseys that teams actually wore on the court. For instance, the Trailblazers didn’t even have their signature stripes (blaze) on the 1991-1992 replicas jerseys:

Clyde Drexler Blazers No Stripe Red-White Trim Front

1991-1992 Blazers replica jerseys didn’t even have their signature stripes

Much of this was probably due to the limited platen size available on the heat presses that Champion was using in their production facilities.  The platen is the heated upper plate on the heat press and most likely was 14″ x 14″, which means that printing outside of this size range wasn’t possible. Therefore, all designs would be limited to a 14×14 area on the jersey. Therefore, while the authentic Trailblazers jerseys had stripes that run across the entire front torso, the replica jerseys initially had stripes that were short and limited to the width of the “Blazers” logo. Champion would add the stripes to the Trailblazer replica jerseys for the 1992-1993 season.

Clyde Drexler Blazers Partial Stripe Black Front

1992-1993 Blazers replica had stripes, but they didn’t run across the entire torso due to limited printing capabilities

In addition to adding the stripes for the 1992-1993 season, Champion also changed the neckline from a multicolor white/red trim, to a solid red trim. They also released white home jerseys, although they were extremely limited in both player availability and quantities printed. It was common for Champion to mainly release road jerseys for most teams, while home jerseys were limited and harder to find.

Champion wouldn’t change the Trailblazers jerseys until 1998-1999. It appears during this time that they finally were able to update their printing techniques and print across the entire front torso of jerseys (for instance, other teams like the Utah Jazz finally had logos that stretched across the entire chest). The stripes stretched across the entire torso, replicating what the players actually wore on the court. The only other change was the players names on the back of the jerseys went from straight orientation to a rounded/curved orientation. Also, Champion issued more white home jerseys in a wider variety of players, although quantities were still limited, and they are still scarcer than the black road versions.

Rasheed Wallace Blazers Full Stripe Black Front

1998-1999 Blazers replica jersey with stripes across entire torso


While most teams eventually transitioned to vests by the 2000-2001 season, the Trailblazers were one of the few teams that still had the traditional tank-top style jerseys when Champion ceased production of replica jerseys after the 2001-2002 season.