This week, Outsports is joining SB Nation in celebrating as well as deriding the sports jerseys, uniforms and kits that have made us proud, embarrassed and given us reasons to wonder, “what on earth were you thinking?” Today, co-founder Cyd Zeigler reviews the teams that embraced the rainbow.

There have been various teams over the years to utilize a rainbow in their uniforms and jerseys.

Yet none are likely as iconic as the Denver Nuggets uniforms, which featured the Denver skyline with a rainbow backdrop. The uniform was worn by the team from 1981 to 1993, (likely accidentally) mirroring the height of the AIDS crisis for the gay community.

The jerseys were unmistakable because of the rainbow that adorned them:

The Denver Nuggets’ jersey rocked a rainbow for over a decade, and they keep bringing it back.

To be sure, they’re not the only ones who have used a rainbow on their uniforms.

The Univ. of Hawaii has had a checkered history with the rainbow. Until 2000, the school’s athletics teams was known as the “Rainbow Warriors.” Yet after hiring sports uber-agent Leigh Steinberg as a marketing consultant and June Jones as football coach, the school dropped the rainbow (to be clear, Steinberg has talked many times about his support for gay athletes). Since 2013 they have again been know as the “Rainbow Warriors,” usually donning green and white but occasionally looking like this…

A Univ. of Hawaii football player shows off his gloves.

Most recently, a soccer team in Italy has adopted a 6-year-old’s idea for a jersey, including a rainbow. And a dolphin. And a soccer ball.


The rainbow became iconic in the LGBTQ community in the late 1970s as a symbol of diversity and inclusion. It has taken various incarnations, but the rainbow has continued to clearly represent the LGBTQ community for decades.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite jerseys, iconic or forgotten? Share yours in the comments below!

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