As we continue SB Nation’s theme of “best jerseys,” let’s take a look at the uniforms the Washington Mystics wore throughout their history.
Designs among WNBA teams are a lot more simplistic and standardized across teams, especially quite recently. But every jersey era deserves its moment nevertheless.
So let’s take a quick look at the uniform styles Washington wore since their humble beginnings to their current era as WNBA champions.
1998-2002: Chamique Holdsclaw Era Reebok uniforms
In the Mystics’ earliest years, their uniforms were teal blue and bronze, the same colors the Washington Wizards wore at the time. The Mystics weren’t particularly successful on the court as they only made the playoffs twice in this span. That said, they did make the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 with their franchise player, Chamique Holdsclaw and their then-head coach Marianne Stanley. Stanley would later be an assistant for the Mystics from 2010-19 and is now the head coach of the Indiana Fever.
Even with aesthetics, these Reebok uniforms looked oversized and too loose, reminiscent of how basketball players’ fashion was at the time.
2003-06: Alana Beard Era tuckless Reebok uniforms
The WNBA changed their jerseys in 2003 to become more form fitting. The most notable part of these jerseys was that the uniforms were tuckless. This is definitely the time when the Mystics’ jerseys looked the most similar to the Wizards’, even after then-owner Abe Pollin sold the team to Ted Leonsis and Lincoln Holdings, the predecessor to Monumental Sports & Entertainment in 2005. BET co-founder Sheila Johnson joined the group and became the managing partner.
Visually speaking, the Mystics uniforms had a cleaner look, and it’s their best looking jersey in my opinion. During this time, the Mystics made two playoff appearances in 2004 and 2006.
2007-10: Adidas Stars and Stripes uniforms
Adidas became the WNBA’s apparel provider and revamped the look of the uniforms. The jerseys were tucked again and the uniforms added stripes on the top and stars on the bottom. WNBA teams also began to add jersey sponsors but Washington didn’t join in on the trend then.
The Mystics are most noted for wearing these uniforms when they had a 22-12 regular season in 2010 where they finished first in the Eastern Conference. Yes, they made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002, but the regular season in 2010 was really good given the circumstances.
Beard sat out the season due to an ankle injury, but Washington signed now-Naismith Hall of Fame guard Katie Smith, who played the role of “ultimate glue guy” that season. Crystal Langhorne also came into her own and made the All-WNBA Second Team.
2011-17: Adidas red, white and blue uniforms
The Mystics changed their colors to red, white and blue to match the Washington Capitals and the Wizards in 2011. They also added Virginia-based Inova Health Systems as their jersey sponsor from that season through 2014.
There aren’t many positives to write about the Inova jersey era for the Mystics. At least in the beginning. Washington won 11 combined games in 2011 and 2012 which set the team back with fans. The Inova logo changed as well between those seasons on the jerseys.
Things gradually trended up from 2013 on when Mike Thibault became the General Manager and Head Coach. He began a long rebuild which offered some quick successes like a franchise-record three consecutive playoff appearances, but it took several years before Washington became one of the WNBA’s darlings.
In 2015, the Mystics wore the same jersey without the Inova sponsorship while wearing a leaguewide Boost Mobile one on the bottom front. And in 2016, the Mystics got rid of their white jerseys and Verizon became the leaguewide sponsor.
To replace the now-eliminated white jerseys, the Mystics added a navy blue uniform to their wardrobe. These uniforms would also be worn by Elena Delle Donne in 2017 after where was traded to Washington in a blockbuster deal with the Chicago Sky.
2018-present: Elena Delle Donne Era Nike uniforms
Nike became the WNBA’s apparel provider in 2018 where uniforms were changed once again. The uniforms took a very simple design and Washington’s jerseys remained red or navy blue.
There was no team sponsorship in 2018 when the Mystics made the WNBA Finals but lost to the Seattle Storm. However, Washington added GEICO as their sponsor for 2019 while AT&T became the leaguewide sponsor. These jerseys will be forever known as the ones the team won their championship in, when Elena Delle Donne won the league MVP award and Emma Meesseman became the Finals MVP!
What is your favorite Mystics jersey? Let us know in the comments below!