Let’s Bring These Jerseys Back, Please and Thank You
Six unis that never should have been retired to begin with
The Utah Jazz just unveiled a brand new look for next season that harkens back to the look the franchise sported in New Orleans more than 40 years ago.
It’s a refined uniform, with a bolder color palate than the original. Jazz chief marketing officer Craig Sanders summed it up by saying, “This brand identity package reflects our franchise history with an eye to the future.”
In honor of the Jazz embracing their roots, we present a short list of the best jerseys in sports history that could use a new day in the sun.
The Homestead Grays’ 1935 Uniform
The Homestead Grays were the Yankees of the Negro League. The best black baseball club of all time was based in Pittsburgh but also played home games in Washington D.C.’s Griffith Stadium. Wherever they were, dominant players like Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard looked classic and stylish in these unis.
Los Angeles Rams 1988 Uniform
In 1988, the then L.A. Rams made a primary color switch to blue in their home jersey. The look became iconic when the team moved to St. Louis, thanks to the Greatest Show on Turf (Warner, Faulk, Holt et al.). Given the team’s return to Los Angeles this year, it’d be nice to see a return to the “classic” look (there have been a few; also, it looks it can’t actually happen until 2019). Fun facts: The horn decals on the helmet have been a feature since 1948, and it was the first design ever painted on an NFL helmet.
Hartford Whalers 1981 Uniform
The Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997, but the team has remained in the public conscience due to one of the universally admired logos of all time. Hartford Whaler merchandise is the top-seller among defunct NHL teams. It is one of the only sports logos to use negative space effectively. For the complete story behind the logo, and an entertaining interview with the designer, click here.
Image via MLB
Houston Astros Tequila Sunrise Uniform
From 1975 until 1986, the Houston Astros brought about a radical uniform change, with the introduction of what has become known as the Tequila Sunrise uniform. It was tweaked multiple times during its use, but always featured a solid block of red, orange and yellow stripes.
Boston Patriots 1961 Uniform
Now known as the New England Patriots, the Boston Patriots replaced their logo of a tri-corned hat with an image of a revolutionary minuteman crouched in the center position, ready to snap a football. He became known as “Pat Patriot.” Pat would remain as the primary logo until the 1993 season, when it was replaced by the first incarnation of the Flying Elvii insignia of their current brand.
Seattle SuperSonics 1994 Uniform
As you probably know, the Oklahoma City Thunder were once the Seattle SuperSonics. Their uniforms throughout the ‘80s and into the early ‘90s had a broad team name across a front that combined classic with modern. The team rebranded in 1994, and because of nostalgia and the success of the late ‘90s teams led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, that look is remembered fondly to this day. [Editor formerly from Seattle’s note: A move back to Seattle would be required.]