The Evolution of the Toronto Raptors Jersey

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Creating a Franchise

The Toronto Raptors were born in 1993 when the NBA received a formal application from the Professional Basketball Franchise Inc. (PBF) in Canada. In the summer of ’93, the NBA expansion committee visited Toronto to examine the PBF’s plans, which was led by high-esteemed businessmen, who were eager to get their own franchise. To help seal the deal, PBF made plans to build the team’s stadium in downtown Toronto, which would be next to the subway to ensure easy access during the cold weather. Additionally, it would be strategically placed near big businesses so that businessmen would buy box suites at the stadium. This helped the NBA finally take the leap to expand beyond the U.S. and into Canadian territory.

However, Toronto still needed a mascot. PBF kicked off the “Name Game” in 1994 – a contest to name the team and develop the logo and team colors. Over 2,000 entries were received, but there could only be one winner. On May 15, 1994, PBF announced the team would become the Toronto Raptors. That same year, the Raptors announced the addition of Isiah Thomas as the vice president of basketball operations and Bob Zufellato as a player scout. Zufellato was no stranger to the game, though. He had 33 years of coaching and player development under his belt.

When the Toronto Raptors became an official member of the NBA on May 16, 1995, they quickly hired their first head coach, Brendan Malone, who had previous experience with the Detroit Pistons.

The Toronto Raptors Throughout the Years

While the Raptors are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies as the second youngest NBA franchise (at more than 20 years old), they still have a ways to go. The team started out slow and finished with a losing record for its first four seasons. However, the Raptors found their stride in the 1999-2000 season (with a record of 45-37). Second-year small forward Vince Carter averaged 25.7 points per game that season. In 2003, the Raptors acquired center Chris Bosh, who helped lead the Raptors to finish first in the NBA during the 2006-07 season by averaging 22.6 points per game.

However, this wouldn’t happen again until the 2013-14 season, when the Raptors finished with a slightly better record of 48-34 under head coach Dwane Casey. The most recent seasons have been the franchise’s best. In 2012, the Raptors acquired Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets. Lowry caught fire in 2015, averaging 21.2 points per game and leading the Raptors to their most winning record of 56-26. Lowry still continues to be a leading scorer, along with shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who’ve combined for an average 50.4 points per game this season.

 

Jersey Evolution

Toronto Raptors Jersey Evolution GIF
Breaking Down Notable Changes
Toronto Raptors Home Jersey 1995

1995–1999 (Home): The Raptors’ home uniform in 1995 is unique: a white jersey with a cartoon raptor wearing sneakers. Who doesn’t like dinosaurs wearing shoes?

 

Toronto Raptors Home Jersey, 1999

1999–2006 (Home): The jersey is changed in 1999 to a more classic look similar to today’s jersey. Furthermore, the Raptors do away with the sneaker-wearing raptor. Instead, they replace it with “Toronto” or “Raptors” across the chest over a white background.

Toronto Raptors Away Jersey, 1999

1999–2006 (Road): Just like in the previous years, the road jersey is purple and dons the same look with “Toronto” written across the chest in white with a red outline.

Toronto Raptors Home Jersey, 2006

2006–2015 (Home): In 2006, the home jersey changes from white and purple to white and red.

Toronto Raptors Home, 2015

 

2015–2017 (Home): Still working with the same new colors – white, red, and black – the Raptors sport a white jersey with “Raptors” instead of “Toronto” written across the chest in black. The jersey has a red lining, giving it a more distinct look.

Want Your Own Toronto Raptors Jersey?

Finally, for those who love dinosaurs wearing sneakers, no worries. We’ve got you covered at Fanatics.com with a Vince Carter throwback jersey. For more Toronto Raptors gear, head over to Fanatics.com to get all swagged out before entering the Air Canada Centre.

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The Evolution of the Sacramento Kings Jersey

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The Sacramento Kings have only been around since 1985, but their time in the NBA goes way beyond that. The team started out in 1948 as the Rochester Royals with the Basketball Association of America. The Royals were one of 17 teams to participate in the merger of the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball League – creating what we know now to be the National Basketball Association.

Birth of the Sacramento Kings

In 1983, a group in Sacramento purchased the franchise for $10.5 million. When the team relocated, it already had a solid group of players including Eddie Johnson, Reggie Theus, Otis Thorpe, and LaSalle Thompson. The franchise then drafted Joe Kleine in the 1985 NBA Draft.  

Unfortunately, this starting roster didn’t do the trick for the Kings. Even though it did make it to the playoffs its first year, the team still had a losing record of 37-45. Success wasn’t to be had between 1985 and 1999, though. The Kings had 14 straight losing seasons.

Resurgence for the Kings

The 2001-02 season was a magical one for the Kings as they had their best year in the franchise’s history, ending the season with a 61-21 record – a huge improvement from years prior. The Kings kept improving and made playoff appearances until 2006 when they got out in the first round against the San Antonio Spurs.

While the Kings have gone back to their old ways of not being a top competitor in the NBA, they continue to have a great fan base, which supports them through the good times and the bad.

Jersey Evolution

Sacramento Kings Jersey Evolution GIF

Though the Kings haven’t always played well, they’ve always looked pretty good. They’ve had many different jerseys in a short amount of time since they first moved to Sacramento in 1985.

 

Sacramento Kings 1985 Home Jersey

1985–1990 (Home): The team’s original jersey is a white jersey with “Kings” spelled out in blue and red script across the chest, with blue and red stripes also going down the sides.
Sacramento Kings Road Jersey

1985–1990 (Road): The King’s original road jersey is light blue with “Kings” written in the same red and white script.

Sacramento Kings Home Jersey 1994

1994–2002 (Home): The team changes the home jersey’s colors to white, purple, and black. “Kings” is also made bolder.

Home Jersey Sacramento Kings

 

2002–2008 (Home): The home jersey is kept white with a minor change in font. “Kings” is still placed across the chest, but now has a crown on top of the “i.”
Road Jersey Sacramento Kings

2002–2008 (Road): Instead of an all-black jersey for the road, the Kings change their road jersey to purple. They also change “Kings” to “Sacramento.”

Home Jersey 2014

 

 

2014–2016 (Home): Today, you’ll see Omri Casspi wearing an all-white jersey with “Kings” written across the chest in purple, which is similar to the jerseys of 1994.

Sacramento Kings Road Jersey

2014–2016 (Road): Sacramento’s road jerseys are exactly like the home jerseys – just flipped. The team wears an all-purple jersey with “Kings” written in bold font across the chest.

Want Your Own Sacramento Kings Jersey?

If you’re heading out to a Sacramento Kings game anytime soon, you’ll want to head over to Fanatics.com to grab a jersey and root this team to victory! While the Kings have struggled, they’ve always had loyal fans … and loyal fans sport Kings jerseys.

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The Evolution of the New York Knicks Jersey

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Knickerbockers Origins

The New York Knicks got their start in 1946 as one of the initial members of the NBA. Ned Irish – the founding father of the Knicks – led the club to victory against the Toronto Huskies (68-66) during their first showdown in this newfound league.

The Knickerbockers moniker goes back to the Dutch settlers who first settled in New York. The name comes from the first settlers rolling their pants just below the knees. This style of pants was eventually called knickerbockers, or knickers for short. Fred Podesta, a Madison Square Garden executive, claims that the name for the new NBA club was picked out of a hat. As the story goes, Ned Irish – a Knicks legend – was sitting around with a few business partners and chose a name out of a pool of submissions. “Knickerbockers” was featured on most entries, which solidified the name for New York’s first NBA team.

Father Knickerbocker was used as the team’s first primary logo. The iconic symbol featured an older man with a cotton wig, tricorn, and – most importantly – knickers. However, 1964 marked the end of Father Knickerbocker’s reign when the team redesigned their logo to promote the “Knicks” wordmark with a simple basketball clipart. This pattern would go on to serve as the primary logo until modern day – with several variations implemented, of course.

The Knicks have incorporated different designs – alternative and primary – of their logo on the shorts of their jerseys for much of their existence in the NBA.

The Knicks Greats

As currently part of the Atlantic Division, the New York Knicks have had their ups and downs over the course of their storied history. The Knickerbockers have made appearances in the playoffs 42 times throughout their 70 seasons played. The New York–based squad brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy back home to the Garden twice – first in 1970 and again in 1973 after defeating the reigning Western Conference champs: the Los Angeles Lakers.

Over the course of the team’s history, the Knicks have had several NBA greats fill their superstar roster. This includes Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing and Walt Frazier as well as exceptional ballers such as John Starks.

Continue reading to experience the evolution of the #NewYorkKnicks iconic jersey and logo throughout their tenure in the NBA.

Notable New York Jersey Changes

 

New-York-Knicks

1946: The Knicks inaugural jerseys feature the official colors of New York City: blue, white, and orange. White is utilized as the primary color with blue and orange accents. The jersey features the city name across the torso with numbers underneath.

1961: The Knicks wear white jerseys at home with blue letters outlined orange trim. Orange stripes, outlined in blue, run down both sides of the shorts.

1968: The jersey undergoes minor changes during this time. The lettering becomes an orange shade outlined by blue trim. The club ditches the belted shorts and opts for a simple drawstring design instead.

1979: For the first time in team history, the club implements drastic changes to the jerseys. In unforeseen turn, the team swaps the city’s official colors for a maroon and dark blue color palette. This year also marks the only time the team’s nickname – Knicks – will appear on the jersey.

1983: The team reverts to blue jerseys with orange numbers outlined in white trim, ditching the maroon colorway. The “New York” wordmark finds its way back to the front of the jersey, and the numbers are found right below. The Knicks decorate their shorts with jersey numbers on the right side and a team logo on the left.

1995: The Knicks remove the jersey numbers from the shorts, but a new alternative logo appears. The club rocks white jerseys with orange numbers outlined in blue for their home court fit. The official NBA logo is placed underneath the left edge of the collar.

2002: Reverting to blue as the primary jersey color, the Knicks stick with orange lettering and white trim. Black panels trail down both sides of the jersey and are outlined by thick orange stripes.

2016:The trim along the sleeve openings is shortened but maintains the traditional color scheme. The primary logo is featured on the bottom of the shorts, and the “New York” script across the chest is slightly modified.

Before heading down to Madison Square Garden for the big game, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Show your New York pride by rocking’ the latest #KnicksNation fan gear. Look no further than Fanatics.com for all your NBA wants and needs.

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The Evolution of the Atlanta Hawks Jersey

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The Hawks Take Flight

The Atlanta Hawks got their start in 1946. However, back then, they were known as the Buffalo Bisons and were a part of the National Basketball League, where they played for 38 days before departing for Moline, Illinois. There, they took on a new name — the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, in reference to the Black Hawk War that was mostly fought in Illinois.

The team survived a merger of the NBL and BAA and was one of the first 17 teams in the National Basketball Association. They then relocated to Milwaukee in 1951 and shortened their team name to the Hawks. They would move to St. Louis four years later. They finally landed in Atlanta – their present-day host city – in 1968.

The team has one NBA championship to its name. In 1958, the team – playing as the St. Louis Hawks – won the series in six games over the Boston Celtics, whom they had faced the prior season in the finals, only to lose in game 7. Even though they have but a single championship, the team’s playoff appearances aren’t scarce in the history books – the Hawks have reached the postseason 45 times out of 68 seasons.

Throughout their long history, the Hawks have had a few notable players hit the court. For example, Dominique Wilkins played in Atlanta for 12 seasons; Mookie Blaylock was with the Hawks for seven seasons; and Joe Johnson played there for seven seasons.

Over the course of their history, the Hawks have had an impressive number of jersey design changes. Check them out below.

The Hawks Jerseys Over the Years

Atlanta Hawks Jerseys

1968–1970: Red and white dominate the Hawks jersey. The home jersey is white and is accompanied by red block lettering of the team name. The player numbers are also in red and trimmed in black. The neck, arms, and sides feature a triple stripe design – a single black line flanked by two red lines.

1970–1972: There is a complete departure from the old color scheme, which is replaced by blue and green on white. A thick stripe snakes from the left shoulder, across the chest, and onto the right side, where it is joined by a green and blue stripe. Block letters spell out “Atlanta” in blue and are paired with a player number of the same color.

1982–1992: The team reverts to red and white, but adds gold touches to the uniform. At the start of the ’80s, the jersey is bold and bright, with a wide swath of red going from armpit to armpit, sloping up toward the left shoulder. “Hawks” appears within the thick stripe, and the player numbers are solid red.

1992–1995: The uniform features a thick red stripe on the left side, accompanied by “Hawks” in a curved, serif font above a red player number. The team name and number are outlined in gold and feature a drop shadow.

1995–1999: This jersey features a striking hawk in the center, clutching a basketball in its talons. “Hawks” is written above the bird’s outstretched wings, and each player number is written above “Hawks.” The text, sleeves, and neck are outlined in gold, black, and red.

1999–2001: The letters and numbers continue to be red and outlined in gold and black, but the intimidating hawk no longer appears on the jersey. A bold red stripe goes down both sides and is trimmed in gold and black.

2007–2010: Gold is abandoned during this uniform change. Blue takes the stage on the team name and player number, as well as on a thick swath on each side of the jersey. The letters and numbers are outlined in red, and a thinner stripe accents the sides as well.

2010–2014: The design of this jersey is very similar to its immediate predecessor, but the neck gets reshaped into a V.

2014–2015: The major change of note here is the small addition of a bit of gold at the back of the neckline.

2015–2017: Today’s Hawk jersey has no trace of blue. Instead, it’s gone to a more simple design. The side stripes are eliminated, and volt green is added to the color palette. This bright green outlines the red team name across the front and is the main attraction of the number, which is outlined in red. The base fabric of the jersey features a V-shaped feather pattern.

Are you all about representing your Hawks, whether you’re watching the game, cheering from the stands, or heading to your neighborhood ball court? Be sure to check out the Atlanta gear at Fanatics.com. You won’t be disappointed.

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The Evolution of the NBA All-Star Jersey

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Starting Lineup

The idea of an NBA All-Star game was conceived in 1951 after a meeting took place between Haskell Cohen, an NBA publicist, and Walter Brown, then owner of the Boston Celtics.

Cohen and Brown wanted to introduce the All-Star game during the college scandals of the time. Point-shaving misconduct infiltrated the NCAA in the 1951 season, giving basketball a “black eye.” At the time, college teams would intentionally control the scores of their game – ultimately determining the winner of certain bets against a point spread. Still, Brown pushed forward with his idea; he was so confident that he pledged to cover the full cost as well as any losses associated with the risky venture.

Brown was also warned by Maurice Podoloff, the NBA commissioner at the time, to call the game off due to the fear of ticket sales flopping and public shame. The game proved to be a huge success, with around 10,000 fans flocking to Boston Garden to experience the coast-to-coast showdown. The Eastern conference emerged victorious (111–94), with “Easy” Ed Macauley – center and power forward for the Boston Celtics – leading the scorers with 20. Big Ed also played a pivotal role in containing league superstar George Mikan to only 12 points.

In the end, the All-Star match was a smash hit among basketball fans and changed the public view of the once-corrupt sport. The NBA adopted the game as an annual tradition and has made the midseason event a staple in the league since.

Looking Back to Look Forward

The NBA All-Star game has become a celebrated event that allows players and fans alike to enjoy an all-out coast-to-coast basketball exhibition match. Teams are crafted through a democratic process, with the starting lineup selected from a fan ballot, and the reserves voted on by the head coaches of each conference. Coaches are prohibited from advocating players from their own team.

Over the years, exceptional players have filled the All-Star rosters – setting the mark high for future All-Stars aiming to surpass them. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant – both former superstars of the Los Angeles Lakershold the best individual records for the most games played and most games started (Abdul-Jabbar is tied for second place for most games started with Bob Cousy and Michael Jordan – they each have started 13 times).

Earlier this year, the NBA announced that the 66th All-Star game would take place at the Smoothie King Center – the home nest of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Big Easy will have more than Mardi Gras to celebrate next year, as the league’s top players will soon congregate to face off in an intense coast-to-coast showdown!

Read on to see how the Eastern and Western Conferences have modified their #NBAAllStar jerseys throughout the course of this legendary game.

Notable Jersey Changes

GIF of the NBA All-Star Jersey Evolution over the years

1951:

The inaugural All-Star jersey models a basic design with a simple blue colorway. Jersey numbers are placed in the center and surrounded by six stars.

1962:

Eastern and Western Conference identifiers are added above the jersey numbers, while the stars remain in place. A thick-cut stripe runs down both sides of the jersey and features six stars on the shorts.

1969:

The league – striving to achieve a more minimal look – eliminates the stars on the jersey.

1975:

The Phoenix Suns flare appears on the jersey to reflect the All-Star game is taking place in Phoenix during the 1974–75 season. For the first time, the jerseys undergo a major color transformation, as the Eastern Conference utilizes purple as their primary color. Flames are added on either side of the shorts and host players’ respective conference identifier (East or West).

1979:

The Western Conference switches things up by utilizing a darker shade of red as their primary jersey color. East and West Coast identifiers slope down the center of the torso, with the jersey number lingering underneath. A stripe – decorated with stars on either side – is added to the shoulders.

1982:

The Eastern Conference opts for a white jersey with red accents. “All Stars” is now perched above the jersey number – a different font is introduced this year. The East and West designations now appear on the shorts. They tuck in their tops as well, which enables players to flaunt their red-and-black waistbands.

1984:

The All-Star team reverts to solid red as the primary color. Blue and white trim align the arm openings, and two rows of multicolored stars run down the length of the jersey.  

1991–1994:

The home conference makes use of a white jersey with red and blue trim. The jersey number remains in the middle but sits on top of a large 3-D star. “NBA” lurks above the number in block-style fashion, while “All-Stars” is below it. During this time, the visiting division switches between blue and red jerseys. The official NBA logo appears on the upper left side of the chest.

1995:

The All-Star game returns to Phoenix and honors the Grand Canyon State by featuring a cactus in front of an orange star. The jersey numbers are moved to the upper left side of the torso, and “NBA All Stars” is placed toward the bottom.  

2003:

The NBA logo is now visible in two different areas of the jersey. Multicolored stars run along the sides of the jersey, and the All-Stars revert to using a red, white, and blue color palette. Conference identifiers (East and West) stack vertically on the left side of the players’ shorts.

2007:

The league modifies the red and blue colors, opting for a darker hue. The conference titles are now in cursive, and the jersey numbers are reduced in size. A star is placed on the upper-right side of the torso; the NBA logo is on the inside. For the first time, the Adidas three-stripe pattern is seen on the sides of the jersey.

2010:

The Adidas logo sits adjacent to the NBA star logo. The font used for the letters and numbers is also slightly modified. Players’ names sit beneath their numbers on the backside of the jersey.

2014:

For the first time in All-Star history, the jerseys have sleeves. The numbers are moved from the center to the sleeves, and the backs of the jerseys feature players’ names above their numbers once again. The teams utilize the 2014 New Orleans All-Star logo as the centerpiece of their jerseys.

2016:

The All-Stars aim for a minimalist design. The jersey – drawing inspiration from the city and culture of Toronto – features the Toronto skyline across the back. The NBA logo is decorated with a maple leaf below the neck (also on the back of the jersey), which pays tribute to Canada’s national symbol. Simple, bold numbers and letters define and refine this jersey.

From the East to the West, be sure to root for only the best! Support the conference of your choice by rockin’ the latest jerseys of the hottest All-Stars this year. Head over to Fanatics – the one-stop shop for all your NBA fan gear and memorabilia.

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The Evolution of the New York Rangers Jersey

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The beloved New York Rangers came together in 1926 when “Tex” Rickard, president of Madison Square Garden, decided that one New York hockey team just wasn’t enough. The Rangers were an expansion team in addition to the New York Americans at the time. The Americans played at Madison Square Garden but weren’t owned by the facility. To form a team that could compete with the Americans, Rickard asked Conn Smythe, a hockey guru, to leave the University of Toronto to gather the best hockey players he could find in North America.

The Rangers’ name came about when the media heard that Smythe was gathering together an army of great hockey players. The media dubbed the team “Tex’s Rangers,” and the name stuck. After all the hard work putting together a team, Smythe left before the season could even start due to several disagreements with Garden management.  However, that didn’t stop Rickard from getting his team ready for the 1926-1927 season.

The early success of the team was partly due to Smythe’s work but was more so a product of Lester Patrick, the new coach for the New York Rangers. No other team had won a Stanley Cup title in its first two seasons. Not only did the Rangers win the Stanley Cup during their second season, but they also made it to the finals four times in their first seven years. The Rangers have made it to the finals 11 times, and they own four Stanley Cup trophies from 1928, 1933, 1940, and 1994.

Historical Players

Brian Leetch played for 18 NHL seasons and was with the Rangers from 1987 to 2003. The Rangers drafted Leetch ninth overall, who was considered the league’s best rookie after putting up 23 goals and 48 assists his rookie season. Over the course of his career, Leetch was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, Lester Patrick Trophy, and the James Norris Memorial Trophy twice. As one of only 10 American ice hockey men’s players, Leetch competed in the Winter Olympic Winter Games three times.  

One of the all-time leading NHL scorers was Rangers’ Mark Messier. Messier was nicknamed “the Moose” for his size and determination and was added to the Rangers’ roster when he was traded from the Edmonton Oilers before to the 1991-1992 season. Leading the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup in 1994, Messier is the only captain in NHL history to lead two different organizations to a Stanley Cup win.

Rod Gilbert, No. 7, was the first Rangers player to have his jersey retired. After a lengthy career (1962–1978), Gilbert was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. During his career, the right winger was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy as well as the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his persistence.

Notable Jersey Changes

 

Rangers-Asset

1928: The Rangers win their first Stanley Cup title this year in their dominant blue jerseys. Tex Rickard, the owner, makes sure that the Rangers stand apart from the Americans by placing the word “Rangers” diagonally across their jerseys, unlike the Americans who have their name horizontally on their jerseys.

1942: The team keeps the same concept as the 1928 style. However, the uniforms start to look more like jerseys rather than sweaters. 

1946: This year, the Rangers go with a different placement of their name. Instead of having the name diagonal on the jersey, “Rangers” is now placed in a semi-circle above the players’ numbers.

1959: The jersey is changed to a lace-up jersey, and the name is back to its original placement. With the name now back to being diagonal, the players’ numbers are moved to both arms.

1972: Blue changes to white on the jersey. The team continues with the lace-up design but adds a large blue stripe to the shoulder with two white stripes and one red stripe featured on either side. The numbers are kept on both arms.

1977: Again, the placement of the name is changed on the front of the jersey. The Rangers add a crest on the front with “New York” on top and “Rangers” diagonally across. The jerseys drift away from the lace-up concept, and blue is added to the top of the arms and shoulders with a red strip breaking up the white and blue coloring.

1994: The Rangers keep changing the name placement on the jerseys, but always go back to the original diagonal look. Instead of having blue on the entire sleeve, the blue is moved to the bottom of the sleeve – leaving the jersey predominantly white.

2008: Back to the blue! The Rangers switch up the jerseys by replacing the white with blue, leaving the name diagonally across the jerseys.

Do you want to join in on the Broadway Blueshirts’ history? Head over to Fanatics.com to pick up a Rangers jersey of your own!

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The Evolution of the Los Angeles Lakers Jersey

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From Minneapolis to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Lakers are a big part of NBA history; however, their start began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1947 – before the NBA even existed. Back then, the Lakers were a part of the National Basketball League but made the jump to the Basketball Association of America after their first season. When the NBA was established in 1949 after the BAA merged with the NBL, the Lakers joined it after their second season ended.

The Minnesota team was named the Lakers in direct reference to the state’s motto: “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” While California does not have the same distinction, the team kept the name when it moved to Los Angeles in 1960. They then became the L.A. Lakers.  

The Lakers are regular participants in the NBA’s postseason, marking 60 appearances in the playoffs out of a possible 69. They won their first NBA Finals game, as the Minneapolis Lakers, by beating out the Syracuse Nationals in the 1949-50 season.

Since then, the Lakers have strung together an impressive 15 additional championships, most recently during the 2009-10 season, and have paved the way for a multitude of the game’s biggest stars. Kobe Bryant, who recently retired, played for the Lakers for the entirety of his 20-year NBA career. Other notable players include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played in L.A. for 14 seasons; Elgin Baylor, a former Minneapolis Laker who made the move east with the team; the late great Wilt Chamberlain, who spent his last five NBA seasons with the Lakers; Magic Johnson, whose entire career also took place with the Lakers; Shaquille O’Neal, who played for many teams but spent the biggest bulk of his career with L.A.; and Jerry West, a 14-time All-Star who played back in the Lakers’ early days when they first came to L.A.

Since the move to L.A., the Lakers jersey has undergone just a few evolutions. Let’s check them out.

The Lakers Jersey Over the Years

LA Lakers

1960–1966: The white inaugural L.A. Lakers jersey is quite different from what we’re familiar with today. The overall bright white design is accented by two shades of blue. The player numbers are a dark blue and are highlighted by a lighter blue drop shadow. A blue double line trims the U-shaped neck and arms, and “Los Angeles” appears on the front in a cursive font.

1966–1972: In 1966, the iconic Lakers gold makes its first appearance in L.A., as the home jersey changes from white to gold. The gold color is familiar to older fans, as it is a facet of their first uniform in Minneapolis. The gold Lakers jersey – paired with purple – is trimmed in white, while the player numbers are trimmed in purple. “Lakers” appears above the numbers in a flowing block script, which trends up toward the left shoulder at an angle.

1978–1999: This uniform is familiar to many basketball fans, as it appears during what’s known as the “Showtime Era.” The gold jersey remains trimmed with purple and white, which is reflected in the player numbers – purple paired with white trim. The script for the team name remains virtually unchanged, although it’s no longer at an angle.

1999–2017: The modern-day Lakers home jersey continues the purple-and-gold scheme, but it now features a V-neck and a solid purple stripe flanked by thin white stripes on the sides from the armpit to the waist. The player numbers are white and outlined in purple, but the drop shadow of years past has been removed.

If you’re ready to head to Staples Center to watch your Lakers take on their next opponent, or the court you’re presiding over in your living room, check out the sweet Lakers gear you can get at Fanatics.com.

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The Evolution of the Orlando Magic Jersey

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The Magic Begins

In the late ’80s, Orlando businessman Jim Hewitt had an interest in bringing an NBA franchise to Central Florida. With the help of Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams, Hewitt began promoting the would-be team and garnering interest from locals, convincing them to put down deposits on season tickets.

The NBA listened, and that year, four new NBA franchises were born. In addition to the Orlando Magic, basketball fans in Charlotte (the Hornets), Miami (the Heat), and Minnesota (the Timberwolves) welcomed new teams to their towns.

What’s most interesting is that the public was eager to name the Orlando team even before a franchise was awarded – the naming contest run by Hewitt and Williams attracted more than 4,000 entries. The four finalists were “Heat,” “Tropics,” “Juice,” and “Magic.” After a visit by Williams’ 7-year-old daughter, after which she said Orlando was like magic, the men decided to whittle down to that very name.

The Heart of Florida

While the Magic have yet to win the NBA Finals, they have made the playoffs in half of the seasons they’ve hit the court (14 out of 28 since 1989). They won their first conference title in 1995, a mere six years after becoming a franchise and again in 2009. Their last playoff appearance was during the 2011-12 season, but they beat a hasty retreat after losing in the first round.

However, despite never having hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the Magic have manned the court with quite a few household names. Notable former players include Dwight Howard, who played for the Magic for eight seasons; Nick Anderson, one of the first players who joined the expansion club in 1989; Tracy McGrady, who was with the Magic for four seasons; Horace Grant, who played for seven years with the Bulls, followed by seven with the Magic (though not consecutively); and Shaquille O’Neal, who was chosen No. 1 overall by the Magic in 1992 and spent the first four seasons of his NBA career in Orlando.

Over the team’s nearly three decades of history, the Magic jersey has undergone just a few transformations. Let’s check them out.

The Orlando Magic Jersey Over Time

Orlando-Magic

1989–1998: The Magic home jersey is a sharp and classic pinstripe white, with a thick blue trim highlighting the U-shaped neck and arms. A silver star stands in place of the “a” and dotting the “i” in “Magic.”

1998–2000: The Magic jersey gets an upgrade after the pinstripes run their course. In addition to a V-shaped neck and lack of pinstripes, the uniform is made of “dazzle material.” Dazzle material is a staple in the WNBA but doesn’t make its first appearance in the NBA until now. It also features subtle stars woven into the material. The logo is similar to its predecessor, with stars standing in for the “a” and above the “i.”

2000–2003: Not much changes during this time, aside from a secondary logo added to the front of the shorts and a wordmark added to the back.

2003–2008: In 2003, the stylized stars on the team’s name disappear, and “MAGIC” pops on the front of the jersey in blue block letters outlined in gray. The trim on the top stays blue but appears as a double line instead of a solid thick line. A star is placed at the point of the “V” on the neck of the uniform.

2008–2017: The pinstripes come back in 2008, although they are further spaced apart than those on the first uniform. As well, large stars no longer adorn the uniform. The top now features block letters in blue (which are also outlined in black) and a unique double-lined blue trim around the neck. The arms, however, feature no trim.

Are you ready to head to Amway Center to watch your Magic do their thing? First, check out the stellar selection of Magic gear at www.Fanatics.com.

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The Evolution of the Pittsburgh Penguins Jersey

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Pittsburgh isn’t a natural habitat for penguins, but thanks to “The Igloo” – the nickname of the Civic Arena where the NHL team got its start – they’ve come to thrive in the city. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been able to bring home four Stanley Cup titles (1991, 1992, 2009, and 2016) across five total appearances since they joined the league in 1967.

Penguins Greats

Even though the team may not be a member of the Original Six, the Penguins have been solid playoff contenders throughout their history, as a result of having some of the game’s best players. It’s hard not to think, first, about former Penguin, Mario Lemieux. A transcendent player, Lemieux was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after his first retirement in 1996 (they waved the three-year waiting period because he was just that good). Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby are two more game-changing players who have donned a Penguins jersey.

Let’s take a look at the Penguins on the ice and see how their visual identity has evolved over the years.

Notable Jersey Changes

 

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1967: For their inaugural season, the Pittsburgh Penguins play in a powder blue uniform similar in layout to the New York Rangers – in that they spell out “Pittsburgh” diagonally across the front.

1968: It doesn’t take long for the Penguins to come up with a team crest. The famous skating penguin makes his first appearance on the team’s jersey. The logo consists of a penguin in front of a triangle that was meant to represent the “Golden Triangle” of downtown Pittsburgh. The team also adds names to the back of the jersey in 1971.

1972: The penguin stages a breakout and earns a larger spot in the center of the jersey. The team also darkens the blue on the jersey in 1973.

1977: Dark blue becomes the dominant color on the jersey.

1979: The Penguins wave goodbye to the blue and adopt the colors of their town – black and gold. They align with the Steelers in the NFL and the Pirates in MLB with their new jerseys and complete the change halfway through the 1979 season. They also introduce a gold jersey, which ends up being used as the primary home uniform for the 1983–1984 season.

1984: The white home jersey returns, and the gold jersey is retired. This template is used for the next several seasons, with only minor adjustments. Whether it is the sleeve stripe changing, the collar changing from black to gold, or the TV numbers moving from the shoulders to the sleeves, this jersey evolves into a classic.

1992: The Penguins upgrade their logo with a more modern penguin and bring back the “Pittsburgh” text on the black away jersey.

2002: For this season, the team utilizes a new jersey theme that was introduced in 2001 as an alternate. The yellow color is exchanged for “Vegas Gold”.

2007: After the 2006 season Reebok adjusts the stripes and color placement on the jerseys, adjusting the template set over the past five years.

2008: The Penguins still use the Reebok uniforms from their prior seasons, but they add a new alternate jersey. It’s a throwback to their second set of uniforms – powder blue as the primary color and the classic penguin logo.

2016: The Penguins make two throwback uniforms their official home and away jerseys. They also add a Stanley Cup title patch on the chest to highlight their success in the 2015–2016 season.

Want to look like one of your favorite Stanley Cup champions? Or just looking to show off your Penguins pride at home, work, or school? Then head to Fanactics.com to get the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel for the Pittsburgh Penguins and every other NHL team.

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The Evolution of the NHL All-Star Jersey

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Where It (All-Star)ted

The NHL All-Star game came into existence in 1934 when the defending Stanley Cup Champions The Maple Leafs faced off against the league’s All-Stars in Toronto.

The first All-Star contest, dubbed the “ACE Bailey Benefit Game,” paid homage to Hall of Famer Irvin E. “Ace” Bailey; he was the former winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs. During a face-off between the Boston Bruins in 1933, Eddie Shore defenseman for the B’s  was checked hard by King Clancy of the Maple Leafs. In an act of vengeance, Shore sought to trip Clancy but ended up knocking down Ace Bailey instead. It was a near-fatal blow that resulted in Bailey fracturing his skull ending his career prematurely.

As the All-Star game would prove, the two famed skaters Shore and Bailey made amends. They showed the world by shaking hands at center ice during the pre-game ceremony. The Stanley Cup Champions would go on to defeat Shore and the rest of the All-Star team with a four-point lead (7-3). A total of $20,909.40 was raised at the Maple Leaf Gardens for Ace Bailey and his family.

All-Star Format Developments

The All-Star game began as a contest between the defending Stanley Cup Champions and a group of elite players throughout the league. This format would go on to last around 21 years (from 1947 to 1968) except two seasons 1951 and 1952. During this time, the NHL pitted a group of First Team All-Stars, consisting of players from American teams, against a squad of Second Team All-Stars. Players hailing from the Great White North, Canada, were added as well. This game style was short lived after both games ended in ties.

The game witnessed its third major format change in 1969, when the league decided to have players from the Wales (Eastern) Conference and Campbell (Western) Conference battle it out. This conference-based format dominated the way All-Star games were played for 29 years up until the introduction of a new, international format. Beginning in 1998, the NHL emphasized its world-class talent by adopting a North American versus Worldstyle game. The strategy coincided with the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, where the NHL pitted top talent from North American against a team made up of strictly international skaters. Officials reverted to the conference-style game after a mere five years of international flavor.

The 2011 season saw the dawn of a new tournament, which adopted a draft system commonly used in fantasy sports. Stars from each division: Atlantic, Pacific, Central, and Metropolitan compete in a three-on-three tournament divided into three 20-minute games. Each team is drafted two days before the game by selected captains who will lead the teams. The rules were modified in 2016; this change enabled fans to elect captains for their respective teams while the remaining 40 players were named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department.

The format of the All-Star game is not the only thing that has been changing. Read on to see how the All-Star jersey has evolved since the event began.

Notable Jersey Changes

 

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1957: The All-Stars utilize white as their primary jersey color with a red and blue stripe pattern running from sleeve to sleeve. The NHL logo is placed in the center of the jersey with five blue stars above it.

1963: Red and blue are switched out for orange and black for this ’63 fit matching the colors of the NHL’s logo. Players numbers are added to the center with only two orange stars above, one on the left, another on the right. The team ditches the stripe pattern and replaces it with a new loop design on the shoulders.

1968: The newly modified jersey includes the orange and black color scheme, but traditional stripes replaces the loops on the sleeves. The shirttail features a thick black stripe with two additional stripes above it, outlined in orange.

1982: With plenty of stars on the ice, it was only fitting to feature them on the jerseys as well. Dozens of black stars are placed in various spots on the jersey. Orange fill covers the forearm and runs down the bottom portion to form a triangle shape. Player names are arched along the back in orange with a black outline.

1986: The format of the All-Star game is changed to a conference versus conference format. Orange, black, and white remain in use as the color scheme for both conferences. The stars are reduced; they’re now located along the shirttail as well as on the upper sleeve. The right shoulder features the NHL logo while the left honors the All-Star badge. Player numbers are placed underneath each patch. To differentiate the conference, “WALES” (Eastern) and “CAMPBELL” (Western) diagonally slope down the front of the jersey.

1989: The Western Conference All-Stars replace orange as their primary color with a sleek black. An orange stripe is added to the bottom of each jersey, and the stars along the sleeves are removed. The NHL logo makes its way back to the center of the jersey but is removed from the right shoulder.

1993: Each jersey features a minor color modification mainly to the players’ names and their respective numbers.  

1994: For the first time in history, the All-Star jerseys undergo a major change. A huge star is featured on the front of each jersey turquoise for the Eastern Conference and purple for the Western Conference; this design will eventually go on to be used as the Dallas Stars primary logo. The name and numbers on the Eastern Conference’s jersey are black, and outlined by silver trim.

1998: The style of the All-Star game changes once again to a North America versus World format. Each jersey features a “rising sun” design with a blue, red, silver and white color scheme. Team logos adorn the players’ right shoulders. The flag of their home country is placed above the NHL logo in the center.

2000: The players wear colored jerseys this season: red for World and navy blue for North America. The NHL logo now sits inside a stripe that runs across the chest; however, they don two interesting changes are made: a polo-style collar is added, and the player numbers are placed on top of their names.

2002: During the final year of the North America versus World format, the team wears colored jerseys. The font size of the players’ numbers increase, and the players ditch the polo-style collar for a classic lace-up look.

2003: Players revert to the Eastern versus Western Conference format; they abandon the maroon jersey for a pure white look. Star patches replace the home-country flags, and the players’ numbers can be found on the left bottom end.

2004: The All-Star game takes place in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they unveil a vintage jersey style. Conference names replace the NHL logo in the center.

2007: After skipping two years of style opportunities, the All-Star game makes its return with the premiere of the Reebok Edge jersey set.

2011: In addition to the All-Star game taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina officials serve up a fresh jersey. Players numbers appear in four spots: above the NHL logo, on both sleeves, and on the back. Three stars align the front and back of the shirttail, and stripes run along the underside of the sleeves as well as the front of the cuffs.

2015: Maintaining a similar style to the 2011 jersey this year’s uniform incorporates a neon green, silver, black, and white color scheme. The script “All-Star” appears on the upper-left side of the uniform’s torso area.

2016: This year sees a new tournament format; the jersey gets an update too. Each division utilizes black, gray, white, and gold as its primary colors. Players numbers are located on either sleeve in addition to the back of the jersey. Both jerseys feature a gold trim along the shirttail and cuffs.

Looking Back to Look Forward

Between the different game formats and the radical jersey changes, the NHL All-Stars definitely know how to keep fans on their toes. Earlier in 2016, the Los Angeles Kings announced they will host the 2017 NHL All-Star game at the Staples Center – located in the heart of La La Land. The top players in each division will head over to Southern California on Jan. 29, 2017, to battle in a tournament-style, all-out exhibition.

No matter which conference or division you follow, you’ve got to be prepared. Fanatics has got you covered with all the coast-to-coast NHL essentials. Fanatics features a range of dynamic merchandise, from jerseys and helmets to banners and bobbleheads.

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