Remember Toronto’s original jerseys?
You know, those hideous pin-striped purple things?
Well the jersey, much like the team of late, has come a long way.
Earlier this evening Howland and I took in the unveiling of the Raptors’ newest jersey, a very chic yet Canadian take on the team’s vestments, and were quite impressed with how things turned out.
Yes, most expected a new third, black jersey, but to top it off, a small Canadian flag has been embroidered on the back near the players’ names as well.
From GM Bryan Colangelo:
"We are very excited about the concept of our new alternate jersey which brings black back into prominence while enhancing our staple color red," said Bryan Colangelo, president and general manager of the Raptors. "The inclusion of a maple leaf on the jersey is a tribute to all of Canada who we proudly represent."
The new uniform, which will be worn a minimum of six times on the road, will be showcased on two special occasions at Air Canada Centre during
the team's home opener Friday, October 31 and then again New Year's Eve.
The uniform will be an alternate road jersey and will make the Raptors the only team in NBA history to have a country specific element on their jersey.
As you can see from the photo above, this could easily become a very popular selling jersey, just based on the colour scheme alone.
And yes, a far cry from the original snarling cartoon Barney.
Matt Devlin got things started by introducing the evening and gave a small recap as well of the various off-season moves. From there it was on to Jose and CB4, the only two Raptors in attendance, who showed off their Olympic treasures of silver and gold. The two answered questions about their Olympic experience and Jose assured all, including Bosh before the gold medal game apparently, that his prior groin injury was not serious. (Jose went on to explain later in media huddles that he was not feeling any ill effects from it either.)
Things concluded with numerous photo sessions and a chance for some lucky fans to get up close and personal with the two players.
Besides the jersey unveiling however, there was something else quite interesting that stood out in my mind. Many times during Devlin’s questions, Jose and Bosh would joke back and forth, one playing off the other’s sense of humour. In fact, the banter the two got me thinking about the Ford trade again and how perhaps Jose all along was better suited to be CB4’s running mate.
I can remember back to when the first "trade TJ" comments starting coming out and with them seemed to be legitimate concern over whether or not Bosh would react negatively if his Texas-mate was dealt. Everyone assumed that Bosh and Ford were best friends forever, and that moving one would create malaise regarding the other.
However as we’ve seen in the past year via his various Youtube and TV appearances, Chris Bosh is a quirky guy. In fact, he has a very specific sense of humour and personality and watching him interact with Jose today, a similar personality, I’m wondering now if these two weren’t always a more natural fit.
That’s not to say that TJ and Chris aren’t best friends or won’t be going forward, but it is to say that today’s event made me realize just how much off-court chemistry Jose and Chris seem to already have…and have maybe had for a while.
The other thing that was quite evident was just how excited Bosh was to have O’Neal on board. Said Bosh: "I was just playing with him in practice today and man…he’s big, he blocks everything."
It’s always great to see players anxious to start the season, especially with new additions, and I’m thinking that Monday’s media day will reveal many more such comments.
Finally, the one central theme about the upcoming season from both players seemed to be talks of chemistry. While most of the core remains the same from last year, JO and Jose’s permanent placement into the starting line-up shuffles the deck a bit and the additions of folks like Hassan Adams and Roko Ukic mean that there will still need to be some degree of "gelling" done early on.
The hope of course is that the majority of this bonding occurs early in the season (or in fact by the end of training camp in Ottawa) and with a number of the Raptors working out together recently and at times during the off-season, hopefully this process is expedited.
Otherwise the new black jerseys could take on an all new meaning…