There’s a contest going on where the public gets to pick a member of the Dance Pak, and I’m about to give my vote to this one right here, simply because her “All Time Favorite Player” is Aaron Gray. Let that sink in. Aaron Gray is her All Time Favorite Player. All Time. Like, since the beginning of time. To each his own and far be it from me to cast aspersions on anyone’s knowledge of basketball, but I would suggest she’s either 1) never watched a Raptors game, 2) highly values lumbering 7-footers, or 3) has Gray confused with Aaron Carter. I don’t know.

It is a Friday before the long weekend (for me at least, I’m taking Monday off) so let us divert our attention to a milder topic, one related to the rumoured re-brand. We’re receiving various types of entries for our contest for said initiative and as I was perusing through the submissions, I felt a need to step back and question why there’s even a need for a re-brand.

The name of the team is the least of the franchise’s problems (it’s not we’re called the Bobcats), and focusing time, money, and energy on such an initiative speaks to the wrong focus. The Raptors are an established brand which has been unfortunately associated with losing, and if MLSE hopes to shed that loser label by changing the brand they’re in for a disappointment. The secret, of course, is winning. Look at the Clippers, they’re a perfect example of a team being associated with losing for decades (remember the Paper Clips?), and all it took to turn them around is a couple drafts.

This belief that the team being named after a mid-90s movie is somehow silly doesn’t compute. So what if we’re named after Jurassic Park? If anything it’s a great reminder of the days when this team was conceived, and last time I checked the dinosaur was a powerful beast of an animal which ruled the earth. Sure, it became instinct but it’s not like it ‘lost’ to another animal – almost the whole planet was wiped out! I never did understand those extinction jokes because guess what dude, if there were any hornets, pelicans, bulls, or huskies out there, they would’ve evaporated much faster than a 1000-ton dinosaur.

This infatuation with the Huskies is cute and sentimental. The side-effect of having both the basketball and hockey teams in the city wear blue and white is almost too much for the marketing department at MLSE to pass up, and it’s for that reason that I think the change will eventually happen. The chance for the thus-far-failed basketball franchise to start “fresh” is tempting but the long-time suffering fan in me would find it much sweeter to see the Raptors do something worthwhile than these new Huskies. It would be like the Raptors paying the price but the Huskies reaping the rewards. Or something like that.

The mistake the Raptors have made is abandoning the purple and I’m sure it was the Barney jokes that did it. You might recall that when that color change happened the exact same talk was being bandied about – ‘culture of losing’, ‘fresh start’, etc. How’d that work out? We were that kid in school who everybody made fun because of their clothes, and instead of staying original, not caring what others think and marching on, we folded and changed our clothes. Except that people still made fun of us, only this time it was the way we walked or talked, or in this case, played basketball.

What I’m getting to is that we should bring back the purple. It’s original (well, the Kings) and it’s part of our history, no matter how wrought with losing. The alignment of our team colors with the Canadian flag is about as lame as it gets. I realize we tried to be “Canada’s team” but if you ask a lot of basketball fans in Canada, they consider the Raptors anything but, mostly because people outside of Toronto in Canada generally don’t like Toronto. It’s also very presumptuous to think that geographical affiliation at the country level is enough to win over fans.

You can laugh all you want at those original jerseys, but to me there were four small things wrong with it:

  1. The dinosaur graphic which instead of giving an impression of this gave an impression of this.
  2. Those vertical jagged stripes
  3. The font of the words ‘Toronto’
  4. Lack of a complementary color

Fix that and we should be good to go, and keep in mind that this wasn’t far from great.

Having said that, the Raptors are trying to bring the 2016 All-Star game to Toronto and I’d imagine any name change would happen well before that. My money’s on the 2014-15 season.

  • Marz

    Everywhere we go (Everywhere we go)
    People wanna know (People wanna know)
    Who we are (Who we are)
    So we tell them (So we tell them)

    We are the Purple (We are the Purple)
    The Mighty Mighty Purple (the Mighty Mighty Purple)

  • Dustin Silver

    I think you meant “extinct”. I love the purple colours but the barneysaur dribbling the ball always looked really cheesy. Who cares let try to win games first.

  • DDD

    bring back the purple, and keep the name raptors. its original and one of the better names out there tbh

  • robertparrish00

    I think the purple should come back immediately. I think the year with the purple on front and black on back was the best. That old logo was terrible.

    • SR

      I agree. I was a big fan of the white/red/black colour change at first, but there are two many games now where the Raptors look like they’re just wearing the alternate jerseys of the opposing team. The purple jerseys were unique, in a good way.

      • Conor

        YES. What this team needs is tradition. If I had the reins I’d go back to the Carter-era purple jerseys and for the LOVE OF GOD, pick A song for the opening ceremonies and stick with it. None of this changing year-to-year (or now week-to-week). When you try to chase what’s cool, you never are. I can live with Kardinal’s “T-dot anthem” but my secret dream would be for us to flat out steal ‘Jump Around’. I always felt the purpose of pre-game music is so that in a home playoff game the music helps creates a 2% chance that a fan gets a LITTLE too jacked up and tries to stab someone on the opposing team with a plastic fork. I don’t WANT the stabbing to happen, I just want the other team’s line-up to be that TINY bit uncomfortable. Tell me the opening notes of Jump Around doesn’t create that scenario…

  • JA

    Instead of a full rebrand, you could keep the name Raptors, and instead slap on an image of a F-22 Raptor fighter jet.

    • Nilanka15

      Not sure I like the proposal, but definite kudos for thinking outside the box!

    • Bendit

      Like the Winnipeg Jets logo I suppose? What is with the need for militaristic association….does the F-22 have any qualities other than being an engineering/electronic marvel which is a warring, destructive and killing machine?

      • mike, prague

        Like a Raptor from Jurassic Park

  • robert_

    I’d keep the Raptors name but make the primary team colors BLUE and WHITE to align with the majority of the Toronto pro teams (Argos, Blue Jays, Leafs). It makes too much sense. I agree, focusing on being Canada’s team is a lost cause. The time zone difference make it a huge problem if the Raptors brass insist at having a mojority of their games at weekday 7PM EST (4PM EST) and at Sunday 12PM EST (9 AM PST).

    • Nilanka15

      The Argos aren’t a pro sports team :p

      • Conor

        Hey now. Until someone else here wins a title they get to stay “pro”. (Another benefit of somebody, anybody, winning something).

        • Nilanka15

          Did they win a title? Or did they simply establish themselves as the 33rd best football team in North America?

          • Conor

            Well, d’uh. Nobody said they won the Super Bowl. They don’t even play the same game.

            But by your logic there is no such thing as a Calder Cup, a World Junior Title, A FA Cup title, a La Liga title (since those aren’t UEFA), A Euro title (or World Cup — I’ll let you decide which of those competitions is “best”), and do we count Gold Medals? Or only World Championship Track and Field overall titles? We might as well turn Breeders Cup winners into glue too, I suppose.

            I assume you also gave back all the awards you won playing sports, since none of those are from the highest level of competition available on the continent (unless Nilanka15 is a pseudonym for Michael Jordan in which case, “Your Airness”, my bad.)

            • Nilanka15

              Some titles are worth honoring. Being the best team in a league of 8, isn’t high on my list.

              But whatever floats your boat(men).

              • Conor

                In this city, we gotta grab whatever we can…

                It’s an interesting question though: money aside, would you rather be Anthony Calvillo or a Jamie Martin or Jonathan Quinn?

                Is it best to be the biggest fish in a MUCH smaller pond, or a totally nameless fish in the best pond?

                Then again, I’d rather be the 10th man on the Spurs than D.D.

              • SR

                This is a stupid criticism of the CFL. Of course it’s a second-tier league. But so is the OHL. So is amateur competition at the Olympics. So is the IRL (See ya later, Molson/Honda Indy! T-Dot’s too grown up for you!). So is virtually every event Toronto puts on. Like the theatre scene? Well it ain’t Broadway, that’s for sure. Like the waterfront? It’s not the goddamn Mediterranean, so get over it. Enjoy the culture, the restaurants, the shopping? Well you’re not New York, Paris, or Tokyo, so you may as well stay home and use E-Bay, since you’re all too good for anything that isn’t top-tier.

                Morons. This criticism is birthed out of Toronto’s ridiculously insecure drive to self-define as “World Class.” The CFL isn’t “world class,” so we’ve decided we’re far too cool for it! We’d rather drive across the border to see the Bills. Now there’s world class football! The Buffalo Bills! Yes sir.

                All sarcasm aside, a good sporting event is a good sporting event, and all kinds of levels of competition can be worth your time and money.

  • SR

    I still hate the name. The difference between most of the animals you mention and the Raptors is that a decent animal name has a regional association with the city. A Raptor has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the city of Toronto. If the team had come along 10 years earlier would they be The Terminators? 10 years later and they would be The Incredibles? Maybe The Mean Girls? The Raptors always was and always will be a stupid non sequitur of a name to give to any professional team in the city of Toronto.

    That said….

    Everything normalize with the passage of time. Several young NBA players (who don’t play for this team) have actually worn Raptors gear in public, KD actually said they were his favourite team, and Wiggins has said he’d like to play for them if he could choose. The Raptors haven’t started winning, but for this next generation they’re “normal.” They’re not a crappy expansion team to these guys, they’re just another NBA team – one that used to have Vince Carter, wear purple, and rock a big cartoon dinosaur. And the kids actually kind of like it.

    I’ve come around. I’m fine with the Raptors. Huskies, although at least a little more “Canadian,” really isn’t an improvement. It’s another fairly generic sports team name, and you’d have to focus on differentiating yourself from the Timberwolves. No confusion there when we’ve got a freaking dinosaur.

    (P.S. This stupid Disqus plug-in has a very small vocabulary. It even highlights “Disqus” as a spelling error. Nice going.)

  • UnsungHero

    Look. I think the huskies is a good idea.

    1. The raptors name was cheesy and gimmicky way back then and its silly now. Love the team but always had to overlook that.

    2. Blue is the traditional colour of Toronto. Even before the leafs. The Varsity Blues. The argonauts. The Leafs. The Blue Jays.

    3. All teams that have the best brands in sports have something about their uniforms thats “classic” and non- descriptly cool. Are Red Sox intrinsicly cool? NO. But their uniforms are. I lived a good chunk of my life and never knew what a Bruin was. What is a NY ranger? You can’t tell from the uniforms and thats why they are amazing. What the heck is Knickerbocker anyway? Whats a Laker? A cargo boat on a lake? Certainly has nothing to do with LA. Does it matter? No. The intrinsic qualities of the animal your naming after are in many ways irrrelvant. I like the huskies uniforms because it suggests classic uniforms that are kinda Boston celticsy that are Toronto Blue.


      100 percent agree i think this is exactly the issue for me and i hope the people at mlse are thinking the same thing…

    • HogyG

      Does the Raptors name really sound any more silly than let’s say…the Pelicans? or than the Wizards? When you look at it, a raptor was a predatory animal that worked as a team to complete its goal. It was cunning, mobile and deadly everything you want out of a team, is it a little out of place and childish? Perhaps…but the kids love it, and everyone knows you gotta do it for the kids… not to mention, our mascot rules!

      No offense, but your 3rd point is a joke. You claim that the best brands are “classic” and “non-descriptly cool”, but what exactly is nondescript about a husky, do you not know what one is? I know, the giant dog face or the word Huskies plastered across the front of the uniforms would make for a tough guess as to what we could be possibly represented by. Perhaps the examples you used have symbols that don’t represent their names, a big B in a circle has nothing to do with a bear in my mind either, but for the most part the rest use their names as the logo, a Knickerbocker is a really old school term for the aristocrats in Manhattan, Lakers don’t make sense in Los Angeles but they do in Minneapolis the land of a thousand lakes where they relocated from, and the Red Sox ingeniously used a sweaty red sock to represent. So sure, lets all just take a page from them I guess.

      Granted, our original symbol of a purple dinosaur dribbling a basketball had something left to be desired, but our current logo of the ball with claws is sweet, sick, dope, fresh, hip, outta sight, groovy or whatever neato word you wanna put in there. Don’t believe me, just ask the back of Amir Johnson’s head! Also, it meets your criteria of being nondescript unlike your desire of reverting back to the Huskies.

      Also, in my opinion, much like there is a separation of church and state, there should be a separation of hockey and basketball in this town. It’s bad enough that the affiliation that owns the Raptors is known as MapleLeaf Sports Entertainment (just to let everyone know what’s first in their hearts), we certainly don’t need to emulate their colours as well. It’s actually nice to stick out and be different, and as basketball fans in Canada we stick out already. Please, don’t brand me with their colours, let us stand out and be recognized as the basketball fans we are!

      Let’s Go Raptors!

    • Edgar

      99% of a names worth goes out the window if people insist on changing it ever 10 years…. Raptors are aggressive predatory animal – Barney the dinosaur logo + purple are long gone – I’m open to new jersey opinions but changing it every few years a la bobcats, wizards, pelicans just makes you look faddish/trendy and desperate for attention….

      IMO purple is not the way to go, but those original white uni’s NEED to be brought back a couple times a year….

      • Tim W.

        “changing it every few years a la bobcats, wizards, pelicans just makes you look faddish/trendy and desperate for attention.”

        Kind of like naming your sports team after a hit movie of the moment?


    how is purple original?

    the kings and the LAKERS both have it on the jersey as a key component saying that purple is original is one of the most ridiculous things (of many that you have put on this site…)

    there is no other team that has blue and white the way it is used on other toronto teams, so saying that purple is original while saying that blue and white is cute and sentimental (in an obviously negative way…) is not right imo… i think you are sort of out to lunch on that one…

    • HogyG

      I’m pretty sure the Lakers have actually changed from the purple to royal blue and gold for the past couple of seasons as they used to wear throughout various stretches of the past. It’s a slight change that most people chalk up to a problem with the colour on the TV, or simply don’t notice at all.

      That said, it’s the red and black uniforms that are truly unremarkable as the Bulls, Hawks, Heat, Houston, and Portland have both colours promptly represented, not to mention Brooklyn, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Cleveland are rocking one or the other as a main staple in their jersey as well.

      As for no team being blue and white (different or otherwise) you’d be mistaken as Orlando, and Dallas both rock the blue and white and Detroit, Denver, OKC, Washington, New Orleans, Minnesota and Memphis all have a heavily blued jersey in their repertoire. Hardly an original colour.

      Other than the Kings, the Suns, and the Lakers (kind of), no other team wears purple. And if you noticed, all of those teams are in the west making the purple an eastern standout, or as some may say an original. Plus, purple was in the the team’s original colours, so how could you dispute that call on any grounds?


    p.s. i like purple coming back just not as much as a total name change and i don’t agree with what the post had to say…

  • VancityRapsDiehard

    I think bring back the purple and pair it with red. There is no other team in NA pro sports using that combo and personally I love it. I have a couple raps hats that are red and purple and the combo is surprisingly awesome. Purple for the teams beginnings, red for the new/ Canada theme. As of yet there hasnt been a raps jersey that really embraced these two as the featured colours together ala Lakers purp and yellow, or Golden State new blue and yellow combo.

  • Paradigm Shift

    “I realize we tried to be “Canada’s team” but if you ask a lot of
    basketball fans in Canada, they consider the Raptors anything but,
    mostly because people outside of Toronto in Canada generally don’t like
    Toronto. It’s also very presumptuous to think that geographical
    affiliation at the country level is enough to win over fans.”

    As I basketball fan for about 35 years, who grew up in Montreal, and now lives Ottawa, it was difficult to begin cheering for a Toronto team. Maybe it was to ease that discomfort, that I began thinking of the Raptors as Canada’s team.

    I was already a basketball fan when the Raps and Grizz joined the league. I started by following NCAA basketball in 1978 and followed Magic to the NBA and the Lakers in 1979. I am not sure how many in the Republic can recall listening to the NBA finals on a staticy New york radio station in the car because they were not shown on live TV, but on tape delay after the evening news. B-Ball fans were thirsty for any information. There were no sports networks and no internet.

    I don’t know exactly when I became a “Raptors Fan”, but I know it had a lot to do with the fact that I wanted to watch basketball…any basketball I could find. Forgetting NBA League Pass for the moment, most of the basketball shown on Canadian TV is Raptors basketball. I think that makes the Raptors Canada’s team and I would imagine even the die hard fans of the game and haters of Toronto probably know more about the Raptors then any other NBA team.

  • Bill

    Sorry, as a Biology student I feel the need to nitpick :(

    Bees, wasps, ants, and other members of hymenoptera have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and managed to survive.

    The ancestor of all birds are classified in a group called paraves with the dromaeosaurs, which included the raptor, so in a way very closely related animals to raptors survived too. Also, rather than 1000 tons, raptors were this big:

    Finally it wasn’t evaporation but lack of food that killed animals off. The impact would most likely have blocked out the sun for a very long time, killing off many plants, which killed off the herbivores that depended on those plants, and the carnivores that depended on those herbivores.

    On topic, I much prefer the original jerseys too, and I absolutely hate the red and white or blue and white theme. Can we stop trying to represent Canada, or fall in line with the Leafs, and just be the Toronto Raptors, perpetual treadmillers with an inferiority complex about being abandoned and unloved?

  • KuH

    ‘Raptors’ has three problems: (1) it also means ‘birds of prey (like Hawks)’, (2) it is derived from the same root as ‘rapist’, and (3) it has no connection to Toronto, other than popular movie from the year we entered the league.

    Huskies: (1) means just northern dogs, (2) offers the better connotation of ‘husky’ as in ‘big’, (3) has a connection to Canada as an animal, and to Toronto for historical basketball reasons.

    Whichever we pick, I wonder if we could find a way to have a ‘pack’ logo. Both Raptors and Huskies run in packs. Basketball is a team/pack game. It would be great to have a logo that emphasized the team/pack element through having multiple creatures in the logo, not a ‘lone wolf’.

  • Andrey

    Well if they change it to Huskies people have to stop mentioning Vince Carter. You want to start fresh, Start fresh. But you can’t nitpick history and choose best parts.

  • Andrey

    but let’s be honest you just don’t want to rename your site to Huskies Republic lmao

  • Andrey

    “I was sitting around the house, kicking these names around with my wife and three sons, when my little son Mark said, ‘Dad, that’s a bunch of bull!’ I said, ‘That’s it! We’ll call them the Bulls!’ And that’s how the team got its nickname.”” That’s how Chicago Bulls got their name. So what, that Raptors name came from a movie, it has a ring to it. Lets start winning and people will forget about this whole rebrand thing.

  • hotshot

    another chick said her favorite Raptor’s of all time is “Rudy Gay”, yeah right sweetie, you never really followed basketball in Toronto. The most honest chick there is that Sefanie Bruno chick, she at least said Jose Calderon which shows she may know a thing or two.

  • Darien

    I’d love the purple back with the triclaw ball. The attempt to canadian-ize the raptors was pathetic and needs to stop. The little leaf at the back of the uniform is more than enough.

  • ItsAboutFun

    “The alignment of our team colors with the Canadian flag is about as lame
    as it gets. I realize we tried to be “Canada’s team” but if you ask a
    lot of basketball fans in Canada, they consider the Raptors anything
    but, mostly because people outside of Toronto in Canada generally don’t
    like Toronto. It’s also very presumptuous to think that geographical
    affiliation at the country level is enough to win over fans.”

    People in other parts of Canada don’t hate Toronto. They hate the frequency of running into Torontonians with ignorant attitudes like this, but that doesn’t stop many people across the country from being Blue Jays and Raptors fans. I don’t know what kind of numbers you’ve referenced when you say “a lot of basketball fans in Canada……”, but if those numbers go beyond a few of your acquaintances, I’d like to hear how they compare to the number of basketball fans in Canada that are Raptors fans.

    • Tim W.

      As someone who has not lived in Toronto for a long time, I can tell you that the general feeling towards Toronto from those outside of Toronto is not one of warmth. I wouldn’t say Zarar is wrong. I’ve lived in Vancouver for longer than I care to say and it’s extremely rare to find a Raptor fan here, even among those who play basketball.

      Also, the “ignorant attitude” comment is probably one of those snarky ones that we’d like to avoid, please. You could have probably come up with a less confrontational way to express your opinion.

      • ItsAboutFun

        I wasn’t calling anybody any names, but referring to an attitude that is very widely experienced and viewed in this country. Beyond that, as far as I know “ignorance” is not a bad word, particularly if it’s aptly applied, in this case not to a person but to an attitude. Is painting an entire population of this fine country with some childish “don’t like us” less offensive in your books? Please explain.

        As far as making a sweeping declaration of “a lot of basketball fans in Canada”, I’ll ask the same basic question: are you suggesting that your Vancouver acquaintances are a significant enough representation of the population of Canada basketball fans, as to make a marketing call for the Raptors? If not, then it would seem like a meaningless consideration in a discussion of branding/marketing the team with the intent of expanding the base. If I’m wrong, I’d love to hear the reasoning.

  • RaptorsFan

    Just remember that is Air Gray you’re dissing.

  • Jack Hodgins

    asked on Basketball Above All on facebook everyone seems for it but maybe that’s just because they think Vince Carter and Tracy Mcgrady will come back and be young again

  • cdub

    if the raptors change their name to huskies I might just bail, that name sounds like another canadian cliche. maybe our logo could be some huskies pulling a basketball on a sleigh. lets focus on winning and not changing the name, raptor fans are very loyal to have stayed with this team all these years and the last thing we need is a name change to a name that sucks

  • Homer Unking

    The “Huskies” sounds like a bunch of fat tubby dudes waddling around the court.

  • Merder

    Red and purple is dope. Everyone wins

  • Merder

    Nobody is red and purple, like ever unless I’m missing someone

  • ckh26

    Huskies vs Timberwolves in the “Howl-Fest” on the tundra… Yes it sucks… Like the Raptors and a return to the purple is OK too.

  • Craven Moorehead

    to me the purple n black is the raptors….once they went canada flag, i was like “who the fuck is this team” and mentally a disconnect formed…..every awesome memory i have of those inaugural seasons 95-98 then the vc years of awesomeness dont even register anymore… theres a void…..i dont feel like the history of our franchise is ours anymore because its not even our original colors….they just slowly phased our history out…..i still have an oak,alvin williams and jyd jersey.a purple n black raptors basketball…..its like its from a now defunct franchise/era………..fuck the raptors and their idiotic pr/marketing team.

  • gametime

    I agree, the purple was unique, it stood out… but it’s best to use the
    ‘old purple jerseys’ for throwback nights. Here’s why…

    For those with an agency background related to sports marketing and
    psychology, you already know part of your job is to educate franchises
    on how colours like “pink” and “purple” have a direct scientific
    correlation to a more frequent drop in-internal player morale,
    masculinity, and aggression (all things you want your team to be HIGH
    in, not low in). Add in demographic testing for the last 35 years in all major
    sports, and brand acceptance and the “cool” factor disappears in the
    presence of purples and pinks (in relation to men’s sports) after the
    initial shock/new-ness.

    The “ideal performance state” (IPS) for every athlete differs, however
    the baseline remains, and a rebuilding franchise specifically needs to
    convey strength with deep colours (like reds and blacks) to entice
    future draftees & FA’s with the feeling of excellence that they can
    be more internally proud to not only show-off, but to go the extra mile for. The Raptors name is right. The branding just needs to be more “grown up” and “fierce”.

  • Conor

    Frighteningly TWO of the contenders picked A.G. as their fave all-time Raptor. Interesting that every fave player is also currently on the team (I smell Tim L.’s meddling hands)

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