Remember the Purple

6 mins read

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.

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