The Toronto Raptors unveiled a pair of new alternate jerseys on Tuesday, one that reaches back to basketball’s rich early history in the city and another that helps represent the city’s multi-cultural makeup. The new alternates include a Toronto Huskies design and a red Chinese New Year jersey, which the team announced with a twitter video late this morning.
Raptors to don Huskies & Chinese New Year uniforms in 2016-17. #WeTheNorth
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 23, 2016
You can see full galleries of the new uniforms here, but here are your primary looks:
The Raptors first teased the reveal on social media on Monday, but you can go back three years for the first hint at the Huskies design – the incredibly successful We The North campaign has long had nods to the Huskies heritage, to the point that I’ve basically been waiting for an announcement like this since 2013-14. I’m a huge fan of this look and the nod to the history of the game here, which included the first ever BAA (later, the NBA) game being played in Toronto 70 years ago this year. The Huskies only existed for a single season, but hosting the first ever game of what would become the NBA is a pretty big deal (it’s just too bad the Raptors can’t play an anniversary game at Maple Leaf Gardens). I’ve seen some say the design is a little plain, but that’s almost surely the point when it’s a throwback to seven decades ago.
Here’s what the Raptors said of the inspiration for the kit on their website:
THE RISE OF THE NORTH HAS BEEN STEADY, BUT OUR BASKETBALL ROOTS RUN MUCH DEEPER. HOSTING THE INAUGURAL GAME OF WHAT WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME THE NBA, THE TORONTO HUSKIES WERE THE ORIGINAL OUTSIDERS, AND THIS SEASON – THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THAT TEAM – WE HONOUR THEIR LEGACY… AND WHAT IT HAS BECOME.
I’m a minimalist when it comes to jerseys anyway, but seriously, I love these and don’t care if I wind up in the minority. I haven’t bought a jersey since Jose Calderon but may need to break the streak for a Cory Joseph or Gino Sovran throwback Huskies.
As for the Chinese New Year jersey, it’s kind of about time the Raptors had one given the make-up of the city (with an estimated 532,000 Chinese Canadians) and how many other teams already have one. The jersey is red, a lucky color, includes a dragon head, since Raptor and Dragon share a Chinese character, and blends the dragon, the Raptors logo, and the characters that make up Toronto in Mandarin. Look closely at this. It’s so dope.
Here’s what the Raptors website says of the jersey:
THE RAPTORS WILL BE ONE OF THREE TEAMS TO LAUNCH A CHINESE NEW YEAR JERSEY FOR THE 2016-17 SEASON. FOR INFORMATION ON THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE JERSEY CLICK THE VIEW GALLERY BUTTON BELOW.
Chinese New Year begins on Jan. 28 this year, so look for the Raptors to wear the jersey a couple of times between then and the conclusion on Feb. 15. The Raptors have 10 games, including five home games, during that stretch.
The Huskies jersey will be available in stores in October, with a date to be announced later for the Chinese New Year offering.
(Jersey photos courtesy Raptors.com. That old flier courtesy Imgur.)