A few weeks back, in a season filled with pleasant surprises on the court, the Toronto Raptors announced that the team would be wearing the purple ‘Dino’ throwback jersey on occasion in the 2014-2015 season. Now, I was born in 1991, my very first basketball memories were of the Jordan Bulls second three-peat run growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Ahh, nostalgia…
It wasn’t until much later that I began following the Raptors, and by the time I truly became an enthusiast, the distinctive cartoony purple the Raps had donned since their inception had been removed from their color scheme entirely. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your fashion preference), I never had the chance to experience or witness those quirky, 90s-esque ‘Dino’ jerseys in real time. How cool would it have been to gotten a Tracy McGrady Dino jersey? That jersey has to be on the short list of, ‘Jersey I’d still wear as an adult.’
I know nothing of fashion, I dress fairly regularly and conservatively, but you can bet I’m incorporating a DeMar DeRozan Dino throwback jersey into my wardrobe. I haven’t bought a jersey in years; I think the last one I purchased was an Andrei Kirilenko Utah Jazz throwback in his AK-47 days. But I LOVE the Dino jerseys. They’re loopy, yet facile. If there’s ever been an artwork for a jersey that relegated fans towards a definitive stance on, ‘love ‘em or hate ‘em’ it’s gotta be the Dino jerseys.
Today, the Raptors have a sharp look to their jerseys. Recognizable, flashy-enough, and sleek. The look has been refined time-and-time again, and may not be completely refined quite yet, either. Team Ambassador Drake and president and CEO or Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Tim Leiweke have discussed an incorporation of black and gold as a possible color identity for the team. On “Drake Night” (Jan. 11), black and gold were the colors representing Drake, as hosted by the Raptors.
Regardless, the Dino jerseys are being brought back to celebrate the team’s 20th Anniversary, which is great reason to celebrate in that – The Raptors are Canada’s only remaining professional basketball franchise, for a country that has 27 Canadian players participating in this years’ NCAA March Madness tournament. Basketball is booming in Canada. The Raptors are playing the best basketball they’ve played since Chris Bosh left. The Dino jerseys are a celebration of the past, but a reminder that the future is now for basketball in Canada.