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The NBA Origins Project — Part I

Long-time and weekend readers will recognize the name Casey Vitelli, who has shared hundreds of concepts with me on Uni Watch over the past decade or so. Casey returns today with his newest: The “NBA Origins Project,” which he describes below.


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The NBA Origins Project (Part I)
by Casey Vitelli

This project focuses on the idea of teams keeping their original name, colors, and where they originated. This information is pulled from personal research for every team. I hope you enjoy this history lesson. I sure had a lot of fun researching for these designs.

If you want to grab the template used, head over here.

Boston Celtics (Boston Celtics)

The Boston Celtics have not had many changes in their lifetime, so I had to put yellow in. According to TruColor.Net, yellow was a part of the color scheme during the team’s inception.

Buffalo Bisons (Atlanta Hawks)

The Hawks first formed in 1946 as the Buffalo Bisons in the NBL. The team only lasted one year and became the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. I was unable to find any information on their color scheme, so I used the colors of the Blackhawks logo (1946-1949 NBL/1949-1951 NBA).

Buffalo Braves (Los Angeles Clippers)

The Clippers were founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves and played there through 1978 until they moved west and became the San Diego Clippers. The team wore this color scheme through 1971 before switching to the color scheme we all recognize them using, black and orange.

Charlotte Bobcats (Charlotte Hornets)

The Bobcats are the most recent expansion team to join the league in 2004. With the Hornets in New Orleans at the time, Charlotte had to use a different name. The Hornets of those days would become the Pelicans in 2013, paving the way for the Hornets to return home to Charlotte.

Charlotte Hornets (New Orleans Pelicans)

There is a lot of confusion with this one…

The Pelicans originated as the Charlotte Hornets in 1988 and moved to New Orleans in 2002. The team changed their team name to the Pelicans in 2013, which opened the door for the Bobcats to take the Hornets name in 2014.

Chicago Bulls (Chicago Bulls)

The Bulls, who first formed in 1966, are another team where there hasn’t been much change in colors and logos. For this I swapped out the Bulls wordmark for Chicago, similar to what the team wore in 1970.

Chicago Packers (Washington Wizards)

The Wizards were founded in 1961 as the Chicago Packers before changing their name to the Zephyrs in 1962. The team moved to Baltimore in 1963, only lasting a few years in Chicago.

Cleveland Cavaliers (Cleveland Cavaliers)

The Cavs first formed in 1970 and have had many different eras of color schemes, including wine/gold and blue/orange. The colors from the beginning and now are different enough, but decided to put the “CAVS” wordmark on the front of this jersey.

Dallas Chaparrals (San Antonio Spurs)

The Chaparrals were founded in 1967 and changed their name to the Spurs in 1973 when they moved to San Antonio. The team wore “Chaps” on their uniform for a portion of the time as the Chaparrals.

Dallas Mavericks (Dallas Mavericks)

The Mavs formed in 1980. The team got it’s name from the 1957–1962 TV western , Maverick. Their colors at the start include green, which many fans of the team wish was still a part of their color scheme to this day.

Denver Rockets (Denver Nuggets)

The Nuggets first formed in 1967 as the Rockets before changing their name to the Nuggets in 1974. People may remember Melo and the Nuggets rocking a Rockets throwback jersey against the Houston Rockets in 2007.

Indiana Pacers (Indiana Pacers)

Founded in 1967, the Pacers have had many iconic uniforms. Their color schemes, not so much… They have rocked a blue/yellow combo since their inception. The first color scheme featured a royal blue, compared to the navy they wear today.

Miami Heat (Miami Heat)

Founded in 1988, the Heat have not done a lot with their color schemes. They used a mainly Red/Black/White scheme with a hint of yellow/orange. This jersey used the original colors with the wordmark/number matching the original design, black with a white stroke.

Milwaukee Bucks (Milwaukee Bucks)

The Bucks were founded in 1968 alongside the Phoenix Suns. They would rock the green/red scheme from 1968-1989 before switching to a multi green scheme.

Minneapolis Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers)

The Lakers were founded in Minneapolis in 1947. The team did not have purple in the identity until 1967, 7 years after relocating to Los Angeles.

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Thanks, Casey! This is a really fun project — and a NBA uni history lesson to boot.

Readers? What say you?

Comments (9)

    I understand it probably isn’t the popular opinion, but I will always prefer the Bucks in red and green. I wish we could see past the Christmas connotations and more teams would use them. They’re complementary colors that work well and are a strong combination, and I’ll always either associate the teams identity with Kareem’s years (I was only a baby) or with the green and purple jerseys of the 90s. They’re not bad uniforms, but I’d still be glad to see blue and cream leave the scheme.

    These were also all very well done. Apologies for the double comment, I just didn’t want to leave a maybe negative one without complementing the artist.

    Understandably, an exercise in finessing old teams, seeing as Buffalo wound up with two squads. Reading from my playbook as the shorts are included, I still like to see what the backs look like. I agree with the other commenter that the Bucks should stick with the red+green but it is possible they have problems moving souvenirs in that color scheme.

    Nice work and history lesson! I’d like to see the Bucks go back to red and green as well.

    I’d prefer the Bulls to revert back to white lettering trimmed in black on the red uniforms (not to mention going back to “Chicago”).

    Hey Phil, can you correct a typo?
    “The Clippers were founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves and played their through 1978…”
    Please change the “their” to “there”.


    I also would like to see the Bucks go back to hunter green and red. (Same for the NJ Devils.)

Comments are closed.