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The NBA Origins Project — Part II

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 (Part II)” which he describes below. If you missed Part I, click here.


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The NBA Origins Project (Part II)
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.


Minnesota Timberwolves (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Founded in 1989, the Timberwolves have brought basketball back to the Twin Cities. Before switching to their iconic KG era color scheme, the team wore blue/green for the first 7 years of their existance.


New Jersey Americans (Brooklyn Nets)

The Nets were founded in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans, before renaming to the Nets in 1968. The team wore variations of red/blue for a majority of their existence until going black/white in their move to Brooklyn.


New Orleans Jazz (Utah Jazz)

The Jazz originated in New Orleans in 1974 with a full blown Mardi Gras color scheme. The Jazz only lasted 5 years before moving to their home in Utah.


New York Knicks (New York Knicks)

The Knicks (Knickerbockers in full) have been around since 1946. The team has worn a mostly blue/orange color scheme, except for a few years wearing navy/burgundy (1979-1983). To differentiate from the current set, I colored the jersey similar to what they first wore in 1946.


Orlando Magic (Orlando Magic)

The Magic were founded in 1989 and haven’t done much with their color scheme, except for changing the shade of blue being used. For this design I did something that is similar, but different.


Philadelphia Warriors (Golden State Warriors)

The Warriors have been in the league since 1946 and have mostly worn a blue/yellow color scheme. The team made to move from Philadelphia to California in 1962.


Phoenix Suns (Phoenix Suns)

The Suns first formed in 1968 rocking a vibrant purple and orange color scheme. The team would rock that scheme for their entire existence, of course to varying different shades and the inclusion of black in many seasons.


Portland Trail Blazers (Portland Trail Blazers)

The Blazers were founded in 1970, and, basically, have had the same color scheme since their inception (switched from scarlet red to red in 1990). The sash was first introduced in 1977 and have been a mainstay for the team ever since.


Rochester Seagrams (Sacramento Kings)

Many people know about the Rochester/Kansas City Royals, but when the team was founded in 1923 they were called the Seagrams. They were a semi-professional team sponsored by the Eber Brothers and Seagrams liquor companies. Uncertain on colors, so I went with the Royals colors.


San Diego Rockets (Houston Rockets)

The Rockets were founded in San Diego in 1967. The team went with Green/Yellow and swapped in red to replace green after they moved to Houston in 1971.


Seattle Supersonics (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Here’s the one where everyone goes off the rails…

The Sonics were founded 1967 and relocated to OKC in 2008. The team wore green/yellow during their time in Seattle.


Syracuse Nationals (Philadelphia 76ers)

The Nationals were founded in 1946 and would relocate and rename to the 76ers in 1963. The franchise mostly wore a combo of red/blue, but added black in 1997 during the Allen Iverson days.


Toronto Raptors (Toronto Raptors)

The Raptors were founded in 1995 and have only called Toronto their home. The team for the from 1995-2008 had purple as one of the main colors in their color scheme, before dropping it for a simple red/black scheme.


Vancouver Grizzlies (Memphis Grizzlies)

The Grizzlies were originally founded in Vancouver in 1995. Due to many factors effecting the team, the team relocated Memphis in 2001, and also explored a possible name change.


Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (Detroit Pistons)

The Pistons were founded in 1937 under owner Fred Zollner, who owned Zollner Corporation, a foundry that manufactured pistons. The team would move to Detroit in 1957. The team wore blue/red, with a brief hiatus for their teal era from 1996-2001.

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Thanks, Casey! This was a really fun project — and an NBA uni history lesson to boot. Thanks for sharing!

Readers? What say you?

Comments (9)

    In part 1 – they originated as the Chicago Packers, changed to Zephyrs in year 2 and moved to Baltimore for year 3.

    Other than the mountains of New Orleans, I think these work pretty well. NJA and NYK are both pretty boring, but WYGD? Somehow the Nets unis look a lot better in black than they do in red.

    I’m interested to know what Casey considers “scarlet” to be. I always thought it was a deep/dark red (I guess close to crimson), but in recent years I’ve seen it used to refer to brighter shades of red. A Google Image search serves up both results.

    Sonics’ Mt Rushmore of villains:

    David Stern
    Howard Shultz
    Clay Bennett
    David Stern

    The Commish is there twice for his “I have a playoff game to get to” comment.

    I REALLY can’t wait for the Sonics to come back, OKC should not be in Sonics colors. Period.

    You did good with these, but I will vehemently disagree with the OKC one. You should’ve went with the first uniforms from OKC arrival until now.

    Sorry I will disagree with you on just that one.

    What the NBA did to the Pacific NW by allowing the Sonics to… I don’t even know how to write it, has so soured me on the league to this day. It is just about the money, just about the money, just about the money.
    The Philly Warrior one is amazing.

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