Purple Raptor's Majesty
February 25, 2008 | Kevin Zdancewicz


In searching for pictures of the Wizards’ alternate uniform from last week’s column, I somehow came across a picture of the original purple Toronto Raptors’ jersey. How awesome were these? I remember when the new Toronto franchise first announced its nickname and unveiled its logos and uniforms. Given that I was nine-years old and already a fan of dinosaurs, slapping a big red raptor on the front of a jersey was pretty much the best thing a team could do, in my eyes.

The uniform design itself is notable for a number of reasons. Obviously, the raptor logo is the first thing that catches your eye. I think it’s a really cool mark and you’ve got to love when animal mascots wear fake uniforms of their team, like the raptor’s “R” jersey here and the dolphin’s “M” helmet for the Miami football franchise. With the team’s logo dominating the front of the jersey, the notion of including uniform numerals on the front – which is central to most basketball jerseys - appears to have been an afterthought for the Raptors. On top of that, there are the black and silver, vertical jagged stripes down the jerseys and shorts, plus the stylized nameplate on the backs. All together, these are some of the most unique uniforms in history and I still think they looked good to this day.

What other uniforms can you think of that had an animal logo just chilling on the front of the jersey? While hockey sweaters traditionally place team logos on the front and football jerseys don’t have any room for them, I did come up with a few examples from basketball and baseball. First there are these hideous Atlanta Hawks uniforms from the late 1990s. This Detroit Pistons look technically counts even though the team’s nickname is not an animal. (I think the logo is for horse-power.) On the diamond, the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays are good, understated examples, but the Tampa Bay Devil Rays original uniform definitely takes the cake for an animal covering the jersey.

Photo Courtesy of ViewImages.com