Fly Away On My Zephyr
2008 | Kevin
We’ve talked about NBA throwbacks before
(look for the baseball edition of the
“Kicking It Old School” series sometime this semester) and I mentioned
going retro works really well on the hardwood since basketball uniforms
simple. We talked about the Washington Wizards’ unique gold and black alternates last year. Well,
those two topics together, as Washington has worn alternate throwbacks
for a few games this season.
I know what you’re thinking:
were the Wizards ever called the Washington Zephyrs? I know they were
Bullets, but I’ve never heard of the Zephyrs!” Ok, first of all, calm
answer to your question is…never. Technically that was never the team’s
These throwback jerseys are in tribute to the Chicago Zephyrs – one of
monikers that the current Washington franchise has had in its history.
The original team name was the Chicago Packers (which is ironic because
hate the Packers now) and was changed to the Zephyrs
after a season. A year later, the team moved to Baltimore and adopted
nickname Bullets after the former ABL/BAA/NBA
franchise (who originally adopted the name after a nearby
factory). The team was known as the Baltimore Bullets (for ten years),
Bullets (for a season), and the more familiar Washington Bullets (for
before the name was changed to the Washington Wizards in 1997
(According to the
team's web site, the name Wizards "depicts energy and
omnipresent power, and brings to light what is hoped to be the wise and
nature of the team." Not sure what’s so magical about a 10-38 record,
that’s neither here nor there).
This genealogical study begs
question of whether a team should wear throwbacks to forbearers of a
franchise that played in a different city. While the Chicago Zephyrs
Washington Wizards are essentially different names for the same team, a
throwback is not only supposed to hearken back to an earlier time in a
franchise’s history, but should also be a celebration of the hometown
forgive me for ignoring the ten ton merchandising elephant in the
teams like the Blackhawks and Red Wings wear retro jerseys,
deal because of each team’s history and connection to its home city.
teams like the Tampa Bay Rays (est. 1998) don’t have much to “throw
at least they pay tribute to the area with St. Petersburg Pelicans jerseys (love that chest
A monkey wrench in this debate is the fact that the early history of
basketball is rife with teams springing up, moving and folding – how
to the team could Chicago really be after two seasons, in an era where
seemed like a team leaving or disbanding was a matter of when not if.
Casting the throwback
issue aside, these are some solid throwback jerseys. The uniforms are
based on these (here’s a partially obstructed close-up view). Sure, they’re simple – whereas
many NBA throwbacks
go for the jugular in terms of ostentatiousness – but the cleaner look from a
past era is
a nice contrast
to some of the team’s current looks, plus the black and gold does go along
current color scheme. I especially love the way the “Z” in Zephyrs extends underneath the first half of the word.
effortless touch: unique
enough to be noteworthy, but still something
in amongst current NBA jerseys.
Another nice aspect of the throwbacks is the shorts
waistband which is styled to create the look of a mock belt – a great example of attention to
rendering a retro tribute.
Photo Courtesy of WashingtonWizards.com
Jersey of the Week Archive