The Detroit Pistons are bringing back the teal.
Yes, you read that right, for “approximately ten games” in 2022-23, the Pistons will once again don their teal, red, black, and yellow uniforms, complete with the flaming horse logo across the chest. The uniform will be classified as a “Classic Edition” set, which means it will only be worn for a single season.
“To Pistons fans everywhere – we heard you, and this is for you,” said Mike Zavodsky, Chief Business Officer for the Detroit Pistons in the press release. “The teal jerseys represent a ‘colourful’ time in Pistons basketball and NBA history. We are thrilled to re-introduce the teal to a new generation of basketball fans, and can’t wait to see this version of Detroit Basketball suit up in them.”
The Pistons switched to the bold colour scheme in 1996-97 after using a fairly traditional palette of blue, red, and white since their inception forty years prior in 1957. As with anything drastic and out-of-the-ordinary, the new look didn’t last long; the Pistons reverted back to their original colours after just five seasons and have stuck with them for the 21 years since.
As you can imagine, the Pistons’ teal uniforms were polarizing upon their introduction, but as time passes, feelings soften, and just like the New York Islanders’ “Fisherman” uniforms and the Toronto Raptors’ purple dinosaur jerseys, fans again just want a taste of what was once loathed.
“The Pistons’ ‘Return of the Teal’ represents an ongoing trend of fans’ desire for their teams to feature bold, colourful and often brash graphics,” said Tom O’Grady, the NBA’s creative director from 1990 to 2003 whose roles included the creation of the original teal Pistons uniforms in the mid-1990s. “This is not, in my opinion, as much a nostalgia reaction as it is a rejection of sports design ‘blanding,’ as team outfitters are more worried about the cost of garment fabrication than fan satisfaction.”
“For me, the ongoing satisfaction of seeing designs I created 25-30 years ago being deemed as the top sellers and most popular designs in sports fashion, 100K likes on Twitter, is clear vindication that the ground we were breaking in the 1990s transformed an industry,” O’Grady added.
Let’s play the time machine game for a second…
First, let’s go to 2001 when the Pistons announced the end of teal:
This is a change that our fans called for, and, as a result, we listened and delivered.Detroit Pistons team president Joe Dumars, June 2001
And now, back to 2022, when the Pistons announced the return of teal:
To Pistons fans everywhere – we heard you, and this is for you.Detroit Pistons Chief Business Officer Mike Zavodsky, July 2022
Make up your mind, Pistons fans! The infinite loop keeps on keeping on.
The new Pistons teal throwbacks (which are identical to the originals, save for the addition of a Nike logo and advertisers patch) will be available for purchase later this year.