Vancouver is returning to the NBA next season, albeit in name only.
The Memphis Grizzlies announced plans to celebrate the team’s 20th year in Memphis, as well as the franchise’s 25th anniversary, which includes their time in Vancouver from 1995-2001.
They even made a hype video with a heavy Vancouver influence:
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The original Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys are making a comeback, confirming a report from last month. During the franchise’s 25th year next season, the Memphis Grizzlies are bringing the teal uniforms out of extinction, wearing what they’re calling ‘Vancouver Classic Edition’ uniforms for select games.
“This season’s Vancouver Classic Edition uniforms will not only feature the iconic ‘teal’ base, but it will also stay true to its classic design with the native Canadian Pacific Northwest pattern outlining the uniform,” the Grizzlies announced in a press release. “The original Grizzlies wordmark will be displayed across the chest while the Grizzlies’ first iconic bear logo sits on the leg of the shorts.”
In 2020-21, the Grizzlies will wear Memphis throwbacks — a design that was first worn as an alternate uniform in Vancouver.
“The opportunity to connect the history of our franchise over two consecutive seasons deserved a special approach,” said Grizzlies president Jason Wexler in a media release. “It was an easy decision to bring back the iconic teal uniforms for the upcoming 25th Season of the Franchise and give our fans the classic look from the Vancouver era that they love.
The Grizzlies also revealed a throwback court they’ll use at their home at the FedEx Forum. The court includes a subtle nod to its expansion past, with ‘Vancouver’ included as part of the sideline art.
The large baseline font does not include Vancouver though, with “Memphis Grizzlies” on one end and simply “Grizzlies” on the other.
“We wanted to go even further to enhance the in-game experience for our fans with an alternate court that celebrates and connects the best of both eras,” Wexler added. “From the black base and two-toned hardwood to the asymmetry that gives nods to our current design, this floor includes elements from every Grizzlies floor featured in both the Vancouver and early Memphis eras while bridging the past with the present.”
This move is sure to give Vancouver basketball fans mixed emotions. Retro Grizzlies merchandise is extremely popular in Vancouver, though it’ll be Memphis that gets to enjoy it. Voting on our poll last month was split (47% in favour, 53% opposed) between fans that liked the decision, and those that didn’t.
Among the fans not thrilled with the move was Kat Jayme, a diehard Vancouver Grizzlies fan and the Director, Writer, and Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary Finding Big Country.
“We want our team back, not a throwback jersey nod,” Jayme told Daily Hive.