Fans react to Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys' return to the NBA

Nov 25 2019, 3:59 pm

The Vancouver Grizzlies made a brief return to the NBA this weekend.

For Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Grizzlies, who now call Memphis  home, wore Vancouver’s old teal uniforms.


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The 1995-era look was complete with “Vancouver” listed on the original Grizz logo, in honour of the franchise’s 25th anniversary season. The Grizzlies’ home court at the FedExForum in Memphis was given a retro makeover, while players also rocked throwback warmup attire.


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The evening in Memphis included a performance from Montell Jordan, who rocked a teal Jaren Jackson Jr. jersey while singing his 90s hit “This Is How We Do It.”

The team was wearing Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys, so of course they lost, though by a respectable score (109-108) to LeBron James’ Lakers.

For the record, in the 23 all-time games the Vancouver Grizzlies played against the Lakers, they had one win and 22 losses. Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 28 points on February 23, 1999 in Vancouver’s lone defeat of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The uniforms were extra meaningful for Vancouver native Brandon Clarke, who is in his rookies season with Memphis.

“It’s kind of surreal, really, just because it’s like home,” Clarke said, as reported by Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The Grizzlies began using black as the primary colour of their road jerseys in 2000, while Memphis changed the team colours entirely in 2004. And for good reason: they weren’t popular at the time.

“I hated those Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms, now they are the hottest thing selling,” said former player Mike Bibby in an interview with Sportsnet 650’s Dan Riccio and Randip Janda last week.

He’s got a point.

The reaction online was mixed between appreciation for the undeniable beauty of the 90s era uniforms and outrage that Memphis would dare wear Vancouver’s jersey.

The Grizzlies will wear their “Vancouver Classic Edition” uniforms nine more times this season:

  • Friday, November 29 vs. Utah Jazz
  • Monday, December 16 vs. Miami Heat
  • Sunday, December 29 vs. Charlotte Hornets
  • Sunday, January 12 vs. Golden State Warriors
  • Friday, January 17 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Monday, February 3 vs. Detroit Pistons
  • Wednesday, February 12 vs. Portland Trailblazers
  • Tuesday, March 17 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Saturday, March 28 vs. Toronto Raptors

No word yet if they’ll bring the Naismith Cup out of retirement for the Raptors game.