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Review: Blazers throwback uniforms

There’s a lot to like. But when will we get the ‘80s throwback?!

Blazers Lloyd Neal

The Trail Blazers unveiled their 50th anniversary throwback uniforms earlier this week. The alternate design is an “exact replica” of the 1975-’77 road uniforms and will be worn five times during the upcoming regular season and once during the preseason.

What they got right

“Exact replica” is barely an exaggeration. It’s clear that the designers at Nike put some serious effort into replicating the look of the old uniforms. Here are a few examples of the unis in action 40 years ago:

And some pictures from the unveiling event:

Some takeaways:

  • The broad strokes are perfect. The color is a match to the original uniforms and the placement of the team branding and uniform numbers is spot on.
  • The details are nicely preserved. The fonts, as near as my untrained eye can tell by comparing CJ’s “3” and Walton’s “32”, are matched exactly and the size of the pinwheel is in line with the original. The piping on the right side (but not left!) also matches exactly.
  • In an unexpected bonus, Nike restrained itself from adding a belt buckle logo and matched the waistband to the original. They also did not include the gold championship patch on the back collar.

Differences from original

There are a few differences between the original design and the throwback:

  • As with nearly every Nike NBA uniform, the detailing on the armhole edges does not go a full 360 degrees. (See picture 16 here for illustration.)
  • Nike added a staggering five patches, including the annoying knock-off Icy Hot advertisement, transforming a borderline minimalist design into something that’s almost too busy. The biggest downside here is that the additional details distract from the pinwheel on the bottom left of the shorts.
  • There’s a small slit on the bottom of the shorts which did not exist on the original.
  • The “b” on “blazers” on the chest has been altered to make room room for another Nike swoosh.

When are we going to get something new?

The throwback design looks great and online response has been overwhelmingly positive. With only minimal deviations from the Walton-era uniform, Nike and the Blazers have put together a respectable tribute to the championship team.

One complaint: the Blazers have already used this design as a throwback. Many of us have it seared into our minds as the “Greg Oden injury uniform”:

I wish the team had gone with either the white 1975-’77 uniforms or the ‘77-’91 uniforms, neither of which have been revisited previously, for this design. There’s no doubt the Walton championship uniform is a classic, but Portland’s ‘80s design is among the best in league history and also has many great moments associated with it. Hopefully Nike will feature that uniform soon too.

Random uniform trivia!