By Kevin Dowse
It’s time for a ranking of all the jerseys of everyone’s favourite team! These are listed from best to worst, because I always put my best foot forward and keep my bad, ugly foot to the rear!
Tied for #1 – Red & White Jerseys (Any Era)
One thing anyone knows about me, is I bleed red and white. My doctor may be worried, but I’m sure not. It only means one thing: I. AM. CANADIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And these Raptors Jerseys say that, more than anything else, and it is the most important thing there is to say.
They have Chevrons all over the place, too, which is incredible. They point up, making me think of the great white north, the true north strong and free, and the portion of the 401 around Whitby with chevrons painted on the highway.
As for the font – they’re all amazing. Pick any one of them throughout the years. You’ve got the current, fairly basic block letters which suit me just fine. I like my fonts like I like my oatmeal: plain. The older red-and-whites have a font that I find a bit much (pointy / corners), so they lose some points there for me. But they gain those points right back every time I see one of these jerseys while O Canada plays.
#2 – Camo Jerseys
The only thing I don’t like about NBA basketball is that you can’t fly a fighter jet through the arena before the game. These get me that little bit closer to the weeping love of military that I crave. When I see these jerseys, I not only think “troops”—I scream “troops” through the entire game. Everyone within earshot can’t help but get into the army spirit.
They also have the added benefit of the other team not being able to see you. Check the stats, the Raptors have never lost a game while wearing the Camo jerseys (I personally haven’t checked the stats on that, but am positive I’m correct). How can you stop an opponent that you can’t see? Trick question: it’s impossible.
#3 – St. Patrick’s Day Green Jerseys
A lot of my friends complained about these, but I bought one for every player the year they came out. The Bargnani one was especially poignant (#7 is a lucky number in a lot of traditions, and there is an expression called “The Luck of the Irish”). This rich shade of green ticks all of my boxes, aside from “Red and White for Canada, Please!” But not everything can have everything.
Ask anyone on March 17th what Toronto is known for. I guarantee they’ll shout what I shout: “the Irish. I’m Irish!!” And the only way I know how to celebrate that, is to wear an identical jersey to that of a division rival who also pay homage to their city’s Irish heritage.
More fiddle music at halftime, please and thank you.
#4 – Black, Red & White Jerseys (Any Era)
At least these have some red and white in them, but black jerseys are a clear indication of a villainous team. I cannot stomach the idea of any Toronto sports team being a “bad guy”. I have never, and never will, root for a bad guy wearing black clothes. Be it the Hawks from The Mighty Ducks, the Iceland team from D2: The Mighty Ducks, or Magica De Spell from Duck Tales.
If these jerseys aren’t conjuring up images of villainy, they’re frightening children by reminding them of the dark with no nightlight. Not the jersey you’d want around the Santa Clause Parade!
There is some merit in the black, red, and white: it makes me think of Canadian businessmen. Commerce is something I can always get behind, no matter how you slice it. These jerseys make me think of pulling up one’s bootstraps, and for that, they’re saved from banishment to the lower half of this list.
#5 – Huskies Jerseys
Listen – this blue and white nonsense has got to stop. Are the Raptors “Toronto’s” team, or are they “CANADA’s” team? Same goes for the Leafs, Argos, and Jays. These are all CANADIAN teams, so let’s get rid of the blue and white, huh? Makes me think of Quebec (more France than Canada), or France (which is even more France than Quebec if you can believe it).
As for “Huskies”? I was barked at once by a husky, so, no.
#6 – Black/White & Gold Jerseys (Any Era)
I don’t know too much about Drake (music, who is, what look like, etc.) – so I was incredibly shocked to see “OVO” in association with Raptors jerseys. I struggled to make sense of it. “Ovo…Egg? Dinosaurs do hatch from eggs…”
It was only clarified for me when my nephew, as part of a (rude) contradiction of several of my opinions at Christmas dinner, told me it stood for “October’s Very One” or something. Which makes even less sense to me. And making yet even lesser sense, we have the colour scheme: Black and Gold?!?! Well, I never thought I’d say this, but give me Blue and White! At least the newer ones say “North” on them. I would have thought the world was caving in, otherwise.
Maybe this is a generational thing, but I’ll stick with my parents’ (greatest) generation as my barometer, thanks very much.
#7 – Purple & Black
While these were an improvement on the original jerseys (more on those below), they were still far too gloomy to make me cheer for anything. The only way these jerseys make sense is if Eeyores were the mascot, not Raptors.
The jersey has some meteoric highs (Kevin O’Neill’s tenure) and some lows, but it’s all buried under a blanket of blah. I don’t need to be immersed in a sea of purple and black throughout January and February! It’s dark enough! If I believed in seasonal affective disorder, I’d say it has an impact on that!
#8 (aka Dead Last) – The Jersey With an Actual Raptor on it (Classic or Throwback)
A dinosaur with sharp claws has stolen a basketball, taunting us all. It dares anyone stupid enough to try to take it back, knowing it could tear us all to shreds with its (sharp!) teeth and claws.
Sharp teeth and claws, plus an “angry” face on the dinosaur itself, place this at the bottom of the pit for me. Basketball is meant to be a happy game, and I know for a fact that these jerseys were the inspiration for countless nightmares.
Don’t even get me started on how everything is jagged – the pin stripes, the lettering, the spikes above the name on the back of the jersey – it all just screams “ouch!” and makes me short of breath. Nothing about these jerseys feels safe. Throw it in the dustbin of history, and take all the sharp-cornered logos in existence with it.
PS – also the dinosaur is red—a colour I like!—but no dinosaurs were ever red.