Saturday, May 21, 2016

Uniform History: Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are tied as the second-youngest team in the NBA, joining the League in 1995-96 with the then-Vancouver Grizzlies. The Raptors have remained in Canada, and are currently the NBA's only team based outside the USA.

The 1990s were a period of growth for the NBA, in popularity, attendance and franchises, with #28 and #29 joining the league in 1995-96. The Raptors were officially founded on November 4th, 1993. The team name was derived from the immense popularity of the Jurassic Park franchsise, with Raptors being chosen from among more than 2000 different name options in a poll involving all of Canada. This is despite the fact that no actual remains of any velociraptors have been found in the Toronto area!

The Raptors started with a bang as Damon Stoudemire won Rookie of the Year in 1995-96, after being the first draft pick in franchise history.
1995-96 SP Championship #143
1995-96 Hoops #342. Personally speaking this is one of my all-time favorite jersey designs.
The franchise's biggest star to date joined the team in 1998-99, when Vince Carter was acquired in a draft day trade, the team got new jerseys in 1999-00. The road jerseys were unique in that the front was purple but the back was black.
1999-00 Metal Vince Carter Scrapbook #5VC

2001-02 MVP #168
In 2003-04, the road purple was modified to say Raptors, instead of Toronto.
2004-05 Hardcourt #83
In 2003-04, the Raptors introduced a solid red alternate. This would become the main road jersey in 2006-07 as purple was dropped from the team color scheme.
2004-05 Topps 1st Edition #44
From 2006-07 through 2014-16, the side stripes were changed to red from the original purple on the home whites.
2013-14 Hoops #10
From 2008-09 through 2014-15, the Raptors wore the reds, above, and solid black, on the road just about equally. The black uniforms were considered alternates but were actually worn about the same amount.
2012-13 Panini Contenders #138

From 2007-08 through 2011-12, the Raptors would wear green on St. Patrick's Day.
2011-12 Hoops #226
The Raptors also had a camouflage uniform, but I don't know when or how often it was used. It appears on several cards.
2012-13 Hoops #34
 In 2015-16 the Raptors rebranded with a new logo and totally new uniforms. It is only the second logo in team history.

2015-16 Complete #119

2015-16 Complete #316
The Raptors wear the new black alternate considerably less than the black alternate of 2008-15. There is also an alternate of the alternate, with gold trim instead of red. It has not appeared on any cards yet, but it only debuted after the all-star break of this current season, so that's not all that surprising.
2015-16 Donruss #100

The 2015-16 season jerseys have a small logo on the shoulder area, clearly visible on the Ross and Carroll cards, that show the top of the CN tower, a Toronto landmark. This is the logo for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, hosted by the Raptors for the first time. This has been on the jerseys all season, and remains there into the Playoffs as the Raptors play in the Eastern Conference Finals, for the first time in team history. Presumably that will not be present on the jerseys come 2016-17.


  1. I like the camo and the black ones the best.

    1. I'm surprised it wasn't the purple ones you preferred

  2. The camo jerseys are used for the game played on Remembrance Day (11/11) or the home game closest to before that date.

    1. Thank you for the info! Did they wear one this year?