After a long build-up, the new Washington Wizards uniforms debuted yesterday. I had come up with a mock-up of my own that got a bit of attention and asked if the official Wizards uniforms were better than mine. So far, the real deal is beating my design which is probably a good thing.
Now, I’m going to review what the Wizards, the NBA and Adidas put together, but first a few words about the team nickname. Maybe I don’t have as good a memory as I think I do or my Vienna, Va. experience is too small a sample size, but I don’t remember much mourning when the Bullets name was replaced by Wizards. In fact, I don’t remember seeing anybody ever wearing Bullets merchandise when I was in school. I saw, Celtics, Lakers and Bulls, but never Bullets. People need to get over it, the name isn’t going to change. I don’t think we’re going to see a name change at all, seems pointless now and the new logos and uniforms are smartly pushing the Washington D.C. angle ahead of any nickname.
The main logo
Am I going to say that the Wizards nailed it when they picked a logo similar to the one I envisioned? Of course, I am! The new “dc” logo with the “d” turning into an arm that’s shooting or blocking a basketball is going to be iconic. Here is what I said about my similar design:
I was specifically inspired by the old Washington Bullets script with the two hands reaching up for a basketball. The Wizards have had a secondary logo with “dc” in it since they rebranded in 1997, but I wanted to make “dc” the primary logo because I think it has a lot of cachet. The overriding theme I’m going for is playing up Washington, D.C. as the team’s identity and downplaying the nickname “Wizards” that few people love or even like.
Basically, the designers had the same idea, but executed a little differently. They are going to sell a lot of hats with the logo, probably cutting into the Washington Nationals caps sales in the process. I’ll even buy one eventually.
The teal/black/copper jerseys color scheme never made sense for a DC team, whether they be the Wizards, Capitals or Mystics. Just moving to red, white and blue is an obvious improvement. The design they choose, which pays homage to the Bullets uniforms of the 1970s and 1980s, are an upgrade though not a perfect one. The same design logic that was used on the Caps redesign a few years back applies here. It is almost as if they said, “remember the 1970s jersey the team used to wear? Let’s revist it but make it MORE 70s.” The stripes make me think of the ABA which is funny because the team always played in the NBA. The font is distinct but not great or ugly, just kind of there. I really like that “Washington” is used on the road jersey, a rarity for basketball. The white stripe on the roadie is going to take some getting used to though, I’m not crazy about it. Bonus points for working the Washington Monument into the scripts though. I don’t think they are going to rename the team to the “Washington Monuments” (DC Sports Bog, The Post) though, despite the holding company that owns them being called Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
The numbers are stupid, but I don’t like any that aren’t some sort of block typeface.
There is now a Washington Monument logo which has some wondering if the team will be renamed the monuments someday. I think we’re stuck with the Wizards. The logo is okay, but kind of redundant.
The old Wizards logo lives on, barely, and should be handy come Christmas time. I expect to see very little of it until it simply goes away.
The official reproduction guideline sheet (web archive – 2020)
Overall grade, B — a solid redesign/rebranding. Okay, now that you look good again, go and out an win.
Wizards new uniforms are beautiful – DC Sports Blog, The Post
The Wizard is Dead, Long Live the Wizard – CityPaper
Wizards feel passion for fashion – The Wash. Times
Hanrahan: Wizards got it right CSN Washington
Rick Snider: Wizards’ new look is blast from the past – The Wash. Examiner
Is It Too Late for Unseld to Suit Up? – UniWatch
Congratulations Ted, you just checked off another deliverable!