NBA Cloth Talk: A History of Drake’s Influence on Toronto Raptors Uniforms | NBA.com Canada

Welcome to Cloth Talk! An ode to the phrase coined by DJ Khaled, Gilbert McGregor and Kyle Irving of NBA.com delve into everything NBA style. From uniform reveals to sneaker choices and everything in between, the two experts give their opinion and shed some light on concepts that are impossible to ignore.

This time the two discuss Drake’s influence on style in the NBA in conjunction with the release of his latest album, “Certified Lover Boy.”

Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21): The boy is back.

Grammy-winning artist and world ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, Drake, has released his highly anticipated album “Certified Lover Boy,” and, to quote Drake himself, the world is in turmoil.

Upstream, we received tweets from James lebron and Kevin Durant, while Giannis Antetokounmpo took to her Instagram story to shout Drake. The album itself screams LeBron, Giannis and, of course, mentions “going back in time” talks with Kawhi Leonard.

Of course, Kawhi’s mention comes full circle on Drake’s impact on the Raptors franchise, as he’s a mainstay during the playoffs on the sidelines of Scotiabank Arena and the team donned the October black and gold Very Own on uniforms in each of the past six seasons.

That being said, I feel like there’s no better time to talk about Drake’s influence on the style of the league, and what better place to start than with these United.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): First of all. Drake has done everything I hoped for with CLB and I appreciate that he gives me music to listen to in full, on repeat for the foreseeable future.

But back to the jerseys, you and I have long been fans of almost every edition of the black, gold and white Raptors uniforms. It’s a color combination that just isn’t lacking, just like the artist the swimsuits honor.

I’m interested to see if and how the Raptors keep that tradition going this year, but I know I’ll love them when (and if) they fall.

Everything falls back into place. The Raptors will be back at the OVO Athletic Center for practice, donning training jerseys with the OVO owl featured. The arena will have new music that they can play during warm-ups and night and night matches. What a time to live.

McGregor: Ahh, I see what you did there. I like it.

We have to dig deeper into these uniforms, however. We both love the black and gold colourways of the uniforms, I know that. But if I remember correctly, a while ago you ranked all the Raptors uniforms, so let’s take it up a notch.

In what order would you rank the OVO uniforms?

Irving: Well, you know we have to create anticipation, so let’s start from the bottom.

In fact, I think the uniforms from last year’s OVO edition may have been my least favorite of the collection so far. I don’t know exactly what was missing, but they just felt a little bad. I will say I liked them better on the court than in the photos, but they still came last for me.

McGregor: “Let’s start at the bottom.” You, sir, are on a roll.

It’s interesting, but looking at them and thinking about them, I would rank them last as well. In theory, I like what they tried to do with the shorts, but that… doesn’t exactly work. It’s like the vibes of college basketball from the 90s, but I’m not a fan of the Raps.

Guess it’s mine now, so on the fourth I’m actually going to go to the 2018-19 edition. Yeah, it was championship season and all, but I think the black and gold colourway is what makes this ensemble pop, so the white uniforms aren’t exactly my favorite of the bunch.

Again, I think it’s the shorts. The one-legged rafter just isn’t for me which is difficult since it’s now part of full time uniforms.

Irving: I can hear you on that. I think if they had done something more with the shorts, or even the back of the uniform – like a gold plaque or something – it might have worked. But they looked extremely simple. I do like the white and gold color scheme, however. I would love to see them given another shot in the near future, just with better execution.

Next come for me – even though the Slam cover with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and The Boy himself makes it hard not to put them at # 1 – are the original OVO edition uniforms. They are simple. There isn’t much for them. But they’re almost nostalgic in a way, just because of that magazine cover.

The photo shoot with the whole base team was too clean. It was a great way to deploy the franchise’s new Global Ambassador and bring some kind of arrogance to the Raptors organization.

McGregor: Dude, I really came very close to putting these on the list, but being the originals makes my # 2 actually.

I’ll start by saying that I love all brands! But I think this uniform colourway did not have the advantage of being placed on a Nike model. These were introduced in the 2015-16 season and worn until 2017, when Nike took over from Adidas.

They are just an alternative to the black / red alternatives, someone who is kind with Photoshop skills could probably change that to suit that color scheme. But this SLAM 2020 shoot gives this uniform model the shine it deserves.

Now that you know my number 2, I guess I already showed my hand with my chevron statement, which means the 2017-18 OVO uniforms – the first with Nike – land in third place for me.

I’ll always think of Toronto knocking out the Washington Wizards in these in 2018. So they’ll always have that, but, again, shorts are something I don’t like.

Irving: I was going to bring these black and gold chevrons to number 2, because I thought the color scheme worked much better than with the whites and gold. But I’m still with you to say that I still don’t like shorts either.

I believe that means we arrived with the same # 1 ranking.

The uniforms the Raptors wore on Christmas Day in 2020.

The reason I’m showing you the back instead of the front is because that’s what I love about them so much. How they adopted the same nameplate style from the old-school Raptors uniform, but keeping the black and gold colorway smooth. The front of the uniform is very plain, but I love the police and think they are the best of the bunch.

McGregor: 🤝 a man of simplicity, I like that.

We are on the same page, of course. I feel like if anyone has read any of our Cloth Talks, we tend to give simple designs high marks. It’s the little things like the nameplate, the font of the numbers and the fact that the trunk says “Toronto” that really sets it apart.

An underrated detail: The stripe on the side is jagged like the pinstripes on the inaugural Raptors uniforms, which is like icing on the cake for a uniform that pays homage to the era.

Irving: I wouldn’t be shocked if I stole this thought from your brain here.

But if we keep it in the genre, within the Nike brand and loop in popularity …

Honestly, it shocks me that we haven’t yet seen a uniform Houston Rockets x Travis Scott collaboration.

McGregor: Iimagine if we get a jersey with the Swoosh inside out that he puts on his sneakers? Maybe with the same color as his Jordan 1? I feel like brown could work on a uniform.

It’s a great call.

What I’m going to suggest, I think, may already be in the works, but I’ll bring it to Detroit, where Big Sean is the “Creative Director of Innovation”. It’s not exactly the level of Global Ambassador, but his logo is already on their training uniforms and he’s worked with Mitchell and Ness.

With Cade Cunningham ushering in the new era of Deeeetroit Basketball, the Pistons will have plenty of eyes. I’m sure I’ll see Big Sean on the sidelines soon. Why not have uniforms for him?

Irving: The 2011 version of me would have bought a Big Sean-Pistons collaboration. uniform so fast your head would spin. Don’t get me wrong, it still works in 2021 too. Sign me up for one of these suggestions, honestly.

Hope someone is listening to us.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its clubs.


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