Don’t Throwback, Just GO BACK

Now, Those are the Cavs I Remember

Just returned from running a few errands around the city during which time I passed a dude rocking a suh-weet 80s-era Cleveland Cavaliers jacket. Talk about retro cool. It was one of those satin jobs, shiny-as-all-hell in royal blue with the classic v-net Cavs logo embroidered across the man’s heart, a shining symbol of his allegiance for all to see.

As is sometimes the case, this fabulous piece of apparel transported me back to the days of my youth . It also got me thinking about something rather irksome. Specifically, teams that have changed their logos or identity despite no rational logic for doing so. Now, granted, I am neither a graphic designer or a uniform expert. But some things just seemed to make a whole lot more sense back then.

Once in awhile, you’ll see a team rock the throwbacks and you can get sucked into the nostalgia of the moment. Judgment gets clouded and you tend to think that those unis should immediately be thrust back into regular rotation. I’m not talking about those examples. No, I’m talking about the ones that look better now, even when you’re dead sober. The logos and unis that had the ability to defy any calls for “modernization” – not the ones we just clamor for because they are so amusing to behold.

Here are a few of my nominees. Agree? Disagree? Other candidates? Which uniforms need to move beyond the occasional throwback and make it all the way back? Keep in mind I was born in 1977, so don’t hit me up with any comments claiming the 64 edition was the greatest of all-time. It might have been, but our vantage point is 80s and beyond.

PS, we kept our eyes on the major professional leagues. Delving into college sports would personally cause my circuits to explode, not to mention I simply don’t have that kind of time. In no particular order…

10. Utah Jazz
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Simple, timeless. The old Jazz logo and jerseys did the trick just fine. It spoke to the squad’s Nawlins roots and kept it clean. Since the days of Stockton and Malone, their logo and unis have spiraled into hideousness. Wait, you play in Utah now? OK, let’s come up with completely nonsensical color schemes, throw in mountains everywhere we can find real estate like Bob Ross on speed and constantly remind folks we play in Utah. So, generally destroy anything cool about our identity. Got it.

9. Milwaukee Brewers
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Can someone say awe-some? Really, why must people mess around and try to improve on perfection? The M-B glove-and-ball logo is the most ingenious piece of branding I’ve seen since the little secret arrow in the FedEx logo. Put it together with the old-school pinstripes from the days of Yount and Molitor, and you’ve got yourself a money ensemble. Instead, some knucklehead decides we need to pound the whole beer connection down people’s throats like a sixer down a funnel. The result: a glorified beer label is the logo of a MLB franchise, as despicable an outcome as Michelob Ultra.

8. New England Patriots
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As a Jets fan, it’s easy for me to find reasons to rip the Pats. But dissing Pat Patriot is inexcusable. What, the old unis not red-white-and-blue enough for ya, NE? You want to represent some colonial revolutionary roots, then don’t be updating your lil’ minuteman with some modernistic nonsense. Patty Patriot is New England, damn it.
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7. Los Angeles Kings
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Remember when the Kings brought hockey out West? Gretzky, hollywood, the land of the stars? The silver-and-black was cool and bad-ass. It was tight enough for gangsta rappers to don hockey gear. The cheesy lines and italicized K-I-N-G-S denoted speed, and the crown was befitting of hockey royalty. But, alas, it was not to be. Apparently, this crap is deemed regals…all hail, wait, are these the Sacramento Kings or LA Kings? Is that the Kings family crest? Does anyone care either way?
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6. Sacramento Kings
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A basketball with a crown atop it? F-in brilliant! No? Oh, sure, add some needless purple a few swords, trumpets and who-knows-what else. It all looks like a graffiti project gone horribly wrong. We hate it. Hate. It.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers
It seems every time I see a Cavs highlight they’re rockin’ one of what seem to be at least 17 alternate jerseys. This squad has a schizophrenic history when it comes to its on-court attire. We’re still feeling the Craig Ehlo, Ron Harper, Mark Price heyday unis with the orange-and-white only. Solid.
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4. Milwaukee Bucks
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Alright, this one is kinda of a joke. I’m not really advocating that Milwaukee head back to their old-school 80s duds. I mean, this ain’t the hottest of get-ups. That said, I think in this day in age having a homosexual animal as your mascot is an idea whose time has come. Poor Buck must have been subject to all kinds of abuse.

3. San Diego Padres
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This…this…this thing pictured above is a disgrace. Looks like it should be the logo for Sandals or some other all-inclusive resort. It shouts to free agents. “Come play for us, we’re by the ocean and the weather’s always gorgeous!” Oh yes, we also have a baseball team and have been competitive a few times in the past couple decades. You never know! I know, it’s not like it’s been a storied history in terms of logos and unis for San Diego. But at least the old logo of the Pads featured, well, a Pad.

2. Denver Broncos
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Tom Jackson. Elway. Sammy Winder. The Orange Crush. Mecklenburg. Those are the Broncos I recall. And they all wore this awesome helmet. A regal-looking Bronco rearing its head from the center of a strong and imposing D – for Denver, for Defense, for whatever. I’ve never liked the new-fangled Broncos uniforms in any way shape or form. So there.

1. Toronto Blue Jays
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We mentioned this last year when the Jays rocked the George Bell-era powder blues. They really are quite spectacular. If you’re the Blue Jays, having a whole lot of blue in your uniforms makes a lot of sense. Dig the two-tone cap. Love the realistic Blue Jay in the middle of the jersey. No reason o make the Jay look more millennium, angry and tinged with black. None whatsover. In fact, it’s a giant load of crap.

So, opinionated readers, what say you?

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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.

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  1. Ryan says:

    Chargers should make this list… they love the old powder blues.

  2. Scott @ WFNY says:

    Huge fan of the old blue and orange cavs unis. Thats the best thing about the Browns – they’ve been essentially the same for ever. (too bad that the level of play couldn’t have also stayed the same)

  3. Cecilio's Scribe says:

    ryan – love the old powder blues as well.

    scott – the orange/blue were sweet.

  4. Anonymous says:

    you missed one,
    the old hartford whalers should make a comeback, the logo had it all, the H, the W, and the whale tale

  5. todd hunter says:

    Word to just about all of these.

    I wish the Pirates would go back to the old ’60s and ’70s logo (as well as gold cap/black brim combo).

    I also wish we could get the Bucs back to the old logo and unis.

    And why the hell do the Hurricanse downplay any link to the greatest hockey logo of all-time, that of the Whale.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If the Pats made it, I think the Bills standing buffalo should have made it. I think that one is better than the patriot. It’s so classic and simple.

  7. Cecilio's Scribe says:

    dig the old-school bills as well, but think that was a bit b/f my time. love when they bring those back, though

  8. The "We Hate The New England Patriots" San Diego Sports Fan Collective says:

    In defense of our gay logo we do have the swinging friar patch on the sleeve….oh, who am I kidding, there is no defending our Unis.

    We have no identity and a weak fan base (a strong few) so the Unis get switched up every few years to try and suck people in.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Too bad you don’t know shit about the Blue Jays. Joe Carter wasn’t on the team back in 1988 when the Jays stopped wearing the powder blue jerseys.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You are right about one thing… you definitely are not a graphic designer or a uniform expert.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Old Cartoon Oriole for the Baltimore Orioles from 1966-1988

  12. Anonymous says:

    Atlanta Hawks Pac-Man logo. Classic cool. Various colorways.

  13. Cecilio's Scribe says:

    very nice, anon. like the Hawks callout. i don’t give them that hard a time, though. feel like they needed some sort of re-design even as a ploy to re-engage what was a vanishing fan base.

  14. Jeff says:

    you clearly missed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ inaugural rainbow logo. That was awesome.

  15. David says:

    The Penguins Black jersey with the skating penguin and the best hockey jersey of all time- the green Minnesota North Stars jersey with the N on the chest.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What? No Hartford Whalers? Surely they could work a Carolina “C” into the Whale tale logo.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great! How about this: Utah and New Orleans swapping nicknames, logos, etc. Utah Jazz is an oxymoron. And Hornets goes better with the whole Beehive State thing.

  18. Tony says:

    Miluakee Brewers has to be #1 — for years I didn’t know that the glove made an M and a B…Once I figured that out I went from thinking it was ridiculous to loving it…One of the few retro hats I would wear

  19. Evan Gomes says:

    Yes! Loved the blue jays jerseys every time I see them. They should make the perma switch away from black like every other team. Teams should have colors, not shades.

    Check out my blog: http://burntturducken.blogspot.com/

  20. Justin says:

    Buffalo bills throwbacks with the red buffalo, best throwback in the nfl, narowly beating the 49ers 80s throwbacks

  21. ralf says:

    Denver Nuggets from the 90’s!!

    nothing could have been more gayer than dikembe mutombo in that!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Bring back the old (pre 95) Rockets logo and unis…

    Classic Red and Gold, simple font, priceless

  23. Anonymous says:

    How can you not include the Buffalo Sabres’ Buffaslug? One of the worst logos in the history of sports logos and completely unnecessary!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Seconded on the Sabres. They should go back to the original gold-and-blue uni, with the charging buffalo and crossed sabres logo. I think one of the classiest unis ever, and I’m a Leafs fan.

  25. Anonymous says:

    quack, quack, where are the original Mighty Ducks uni’s?

  26. Rob says:

    How in the HELL could you, or any of your fellow uni-fans, have forgotten the Houston Astros circa 1985?!

    Dig the link:

    http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k195/metsjerseys/Information/astros-1.jpg

    I rest my case.

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