Many of the recognizable players, coaches and front office personnel from the franchise’s recent run of unprecedented success have taken their talents elsewhere. And in their place, a new cadre of Cavaliers will emerge – led into an up-tempo and uncertain future by Coach Byron Scott and the new Cavs brass.
But while Coach Scott patrols the sidelines at the height of sartorial splendor, his charges on the floor will be donning a fresh design and a new expression of the wine and gold.
Actually, calling the new threads and team colors a “new expression” isn’t entirely accurate. More precisely, it’s an “original expression” of the Cavaliers’ archetypal colors. The wine will be deeper and the gold, brighter – reflecting the Cavaliers’ traditional tincture from their first few seasons of existence.
“The response from our fans related to our classic uniforms and merchandise has been tremendous over the last several seasons, especially our original wine and gold color mix items,” said Tracy Marek, the Cavaliers senior vice president of marketing. “As a result, we’re very excited to bring the spirit of the original expression of wine and gold into our brand full-time for the future.”
The tops are crew-neck, with alternate striping on the neck and arms of the jersey as well as the waistband and legs of the shorts.
But perhaps the most unique feature of the Cavs new finery is something fans will never see.
Cleveland’s new uniforms are as much a throwback to their original 1970 threads as they’ve had in four decades since. In between, the franchise has experimented with burnt orange, royal blue, bright orange, black, purple and pastel blue. And throughout the club’s history, there have been three notable uniform changes – not all good.
The first uniforms featured the feathered underscore of “Cavaliers” on both home and road jerseys. Those years also featured the birth of the Cavs iconic logo – a silhouetted figure of a jousting Cavalier, encircled by the words “Cleveland Cavaliers.” The symbol is every bit as recognizable as the infamous “Chief Wahoo” and, thankfully, has survived through four decades of change.
In 1981, as the final remnants of the Miracle squad faded into the sunset, the Mike Mitchell-era team went with a metallic gold with a pair of horizontal stripes with the word “Cleveland” written above it in block letters.
But in 1983 – with the purchase of the team by Gordon Gund and the organization on the verge of big changes – the Cavaliers made a radical departure from its original colors and identity. This came in the form of the burnt orange and royal blue uni’s with the word “CAVS” written across the chest. The “V” was designed like a hoop with a ball entering it, which also served as Cleveland’s new logo.
This attire will forever be linked to the Lenny Wilkens era of excellence that featured the likes of Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams.
When the Cavaliers began play at Gund Arena in the 1994-95 season, there was once again a sea change from the previous look.
The Cavaliers (thankfully) modified this look in 1997, sticking with the color scheme, but losing the incongruous torso splash. Instead, the uniforms featured a more streamlined blue and orange piping along the right side of the shirts and shorts. The futuristic lined letters remained.
But in October of 2002, Gund decided to bring Cavaliers fans back to the future. The new colors were announced on October 9, 2003 – the “new expression of wine and gold” – a crimson-hued wine color and a metallic, almost copper, gold. Dark blue, the secondary color, was a tribute to the Cavalier teams of the 1990s.
Now, eight years later, the franchise returns to their original colors, and the Cavaliers continue to move forward. With an eye on the future and a nod to the past, the wine and gold rolls on.