Back in November, the Trail Blazers put out an exploratory survey with the goal of gauging fan interest in regards to updating their standard home and away uniforms in time for the 2015-16 season. The team has introduced various alternate uniforms in recent years, such as the predominately red alternate road version and the popular “Rip City” home uniforms, but their standard jersey/shorts combination has remained the same since 2002, which prompted the team to consider an pursuing a modernization.
But after getting input from fans and going though a design process which yielded at least six different options, the team ultimately decided to forego any uniform changes, at least for the time being, for numerous reasons.
First and foremost, the survey results showed that fans overwhelmingly approve of the current uniforms. There are significant costs associated with changing a team’s standard jerseys (teams have to buy back all of their old jerseys if they want to make changes to their standard uniforms) so it didn’t seem to make sense, either practically or financially, to go in a different direction when the current home and away uniforms are as popular as they are with the fan base. Basically, the jerseys aren’t broke, so why fix them?
Another factor in keeping the current design are the changes reportedly being implemented by the NBA to the “Rip City” jerseys. According to Chris Haynes at CSNNW, come the start of the 2014-15 season, all teams’ “heritage jerseys,” which includes Portland’s “Rip City” alternates, have to be converted to the short sleeve jerseys worn by various teams this season. Even though the short sleeve jerseys have been met with general disapproval by both fans and players alike, the NBA and adidas are determined to push their implementation. And since the Trail Blazers are already being forced to make changes to what is likely their most popular jersey, it was decided that it might not be the best time to tinker with the standard uniform as well.
Finally, while the team was satisfied, for the most part, with the new options offered up by adidas, none of the designs were so well-received that the team felt compelled to make a change. If any of the designs, which were reviewed at the highest levels of the organization, had “wowed” those in charge of the review process, it’s possible the benefit would have outweighed the cost, but in the end, that was not the case. The plan was never to make drastic modifications (even though some of you proposed just that) to the current design in the first place, so at a certain point, it was decided that the changes they were willing to make didn’t alter the look enough to make it worth the trouble.
It’s possible that the team will revisit the idea of making changes to the current uniforms at another time, but what is certain is that those changes won’t take place any time in the next few seasons. So while there have been plenty of changes recently, both on and off the court, Portland’s jerseys won’t join the list of those changes, at least not any time soon.