The Golden State Warriors announced new uniforms for the team in their upcoming season. The uniforms are a tribute to their Oakland roots.
This isn’t the first time the Warriors have tried to pay tribute to Oakland with their San Francisco move finalized, but this will be the first time they will wear an Oakland-themed uniform while playing in San Francisco.
Despite the goodwill these uniforms are attempting to make, it’s still a slap to the face of the city of Oakland.
The Warriors moved to the new Chase Center in San Francisco in 2019. Prior to that, they spent 47 seasons in Oakland. Not once during that Oakland tenure did the team wear anything that paid tribute to their home city. It was only once the move to San Francisco was finalized did they decide to wear “The Town” uniforms for two seasons.
But even with that, “The Town” is just a nickname and not the actual city name. The Warriors have never worn “Oakland” on their uniforms ever. So this is going to be very odd seeing the Warriors wearing an Oakland uniform while playing in San Francisco after leaving Oakland.
This is a painful reminder to fans in the East Bay that the Warriors left Oakland and even though this is an attempt to create some good will between the two cities, it’s apparent that it’s not working.
But first of all, the information from the press release:
The new jersey, and its corresponding merchandise line, will be available for purchase at shop.warriors.com and in-person at the Warriors Shop at Thrive City on December 3. Additionally, the Warriors have partnered with Oakland-based apparel company Oaklandish to launch a limited-edition collection line that pulls influence from the new City Edition jerseys. The exclusive merchandise line will be available at the Warriors Shop at Thrive City, at Oaklandish retail locations, and online at shop.warriors.com, and oaklandish.com. The line will launch near the start of the 2020-21 Warriors season.
“Oakland is and forever will be part of this franchise’s identity,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “The Oakland Forever campaign, in partnership with Rakuten, will deepen our ties and impact in Oakland through a dedicated focus on community efforts, advancing educational equity, and providing safe access to health and wellness resources.”
With ongoing, established community support infrastructure in Oakland, the Warriors Oakland Forever campaign will underscore the team’s impact in Oakland. Through the Warriors Community Foundation, Rakuten and the Warriors will unveil a new outdoor basketball court in Oakland, with an Oakland Forever-themed court. Previously, the Foundation has announced Oakland-based Generation Thrive, a first-of-its-kind non-profit hub and a partnership between the Warriors and Kaiser Permanente to lift up the at-risk youth in the Bay Area. Generation Thrive is specifically focused on educational equity, college and career readiness, and health and wellness.
Rakuten, the team’s first and only jersey partner to-date, will develop unique digital elements to accompany the Oakland Forever campaign. Initial plans include offering 10% cash back when shopping through Rakuten for purchases made online and in-store at the Warriors Shop at Thrive City, and access to exclusive content in the Rakuten Viber messaging app, including interviews with Warriors players and an Oakland Forever-themed sticker pack. In addition, Rakuten and the Warriors Shop will offer fans exclusive merchandise opportunities from the GSW x Oaklandish apparel line.
“We are honored to partner with the Warriors to celebrate the franchise’s history and one of its most dynamic, best-loved eras,” said Amit Patel, CEO at Rakuten Americas. “As a Bay Area company that values the power of community, we are proud to stand with the Warriors to celebrate the people of Oakland with the City Edition Nike Jersey campaign.”
“The chance to partner with the Warriors to celebrate the We Believe era is our salute to Oakland and some of the most passionate fans in professional basketball,” said Oaklandish CEO and Creative Director Angela Tsay.
All Warriors practice and game jerseys, both home and away, will continue to feature the Rakuten badge on the upper left corner.
The good thing that is they are giving back to Oakland and even partnering with Oaklandish. But you still have to wonder why they didn’t do any of this in the near five-decade stay in Oakland.
And of course, when you think of the Warriors in their time in Oakland, the “We Believe” era is probably the most recognized time for the team. The Warriors even wore those throwbacks in their final regular season game in Oakland. That season for the team was magical. The playoff atmosphere there is untouchable. I was there for two of those games. It still remains the greatest live sporting events I have ever attended.
So what do the Warriors do? They go right ahead and tug on the heartstrings with this move. The uniform takes elements from that uniform and slaps the Oakland name right in front of it. It is not an exact copy of the original, but you can definitely get those knock-off vibes from it. Probably bought it from one of those guys selling it as you walk towards the arena right after you get off BART heading on the corridor. If you’ve been to a Warriors game in Oakland, you know.
It’s a strange mish-mash of the old design (word mark, colors) and the current design (collar, piping). It’s not very good overall.
Of course the easier option was just to do a straight up throwback of that uniform. But when there is money to be made and Nike wants to pump out a new uniform every season, you have to create something new. Even when you are running out of ideas.
This uniform is not a fitting tribute to Oakland. It is just another reminder that the Warriors didn’t take the time to pay tribute to Oakland then and now when they are doing it, every attempt reminds us that they left The Town. With this new era in San Francisco, the team should just embrace the new identity they have in the new city. Don’t try to reach back to the city that was abandoned. It’s time for a clean break. The hurt is still fresh.
Oh, and don’t forget that the Warriors are suing Oakland. This news dropped yesterday.