The Detroit Pistons are throwing it back to the late 1990s, at least for a few games this season.
The Pistons unveiled their take on a classic colorway Tuesday: the team's iconic teal jerseys from 1996-2001, including the horse-inspired logo. Detroit will wear the uniforms for 10 games this upcoming season.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) July 26, 2022
While the decision to bring back the jerseys appears to be fan-driven, the Pistons were not very successful during their six years wearing the old jerseys. Following the Bad Boys era of the late-1980s and early 1990s, the Pistons failed to win a playoff series and only eclipsed 50 wins in a season during their time in teal.
"These guys that wore that teal, it was a sense of pride about that group, too. Knowing that we obviously didn't have the success of the Bad Boys or the '04 Pistons, but we helped bridge that gap and still maintained the identity of Detroit," former Pistons star Jerry Stackhouse told ESPN on Tuesday. "Even though we were in the teal and the maroon at the time, it was still a fun era and I'm glad that the fans resonated with it."
The fan response has been positive towards the new jerseys, but one of the team's notable stars during that period – Grant Hill – wasn't a big proponent of them when they were first unveiled in 1996. He preferred the original Pistons' colors of red, white and blue.
"At the time, I didn't quite get it," Hill told Andscape in 2021. "I know that teal was sort of a color of choice in the '90s and you think about Charlotte and Vancouver as new franchises, expansion teams, and they had teal, so whatever focus group at the time, I guess determined that teal was the color of the future, but I never quite embraced it. I never felt like it quite fit Detroit."
"I remember I was disappointed at the time because FILA’s colors were red, white and blue and so were the Pistons, so it was sort of a natural marriage there and all of a sudden, a teal shoe, that just seems so out of the ordinary. So, now you fast-forward, it seems like with some folks that it’s some nostalgia for teal, maybe it’s the younger generation. I don’t have an opinion either way. I’m too old to know what looks good and what doesn’t look good, but at the time, it was not something that I think we as players quite understood or fully embraced."
While the Pistons will have a bit of an old revival in the jersey department, their roster is much more of a youth movement. Detroit should be one of the youngest teams in the NBA, led by 2021 first-overall pick Cade Cunningham and 2022 first-rounders Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren. Other former first-rounders like Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III should all play huge roles on the team this upcoming season.