The Cleveland Cavaliers will be wearing throwback jerseys for the first time since the 2009-2010 season in the upcoming year. The NBA will celebrate the 1990's in their annual Hardwood Classics nights and the Cavs will be one of twelve teams to do so. The team will take the court wearing their mid-'90s road jerseys for select games.
The other franchises that will be donning 90's jerseys are the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz. The NBA typically reserves Hardwood Classics promotional games for older jerseys, but the fact that so many NBA fans in their thirties celebrate that era makes it good marketing on behalf of the league.
On a personal note, I recall when those jerseys were revealed. As a thirteen year old Cavs fan who knew nothing but the orange and blue of the 80's and early-90's, I was excited about the new arena, direction and brand of the franchise. But something did not sit right for me. It was odd to see Cavaliers legends like Mark Price and Hot Rod Williams in jerseys that were so blatantly from a specific era. It is like walking into a brand new house that is ultra-modern. It may look new and exciting at the moment, but it is easy to see how it will look outdated in a few short years. That is how I always remember those early Gund arena Cavs jerseys.
One of my favorite Hardwood Classics years that the Cavs ever had was in the 2006-2007 season when the Cavs honored twentieth anniversary of the 1986-1987 team. Cavalier GM Wayne Embry revamped the roster in one fell swoop during the draft that year. His night ended by obtaining Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper and Mark Price. I purchased two Hardwood Classics jerseys in 2006: LeBron James and Anderson Varejao. I had the latter autographed when I met Anderson Varejao that year. The other jersey I wouldn't be caught dead wearing (unless a certain free agent decides to take his talents to Lake Erie in 2014). This led me to the following revelation: It would be horrible a basketball personnel decision but a genius PR move to find a random free agent with the last name James and to encourage him to wear the number 23. Think of all of the Cavs fans who would be thrilled to be able to wear their #23 James Cavaliers jerseys.
This is obviously a pipe dream (and a bad one) because the Cavs are in the business of selling jerseys and signing players they like as opposed to giving fans a reason to not buy team merchandise at the expense of cap space and a roster spot. It is food for thought and nothing more.
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