Back on December 27, 2017, almost all 30 of the NBA's teams debuted a new City Edition uniform. Each was crafted to reflect their city's unique history and culture.
For example, the Golden State Warriors' design honoured the large Chinese immigrant population in the Bay Area of California.
And the Memphis Grizzlies paid tribute to civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. by referencing the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike protests he led. (The way that "Memphis" is written is lifted from signs at the protest which read "I Am A Man".)
Sadly, one of the few teams that didn't unveil their City Edition jerseys last December? The Toronto Raptors. As they are Canada's only NBA team, this kind of bummed us out! But after a little waiting, they were finally released January 12.
And for more reasons than one, they were definitely worth the wait.
We The North (the uniform)
First off — in case you haven't seen it — here is the City Edition uniform, which the Raptors will use for the first time this evening against the Utah Jazz.
The word "North" references the team's popular "We The North" slogan. The chevron (the arrow shape) has six points, which references the six boroughs of Toronto (Old Toronto, York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough.) And the gold and black are the colours loved by OVO, the record company started by the team's global ambassador and rap superstar, Drake. (Psst...he really loves the Raptors!)
This leads us to the best part of what these City Edition uniforms represent — the 'Welcome Toronto' charity.
Since the Raptors have arrived in Toronto, basketball has grown as a sport in Canada. Big time.
Our young players (like Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins) are prized throughout the league, the Raptors' fan base is one of the most passionate around, and our national team is finally stepping out from underneath the huge shadow of the United States.
So the Raptors (that's their general manager, Masai Ujiri, up there) and Drake are making two huge donations to continue that growth. Over the next three years, $1 million will go to refurbishing community courts throughout the city. And another $2 million will go to Basketball Canada, to improve the quality of our national program. That's awesome!
So when the Raptors take the court against Utah tonight, enjoy the new jerseys. But really marvel at how basketball has grown in Canada in the last 20 years. Who knows what the next 20 will bring?