In June, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke confirmed that the Toronto Raptors were “considering” a name and/or uniform change, one put in place to presumably distance itself from the “Jurassic Park”-y origins of its current nickname. This set off a wild batch of speculation and solid contributions from both fans and tastemakers, none tastier than the list dreamed up by our own Eric Freeman.
The Toronto Star recently invited Raptor fans to submit their own ideas for a name or uniform change, and the paper received 150 submissions as a result. Star columnist Doug Smith narrowed down the choices to five, and presented them to both menswear designer Christopher Bates, and Raptors forward/center Amir Johnson for approval. They both seemed taken with the work of local artist and Raptors fan Matthew Stasnya, whose jersey design is featured above.
Amir Johnson, the Raptors forward in Toronto last week for a youth basketball camp at Humber College, called the design “masculine.” Menswear designer Christopher Bates pointed to a strong logo design that carried Stasyna’s concept to the top.
The Star’s resident basketball reporter, Doug Smith, looked on and nodded.
Dressed in shorts, low-cut chucks and ankle socks, Smith agreed with the 26-year-old NBAer and the 34-year-old designer trained in Milan — the dual-bite was head and shoulders above the rest.
“I’m just kind of overwhelmed right now,” Stasyna said when he heard the news. “I’m excited. I really hope they move forward with the jerseys.
“I think it speaks to the past because I think whoever designed the original dinosaur did an amazing job,” said Stasyna.
That’s obvious, because given the wide array of options (including nods to “Jurassic Park,” with JP-foliage in tow, and several suggested name changes to the Toronto Huskies), Stasyna’s design is most in line with the Raptors recent logo history. That’s not a shot, just a nod to his decision to keep the original dinosaur in the building. We agree with Bates and Amir – it’s a pretty cool design.
Earlier this year Leiweke also spoke of possibly making a move to feature Canada’s iconic maple leaf flag into their logo somehow, and it appears that Stasyna found a way to weave the leaf into his design. Bates is a fan, pointing out that if the leaf reference “was intentional, it was brilliant.”
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