Pistons fans will be seeing red with new jersey

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Blake Griffin models the Pistons' new "City Edition" uniform.

Chicago — The Pistons have added a jersey to the lineup for this season — and unlike some of the unique colors in previous years, this time, they’re sticking with the franchise's traditional color scheme of red, white and blue.

The team revealed this season’s “City Edition” jersey, which is one of the four uniform choices for each NBA team, on Wednesday. The red jersey features two blue racing-inspired stripes down the front.

“Motor City” is written across the front in white, with the player number. It’s a slight variation from last season’s City Edition jersey, which was black with dark grey accents.

The Pistons will don the City Edition jerseys for 17 games this season, beginning Nov. 29 against the Charlotte Hornets at Little Caesars Arena. The four Pistons jerseys available this year are the Association (white), Icon (blue), Statement (light grey) and City Edition (red).

The NBA also allows a fifth “Earned Edition” design for teams that made the playoffs the previous season. It’s unclear whether the Pistons will add that option.

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Selecting a City Edition jersey is a long process that begins two years before they’re released, to promote each city’s personality. The Pistons’ red is a popular muscle-car color and the striping and piping are inspired by the city’s strong automotive background.

“Nike and the NBA take the lead and you work a couple of seasons out, so our deadlines are usually two years out,” said Jason George, vice president and creative director with the Pistons. “We get three options that they present to us and internally we’ll look at our current uniform lineup, what the fans are asking for and what we’ve done historically.

“There’s been a push on social media to bring back the red uniform in some capacity.”

The Pistons’ creative team takes those suggestions from Nike and the NBA, tweaks them and provides some alternatives. After some back-and-forth design sessions, they come up with a final look.

In this year’s set, the other two final options were the reverse — the same Pistons blue with red accents — and black with one blue and one red stripe. George and his creative team opted for the red because it provided a contrast to the current offerings, and from some feedback from fans and internal discussions.

“We look at it both from an on-court standpoint but then also retail. Going from a black jersey to black again, we want to offer fans something new and different each year,” George said. “We have next year’s locked in and we’re working on (2021).”

The red jerseys represent a homage to the red the Pistons wore in the mid-2000s, once worn by Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups. The City Edition jerseys are can be purchased on PistonsLR.com on Nov. 27 and are available for pre-order Nov. 20-29 in a three-game ticket offer that includes three home games: Feb. 2 against the Denver Nuggets, March 27 versus the Los Angeles Clippers and against Boston on April 13.

Tickets packages start at $199 at pistons.com/blackfriday.

They’re not the retro teal jerseys that some fans have been clamoring for recently, but that design only can be worn during a five-year anniversary of the Pistons franchise. The earliest possible date for that new “Hardwood Classics” jersey would be 2022-23, and also requires an application to the NBA for approval, two years in advance.

It’s unclear whether the Pistons are planning to select teal as the color for that next anniversary or maybe even the burgundy jerseys that were similar and went along with the teal.

New look

Here are the 17 dates the Pistons will wear the Motor City uniforms this season:

Friday, Nov. 29 vs. Hornets

Sunday, Dec. 1 vs. Spurs

Saturday, Dec. 14 at Rockets

Friday, Dec. 20 at Celtics

Thursday, Dec. 26 vs. Wizards

Thursday, Jan. 2 at Clippers

Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Celtics

Monday, Jan. 20 at Wizards

Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Nets

Sunday, Feb. 2 vs. Nuggets

Sunday, March 1 at Kings

Tuesday, March 17 vs. Magic

Sunday, March 22 vs. Lakers

Sunday, March 29 vs. Rockets

Wednesday, April 1 at Nets

Monday, April 13 vs. Celtics

Tuesday, April 14 at Knicks