Pistons’ iconic teal jerseys return after 21 years as Classic option for 2022-23 season

Mike Curtis
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Pistons’ historic teal jerseys are officially back.

The franchise announced Monday evening during a launch party at the Renaissance Center that the teal uniform design, worn from 1996-2001, will serve as the team’s Classic Edition uniforms for the 2022-23 season.

Monday’s launch party featured an appearance by Pistons great Jerry Stackhouse, who donned Detroit’s popular retro jersey with its signature horse logo in the middle of the design.

Former Detroit Piston Jerry Stackhouse holds up one of the new jerseys the team will wear this season during a party at the Highlands restaurant in Detroit, July 25, 2022, to officially announce the return of the teal jerseys worn by the players in the ’90s.

"Just happy to be back here," Stackhouse said. "Happy to bring the teal back. It's an exciting era for me and I think it was for the fans. I think they wanted it back, and now it's here."

The Pistons’ audacious teal jerseys made their debut in the 1996-97 season, when Grant Hill was in his third year with Detroit and Joe Dumars entered the waning years of his Hall of Fame career.

The uniform was a complete overhaul from the team’s traditional red, white and blue colors. The main design features a black, burning horse’s head and a “Pistons” script that mimics a car-exhaust piping system.

The Pistons will wear the uniforms in approximately 10 games during the 2022-23 season. According to Pistons chief business officer Mike Zavodsky, the franchise will make a decision on the jersey's schedule once the official game schedule is released.

"We'll wear it a lot because it's the only year we're going to wear it." Zavodsky said. "As somebody who grew up in the era when that jersey was popular, I know the nostalgia that it had and now I think is the perfect time to bring it back with this team that we're going to put on the court this year. The 90's is very in right now."

Detroit hinted at a possible return to its throwback look earlier this month when Summer League coach Jordan Brink and his coaching staff wore teal and maroon polos during the Pistons’ stint in Las Vegas.

Over the past few years, fans have demanded a resurgence of the teal look. Some even rank them among the franchise’s best uniforms.

"Oddly enough, during the teal days I was a kid and didn’t like them at all," said longtime Pistons fan Jesse Bernstein. "Now I’m super excited about them coming back. Maybe (it's) just the nostalgia of it. I think they will look great on TV in 2022. Maybe I would have liked them more back then in 4K. I especially loved those polos the staff wore in Vegas and will jump on those if they become available."

Former Pistons forward Jerami Grant, who was traded to Portland this summer, sported a throwback gold and teal Hill jersey to a game in 2021. Former Pistons center Andre Drummond was a main advocate of the classic jersey after he wore a vintage teal jacket in 2019.

"When I came here from Philadelphia playing with Grant Hill, Joe Dumars, Lindsey Hunter...we had some really good teams and I dropped 57 (points)," Stackhouse said.

"It was a special time for me, a special time for this city. We felt like we were the bridge in between the Bad Boy's and the next era of great Detroit basketball teams. We helped bridge that gap. Obviously, we weren't able to win a championship during that time but we felt like we laid some good foundation and pieces to help start the championship team."

The Pistons compiled three winning seasons in the five-year span of the "teal era," but some fans associate the uniforms with the team's limited postseason success. Others say the franchise should embrace those squads.

"I think they’re an interesting alternative and it’s an era that had some good teams that the organization doesn’t necessarily need to hide in the closet," Pistons fan Alex Berant said.

The Pistons wore teal in their uniforms from the 1996-97 season through 2000-01.

Detroit’s red City Edition uniforms from last season featured a hint of teal on the outside of the blue thunderbolts that lined the sides of the jersey and shorts. The vintage horse logo also was displayed on the front of the team’s shorts.

The NBA mandates that throwback uniforms can only be used within the Hardwood Classics program, which means they have to fall on an anniversary of the franchise, which can be used in five-year intervals. The 2022-23 season is the 80th anniversary of the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons’ start in the National Basketball League in 1941 and the Pistons' 65th anniversary in Detroit.

Since the Pistons’ had to apply to use its newest Hardwood Classic uniform, it’s safe to say this news has been in the works for some time now. The teal jersey gives Detroit five uniform options for 2022-23: Association (white), Icon (royal blue), Statement (gray) and City (red).

"I’m a big fan of alternate jerseys, in general," Bernstein said. "I think the teal will look cool on the young kids on this team. Plus, I think they will sell well and I’m a fan of anything that will bring attention back to the Pistons."


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2