In November 1989, a sold-out crowd went wild as the Orlando Magic walked onto the court for the first time. The NBA team wore jerseys designed by Disney artists for their inaugural season. The new uniform was white with black pinstripes and trim. The jerseys featured the word “Magic” sprawled across the chest in electric blue, with the “A” replaced by a silver star. Over the past 30 years, the team has seen a lot of changes in players, coaching staff, and even their uniforms, but adding orange in the 2019-20 season is a drastic change (with a good reason for it).
History of the Orlando Magic uniforms
The predominant colors of the Orlando Magic uniforms have always been black, blue, white, and silver. Designers have an on-again-off-again relationship with pinstripes, and alternate between the word Magic and Orlando on the jerseys. The franchise used stars to accentuate the letters in Magic to commemorate the 10th anniversary. The 20th-anniversary jersey got a complete redesign to create a more modern look.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary, Nike and the NBA collaborated with the Orlando Magic to create something extraordinary.
Why teams have so many jerseys
NBA players used to wear different color jerseys for home and away games. Those days of keeping it simple are long gone. NBA merchandising is a billion-dollar industry, and the challenge to create unique jerseys that appeal to fans is first and foremost.
In 2017, Nike became the official uniform provider of the NBA. That’s when uniform design became a sport of its own with the Statement, Icon, and Association jersey editions. That same year, the NBA allowed teams to start wearing sponsor patches on their jerseys. This pilot program has generated more than $150 million in annual revenue for the league.
Nike City Edition uniforms
Nike came up with the idea to provide city-themed jerseys to connect fans with their favorite team. The alternate jerseys, known as the City Edition, use an element from the team’s city such as famous landmarks or local culture to honor the hometown. Those elements are used in the design process to create a different jersey each year.
For the past three seasons, there have been some cool jerseys and some strange jerseys. Sports Illustrated has ranked them in order of fan appeal. In 2017, the cream-colored jersey of the Milwaukee Bucks took the number one spot. The Orlando Magic jersey ranked #2 that year with an alternate logo that fans loved. The neon-colored jersey of the Miami Heat won in 2018, with the Orlando Magic falling to the bottom of the list. The Miami Heat won again in 2019 with a light blue jersey, and the Magic ranked 23 out of 30 teams.
Why the latest Orlando Magic alternate jersey is orange
For the first time, the Magic strayed away from the traditional black, blue, white, and silver. The jersey is an anthracite grey color with bright orange trim and lettering. In the past, the City Edition jerseys used a secondary logo of a comet-like basketball and stars. This year they opted instead to go with the letters ORL in its place. Central Florida has a long-standing tradition of being involved in the citrus industry.
The color orange is synonymous with Orange County and the orange groves that once covered the region. The City Edition uniforms pay homage to this connection in the sunshine state. The Disney World Resort logo is also represented on the jersey.