Dressed for Success

Nothing I can write here will expound upon the Cavaliers’ clean, sleek and sturdy new uniforms as well as the day – (we’ll know what day when the preseason schedule comes out) – that LeBron James pours his chiseled 6-8, 265-pound frame into one and we witness them in action.

Until then, the rollout photos you’re seeing on Cavs.com leave no doubt that the Cavaliers and Nike – in partnership with Goodyear – have made a serious splash in the team’s recent reincarnation of the franchise’s look and feel.

Right down to the golden patch in collar representing Cleveland’s 2016 World Championship, these are the threads designed to Defend the Land.

These uniforms mark a series of changes – both for the Cavaliers and the NBA.

Taking over for Adidas, this upcoming season Nike takes over as the league’s official on-court apparel provider. All NBA players will sport the iconic Nike swoosh on the right chest of the uniform. On the left, an equally iconic logo – certainly in Ohio – will be the Goodyear Wingfoot, part of a new partnership with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. struck last May.

The Wine and Gold’s recent mantra “Defend the Land” – embodied in the new logos released last spring – is a prevailing theme in the new uniforms.

The home and road wordmarks across the chest are more detailed and the font is sharper. On the White Association Edition Uniform, CAVS is written across the chest in wine with a gold outline, with “CLE” front and center on the waistband. With the Wine Icon Edition, CLEVELAND is emblazoned across the chest with a navy outline and the waistband of the shorts reads “CAVS.”

In terms of identifying with the squad’s new logo, in a very cool feature, the Cavaliers’ new uniform actually forms a shield.

It begins with the gold outline at the “V” of the collar, runs down along the side and back shoulders of the jersey and onto the front of the of the shorts.

Association Edition Uniform

Of course, the franchise’s DNA statement – “All for One. One for All.” – has its place on the new uniform. Actually, it has two places: under the flap on the bottom of the shorts and just above the Nike jock tag so a player can see it ever time he tucks in his jersey and goes to battle.

This year, the league will also allow teams to choose which color they’ll wear at home. In the past, aside from unique occasions, the Cavaliers donned their white duds at home.

The Cavaliers have undergone plenty of uniform transformations over the years – from subtle renovations to complete reincarnations.

Full Uniform

The first uniforms featured the feathered underscore of “Cavaliers” on both home and road jerseys. Those years also featured the birth of the Cavs iconic logo – a silhouetted figure of a jousting Cavalier, encircled by the words “Cleveland Cavaliers.” The symbol is every bit as recognizable as the infamous “Chief Wahoo” and has survived through four decades of change.

Cleveland’s second uniform style – made famous by the “Miracle of Richfield” team – featured gold home threads and “Marquette”-style horizontal white, wine and gold stacked piping along the sides.

In 1981, the Ted Stepien-era team went with a metallic gold with a pair of horizontal stripes with the word “Cleveland” written above it in block letters. But in 1983 – with the purchase of the team by Gordon Gund, the Cavaliers made a radical departure from its original colors and identity. That came in the form of the burnt orange and royal blue uni’s with the word “CAVS” written across the chest.

The Cavaliers retained the colors – and slight variations on the look – throughout their final, and highly successful, years at the Richfield Coliseum and will forever be linked to the Lenny Wilkens era of excellence that featured the likes of Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams.

When the Cavaliers began play at Quicken Loans Arena in the 1994-95 season, there was once again a sea change from the previous look, with the team sporting pastel blue and black. Home uniforms were white, road black, with a jagged blue splash across the torso. The Cavaliers (thankfully) modified this look in 1997, sticking with the color scheme, but losing the incongruous torso splash.

In October of 2002, the Cavs went back to the future with a “new expression of wine and gold” – a crimson-hued wine color and a metallic, almost copper, gold.

Those uniforms remained until 2010, when the Cavaliers returned to a more traditional Wine and Gold – eventually mixing in the brilliant navy uniforms – reminiscent of their Finals run in 2015 – and the black, sleeved uni’s – reminiscent of Games 5, 6 and 7 of the 2016 title run.

If the new-look Cavaliers are able to reach the NBA Finals for a fourth straight occasion, they’ll do so in their new gear – ready to rock and decked out to Defend the Land.


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