DETROIT — Teal is making its return to the Motor City after being gone for more than two decades.
The Detroit Pistons’ nostalgic uniforms were reintroduced on Monday night among a select group of partners, influencers and season-ticket holders as the official Classic Edition jerseys for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Overlooking the city of Detroit, from the 72nd floor of the Renaissance Center, former Pistons star Jerry Stackhouse returned to his old stomping grounds for the launch party event to showcase the jerseys.
Stackhouse was among those franchise legends, including Grant Hill and Ben Wallace, who made the uniforms popular during their generation.
“These guys that wore that teal, it was a sense of pride about that group, too. Knowing that we obviously didn’t have the success of the Bad Boys or the ’04 Pistons, but we helped bridge that gap and still maintained the identity of Detroit,” Stackhouse told ESPN. “Even though we were in the teal and the maroon at the time, it was still a fun era and I’m glad that the fans resonated with it.
“They spoke, they said they wanted it back and they appreciated what we did during that era, so it’s a lot of fun to see the excitement around it.”
Given how spectacular Hill was during his Pistons tenure, even he can’t deny the modern-day popularity of the uniforms and why his Detroit career is still being identified with those colors.
“First of all, just because I played in teal, doesn’t necessarily mean I was a big fan of it. I had no choice. At the time, I didn’t quite get it,” Hill told Andscape in October. “I know that teal was sort of a color of choice in the ’90s and you think about Charlotte and Vancouver as new franchises, expansion teams, and they had teal, so whatever focus group at the time, I guess determined that teal was the color of the future, but I never quite embraced it. I never felt like it quite fit Detroit.
“I wore red, white and blue my first few years and nothing is more perfect than that. It’s synonymous with the Pistons and tradition,” he said. “At the time, I thought about the Lakers or Celtics, ‘They’re not gonna change their colors.’ So, that was something that I didn’t quite get or understand, but whatever, you go out and play.”
Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and the new-look Pistons will now rock the retro jerseys for 10 games this season. Detroit originally went away from its traditional red, white and blue threads from 1996 to 2001 to adopt the teal horsehead jerseys before returning to the previous colorway.
Stackhouse was a two-time All-Star in 2000 and 2001 with the teal jerseys. Detroit also reached the postseason on three separate occasions in those uniforms. Even as the current head coach of Vanderbilt University, the 47-year-old Stackhouse is often reminded of that era through those jerseys.
“I saw somebody wearing the jersey just randomly in Tennessee, so it has a life of its own. It has an identity of its own,” Stackhouse said. “I was even a big fan of the maroon jerseys. I know they’re probably not getting as much love as the teal, but it’s good for it to be back.”