The Raptors are wearing their North playoff jerseys tonight for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks. In the road game in a 2-2 series, Toronto is looking for every possible edge, including the threads that acted as a reward for the playoffs in the first place.
This past December, Rob Williams of the Daily Hive wrote that Nike unveiled the jerseys while the Raptors were charging towards a high seed in the postseason.
Nike unveiled brand new jerseys for 16 NBA teams on Wednesday, including the Raptors. Nike NBA Earned Edition uniforms will be brought into rotation for every team that made the playoffs in 2017-18.
“Solidifying a spot in the NBA Playoffs now comes with a new perk,” Nike explains on their website.
The original reveal didn’t show the franchise’s signature red and white colors. Instead, they were black and gold.
What’s the meaning of North? Nike explained during their introduction last year:
The Raptors are introducing a red version of their City Edition uniform, which was unveiled in black last year and white this season. Unlike other jerseys in franchise history, they don’t say “Toronto” or “Raptors” on it. Instead, “North” is emblazoned across the chest, a nod to the team’s popular “We the North” campaign.
“A twist to the popular ‘North’ jersey, the red base of Toronto’s Earned Edition uniform honours Canada’s flag and the franchise’s position as the League’s only international team,” Nike says.
A Kawhi Leonard one in normal red and white is worth $110 on Finish Line.
The slogan was introduced since the beginning of the franchise, despite the fact that Portland is technically more north than Toronto. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO and President Tim Leiweke explained the “We the North” mentality back in 2014.
“We the North” was an opportunity to be our creed,” he said to For The Win. “It is a mirror image of our players. Our team has taken on that identity, and our identity has been set by this team. It’s something we’re going to have to build on. We ultimately need to be a team that’s recognized and has a fan base everywhere in the world. Until we get there, we haven’t succeeded.”