Mountain basketball: Jazz course correct with purple, black and blue rebrand

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SALT LAKE CITY — Purple is back … for real this time.

Ryan Smith, the Utah Jazz and Utah NHL team owner, said last month: "If you're expecting perfection, you're looking at the wrong people. Probably make 10 bets, six of them will work out."

One of those ill-fated bets was the stark change of the Jazz brand to a highlighter yellow and black palette. Two years after the initial fan backlash, the Jazz are course-correcting.

Beginning next season, the Jazz will transition to a purple, black and sky blue color palette as part of a new "Mountain Basketball" identity; the familiar J-note will remain the team's main logo.

The team partnered with New York-based creative design studio Doubleday & Cartwright to help build the branding and uniforms. The Smith Entertainment Group is using the studio to build Utah's new NHL team's brand as well.

"It's really been a philosophy that's been a part of who we are for a long time," Jazz senior brand director Ben Barnes said of the mountain look. "In different eras, we've focused on it more than others, but we realize that now is a really good time to bring that back into the forefront."

The new "Mountain Basketball" Utah Jazz jerseys.
The new "Mountain Basketball" Utah Jazz jerseys. (Photo: Utah Jazz)

The 2024-25 season will serve as a transition year to the new brand.

The Jazz will wear two new mountain jerseys next season (a purple one that's a modern take on the late '90s era, and a black one featuring a large J-note) alongside two of their current jerseys.

"A lot of that is just a logistic thing," Barnes said of sticking with the black and yellow uniforms for one more season. "You need a white uniform, and we can't transfer over our statement edition (the new black J-note one) until later."

The team can begin to wear the new black J-note jersey on Jan. 1, 2025.

The team will complete the brand transition for the 2025-26 season. At that point, the yellow and black palette will be completely phased out and replaced with jerseys similar to the purple-gradient mountain jerseys the team wore last season.

The team will also wear a new city edition jersey in 2025-26 that will be revealed in the fall of 2025.

The 2024-25 Utah Jazz jerseys.
The 2024-25 Utah Jazz jerseys. (Photo: Utah Jazz)

"We've had purple in some form or fashion in our brand for 75% of our time, and so it just made sense to bring that back and to bring it to the forefront," Barnes said. "The black is something that helps us go into the future, and that sky blue helps tie things together and really gives us an ownable color palette.

"There may be one or two teams in all sports that have this color palette, but certainly this is the only team in the NBA that has this color palette."

Notably, the new jerseys do not feature the word "Jazz," instead the organization chose to go with "Utah" or the J-note logo. That is purposeful.

"Utah is so important to what we're doing," Barnes said. "I think, specifically, now having Utah on the front of our uniforms is important. We're one of the few teams in the NBA that represents an entire state and not a city."

The Utah Jazz's new official color palette.
The Utah Jazz's new official color palette. (Photo: Utah Jazz)

And to showcase the new rebrand — the team is referring to it as a "revival" — the Jazz wanted to highlight the state. The Jazz called on their nation-leading junior basketball program and photographed 50 youth players on school courts with mountains in the background.

"It wasn't that hard to find, because if you live here in the valley, you realize there's a beautiful view pretty much anywhere you go," Barnes said.

But why the change so quickly after a rebrand?

"There was always talk as we brought purple back into the mix about to what extent that purple should be here," Barnes said. "You can see some influence from last year's city edition uniform in our new 25-26 uniform. … There was a love for that look that kind of influenced what we were doing here."

And that should keep this rebrand around a little longer than the yellow one.


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