Detroit Pistons: Millennials and NBA2K drive return of the teal

Detroit Pistons' Jerry Stackhouse AFP PHOTO/Jeff KOWALSKY via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons' Jerry Stackhouse AFP PHOTO/Jeff KOWALSKY via Getty Images) /

Nothing gets fans of the Detroit Pistons more riled up than the subject of uniforms.

I’ve never quite understood the infatuation, as I really don’t care what the Detroit Pistons wear as long as they start winning again at some point in my lifetime.

I’m not a fan of the teal, but accept that a large portion of the fanbase is, so am happy they were able to successfully campaign for the return. The Pistons will only wear these for a handful of games, so I have to side with the kids here and not the grumpy old timers who would like to put the color teal into a rocket ship and launch it into the sun.

I find the whole war over the teal to be fascinating, as it definitely seems to be divided by generation, with younger millennials (and whatever the generation after them is, I quit keeping track) being big supporters of the teal and the older heads like myself mostly hating them.

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But it’s not just youth that is the driving force behind the return of the teal.

Detroit Pistons: NBA2K and the return of the teal

Many young fans weren’t even alive to see the Detroit Pistons play in the teal uniforms, so it is somewhat surprising that they were so excited to see them return.

To these fans, the uniforms either represent what the team was wearing when they first started watching basketball, or a throwback to an era that ended just before they were born. Either way, it makes sense, as we often gravitate towards this type of nostalgia for things from the past, even if we weren’t alive to experience them.

I also think the return of the Pistons’ teal uniforms was driven by video games like NBA2K, which allow users the option of throwback uniforms.

Here’s what one high school student had to say in a recent article for

"“I use them (teal jerseys) in NBA2K,” Loyola High School student D.J. Johnson told “They feel old school and I think it will bring back the real Pistons.”"

I have to say that I chuckled pretty hard at the idea that the teal era represents the “real” Pistons, but to fans who weren’t alive to see the Bad Boys, the teal looks “old school” while the Bad Boys probably just look “old” in their short shorts and traditional gear.

A whole lot of fans grew up playing this game and probably used the teal and wondered why the real team didn’t do the same. It makes sense, as players often choose the loudest, most colorful uniforms when playing video games just as a way to shake things up.

It carried over to real life, and these fans were able to lobby the team successfully, so you have to give them credit for getting heard:

"“To Pistons fans everywhere – we heard you, and this is for you,” Pistons chief business officer Mike Zavodsky said. “The teal jerseys represent a ‘colorful’ time in Pistons basketball and NBA history. We are thrilled to re-introduce the teal to a new generation of basketball fans and can’t wait to see this version of Detroit Basketball suit up in them.”"

I think the word “colorful” is doing a LOT of work here, but like it or not, the teal jerseys are coming back. I really don’t care either way, but am excited for the people who will be excited by this, and hope this generation of Pistons does better in the teal than the last go around.

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