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Black and white: Jazz owner Ryan Smith confirms team rebrand at Silicon Slopes Summit

Dwyane Wade, part owner of the Utah Jazz, left, and Jazz owner Ryan Smith laugh as they talk about rebranding effort for the team at the Silicon Slopes Summit at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

Dwyane Wade, part owner of the Utah Jazz, left, and Jazz owner Ryan Smith laugh as they talk about rebranding effort for the team at the Silicon Slopes Summit at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Dwyane Wade called Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith with a question that probably should have been obvious.

"Hey, my mom wants to know what the Jazz colors are and we can't figure it out," Smith remembers Wade telling him.

A look through the recent Jazz uniforms reveals the source of the confusion. In the last three seasons, the Jazz have worn navy, yellow, green, a red gradient, black with yellow, and even purple. They've pretty much covered the whole rainbow.

The franchise's history in Utah has been filled with multiple brand changes, so is another one on the horizon?

Smith confirmed as much Wednesday while speaking at the Silicon Slopes Summit, stating the Jazz will build a new identity around black and white. For more details, you can look at everything that's been happening around the team's branding heading into the season.

On Monday, the J-note statue that sits outside Vivint Arena got a new look. The navy, green and yellow multicolored structure was repainted black and white, continuing a design theme the Jazz have been slowly unveiling over the last few months.

The Zions Bank Basketball Center, where the team practices, was repainted black and white ahead of training camp, the Jazz social media accounts all now use a black and white logo, and this week the Jazz released a schedule calendar that was black and white and … yellow.

All the changes have been the cause of a lot of hand-wringing among some Jazz fans, so the first question posed to Smith as he sat down on the Silicon Slopes Summit stage was about the potential rebrand.

"Look, I like all the genres of the Jazz," Smith said, before recounting all the different eras.

Those eras included Mardi Gras colors, a purple mountain scheme, a light-blue heavy look, and the current J-note with the primary colors of navy, yellow and green

"I think the evolution of the brand of Jazz has been something that's been pretty consistent," Smith said.

The Utah Jazz note outside of the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, pictured on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, has been painted black and white as part of a rebranding effort for the team.
The Utah Jazz note outside of the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, pictured on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, has been painted black and white as part of a rebranding effort for the team. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

With the league's contract with Nike, teams are constantly getting new jerseys— from throwbacks to yearly city editions to this season's "mix-tape" uniforms (the Jazz opted out of those). All the different designs have created even more new colors and brands for teams. And with the Jazz choosing to go with something completely different from their regular color scheme for their heavily used City Edition uniforms, it's created some confusion.

What are the Jazz's primary colors? The Wade family isn't the only ones who have that question.

"Sometimes in the state we think we know, but outside it's a little bit more (confusing)," Smith said. "So what we're trying to do is hone it all in. We're not just going to have two colors; it's not just going to be black and white. But we're going to have a good base, and then we'll continue with Nike to have City Edition type stuff."

So black and white — and other stuff thrown in? That's about as much as Smith offered.

Now, that doesn't mean the Jazz will have new uniforms or an official new logo this season. Utah revealed its uniform schedule earlier this week and will wear four jerseys that fans should be well used to: the white, the navy, the once-cursed yellow and the dark-mode City Edition the team used last season.

The NBA and Nike require multiple years of lead time for a team to completely rebrand. Smith has only owned the team less than a year; that's just not enough time to make things official. But that doesn't mean the Jazz can't start early implementing their chosen design.

"We're not gonna just keep everything the status quo; we will push and we will push," Smith said.

Along with the colors, Smith mentioned the addition of male performers to the Jazz Dancers, new clubs on the lower level of the arena and having the sixth highest payroll in the league.

"We have a super passionate fan base, which I love. I love!" Smith said. "I mean, people are talking about the font we're using in preseason for hell's sake, like, that's incredible. I wish more people were talking about picking up Rudy Gay, but I like where we're going."

And where does he want the Jazz to go?

"We're all here for one thing: We want a (championship) parade in the city," Smith said. "That's it."

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