Grizzlies Honor Isaac Hayes With New City Uniforms


The Memphis Grizzlies unveiled their new City Edition jerseys on Tuesday, and they look incredible.

The franchise continued its streak of awesome jerseys, this time tapping into Memphis’ music history. This season’s City iteration honors music legend Isaac Hayes and Stax Records. Hayes was one of the driving forces of Stax during the 1960s, and had a very successful solo run in the early 1970s. Stax rose to prominence in the 60s and altered the course of Soul music in the US.

Hayes and Stax Records are two very important parts of Memphis’ history and culture. The Grizzlies organization has done a phenomenal job of finding ways to incorporate history and culture on the court. Over the past few seasons, they have consistently proven to be in tune with the city, its history, and most importantly, the fans. These jerseys are the newest installment in what has been an incredible stretch for the team.

Honoring a Legend

Not only did the Grizzlies unveil a visually appealing jersey, every detail is full of history.

The font emulates the original Stax logo. Across the jersey, there are vertical stripes which are designed to “represent the groove – the vinyl records and vibe that Stax produced, delivering Memphis soul and music to the world,” according to the team website. The shorts stripe features a pattern inspired by Ghanaian kente cloth, signifying Hayes’ humanitarian work in the country where he was once named honorary king. Along the vents on the shorts, there is a Stax logo and sunglasses, part of Hayes’ signature look. The blue and gold colors come from Hayes’ infamous Cadillac El Dorado. As a final touch, Hayes’ name is present above the jersey tag “to represent the mark he left on the design, in Memphis, and on the music industry.

About Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes got his start at Stax Records in the early 1960s as a session player for a handful of acts. He eventually teamed up with David Porter to write over 200 songs for Stax artists, including Sam and Dave, Johnnie Taylor, and others.

Hayes entered the spotlight in 1969 after the release of his sophomore album, Hot Buttered Soul. His sound and image were very unique for the time, and the album was successful. Two years later, Hayes reached new-found heights after composing the soundtrack to Shaft. The movie’s theme spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Hayes maintained his success until 1974, when he parted ways with Stax.

That same year, he was part of the ownership group that bought the Memphis Tams basketball team. The group renamed the team the Memphis Sounds, and had one successful year before the ABA relocated the franchise.

Hayes eventually signed with Polydor Records before taking a hiatus from music to focus on acting, and eventually, humanitarian work. He had a brief return to music in 1995 before becoming the voice of Chef on South Park. Hayes was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. He passed away in 2008.

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About Richmond Bailey Caldwell

Die-hard Grizzlies fan since 2009. Aspiring basketball writer and coach. University of Georgia sport management alum. Perennial first team all-defense selection.

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