The Sacramento Kings are going back to the future.
The Kings on Tuesday unveiled a new set of team logos with a distinct retro flair in advance of the club's move to a new arena this October. The new visual identity centers on an updated version of the primary logo the team used when it moved to Sacramento in 1985 -- a design whose original rendition dates back to the franchise's earlier incarnation as the Cincinnati Royals in 1971. After the team's name was changed to the Kings, additional versions of the logo design were used during the franchise's stints in Kansas City and Omaha during the 1970s and '80s.
"We want something that represents the entire history of this franchise, dating back to its early days, while also looking ahead to the future," said team president Chris Granger.
The identity package's secondary logos include a simplified version of the primary mark, a crown, and two versions of a royal lion. Press materials explain that the lion "pays tribute to the unmatched pride and loyalty" of the team's fan base.
The new visuals center around two colors: a deep, rich purple (slightly darker than the team's current shade) and a slate gray that the team is calling "granite" -- a reference to the Sierra granite that literally forms the foundation of the team's new arena, Golden 1 Center, which is scheduled to open this fall.
Black-and-white versions of the logos, accessed via a publicly available trademark application filing, were first reported on Saturday by the website SportsLogos.net.
A new uniform set will follow later this summer. Granger declined to name a specific date for the unveiling, or to say whether the team's road uniform would be purple or granite. "But as you can imagine, we're going to be using all the colors in our palette," he said.
HEY LOOK A NEW JERSEY pic.twitter.com/xI4tHAUyk4— Omer Ali Khan (@okhanSTR) April 26, 2016
Granger said the new identity was the result of a collaboration by a large number of partners, including the team's in-house graphics staff; NBA Properties; Adidas, the league's uniform outfitter; Nike, which will take over the league's uniform program for the 2017-18 season; and Rare Design, a Mississippi-based studio that has done design work for several NBA franchises, including the Charlotte Hornets, the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The inclusion of both Nike and Adidas on the project is unusual, reflecting the potentially awkward timing of the Kings' makeover. It's widely expected that many NBA teams will be undergoing redesigns when Nike takes charge of the league's uniforms in 2017 (which is also when teams can start adding corporate advertising patches to their jerseys), but the Kings have chosen to update their look for the 2016-17 season -- the last year of the league's contract with Adidas.
"It was interesting timing for us, but we didn't feel like we had much choice," said Granger. "Given the opening of Golden 1 Center and our move downtown, now is the time for a new visual identity, and we wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable with our new direction, whether it was the incoming partner or the outgoing partner, so we involved Adidas and Nike in the process."
Merchandise featuring the new logos will go on sale today at the team's shops in Sacramento.
Paul Lukas writes about uniforms and logos for ESPN.com. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.