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Overtime Elite Unveils Uniforms, Team Names, & Logos for 2022-23

It’s time to meet Cold Hearts, City Reapers, and YNG Dreamerz — the three teams that will make up Overtime Elite.

Just over a year into the Overtime Elite era, and the league has already built a full complex and assembled three teams of elite talent.

Now they’re back for year two.

This year, the league has given its athletes direct input into the team names, logos, identities, and jerseys for the 2022-23 campaign.

It’s a necessary step in Overtime’s evolution — there just wasn’t enough time to build out team IP in year one, which is vital for fan engagement. Team OTE, Team Overtime, and Team Elite are no more. Same with the orange and teal color schemes that made up the individual uniforms.

Overtime has constraints when it comes to attracting fans for its teams. There are no longstanding ties to cities, schools, players, or home towns. But by building upon an ethos that’s player- and fan-focused, Overtime developed three franchises that will exist beyond this season.

The Process

OTE took its existing teams, sat down with the players, and paired each group with a designer. They also had Overtime VP and general merchandise manager Tyler Rutstein to offer his expertise. The groups had creative sessions, giving the players — who have individual equity in Overtime — a stake in the process of their futures and legacies with a blank slate.

“Don’t think about this in terms of like you’re building an NBA team,” Rutstein advised the players. “You could think about this in terms of the name of your favorite band, your streetwear brand. We could make something with none of the rules that apply to your normal naming conventions within teams, and really think of them as sub-brands within Overtime.”

Overtime went through a long process with players, iterating multiple times, because some choices may have already been trademarked. Then they iterated on the logo process, with the logos sometimes even influencing the team names. Players got to choose the colors as well, which are completely distinct from one another. This process was integrated into the players’ education, building life skills and creativity.

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The three new teams, Cold Hearts, City Reapers, and YNG Dreamerz, are now trademarked. They’ll be the three OTE team names moving forward.

“We plan to build businesses behind them just as a fan shop would for any other legacy team,” Rutstein told Boardroom. “And the players were part of this process the whole way. My goal is really to be a part of the jersey culture conversation as much as possible. And we don’t have as many rules and constraints from legal and brand guidelines as probably the big corporations do so we could have a lot more fun.”

Team t-shirts, jerseys, pajama pants, and more will be available online and at the OTE arena during games. Rutsetin likes that the team names are Gen-Z, and since the league plans to expand in the future, he expects this to be the first of many internal collaborative processes.

During games, the OTE arena will showcase different aesthetics for the three teams, with custom lighting, music, halftime acts, and a different tone for each. The goal is to give all three teams their own home-court advantage.

“We’re really trying to be so strategic and thoughtful around those elements,” Rutstein said.

The Teams

Cold Hearts

With icicles hanging off the wordmark and a secondary logo of an icicle-laden, heart-shaped basketball, Cold Hearts represents ice in players’ veins, and a cold-blooded, relentless nature on the court with an ice blue, subzero blue, and white color scheme.

“You’ll see that team with a bit more swagger, a bit more flashiness,” Rutstein said. “Cold Hearts personally could be like a streetwear brand if you were to hear it with no context.”

With a broken ice pattern on the light blue home jerseys and the darker blue road jerseys, you can see the icicles dripping off the wording on the shorts. It’s a bold, fashion-forward take.

Each team has a mood board attached to its persona. For Cold Hearts, that includesTrae Young putting his hands on his shoulders for being so cold. It includes D’Angelo Russell pointing to his veins when he comes through in the clutch. They want to give off a strong, flashy, sharp, pressure-makes-diamond mentality for Cold Hearts, Rutstein said.

City Reapers

If the grim reaper was a hooper, he’d wield a scythe in one hand and a basketball in the other. That’s the logo that appears at the center of the red home jersey and on the shorts of the black road jersey with subtle pinstripes.

This is a much more sinister approach. A little bit darker.

“We don’t claim one city, we claim every city,” was an inspiration for the design. Inspirations include the Slim Reaper Kevin Durant, Ben Wallace, the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons, defense, toughness, and grit.

YNG Dreamerz

Aim for the stars and shoot for the moon. “Dreams take you to the top, but we’re not stopping there.” Those are inspirations for the black-and-yellow-clad YNG Dreamerz. Uniforms come complete with a crescent moon in the background of the gold home jerseys, dotted with pinstripes made of tiny stars. The black road jerseys feature a collage of positive affirmations like strive, passion, dreams, and hunger.

“This is the motif of a lot of what we do at Overtime Elite,” Rutstein said. “We’re in the dreams business. We’re here to help these athletes get to the next level. Whatever their dreams are, make them come true; whether it’s playing professionally overseas or in the NBA. It’s the overall positive brand ethos that we’ve tried to convey.”

The best leagues and best stories have heroes and villains, Rutstein said. Overtime Elite now has a role for each of the three teams from that lens.

“The players having input into the future franchises and what they look like was a really cool process for us,” Rutstein said. “It allowed us to really come up with names that I think are on trend for the audience we’re trying to capture across the board in a way that also allowed us to be disruptive in terms of basketball IP.”

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