Forsberg: Meet the man behind viral Celtics jersey designs after wins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The most exciting part of every Boston Celtics win during the 2022-23 season takes place hours after the final buzzer.
That’s when Pete Rogers presses send on a tweet that starts the same way each time…
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
"Designing a new Celtics jersey after every win …"
Then he adds a shamrock emoji, the team’s updated win-loss record, and a new uniform creation that leaves Celtics fans yearning for the team to make them a reality.
Celtics Talk: Best record in the NBA is keeping one Celtics fan busy this season | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Rogers is not a graphic designer. He’s just a sports fan with Photoshop skills. His brother only recently helped him truly embrace the NBA (though Boston’s talented young roster made that even easier).
When the world shut down in March of 2020, Rogers found himself with enough free time to really embrace jersey creation as a hobby.
Rogers, a Boston transplant living with his wife and twin daughters in Minnesota, was running SB Nation’s fantasy sports site before the pandemic. "So I had nothing to do because there were no sports," deadpanned Rogers.
Inspired by the hype around the NBA’s annual city jersey rollout, Rogers decided to design a new jersey for all 30 teams. That rolled out on SB Nation’s site in April 2020. But he didn’t stop there.
Rogers followed up with the NFL. Then MLB. Then the NHL.
Then he combined the key details of every city’s pro sports teams into one hybrid jersey for each city. Then he made jerseys for potential future expansion teams.
But Rogers’ most ambitious jersey project didn’t launch until October of last year when he started the jersey-per-win adventure.
Rogers found inspiration in Portugal-based graphic designer Rita Carvalho, who pledged to draw San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo every day until he got traded. On February 2, 2023, Carvalho completed one full year of daily graphics with her 365th offering.
So even though he now lives 1,200 miles northwest of TD Garden, Rogers finds himself crafting jerseys while monitoring the team from afar.
The Celtics, with an NBA-best record of 42-17, have kept him quite busy over the past four months.
"I think I hoped I would be making this many jerseys but I didn't realize how much it would take to make all these jerseys," said Rogers. "I feel like the first 10 or so I kind of had these ideas already percolating. It was pretty easy to get them on paper. And then, once you get to jersey 30 or 40, you're thinking, 'Well, I kind of feel like I’ve done everything.' So that's when you have to start getting some kind of wild ideas."
Two different nine-game winning streaks have challenged Rogers' dedication. He was still overflowing with ideas during the first streak, which featured wins Nos. 5 through 13. Nine more wins over a 17-day span from Jan. 5 to Jan. 21 was a whole lot more challenging.
Fortunately, Rogers stashed one of his favorite designs for win No. 30. It’s a takeoff of the Rainbow Swash that adorns the National Grid oil tank off Interstate-93 in Dorchester.
Ideas like that have brought even more eyeballs to all of Rogers' designs. Much of his early work featured simply modern spins for a team that’s routinely played it safe with their alternate offerings.
But jerseys themed after Boston landmarks or institutions have been among Rogers' most endearing creations. Most are simple designs featuring basic white jerseys, yet they are immediately recognizable given the local spin.
Like this MBTA-themed jersey with the rainbow train lines running through it, which has become maybe his most popular creation:
Or this jersey utilizing The Boston Globe’s famous newspaper font:
Win No. 25 delivered the quintessential Boston jersey: a Dunkin’-inspired shirt that blends the company’s orange and pink colors with coffee-colored numerals.
Wins Nos. 19-21 paid homage to Boston’s other pro sports teams, including a stunning Bruins-themed shirt that featured a spoked shamrock:
Every design has something unique about it. Rogers embraces alternate logos and there are dazzling silhouettes or gradients. The trim of many of the jerseys are particularly intricate, offering a subtle flair to more traditional looks.
The Celtics played Game 59 with last Wednesday's win over the Detroit Pistons. Rogers' 42nd design hit social media soon after. He acknowledged the rather relentless nature of the NBA schedule and, when he’s sapped for ideas, it inspires some of his most creative offerings.
"Sometimes it’s fun to just kind of sit down and think like, ‘OK, what are we doing?’ And see what inspiration hits," said Rogers.
But other times some advanced planning is rewarded by the Basketball Gods. For win No. 37, Rogers planned a jersey themed after Gino, an American Bandstand dancer who has grooved on the Garden JumboTron for nearly two decades to celebrate lopsided wins.
The Celtics had been thin on blowout victories this season but throttled the Nets in a game that Boston led by as much as 49 points to start the month. Gino danced on the JumboTron in the aftermath.
And an electric Gino-themed jersey landed on Twitter soon after.
Rogers is open to suggestions to help him get to the finish line of what could be a 60-win season. He’s pondering doing just one jersey for any playoff series victories, with hopes that he’ll have to design a jersey for raising Banner 18 in June.
Until that point, he’s got ideas for a Marcus Smart-themed jersey for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. There’s a Bill Russell tribute in the works. And Rogers will add to his collection of Boston landmarks with a Freedom Trail offering.
Occasionally, the win total will lend itself to a jersey. Like the Larry Bird-themed jersey that dropped after win No. 33.
Rogers hasn’t had any contact from the Celtics, who work with Nike and the NBA to design their yearly offerings. But he’s hoping to inspire the team, particularly in a league where many teams have embraced thinking outside the box.
The jerseys with deep Boston ties tend to be the most popular on social media. In a shift away from Boston’s typical green/white colorways, Rogers created a Boston Strong-themed jersey in Marathon blue and yellow.
The MBTA, Dunkin', and Boston Strong jerseys were the first three offered via an online retailer. Rogers found a jersey maker that sells his design -- sometimes modified to ensure no Celtics trademark violations -- for $ 59.99 per jersey. All products have sold out in their initial offerings but more are coming. Rogers keeps fans updated about the drops on his Twitter page.
Despite the stress of producing high-quality designs, there is one thing that makes it all worthwhile for Rogers.
"The coolest thing is seeing other people wear the jerseys," said Rogers. "And wearing them at Celtics games."