How You Can Get a Uni Watch Hockey Jersey by Wafflebored

Over the last several years, we’ve showcased lots of projects by the gifted jersey DIYer who calls himself Wafflebored. In a few instances, Wafflebored has very generously donated some of his homemade jerseys for our year-end raffles. But despite many requests and offers from Uni Watch readers, he has declined to sell his jerseys or to take commissions. He appears to be that rare artist who’s truly interested in art for art’s sake — brilliantly creative but not particularly entrepreneurial (which I mean as a compliment). So those of you who’ve wanted to purchase a Wafflebored jersey have been out of luck.

Until now. In a few minutes I’m going to explain how you can acquire his latest creation. Check this out (for all of the photos that follow, you can click to enlarge):

Pretty sweet, right? Here’s the backstory: After I announced the recent unpleasantness, Wafflebored got in touch and asked if he might be able to support Uni Watch by making jerseys that could be sold to raise some cash for the site. That’s an incredibly generous gesture — so generous, frankly, that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it, because I think Wafflebored should reap some of the rewards from his work. So we’ve decided to split the proceeds evenly.

As for the jersey design: As you may recall, back in 2016 we did a T-shirt featuring a hockey player wearing a Rangers-esque Uni Watch jersey. The design concept was mine (I had actually thought of it back in 2015), and the illustration was by Bryan Molloy. I thought that would be a good design for Wafflebored to execute, so that’s what he did (but he opted to make the chest lettering green with gold block-shadowing instead of the other way around, and also omitted the captaincy designation because the magnifying glass would have been too tricky to render in tackle twill).

Here’s how the jersey looks from the back:

As you can see from that rear-view shot, the jersey includes a fight strap. Other key details include a lace-up collar, reinforced elbows, a “W” inner tag (think of it as a tastefully hidden maker’s mark), and more. Here are some close-up pics:

The jersey measures about 25″ pit to pit and 31″ long. The normally camera-shy Wafflebored even took the extra step of providing a photograph of himself wearing the jersey. “I’m about 5’9″, 170 pounds, and am wearing the jersey over a sweatshirt in this photo,” he says.

The jersey is a one-of-a-kind original. Wafflebored will not be making additional versions of it — this is it.

We’re going to sell it via a blind auction, and we’ll start the bidding at $150, although I think it’s fair to say that the jersey is worth a whole lot more than that. (The winning bidder will also have to cover shipping costs from Vancouver, which is where Wafflebored lives.) To participate in the auction, email your bid to me by next Wednesday, Feb. 27, 7pm. High bid wins, and Wafflebored and I will split the proceeds.

If you have any questions, want to see more photos, etc., feel free to be in touch.

I can’t fully express how grateful I am to Wafflebored for doing this — not just for the financial support, but for sharing his remarkable talents and considerable labor on Uni Watch’s behalf. It’s no small thing, and I’m very, very humbled by it.

Also, it’s worth noting that this jersey is really plain by Wafflebored standards. In addition to being someone else’s design (which in turn was based on a real NHL team’s design), there’s no weird collar or other unusual tailoring features, no made-up team name with a fun backstory. Wafflebored usually takes a lot of joy in those types of elements, but he sacrificed all of that in order to make something, well, normal. Although he probably won’t admit it, I suspect this project was fairly tedious and unrewarding compared to his more freewheeling designs. Thanks for being willing to do that, buddy.

Speaking of being humbled: This is just one of many kind gestures that the Uni Watch community has sent my way since I announced the recent unpleasantness two months ago. We’ve had a significant spike in Uni Watch membership card sales, a lot of donations, and a big outpouring of very kind, thoughtful emails. All of this has been super-special, people — thanksthanksthanksthanksthanks.

Lots of you have also asked about how things are shaping up for my post-ESPN career path, and what that will mean for this website. The short answer is that I don’t know yet, although I’m in discussions with several interested parties. I should be able to tell you more soon. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

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Nameplate feedback wanted: Last Thursday I reported that the Rays and Indians — the last two MLB teams to use nameplates for their NOBs — are switching to direct-sewn lettering, which will make 2019 MLB’s first nameplate-free season since 1972.

I’m working on an article that explores this issue in greater depth, and I could use some input from fans. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who purchase retail jerseys fairly regularly and feel strongly about nameplates vs. direct-sewn lettering (you can be either pro-nameplate or anti-nameplate, as long as you have a strong opinion). If you’re a Rays or Indians fan, even better.

I’d also be interested in hearing from Rays and Indians fans who don’t necessarily purchase jerseys but have strong opinions about the change.

If you fit any of these descriptions, please drop me a line. Thanks.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Kinney Shoes offered up this 1970s “Slam Dunk” NBA T-shirt, probably a promo item when you bought a pair of shoes. (Kinney was big-time into the NBA back then, it seems. And how about that upside-down swoosh?) That “zooming stars” motif reminds me of a certain 1970s TV show open, with the rockin’-est theme song ever (“In your satin tights, fightin’ for your rights, and the old red white and bluuuuue”).

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• How about this great-looking 1970s Sears trading card locker? Looks like it is made of heavy-duty cardboard with vinyl covering, and plastic shelves inside. It’s covered with generic-looking pro sports players, though the No. 20 football player at lower right looks like Mel Renfro of the Cowboys, and the NBA player above him vaguely resembles Dave Cowens of the Celtics.

• There’s an interesting tidbit (at least to me) in this Terry Bradshaw 8-by-10 photo. Note those shoes he is wearing. There was a period of time when these were all the rage in the NFL. They were from Canada and known as broomball shoes. (Here they are again, on the previously mentioned Mel Renfro.)

• Keep your No. 2 pencils sharp with this 1970s Atlanta Flames hockey puck pencil sharpener.

• Couple of SF Giants items here: this Apex jacket from the 1990s, and this radio station bumper sticker from the 1970s. “For the Good Times.”

• For the diehard St. Louis (football) Cardinals fan, we have this set of four 1970s “see-thru” glasses.

• More NFL glassware: This pair of glasses features the helmets of the NFC’s Eastern Division.

• He shoots, he scores! Buffalo Sabres fans will love this 1970s hockey stick pen. The seller tosses in an ad for Sabres stuff — look at those prices! A knit ski cap just $4, and a men’s tee just $3.50.

• This 1970s Kansas City Chiefs rain jacket was just the thing to keep you dry at then-new Arrowhead Stadium.

• Here’s a set of the 1970 Chiquita banana helmet stickers. Seller says they are “near mint.”

• Waddingtons was a UK puzzle and game maker that went out of biz in 1994. Before they did, they came up with this 500-piece Miami Dolphins puzzle.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Brannock-cycle update: In last Friday’s Ticker we had an item about a custom Indian motorcycle with foot rests made from a Brannock device (see above). Today we have a bunch of additional photos that show the details much more clearly.

The pics are all from the Instagram account @jshia, which is run by a motorcycle enthusiast. As I’ve mentioned before, a Brannock was used as a gas pedal in the movie Mad Max Fury Road, but this is the first time I’ve seen one used on a real vehicle. Here are some closer looks:

In addition, @jshia used another Brannock to create the motorcycle’s battery box:

And then there’s this drawing, which I don’t really understand, but it includes a Brannock:

(My thanks to reader James Hayes for first bringing this to my attention, and to reader Timmy Steffes for following up with the additional images.)

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“What’s it worth?” reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, Uni Watch is once again partnering with Grey Flannel Auctions to provide free appraisals of your sports-related collectibles.

If you have game-used jerseys, autographs, or other potentially valuable memorabilia, you can submit photos and descriptions to GFA and get an free appraisal, with no further obligation, within 72 hours. It’s like an online version of Antiques Roadshow. If you want to consign your item to GFA, that can be arranged, but you’re under no obligation to do so.

For full details on all of this, look here.

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Culinary Corner: A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d recently had two restaurant renditions of cassoulet — the traditional French casserole that usually features white beans, duck confit (or sometimes goose, or sometimes mutton), garlic sausage, and pancetta or some other type of cured pork — and wanted to try making it myself. Over the weekend, the Tugboat Captain and I did just that.

There are lots of different cassoulet recipes out there, so we did a bit of reading. We were ultimately swayed by this article and an accompanying recipe by the great “Food Lab” chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who argued persuasively for the use of chicken instead of duck confit (it’s cheaper and holds up better during the stewing process) and suggested that we could still impart plenty of duck-y flavor by browning the chicken and several other ingredients in rendered duck fat (which can be purchased, but we happened to have some on hand, rendered from an earlier duck project). Here’s how we did it:

1. Before we could get started, we came up against a problem: The cured pork element in Kenji’s recipe was salt pork belly, which we couldn’t find at any of our local shops. At this point, we had two options: We could substitute a different kind of cured pork (bacon, jowl, pancetta, etc.), or we could make our own salt pork belly. We decided to do the latter.

On Saturday we bought a pound of pork belly, made a simple curing rub from sea salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger (we would have included juniper berries, but we didn’t have any), and coated the pork with the rub. It was sort of like making bacon, but without nitrates or smoking (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

We covered the dish and popped it in the fridge overnight. When we were ready to start cooking at noon on Sunday, a significant transformation had taken place. A lot of liquid had been leeched out of the pork, and the meat was now stiff and firm, as if rigor mortis had set in. A fun and successful chemistry experiment:

2. We rinsed off the curing rub, cut the pork into 3/4-inch cubes, browned the meat in two tablespoons of duck fat, and then removed the cooked meat and set it aside:

I tasted a nubbin — it was suitably salty. The curing had done its job!

3. We took four leg/thigh chicken quarters, separated the legs from the thighs, seasoned them with pepper, browned them in the same pot where we’d browned the pork, and set them aside:

4. Next up was a pound of garlic sausage. Again, we browned the meat and set it aside:

5. The next ingredient to go into the pot was a cup of finely chopped onions:

6. After the onions were browned, we added a pound of white beans (they had been soaking in salted water overnight), along with some aromatics (carrots, celery, parsley, cloves, garlic, bay leaves) and a quart of low-sodium chicken stock:

7. We let the pot simmer for about 45 minutes, at which point the beans were mostly tender. Then we removed all of the aromatics (in the previous photo, you can see that the Tugboat Captain very cleverly impaled the six cloves on a celery stalk so we wouldn’t have to find them and fish them out separately, which would’ve been a major pain in the ass) and added all of the browned meat, with the chicken going on top:

8. We put the pot, uncovered, into a 300º oven, checking on it periodically to make sure the liquid level didn’t go down too far. After a few hours, our friends Matt, Angela, and Nate came over, and we had fun drinking, snacking, and yakking with them while the house smelled increasingly cassoulet-y.

After the cassoulet had been in the oven for a little more than five hours, it looked ready:

We brought the cassoulet to the table and served it with a simple arugula salad:

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It was good — very good. The perfect comfort food for a chilly winter day. My only minor gripes were (a) we didn’t end up with much of a crust on top (we had added some gelatin to the chicken stock specifically for this reason, but it didn’t seem to work the way it was supposed to) and (b) the sausage wasn’t as firm and dense as the sausage I’ve had in other cassoulets, so we might have to try a different sausage next time (and there will definitely be a next time).

All in all: a really fun project. Time-consuming, yes, but not difficult to execute. Plenty of leftovers, too. Highly recommended!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Paul mentioned last week that the Yankees will be wearing their home pinstripes for their two games in London against the Red Sox, even though the Yanks are the designated away team. Now, reports indicate that it will be a white-on-white series, with both teams wearing their home uniforms (from Brinke). … New White Sox OF Jon Jay is wearing No. 45 as a tribute to Michael Jordan’s baseball days (from Matt Lindner). … Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, who famously has MLB’s largest hat size, announced that he will retire at the end of this season. … The Marlins’ new logo is on display at the team’s spring training facility (from Jake Elman). … Indians SS Francisco Lindor wore Stance stirrups with a Block-C logo during a recent photo shoot. Is that the first time we’ve seen Stance-branded stirrups? (From Jason.) … Good to see Nats P Sean Doolittle raising awareness for the New Era factory workers in western New York who will soon be out of a job, as the company looks to open a union-free operation in Florida (from Sara and Ben). … New caps for the Single-A Asheville Tourists (from Tyler Davis). …  The Triple-A Buffalo Bisons will wear Boba Fett Star Wars jerseys on June 8 (from Joseph Pitirri and Mike Lucia). … At first glance, it would appear that Maryland is wearing traditional button-front jerseys with a headspoon. But note the top seam — it looks like these are pullover jerseys with only two functional buttons. The remaining buttons are just decorative (from Billy King). … Looks like the C-Flap is spreading to college. Some Auburn players are now wearing the attachment, and Auburn uni-guru Clint Richardson says he doesn’t remember any Tigers wearing it in the past. … New uniforms for NCAA D-II University of Illinois Springfield (from Erik Flower).

Football NewsCNN captured a Guatemalan refugee wearing a 2007-08 Patriots “Perfect Season” hoodie in a video package recently (from @OnlyInBOS). … Charles Noerenberg was watching old Bears highlights from 1991 and spotted Mike Ditka wearing a jacket with a Super Bowl XX champs patch. At that point, the Bears were five years removed from that championship. … Singer Melissa Etheridge uses a Chiefs guitar strap. A quick Google search shows she was born in the Kansas City area (from Michael Hayden). … New band uniforms for Western Kentucky (from Griffin Smith). … It looks like Georgia State will have some new helmet combinations this season (from Doug Hazard). … The Atlanta Legends of the AAF have two players named Jones: brothers WR Seantavious Jones, who goes FIOB and WR Malachi Jones, who wears a traditional NOB (from Ferdinand Cesarano). … Speaking of the AAF, the league’s emphasis on color-on-color matchups can be rough on the viewer (WaPo link) (from Phil). … Whoa, check out the zigzag pants striping worn by the Coosa High School (Georgia) Eagles in the 1970s. Good stuff! (From Austin Gillis.)

Hockey News: Here are the pads that Flyers G Carter Hart will wear in the Stadium Series game against the Penguins on Saturday (from The Goal Net). … Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas appears to have cribbed its logo from the Canadiens. … Check out this great 1928 shot of Ottawa G Alec Connell. “Between the barber-pole sweater, the cap, and the pads and gloves, this is a tremendous photo,” says Jerry Wolper. True enough! … The Blackhawks wore their Winter Classic throwbacks against the Senators last night. … A sign at the Kings’ arena misspelled the Capitals’ team name (from William Yurasko).

Basketball News: On Sunday, the NBA announced that the 2020 All-Star Game will take place in Chicago, and unveiled the game’s logo. … Clippers PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wore a double-decker NOB during the Rising Stars game this weekend. I guess there’s no other option for a name like that for a below the number NOB (from Etienne Catalan). … The Erie BayHawks, the Hawks’ D League affiliate, will wear Erie Wave throwbacks on Friday. The Wave were part of the World Basketball League and played from 1990 to 1992. … Virginia Tech wore maroon at home against Virginia last night (from Andrew Cosentino). … Both the Alabama and Auburn women wore pink uniforms on Sunday (from Clint Richardson). … Man, Michael Jordan once wore a jersey with the number and NOB riding really low.

Soccer NewsChelsea defender David Luiz suffered a torn jersey in a match yesterday against Manchester United (from Josh Hinton). … The Celtic FC women’s team wore their bright green third kits with NNOB on Sunday (from Graham Clayton),

Grab BagAlex Chu is a freshman on the Wheaton College lacrosse team, but he hasn’t been able to play at all this season  — even in practice. That’s because his head is too large to fit into a helmet, and approved helmet manufacturers don’t make helmets his size (from Phil and @Titan4Ever2488). … Wichita State has a new logo that celebrates 50 years of women’s athletics (from Michael MPH). … Reader Aaron Davenport was at the US Curling Nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich., last weekend. He noted that Olympic champion Matt Hamilton was wearing curling-modified Jordan VI shoes and that one team was sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery. “I hate ads on unis, but has there ever been a more perfect (bordering on parody) sponsorship for curling than Cold Stone Creamery?” he said. … A restaurant called the Swan and Mallard has a pretty brilliant logo (from Brendan Armstrong). … A rash of foot injuries has the Army searching for a new kind of boot. … NASCAR pit crew members are now required to wear ID patches on their uniforms. This tweet offers a good explanation as to what they mean (from JayJayDean). … Cricket fans can help choose a retro uni that will be worn by the Australian men’s one-day international team next summer (from Joel Berry). … Cross-listed from the hockey section: Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas appears to have cribbed its logo from the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. … PGA golfers are now allowed to wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-ams. They had previously been allowed to wear shorts for practice rounds at the PGA championship.

Free Appraisals: The Return of ‘What’s It Worth?’

About a year ago we ran a very successful promotion with Grey Flannel Auctions, in which Uni Watch readers were invited to submit items of memorabilia for appraisal at no charge and with no obligation, sort of like an online version of Antiques Roadshow. Lots of you took us up on that offer, and some of you then took the extra step of consigning your items with GFA and selling them for a pretty penny. Items from Uni Watch readers included this Aaron Rodgers jersey (which sold for over $25,000!), this Tom Glavine jersey ($3,723), this Rick Honeycutt jersey ($1,504), and this Jose Cruz jersey ($722).

So now we’re going to do it again. Here’s some quick background: Over the years I’ve developed a good relationship with GFA’s director of operations, Michael Russek (that’s him at right), who periodically advertises here on Uni Watch. In an industry that can sometimes be a bit sketchy, Michael has always impressed me as a stand-up guy. When my friends Sonya and Tony acquired a 1905 Princeton football jersey in 2017 and asked me if I had any suggestions on how they could sell it, I sent them to Michael because I knew he’d treat them right, plus I knew GFA would reach the right audience to bring the best price for the jersey. (It ended up selling for over $50,000.)

GFA is a family-run business that was founded in 1989 by Michael’s father, Richard Russek. Dozens of big-name athletes have trusted GFA to sell their personal memorabilia, including Rick Barry, Bob Pettit, Joe Morgan, George Gervin, Orel Hershiser, and Evander Holyfield.

But you don’t have to be a big-name athlete to consign your collectibles to GFA. Do you have some sports or pop culture memorabilia that you think might be valuable? Have you ever wondered how much it might actually be worth? Now’s your chance to find out. Here are the details:

1. Items that can be reviewed include game-used and game-worn jerseys, bats, and equipment; vintage sports and historical autographs; championship jewelry, trophies, and awards; pre-1960 trading cards (all sports); and entertainment, rock ’n’ roll, political, Americana, and historical memorabilia.

2. For each item, please provide several photos (front, back, tagging, maker’s mark) and a detailed description regarding the item’s condition and provenance.

3. Also include your name, phone number, and email address.

4. GFA only handles items with a perceived value of at least $250. If your item doesn’t meet that threshold, you may get a response indicating that the item doesn’t fit the parameters for a GFA appraisal.

5. If you submitted something for appraisal last time around, please don’t re-submit the same item unless something has changed (i.e., if you’ve learned more about its history or provenance, or if you weren’t willing to consign it last time but are now willing to do so, etc.).

6. Full disclosure: If you end up consigning an item to GFA and the item sells, Uni Watch will get a cut of GFA’s fee. (And in case you’re wondering, I did not receive anything for the Princeton jersey. That referral was just a favor I did for my friends.)

Okay, ready to see what your treasures are worth? Email your photos and descriptions to GFA. You’ll get a response in 24 to 72 hours.

Have fun with it, people. We’re excited to see the treasures you share with us.

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NBA All-Star Game: The NBA All-Star Game was last night. Can’t say I’m too fond of this year’s black-and-white uniforms, but whaddya gonna do. You can see lots of additional photos here.

This was the second year that the two squads were chosen by team captains — LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo in this case — without regard for the traditional East and West conference designations. This resulted in the odd spectacle of regular season teammates opposing each other in reverse-field uniforms, which made the game seem like an intra-squad scrimmage:

NOBs were below the number, which prompted this observation from reader Brendon Browne:

Having the player’s name under the number really doesn’t serve the purpose of helping to identify the player. I’m not a huge NBA fan, so I don’t know a lot of the non-super-duper-stars. I would often find myself watching the game on mute, or only half paying attention, but then I’d notice a great play and they’d cut to a head/shoulders shot of the guy jogging back to (not) play defense, and I couldn’t tell who the player was. This was particularly annoying since they went away from the East/West format, because now it could be anyone.

Good point!

Finally, here’s a nice story from Giannis Antetokounmpo about his brother Thanasis:

(My thanks to Mike Chamernik for that Giannis Antetokounmpo tweet.)

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The Giants will wear two sleeve patches in 2019 — one for 1B Willie McCovey and former owner Peter Magowan — but the designs haven’t been finalized yet (from Brinke and Josh Sandin). … New mono-sky blue combo for Old Dominion (from @MonarchsUnis). … Air Force added what Benji King says is a shark-teeth motif to their helmets. … Reader Gary Bates tells us that the Indians’ online roster still shows players, even new ones, wearing the now-obsolete Chief Wahoo cap.

Football News: Two players named Johnson on the AAF’s Orlando Apollos don’t wear FIOB; note also the numbers on the back of the helmet (from Taylor Jenkins). … Still in the AAF, we’ve already reached the logical conclusion of their one-uniform policy: good luck telling Atlanta (purple) and San Diego (dark blue) apart. I think the socks might be easiest (from many readers). … Also posted in Grab Bag: NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing paid tribute to J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son who passed away recently, on lap 11 of yesterday’s Daytona 500; J.D. wore No. 11 for William and Mary’s football team. … How great would it be if the Browns went back to these sideline capes?

Hockey News: Yesterday was NBC’s Hockey Day in America promotion, which saw announcers Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk wearing Charlestown Chiefs jackets from the movie Slap Shot (from James Beattie). … The Ducks retired Scott Niedermayer’s No. 27 last night, so there was the usual ritual of everyone wearing Niedermayer jerseys for the pregame skate and a commemorative patch on the game jerseys (from Mike Chamernik). … The ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies wore jerseys with the names of local cancer survivors (from Mike Lucia). … The OHL’s Flint Firebirds wore uniforms based on the Flint Tropics, the fictional ABA team from the movie Semi-Pro (from Wade Heidt).

Basketball News: Also posted in hockey: the OHL’s Flint Firebirds wore uniforms based on the Flint Tropics, the fictional ABA team from the movie Semi-Pro (from Wade Heidt). … Oregon/Oregon State was color-vs.-color (from Bryan Beban). … Michigan State wore their black/lime green alternates at home against Ohio State, who wore red (from Ian Lee). … East Carolina wore autism-awareness uniforms yesterday. … Women’s teams wearing pink or pink accents this weekend included Clemson and Boston College, Georgia Tech, Florida State, both Penn State and Minnesota, and Kentucky, the last from Josh Hinton. … Virginia will wear white on the road for the third time this season tonight.

Soccer News: Chilean team O’Higgins have McDonald’s as an advertiser and their number font on their third shirt is made of French fries, which makes the numbers barely visible. It’s unclear if this extends to their other shirts, because that was the first game of the season and the backs of the shirts appear to have been conveniently left out of the unveiling (from multiple readers). … Incidentally, O’Higgins’ opponents yesterday, Huachipato, have a crest that derives from the Steelmark, as the Steelers’ logo does, because of the steel industry in their area. … New second shirt for the LA Galaxy (from Jakob Fox). … Spanish team Valencia’s sleeve advertiser is reportedly to become their primary advertiser (from Ed Żelaski). … Scottish team Aberdeen wore decals with the logo of the club charity. … Staying in Scotland, not only did second-tier Ross County change to red at home Friday, but the officials wore yellow when opponents East Fife’s colors are gold and black. … Italian third-tier team Pro Piacenza are in a prolonged financial crisis and played yesterday with only seven players, including the team’s kit man, who wore a No. 11 shirt with the NOB taped over (from Matt Dowell). … The Iranian broadcast of Friday’s Bundesliga game between Augsburg and Bayern Munich was canceled, reportedly because state television — not for the first time — did not want to show female referee Bibiana Steinhaus wearing shorts.

Grab Bag: A Long Island NLL expansion team to start play next season revealed their name, the New York Riptide, and logo (from Wade Heidt). … For reasons unclear, the U.S. women’s field hockey team have been going gloriously ad-free in the new FIH Pro League. … NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing paid tribute to J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son who passed away recently, on lap 11 of yesterday’s Daytona 500; J.D. wore No. 11 for William and Mary’s football team. … More Daytona items from David Firestone: Driver Ryan Blaney had a five-dollar bill land on his grill, while NASCAR’s second-tier series added driver names to the top of the front windshield. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: in the Ticker we had an item about New Zealand rugby union player Sonny Bill Williams not wearing a certain ad when he plays for Super Rugby’s Blues. In 2013, Australian cricketer Fawad Ahmed didn’t wear the team ad when he played for Victoria (from Graham Clayton).

It's Back! Kickin' It 2019 - Your NBA ASG Sneaker Guide

By Phil Hecken, with Matthew Weidner

Well, it’s that time of year again: time to see the shoes the NBA All Stars will be wearing for the big game today. After a two-year hiatus, the “sneaker guide” is back. Long time readers will remember I used to do this post every All Star Weekend with Matt Powers, but with Matt apparently retired from the sneaker game, we went two years without the sneakerheads’ wet dream. I’m pleased to announce that this year the piece returns, along with a new sneakerhead reviewer, Matt Weidner.

Readers probably know that I’m most definitely not a sneakerhead, and this sort of thing is way out of my wheelhouse. But I know there are many readers who are into this sort of thing, so I’m happy today to bring you the latest in NBA kicks. Here’s Matt (for all photos below, you can click to enlarge):

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What They’re Wearing — NBA All-Star Game 2019
By Matthew Weidner

NBA All-Star weekend is upon us. The uniforms released a few weeks ago with limited fanfare. To be honest, they’re lackluster from a design standpoint. I understand Nike’s preference of putting a large team logo on the center of the jersey for retail purposes, but I’m not a fan of the look. I’m not here for the uniforms, though. I’m here for the sneakers.

There are two times per season that the shoe brands show out — All-Star Weekend and Christmas Day. They didn’t disappoint on Christmas, and as you’ll see below, the 2019 All-Star Game looks like it will be the same story.

There are going to be seven brands represented in this year’s game – Nike, Jordan, adidas, Under Armour, Anta, Li-Ning, and New Balance. Unfortunately, Puma has been left out of the All-Star Game itself, but the brand will be represented in the Rising Stars Challenge by Deandre Ayton. He’ll be wearing their second model, the Puma Uproar.

If you’re wondering who I am, my name is Matt Weidner (@dubsnuggs). I’m a guy in my 30s from suburban Philadelphia. I’ve been a loyal follower of Uni Watch since I was using a BlackBerry to send in ticker submissions. Currently, I write a weekly(ish) sneaker column for 76ers-centric blog The Phifth Quarter.

Alright, let’s get to the feet.

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Team LeBron

Captain – LeBron James

When the All-Star Game sneakers were unveiled by Nike for all of their signature athletes, James’ Nike LeBron 16 was missing from the bunch. Rumors at the time were that Nike was planning to release the Nike LeBron 16 “Watch the Throne” All-Star Weekend and thusly, LeBron would be wearing them on court in Charlotte. It has not been confirmed that James will play in these for the game, but odds are high that he will be. For some backstory, Nike created an extremely limited version of the Nike LeBron 9 for the Kanye West and Jay-Z’s album and subsequent tour in 2012. Those sneakers are currently fetching upwards of $5,000.

Kevin Durant

Durant is a Nike signature athlete and will be wearing the Nike KD 11 “Aunt Pearl” for the game. A pink-clad “Aunt Pearl” version of his signature sneaker has been released since the Nike KD IV in 2012. They are named after his late great aunt who helped raise him.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie is the reigning king of sneaker collaborations. For All-Star 2019, he’ll be wearing the ROKIT x Nike Kyrie 5. ROKIT is a Los Angeles-based skate boarding and streetwear brand. As a 76ers fan, I dislike Irving the player, but if I’m being honest, these are my favorite of this year’s bunch.

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi is the only current NBA player signed to a sneaker contract with New Balance. He was a Jordan Brand athlete prior to signing with NB and has been wearing the Air Jordan XXXII low throughout this season. New Balance announced via social media that their new basketball model will debut on the feet of Leonard at the game. The last player to wear New Balance in an NBA game was the timeless Matt Bonner. My favorite highlight from Bonner’s time playing in NB were his customized Christmas Day sneakers from 2013.

James Harden

The reigning NBA MVP is the face of adidas basketball. Unlike Nike, the adidas athletes will all wear similar coloways of their respective sneakers. The adidas Harden Vol. 3 features checkered flag motif and other design aspects paying homage to Charlotte’s rich auto racing history.

Reserves

Klay Thompson

Thompson is the marquee player for Chinese brand Anta. The Anta KT4 features removable patches commemorating his career highlights. The sneaker is predominantly white with a mid-sole complete with graphics of the accompanying patches.

Damian Lillard

Like Harden, Lillard is an adidas signature athlete. The adidas Dame 5 worn in Charlotte will also feature the auto racing theme, though with much more overt flair.

LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge will wear the Air Jordan 33 that was created for this year’s game. Coach’s selection Victor Oladpio would have worn this model as well, but he’ll miss the game due to injury.

Dwyane Wade

Wade is the face of Chinese brand Li-Ning. He is wearing the Li-Ning WOW (Way of Wade) 7. In his final All-Star appearance, Wade will be wearing the WOW7 “Year of the Pig” which released this week. As an aside, they can use all of the PR-speak they want, but I have a 3-year-old and you can’t tell me that Peppa Pig wasn’t their design inspiration.

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The remaining group of reserves for Team Lebron all wear Nike. Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal, and Karl-Anthony Towns have all worn various colorways of the Nike Hyperdunk X thus far. It is likely that at least one of them will wear the new self-lacing Nike Adapt BB. Anthony Davis has worn the Nike Zoom Kobe A.D. for games that the Pelicans have allowed him to play this season. Because the game is in Charlotte, Nike is releasing the Nike Zoom Kobe IV Protro “Draft Day” since Bryant was originally drafted by the Hornets. I wouldn’t be shocked if Davis or one of the other Nike guys laced these up for the game.

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Team Giannis

Captain – Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis has worn the 2018 version of the Nike Kobe A.D. for all games this season. Nike has hinted that Antetokounmpo’s first signature sneakers, the Nike Greek Freak 1, will debut at some point during the season, so when better than the All-Star Game? No confirmed photos have been released, but these have been floating around the internet.

Stephen Curry

Curry will wear a highlighter yellow colorway of his Under Armour Curry 6 dubbed “Coy Fish” for the 2019 All-Star Game. They are inspired by a prank he and his Davidson teammates pulled at a Japanese restaurant. Yes, I know the correct spelling is Koi. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Joel Embiid

Embiid signed a lucrative deal with Under Armour prior to this season, essentially becoming their #2 behind Stephen Curry. He recently debuted the Under Armour Anatomix Spawn, so he’ll be wearing those for the game. The past few games he’s worn a player exclusive version honoring his home country of Cameroon, so I’m sure UA will be cooking something special up for All-Star weekend.

Paul George

George is one of the more recent Nike athletes to get a signature line. The Nike PG3 was released in January with a NASA themed colorway. For the All-Star Game, he’ll wear a rather subdued sneaker with Nike ACG vibes.

Kemba Walker

Walker is starting the game in his home city. He has worn the Air Jordan X for most of this season. The 1991 game was in Charlotte (and Michael Jordan owns the Hornets), so Nike has released two versions of the Air Jordan VI which MJ wore back in ’91. Though nothing has been confirmed, I have a hunch Kemba will be wearing either the Air Jordan VI “Infrared” or the Air Jordan VI created in collaboration with Charlotte retailer Social Status.

Reserves

Russell Westbrook

Westbrook’s newest signature model released in January. The Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 isn’t for everyone, but I like them. The sneaker lends itself well to different colors, patterns, and materials. The Zer0.2 created for this year’s game prove precisely that. They’re wild, but that’s what this game is for.

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Like Team LeBron, Team Giannis has a Nike Hyperdunk X crew – Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokić, and Dirk Nowitzki. D’Angelo Russell and Nikola Vučević are Nike athletes as well, but they’ve been wearing the Nike PG 2.5 and Nike LeBron Soldier 11 respectively. Both players wear older models of other Nike signature players, so it’s unknown when Nike will do in regards to their footwear for the game. Blake Griffin has a pseudo-signature model as he has been the face of the Jordan Super.Fly line for a few years. This season he is wearing the Jordan Super.Fly MVP. The only non-Nike/Jordan player on Team Giannis is adidas’ Kyle Lowry. Lowry will lace up the racing-inspired adidas Marquee Boost low in Charlotte.

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That’s the rundown for this year’s game. I’m bummed that none of the brands released a sneaker based on the robes that Charlotte-billed Ric Flair wore during his heyday as king of the wrestling world. I think adidas missed the mark going with auto racing over pro-wrestling for their approach, but what do I know?

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Thanks Matt! Great stuff — can’t say all these shiny new shoes do much for me, but I do love me that Steph Curry neon yellow shoe! For all those of you who watch the game (or any of the pre-game stuff), do you watch for the sneakers? Is this like Christmas day for you? If you’re a sneakerhead (or even just a fan of footwear), is this the highlight of the year?

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NBA All Star Game Uniforms…

…didn’t always suck.

Like the ones above. Or the ones they wore last year. Yep, today will feature another black vs. white game, with the players divided up into “Team LeBron” and “Team Giannis” (for LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Lakers and Bucks, respectively) who chose up sides from the 2019 All Stars, regardless of conference. Yep, we’ll have to wait a little while longer before we get an East vs. West game again, it seems.

But for years this is how the game was played, frequently in blue and red (or white) uniforms, but as the years have progressed, the unis have…changed. This isn’t to say the unis from yesteryear were always great — there were some hits and misses — but they never got as bad as the current sets (if you count last year as basically the same as this time around). And hey, if we don’t have conferences, we can make a players’ jersey in both black and white, because you have to get two of your favorite player, right? Who says the jersey-industrial complex is dead!

But I digress. Paul covered those uniforms before they were officially uniforms and, to paraphrase Dennis Green, “they are what we thought they were.” Instead of adopting (or attempting to capture in some way) the Host Team’s colors or uni scheme or font or something, this year the red, white and blue on the piping is supposed to be a “tribute” to the 1991 All Star Game, which like today, was held in Charlotte.

Before I go off on a rant (and start screaming at the clouds), I wanted to bring you a look at the uniforms worn in All Star Games past — not all of them, mind you, but a good number. Ready?

1950

Early All Star Games had plain (gorgeous) unis.

1963

By the 1960’s the jerseys had “EAST” and “WEST” on the chest, along with the simple stars.

1970

1972

By 1972 the colors weren’t always red, white and blue. The ’72 game, played in LA, featured the East and West in Lakers colors, in a nod to the home/host city. Also note Jerry West with his NOF and NOB.

1975

1976

1977

Note the upper/lower case fonts, in sort of an Olde English script. Can you guess where this game was played?

1978

1979

Not a yuge fan of the diagonal pattern.

1980

Now THAT is a set of unis!

1981

Yeah, they probably didn’t need to add “All Stars” to the front of the jersey. We know who you are!

1982

Hmmm. The “EAST” and “WEST” look too crowded with “ALL STARS” on the front. I know, let’s move “EAST” and “WEST” to the lower back!

1983

Who wears short-shorts?

1989

All Stars shortened to All Star, and the NBA Logo are added — but damn those look good.

1994

By the early-mid ’90s, the NBA loved sublimation. And it shows here.

1995

1996

You either loved or hated these two years — played in Phoenix and San Antonio, respectively. They really tried to bring out the host city flair for these.

Perhaps they were a bit “too” much, as for some strange reason, from 1997 thru 2002, there were no All Star Game unis — teams wore their respective home and road unis. I was never a fan of this format. This isn’t BASEBALL!

2003

Ah. The return to sanity. Damn those are purdy.

2004

By making “EAST” and “WEST” really big and diagonally aligned, the “All Star” wording becomes the size of an ad patch. Smaller actually. Might as well not be there.

2005

2006

By 2006, the NBA would start experimenting adding more solid color blocks to the white jersey, and more white color blocks to the blue jersey.

2007

Very minimalist. Also very bland.

2008

Hey, remember that color blocking thing we started in 2006? Let’s make the front of the unis one color and the backs a completely different color. But make sure the team with the white front plays a team with a white back. That won’t be confusing at all!

2009

Hey 2008? Yeah that was a bad idea. Signed 2009.

2010

I know. Let’s make the game color vs. color (you can’t blame Nike for this one). Also, let’s at “The” to EAST and WEST. Also, lets add a makers mark!

2011

Let’s add some sublimation to the color vs. color! And how about 3 stripes down the side of the jersey?

2013

Make the 3 stripes bigger!

2014

Hey, how about a giant logo? And sleeves! Wait, wait…how about TV Numbers too!

2015

Well, the weekend will be spent in NYC, with Brooklyn and the Knicks both serving as hosts, so while this was technically black vs. white, it was done with the Nets and Knicks unis in mind. Also note the FNOB/Number/LNOB on the jerseys. Also, the teams did away with the East vs. West designations.

2016

Teams returned to simpler unis and EAST and WEST designations. The unis also featured an ad patch.

2017

The last ASG with adidas unis would be kind of an anthracite vs. gray affair. The ad patch is still there.

2018

The first ASG in Nike (actually Jordan Brand) unis, the East/West conferences were done away with again, and all teams wore a monochrome team logo on their chest. Rear numbers were ghosted, and the unis were about as minimalist as you could get. I mean — the game’s really all about the footwear anyway, so why not let the players show that off with as little to distract them as possible. Just a Jumpman, and ad patch, and a logo.

Enjoy the game tonight kids! I won’t be watching — not out of spite, I actually am playing and teaching curling. I may get home in time to see the last 5 minutes (which is about the only time in the game any actual defense will be played). But that’s if I decide to turn it on…

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(Another) Uni Mystery, Solved?

Reader Paul Bielewicz sent the following e-mail to the Uniwatching G-mail account:

While researching something else, I came across an interesting tidbit in the Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle newspaper (Feb. 25, 1915) regarding the New York Yankees’ 1915 uniforms. This article (see clipping attached) refers to “blue, cardinal and green stripes” on the “confederate gray” road uniform.

Interestingly however, Dressed to the Nines shows a plain gray (non-pinstriped) road uniform for the 1915 Yankees. It does show a pinstriped uniform for 1916, but the image is too small to discern the color of the stripes.

Link to Dressed to the Nines:

I’d be curious to know which one is correct.

-Paul Bielewicz

The newspaper clipping in question is below:

Anthony Emerson was manning the account when this item came in. He forwarded it to Paul, who in turn reached out to Todd Radom (as well as MLB Historian Tom Scheiber) to see if either knew the answer.

Of course Todd did (here’s his reply). Also note that at the time of this reply, Tom hadn’t yet responded:

Absolutely-I even made mention of them in this post, from 2013.

Correct me if I wrong, Tom, but we found no evidence that they were actually worn in-season?

This item came up for auction a while back: ex-Barry Halper, which makes it suspect.

Make sure you click on Todd’s article. But if you didn’t the key line is here:

1914 would mark the last season that the Yankees’ home uniforms did not feature pinstripes. 1914 also represents the last season that the club wore their interlocking “NY” on their road jerseys. The team’s 1915 home uniforms still utilized the interlocking “NY,” but it was now set against a field of navy blue pinstripes—a look quite familiar nearly a century later.

While the new road uniforms were quite creative, blue, red, and green pinstripes proved to be but a passing fad for the team. [Emphasis mine — PH]

So — it appears as though the DDTN listing for the 1915 Yankees is wrong. Or is it? The clipping Todd references in his email refers to a home (rather than road) uniform. Did the Yankees scrap the multi-color stripes for the road uniform in 1915 (going with the plain gray shown on DDTN)? And did the team wear road pins in 1916? That answer is “Yes” — as Todd mentioned in this article, but those pins weren’t multi-colored.

Maybe this mystery isn’t quite solved after all…

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Sometimes mimicking the football team is awesome: Hawai’i batting helmets have that state outline design from the football helmets (from PodKATT). Also from Max G. … On Friday night, Holy Cross went with unusually wide pant stripes (from Squatchee on Top). … Gorgeous uniforms for Georgia Tech (from Josh Gibson, who notes they “Get It”). Also from Josh: here’s another look at those unis. … The New York Mets are gearing up for the golden anniversary of their 1969 World Series win — with a marketing push that’s aimed at social media-obsessed millennials (from John). Paul immediately noticed the article contains factual errors. Yeah, the phrase Let’s Go Mets goes back a bit further than 1986 (from Jim Daly). You might want to read the comment chain following Paul’s tweet too. However, maybe there is a different explanation. … ICYMI: The maker of Cleveland’s ballpark mustard is removing the Chief Wahoo logo from its branding and packaging to maintain longstanding ties with the Cleveland Indians baseball team. The mustard did this at the request of the Indians. … The Visalia Rawhide will hold its first ever Design-a Jersey Contest for children ages 16 and under. The winner will have their jersey worn by Rawhide players on Sunday August 4th. … Not sure when this pic was taken, but check this out: Everett AquaSox wear tequila sunrise throwbacks (from Matt Shevin). Hmmm, maybe it’s a throwback after all (from Chris Richards). … Youngstown State have a mono-red uniform (from J. Bunnell). And they are sporting rups! (from Robert Hayes). … Nice cap/uni patches found in a Brooklyn store (from Max Frankel). … Toy Fair New York revealed some MLB mascots (from Brinke). … Remember that question about the “Nash” patch on the Vandy uniforms in yesterday’s ticker? It appears we have an answer (from DarthVandy). … Looks like the Syracuse Ladies were sporting anthracite jerseys yesterday (via Paul). … OK, this is kinda bizarre. The text for this tweet reads, “All Japan wrestlers played a Japanese baseball team. Pictured are Giant Baba, John Tenta, R&R Express & Joel Deaton.” Aside from the awesome mono-green unis, it appears both teams are named for the colors of their uni (from Steve Flack). … The Angels have now placed Luis Valbuena’s jersey next to Nick Adenhart’s old one in the club’s spring training facility. Valbuena and José Castillo were killed in a robbery in Venezuela in December (from Mike Chamernik).

NFL/Pro News: Advertising goes back a long way, often in seemingly innocuous ways: “Never knew the Chargers had a tie-in with the Dodge Charger,” writes Russell. This still was taken from 1973 via the fantastic vintage greatness of ‘This Week in Pro Football’.” … CROSSOVER ALERT! Check out Hugh McElhenny and Tom Flores in Roller Derby action with their game unis! (from Peach). Also posted in “Grab Bag.” … “Found this gem cleaning out my closet,” says Micah “2001 XFL inaugural party in Vegas hosted by UPN where I was working. Do people remember UPN carried 3 XFL games nationally a week? Do people even remember UPN?” … Eric Gamborg seems to think Noah Jackson was wearing his jersey backwards in this football card. … This is interesting: rather than use “traditional” deals to achieve their look, the AAF’s Salt Lake team paints their shells blue, then tapes off the stripes, then finishes the helmets in silver (from Andrew Lind). This is similar to how Michigan paints their famous Winged helmets. … WOW! Check out the LA Rams debuting their new uniforms (from 1973). From Old Time Football. … Our pal John Turney asks “ANy guesses as to what is on this sticker, Willie Laner 1973?”

College Football News: My SMUW uni trackers never take the off-season off! Rex Henry was searching through old photographs and found the Florida State Seminoles wearing white jerseys and pants in a 2009 game against UCF. … The 1976 Indiana State team in dark blue with red accents and ‘school initials’ across the shoulders. “Funny Look” says LoLo Phynarski. Almost looks like “150” across the shoulders, but it’s “ISU.”

Hockey News: From Friday night: Grand Valley State University vs. Aquinas College hockey. Number 5 with no nameplate. It was the only jersey on the team without one (from Griffin Skinner). … On February 23rd, the Sioux Falls Stampede will change their name to the Sioux Falls Wiener Dogs (from Spencer Seaner). … “I don’t know if you know, or maybe one of your followers do,” asks Chris Covers. “The Adidas number kits for the Edmonton Oilers, it originally had holes in the numbers, but looking at some game worn jerseys, the holes look printed. Did they change to a print pattern?” Anyone? Update: We have an answer. … Good vs. Evel: Last night, the Lone Star Brahmas (NAHL) wore Kenievel themed jerseys (from Dustin Perez). … There was almost literally a herd of cows in the stands for a women’s ice hockey game between Williams & Middlebury for 1st place in NESCAC (from Paul Friedmann).

NBA News: Until the NBA’s “Jersey of the Future” is a reality, what do you do with your favorite NBA jersey when your favorite player gets traded? Well, you recycle them in interesting ways (from Sons of Johnny LeMaster). … Ben noticed an All Star cap that has writing a bit too large to fit on the panel. … On Milwaukee asks, “Could this horned headwear be the new cheesehead?” (from Jeff Ash). … Blissfully, the jerseys for the skills contest last night had no ad patches (from Matt). Also noted by Chris Mycoskie. There were also no ad patches for the 3 point contest (from Hit The Glass). Several others also noted this. … Steph Curry at All-Star Saturday wearing the same jacket he wore as a young kid while watching his dad in the 3-point contest (from Mark Fogarty).

College Hoops News: The Georgia Southern Mens Hoops team recently wore throwback uniforms with sleeves (from Jason Greer). … Looks like Ball State has a new throwback coming (from Kyle Shaner). … The UMass Lowell womens team threw it back yesterday. … Ooooh, check out these nice throwbacks for Nebraska (from @give_teddy). … “I was surprised by what I saw on this freeze frame shot from UNC at Wake Forest today,” writes Dave Garabedian. “It appears that a conventional (old school?) twine basketball net has been attached to the rim with a thinner nylon cord.” … “Somewhat reasonable color vs color matchup for Penn State-Purdue (yester)day,” notes Tom Whitfield. … HBU wore their outstanding throwback striped shorts last night (from Chris Mycoskie).

Soccer News: Sonny Bill still won’t wear the Bank of New Zealand advertiser logo on his Auckland Blues jersey collar due to his religious beliefs (from Ian MacPhee). … Here’s a follow up to Friday’s ticker item about Man United’s “1970s-era throwback jersey” – the “Icon” jerseys this year are a template that Adidas is using for all of its major European client teams. “Although the color schemes are, in theory, supposed to evoke classic team color combinations, none of them use era-appropriate crests, all of the crests are monotone, and they incorporate the 3 stripes in really awful ways,” says Andy Riley. You can read more here. … Orlando City have released their 2019 home kit (from Josh Hinton). … Altrincham Football Club made history by wearing uniforms the club’s director called “full rainbow” Saturday. The kit includes a logo with the words “Football v. Homophobia.” Here’s a bit more on that.

Grab Bag: I have to admit, I LOL’ed at this one: Griffin Smith found this gem about requiring politicians to wear ads for the companies from whom they take money. … CROSSOVER ALERT! Check out Hugh McElhenny and Tom Flores in Roller Derby action with their game unis! (from Peach). Also posted in NFL. … Toray Arrows women played a home game in Ehime and joined the Ehime mascot Mican afterwards with some headgear to match (from Jeremy Brahm). … A plan to discontinue the use of white graduation gowns for female seniors at Foxcroft Academy has sparked a debate among students, alumni and others in the community between those who favor the traditional boys-in-burgundy, girls-in-white garb reflecting school colors and those who think the change eliminates gender bias (from John Dankosky). … Albany and Syracuse both wore chrome domes in yesterday’s Lax matchup (from Dan Murtaugh). … There was a new “Jay” — the Johns Hopkins mascot — unveiled yesterday at their lacrosse game (from Griffin Smith). … “Not sports, but cool article on chain-stitching, Nudie-type suit maker here in Indy,” writes Otis Freeman. “At one point he bought up Singer chain-stitch machines and created a user community.” … The 4-foot ring at 2019 World Junior Curling Championship has a tartan design, notes Wade Heidt. He adds, “Shows the lighthouse in the 12-foot, which is part of the event logo.” I cannot begin to tell you how awesome this is. … Also from Wade, a new National Lacrosse League team will be called the Halifax Thunderbirds, they are the relocated Rochester Knighthawks.

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NBA Intro’s ‘Jersey of the Future’ — But Can It Core a Apple?

By Phil Hecken

Never did a throwaway Ticker item transform into a lede so fast.

That’s right, yesterday, at its annual All-Star Technology Summit, the NBA (and Commissioner Adam Silver) introduced what is purported to be the “Jersey of the Future.” Bonus points if you gleaned the meaning of the title

And what, pray tell, is this jersey of the future? Well, the best way to describe it is to show the moment:

Well, that seems pretty cool, no?

You seem skeptical.

You’re not alone…

Yes, there are lots of skeptics — just scroll down on the replies to the NBA’s announcement tweet. And there are more questions than answers.

Like, “How exactly does this seemingly magic technology work?” Answer: No one is certain, and for now, the NBA isn’t saying.

Like, “When will these be available?” Answer: No one is certain, and for now, the NBA isn’t saying.

Like, “How much will they cost?” Answer: No one is cer… well, you get the idea.

To demonstrate the technology, Silver transformed a No. 30 Steph Curry All-Star jersey onstage at the tech summit into a No. 23 Michael Jordan jersey. The theory behind all this is (I guess) if you purchase the jersey of your favorite player (or any player), you will, on your smart phone, be almost instantly able to change the NOB and number to another player.

You cannot, however, change the color of the jersey, or any of the piping/striping, or the team name/location/logo on the front of the jersey. It seems the theory behind this is if your favorite player (or any player) gets traded, your jersey doesn’t become “obsolete.” Or something like that.

Putting aside the (perhaps) well intentions, this too raises all sorts of questions and scenarios — and well, we’re all left wondering just “how far” this technology will allow the user to go.

For example. Will the owner be able to “fully customize” the NOB/number? Like, who hasn’t already pictured someone changing a “30 Curry” to “69 NICE!” or something along those lines.

Can you wash it? Will this technology still hold up after you’ve sweated through the jersey at your rec league scrimmage (assuming you’d be dumb enough to wear it to your rec league scrimmage)?

Of course, the previous two questions are moot until we are sure the NBA (and its maker) can bring this technology to light (the cost and availability being paramount). We’ve seen the kids today hack modern computer games to create sometimes-funny, often-off-color, sometimes-downright-offensive ‘skins’ (or whatever they’re called). How hack-proof will these be?

I get what the NBA is going for here. You don’t want to buy a jersey for a player who might get traded (or quit, demand a trade, be injured, etc.) the following week. Back in my day, we had solutions for this…

Of course, right now (at least to me), this seems like a jersey directed solely to the fans, but what’s to say this technology wouldn’t also work on court? Like, those nefarious jersey ads — could they be changed every half or quarter (or TV time out) to reveal some new advertiser? Will only the NOB/Number be changeable, or is that all that’s possible now/in the future? Again, skeptics abound:

Cost is obviously going to be a factor. Will one be able (upon purchase) to change the NOB/Number at will, or will the app used to create this wonderful technology be “charging” for the privilege? Say the jersey costs $300. Will changing the NOB/Number be “free” or will it cost the owner say, $10/change? Will there be unlimited changing capabilities? So, so many questions still to be answered.

The “Jersey of the Future” was just one of several new technological advances unveiled yesterday at the Tech Summit. Per ESPN’s Marc Spears…

Spears mentioned 2030 (which is, actually, not all that far away). Will we still need to wait 11 or so years for the Jersey of the Future to be here?

To quote Grateful Dead lyricist John Barlow, “The future’s here. We are it. We are on our own.”

But can it core a apple?

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A “Quick” Look At The AAF

The AAF (Alliance of American Football) kicked off last weekend, and while I was adamant that I didn’t watch any of the games, I definitely gave it a short shrift (lots of ticker items, but those only included observations from others). Now that the teams have passed the “I need to see them on the field, in action” litmus test, I wanted to take a few minutes to make some observations.

When the league was first announced (or at least, when the uniforms were first displayed), Paul covered the unveilings and gave his early thoughts. Sadly, his point about their being no uni ads was squashed in week 1, and we’ve now learned that at least one new team already got a second uniform (not that that’s a bad thing — in a league where each team initially was supposed to only have one uniform, this was clearly going to be a problem for certain matchups).

Let’s take a “quick” look at the 8 teams, with some thoughts (click any photo to enlarge):

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Arizona Hotshots


• Like Paul, I like the color scheme, but I don’t like the addition of orange. Green and gold look great together; adding orange only subtracts from that. The side panels (a staple of the league) are also annoying.

• I do love the helmet stripe and logo. See the negative space “AZ” in there? The orange logo on the helmet would have been fine. Not sure they needed to bring the orange down onto the uni. Also, see how great the logo looks on a green background? I’m wondering if a green helmet would have been better.

• The Hotshots have asymmetrical helmet markings. Logo on the right, number on the left. That’s certainly not a gamebreaker, but it’s definitely got a college feel to it (they’re one of several teams to have this helmet marking style).

• Overall? I like the unis, love the gold jerseys over green pants, and think it’s a pretty solid look. Green hats might look better.

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Atlanta Legends


• Maybe teams just shouldn’t wear purple. Or at least not purple helmets with purple jerseys, since the Legends are another team (in a long list, pro and college) who simply can’t match the hues on the helmets and jerseys. Seems like they also can’t match the metallic golds either. Sigh.

• The team doesn’t have a side panel on the jersey (yay!). Oh wait, even worse — the team features A T L instead. Yeah, no…leave the team name down leg on jersey … well, on the pants.

• On the plus side, I don’t mind this particular pants element/stripe, and while I’m not a fan of shoulder caps, these look OK. And on the plus side as well, the helmet features symmetrical “crown” logos on both sides, which was not part of the original look.

• Overall? One of the weaker unis in the AAF. I fear if (when?) the team gets an alternate uni, it will be a metallic gold jersey.

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Birmingham Iron


• The only monochrome team in the league, and it’s black. Oh, I get it, they’re just the Sharks of the AAF. Actually, few monochrome unis look good — all white and all black being notable exceptions — so if one team has to go mono, this is OK.

• I like the matte helmet, but I wish they had made the helmet stripe a uniform width. At least it tapers narrow in the back. In the pub photos, the nose bumper read “ALLIANCE” but for game play, it says “IRON”.

• One reason not to like jersey panels or stripes is because they very often don’t synch up with the pants striping. This not only offends my OCD, it looks sloppy. It looks worse when the stripe truncates on top & bottom.

• Overall? I’m fine with the mono look, and don’t even mind the helmet going logo-less.

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Memphis Express


• The Express’ original jersey was dark blue. Since the team matched up with the monoblack Iron (did you notice this matchup had neither team using a plural noun for a name?), Memphis wore white. A couple things to note here: their original jersey was not only blue, but it had red sleeve caps and tiled stripes. The white jersey does show the mesh material of the league. It’s almost like the white jersey is an afterthought.

• In a preseason game, the Express wore blue tops. Can’t say I’m in love with the inverted tiled striping they have going on.

• While I otherwise like the red helmet and logo, I hate the two-tone look they have going. Feels very minor league (well, I guess this kinda is). At least it looks better than that other pro team who tried it.

• Overall? My gripes (listed above) aside, I kinda like the overall look of the uni. When we see the blue jersey, it will have sort of a Houston Texans feel, only in inverse. Two-tone helmet issues aside, I love both the red/white/red and red/blue/red looks.

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Orlando Apollos


• There’s lots to not like here. First off there’s an ad patch (although since it’s a white patch on a white jersey, it’s better than having a contrasting color ad). And I really don’t like the block shadow treatment on the numbers. The two color, double, truncated side panels are awful.

• The gamer jersey was different than the initial offering. In the original it appears as though there was just one thick side stripe, rather than two thinner ones. It’s hard to tell, but it also looks like the gamers ditched the block shadow.

• The helmet logo wraps around the back of the lid, and the team has uni numbers on the back. I wish I could say I like either but I don’t. More complaints? OK — I don’t like the jersey yoke or the orange socks. Despite the drop shadow and two-color side panels, there’s not enough orange to justify the orange hosiery. Blue would have been a better choice.

• Overall? It probably sounds like I hate every part of this uni but I like the colors generally. It will be interesting to see if they add a new jersey (blue?). Seems like with the striping pattern, this one is designed to be worn mono-white, but maybe we’ll see a similar situation to Memphis, where the team has more of a solid alternate color jersey.

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Salt Lake Stallions


• Normally, I like powder blue and royal (or navy) blue together. That’s not the case here. The helmet is silver/gray and the jersey is supposed to be gray well, but in some photos it almost looks white. It’s not, but it depends on the lighting.

• The team has a very cool logo. Why then, don’t they wear the full logo on the helmet. Seems like someone is trying too hard there. And maybe powder blue on silver wasn’t the best choice for contrast.

• Another team following the shoulder cap and side panel treatment. And not to great effect.

• Overall? Meh. Gray and powder blue is just not a great combination, and it’s not helped out with the darker blue accents.

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San Antonio Commanders


• If all you had shown me of this uniform was this view, I’d say, “OK, sign me up!” Sadly, the more we see, the worse it gets.

• This is one of those unis that looks better on a computer screen than on the field. At first, I kinda liked the maroon and red (and they’re actually OK together), but it lost something in the translation.

• The two-tone helmet, with the wraparound Alamo design, was almost impossible to discern, even up close. I’m sure those hats just looked like a muddled mess from a distance.

• Overall? Could easily be improved. Take the maroon side panels off (but keep the yoke) and make the helmet solid maroon; if they have to have the Alamo graphic, make it gray, to match the pants. If you must keep that Alamo wrap, the ditch the asymmetrical logo and number. It’s waaaaay too busy.

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San Diego Fleet


• Of all the unis in the AAF, I thought this one had the most potential. Gold and anthracite look pretty good together. The logo works, and isn’t overly complicated. I even like the tiled “v” stripe on the helmets.

• Sadly (again) the computer generated unis look better on screen than in person. One element I was poised to actually like were the block shadow numbers (clearly meant to mimic the style on a navy ship). But even up close, they’re almost impossible to discern, and the cool tiled helmet stripe doesn’t look good when replicated on the jersey and pants.

• The asymmetrical helmet has a beautiful logo on one side that’s hard to see, while the numbers on the other side actually look much better. Contrast is important, folks!

• Overall? I think I still like this uni (and the Arizona Hot Shots) the best of the league. Maybe it’s because I like gold? Or maybe it’s just by default. It’s tough to work with two shades of gray (maybe three if you count the darker gray on the pants tiled striping), but they pull that off. Like most or all of these, they could be improved, but I think this one has the most potential.

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And there you have it — I tried to keep it brief. But thankfully this may be the first and last time I write about the AAF unis. Certainly not the worst uniforms we’ve ever seen.

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Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017, and more recently, in August of 2018.

For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.

Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.

Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):

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Title: “Ty”
Subject: Ty Cobb, 1907
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 16″ x 22″

Another attempt in my series of paintings using the photography from the famous T-206 cards. This subject, Ty Cobb, is one of the more famous of the set. Though not in the same category of the big four (Honus Wagner, Eddie Plank, Sherry Magee error and Joe Doyle error), the Detroit man’s four different front versions are some of the priciest out there, especially in high-graded condition.

Not considering the different back combinations, this portrait of the Peach appears twice, one with a green background, another with a red one. Both cards are strikingly beautiful for the flat colors that differentiate the two. And to any card collector, they’re instantly recognizable. But for me, I was more concerned with making a painting that wasn’t based on the card itself. It was important to me that the viewer felt as if he/she was looking at Tyrus in the studio as the photographer was about to snap his shot. So, aside from making his skin tones a bit more realistic, i had to extrapolate more information from the photograph than perhaps the original T-206 lithographers did. In that original, the background is rather light, so I took the liberty of making it a beige goldish muslin fabric, which I think offset the cool colors of his away jersey nicely. And as a result, I think the head has a lot of breathable air surrounding it. Of course, the real meat is in his youthful face, that skin and those eyes especially.

When this photograph was taken, he was only in his first full season with the Tigers. He led the league batting .350, knocking in 119 runs and stealing 53 bases. Not bad for a 20-year-old.

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Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: A bit of creative lettering going on for Mariners OF Dom Thompson-Williams’s NOB. And Thompson-Williams has to be a bit perturbed that the Mariners were able to fit all of Damon Casetta-Stubbs’s name on his uni (from Taylor Stallings, Andy Greenberg and Grant Bronsdon). … I think this is (finally) our first look at the new Braves BP uni (from @Keyvon212). … Astros P Brady Rodgers has changed his uni number from 62 to 52 to commemorate the May 2, 2017 date of his Tommy John surgery and May 2, 2018 birth of his son (from Ignacio Salazar). … There’s a pretty inexcusable error on this Tigers cap (from LH Griffel). … How often do we see managers going with high socks? That’s new Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo (from Gabriel Hurl). … Is nothing sacred anymore? The Pirates have announced that their bullpens are going to have a corporate advertiser for the 2019 season (from Jerry Wolper). … We all know superstars get personal logos. But journeyman relievers on minor-league deals? Brewers P Jay Jackson’s personal logo was designed by a friend while he played in NPB, and took off in Japan (from Chris Vandeyacht). … Because I can’t get enough of weird baseball memorabilia: Twitter user @SoFlaMarlins found a Spanish-language baseball card of Fernando Valenzuela batting as a member of the Padres. How obscure can you get? … Evidently, an English-language card of Valenzuela swing the stick for the Phillies (from @chewybukk47). … @BSmile sent in this fun clip of Carl Yastrzemski hitting a three-run homer sans helmet in the 1975 All-Star Game. … The Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers will turn into the Omaha Sizzle for five Thursdays in 2019. … The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks will wear a We Love Kyushu uni this season, as this is the Hawks’s 30th season since relocating from Osaka to Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu. The jerseys and caps feature a map of Kyushu (from @GraveyardBall). …  New unis for the Terps (from @Slotter). … Speaking of college unis, D1Baseball.com has a rundown of all the newest college baseball unis (from Joel Mathwig). … Absolutely gorgeous new unis for Syracuse softball (from Michael Alper). … “Was watching the Vanderbilt vs Virginia baseball game tonight and Vanderbilt with there black pinstripe uniforms had a patch that had the word Nash above the state of Tennessee,” says Cory Harrington. “Not sure what is for except Vandy is in Nashville.” … Nice 1890s throwbacks for the Nebraska Cornhuskers (from William Costigan, Jr.).

NFL News: @WTHelmets asks what the deal is with these tabs on the facemasks of Rawlings youth helmets. Any guesses? … We may have covered this before, but just in case: check out the differences in the NOBs for Pats T Trent Brown and FB James Develin. Brown has smaller letters and tighter kerning than Develin (from @NFL_Journal). … Also from @NFL_Journal: anyone know if this logo on the sweaters worn by the Boston Patriots cheerleaders was in any way official?

Hockey News: The Islanders will hold Bill Torrey Appreciation Night on March 9, and will wear WAT patches on their sweaters to mark the occasion. … The AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins went with 1980-US-Olympic-hockey-inspired fauxbacks last night (from the appropriately named Griffin Skinner). … The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones took the ice last evening as the Cincinnati Flying Pigs to celebrate Cincy’s pork heritage (from Brian Henke and Dan Siegel). To accommodate, the Toledo Walleye went with their dark sweaters (from @labflyer). …The Predators’s mascot Gnash was wearing a red, Reebok-branded jersey last night (from Mason McGiboney). … Check out the trailer for Goalie, a movie about NHL G Terry Sawchuk with no NHL licensing. … Ohio State is wearing these sweaters for Military Appreciation Weekend (from @WesAndHammy). … Apparently a high school hockey player improvised an apostrophe in his NOB (from Burrill Strong).

NBA News: Woah, is this the official 2020 NBA All-Star Game logo? From the Jordan silhouette to the slice of pizza and Ditka stache, the NBA really knocked it out of the park — if it’s legit, of course (from @GameplanCHI). … The iOS game Basketball Manager 2019 did the photoshopping bare minimum to avoid an NBA lawsuit. Let’s go Roston Seltiks! (from @jondeno2).

College Hoops News: Davidson went black-and-neon last night (from Chris Marsicano). … Kansas will wear 1970s throwbacks today against West Virginia (thanks, Phil). … Louisville is also going with throwbacks today, honoring their first Final Four team (from Michael Berry).

Soccer News: FootyHeadlines got ahold of Olympique Marseille’s gorgeous 2019-20 kit. Unfortunately, these beauties will only be worn for cup competitions. L’OM will get three other kits for next season — here’s hoping they’ll look even half that good. (from Josh Hinton and Ed Żelaski). … Altrincham FC of the English 6th tier is going with all-rainbow kits this weekend to promote inclusion in football. More info here (from Neil Barraclough). … Atlanta United have revealed their 2019 kits (thanks, Phil). … Orlando City have unveiled their 2019 home kits (from @DaveDoop). … The Colorado Rapids are launching their new kits on the 19th (from Mac LaFrance). … After The Athletic’s Matt Rueter found out that Adidas was no longer making sleeved kits for MLS teams, he went on a (paywalled) long and somewhat quixotic journey to find out why (from Iain Landon and @NGSHogs).

Grab Bag: If you look closely at this custom Indian motorcycle, you’ll notice that the footpegs are made out of Brannock devices! (Excellent find by James Hayes). … CBS Sunday Morning is doing an entire segment on the most divisive color in America — pink (from James Gilbert). … Speaking of pink, Crimson Tide gymnastics went pink last night (from Griffin Smith). … The Orlando Fire Department has invested in high-tech new gear (from Doug Richards).

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