Okay, I give in. I had hoped to stay above the whole “System of Dress” fray, but it now seems unavoidable, especially with Syracuse’s new duds having made their on-court debut yesterday. Plus my thoughts on the subject have been evolving. Here’s how it looks from my end:
• The super-baggy shorts are ridiculous. I mean, look at Eric Devendorf here — dude looks like he’s playing for the Yeshiva University women’s team. I totally don’t get the tight/baggy dichotomy — seems counterintuitive, counter to Nike’s usual performance-based approach, and predicated on nothing but fashion. Pfeh.
• A confession: Maybe it’s just because I’ve never been a big college hoops guy (I’ve worked out of my home for over a decade, so it’s been a looooong time since I filled out a bracket in an office pool), but I’m actually more intrigued than offended by the possibility of seeing those undershirts, mainly because I think the shirts look kinda cool by themselves.
• Incidentally, if you look at that last Syracuse photo, you’ll see there’s a little logo on the chest. It says, “bSb,” for “Syracuse basketball,” an idea Nike says it borrowed from the first Syracuse basketball logo, created for the team around 1900. The various base layers also supposedly include the notable names from the schools’ past. I appreciate these small nods to history.
• Here’s what I don’t appreciate: On the System of Dress web site, it says the following:
The University of Michigan provided basketball with its most recent change of design direction when a group of freshmen rocketed to the final of the NCAA Tournament with a new look of baggy shorts with black shoes and short socks. Since that debut 15 years ago, basketball’s look has been slow to evolve.
There are so many things wrong with that statement, starting with the implicit assumption that the sport’s look is supposed to change on some sort of schedule. If you look at most sports, you’ll almost never see more than one significant aesthetic change within a 15-year period. The idea that basketball uniforms are somehow running “behind schedule” is a self-serving notion designed to create an air of inevitability around Nike’s new product, and that’s total bullshit. Moreover, the Fab Five developed their look on their own — it was an organic thing, not a bunch of marketing hooey. Comparing something that developed on its own to a huge, calculated promotional campaign is somewhere between disingenuous and offensive.
• Why do the models in all the photos look so unpleasant? Like, couldn’t they smile just occasionally?
Uni Watch News Ticker: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Even though the Pats have signed Kyle Brady, QB Tom Brady won’t have to add a “T.” initial to his nameplate. See details near the bottom of this page. … Also reprinted from yesterday: Nomar is doctoring a regular game cap to make it look like a BP cap (here’s the real thing for comparison), an idea he apparently swiped from teammate Jeff Kent. … Still more from yesterday: Smallest nameplate ever? … Underbill update: Looks like Chan Ho Park’s got something written under there. … “During Tuesday night’s CBA basketball game between the Albany Patroons and the Indiana Alley Cats, Albany’s Kwan Johnson had one of his two white sneakers tear,” writes Chuck Miller. “So Kwan switched one shoe, and finished the game with one white shoe and one black.” … Soccer news from Dominic J. Litten: “EPL Talk is reporting that English Premier League team Sheffield United is asking fans to vote on the color/style of their official away kit for next season. And you can vote for the away kit here.” … I recently took part in an e-mail roundtable interview about the distinctions between sports bloggers and “normal” sports journalists — an interesting topic for me, since I sort of operate in both spheres. You can read it here. … David Teigland notes that there was an ad in the Salt Lake Tribune the other day featuring a Harley Davidson hockey uniform. … A few days ago I linked to a photo of the 1978 Colorado Caribous’ fringed jersey. Here’s a closer look, courtesy of Doug Brei. … If you look closely here, you can see that Kenji Johjima is still using that little thingie on the back of his catching helmet (or on the front, depending on how you look at it). … This do-rag thing has really gotten out of hand. … Vlad Guerrero’s helmet pine tar isn’t yet in midseason form. … Good catch by Chris Kurek, who notes that the “J” in Dominic James’s nameplate has a true descender (i.e., the lower part of the letterform dips below the “bottom” the line of type).