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Uni Watch Exclusive: NBA Uni Ad Program May Be Dead, at Least for Now


As the calendar turned from September to October, we were wondering why the NBA hadn’t announced the results of the final vote on its uniform advertising plan. Then, after comments last week from NBA commish David Stern, it became apparent that the vote hadn’t taken place yet. I was curious about why the vote had been delayed, and now I think I’ve found the answer.

A little birdie tells me that the uni advertising plan is currently dead. DEAD! Why? I wish I could say it’s because of the #NoUniAds movement. That would be ideal, but it’s not the case. The real reason, however, has a delicious undercurrent of poetic justice: According to the little birdie, the uni advertising program is dead — DEAD! — because the owners couldn’t agree on how to how to share the profits.

How perfect is that? A plan based on greed falls apart because the greedy participants are too greedy to figure out how to share the greed-generated wealth amongst their greedy selves. Serves them all right.

(Here’s an odd sidebar to all of this: As you may recall, when David Stern gave his “I don’t like it, but I won’t stand in the way of it” comments last week, Eric Freeman of Yahoo Sports ran an item with a headline claiming that the owners were “divided” and some text referring to “disagreement among the owners.” At the time, I said I thought Freeman was overreaching, because there was nothing in Stern’s comments about dissent among the owners. But now it appears Freeman was onto something, even if he didn’t substantiate his claims.)

Before everyone starts celebrating, there are two big caveats here:

1) My little birdie get this info second-hand from an NBA source who is not an executive-level employee. So this news isn’t quite from the horse’s mouth. More like from a friend of the horse’s stablekeeper. Take that as you will. Personally, if I had to rate the reliability of this information on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d probably rate it as a 6.5, at least until I can get confirmation (which I’m trying to get, believe me).

2) Even if the info is 100% correct, it doesn’t mean the uni advertising plan is permanently kaput. It just means it’s dead for now. If the owners can find a way to equitably distribute their greed in a way that pleases everyone, the plan could be revived.

For now, though, this is very, very good news. #NoUniAds.

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

With the League Championship Series under way, I thought we’d start off this week by highlighting the final four teams. For the NL, we have this 1970s Cardinals “Slugger Bird” thermal mug and this 1960s Giants bobblehead. (“Like Posey,” right.) Representing the junior circuit, we’re going with this 1960s Yankees pennant and this game-worn 1970s Tigers jacket. Tigers and Yankees looks don’t change much, do they.

But man (and woman) cannot live on LCS alone, so here’s the rest of this week’s eBay haul:

• From reader Jason Hillyer, check out this Reds cup with Okkonen/Dressed to the Nines artwork.

• Here’s a bunch of 1970s NFL stuff — books, posters, helmets, photos — all in one handy auction.

• Ooh, this looks like a great book: The 1969 NFL Record Manual.

• Here’s a 1972 NFL sleeping bag — complete with facsimile autographs!

• Just the shield, no star: The seller says this blue NFL jacket with no team designation was purchased at the Cowboys’ own pro shop. Jerrah sold something that didn’t say Cowboys? Also from the Cowboys: this jacket was sold by Reebok when the Cowboys were a Nike team the first time around. I owned one of these, and let me tell you, Reebok did a great job. Awesome comfort.

• Let’s wrap up with some more NFL jackets, okay? Doesn’t get any more retro than that shiny Starter look. We have the Packers,
Steelers, Bears, and Dolphins.

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here, and you can follow Brinke on Twitter and Facebook.

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PermaRec update: Uni Watch and Permanent Record have intersected in the form of an old varsity jacket that I first mentioned here on the site two years ago. Get the full scoop here. (For those of you who already read this entry yesterday, when I linked to it from Facebook, there’s now a fairly exciting update that’s been appended to the end of the jacket story, so you might want to go back and check it out again.)

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Uni Watch News Ticker: I wrote a little piece about the Gatorade/MLB shenanigans for Business Week. I may also be doing an interview segment on this topic for Bloomberg TV. … Longtime reader Aaron Dana is an illustrator, and he’s come up with two awesome projects: a Tumblr devoted to pitchers’ iconic leg kicks and follow-throughs and a zine about left-handed athletes. Great stuff, and highly recommended. ”¦ I was calling it St. James’ Park all along anyway (from George Chilvers). … Pink element I hadn’t noticed before: kicking tees (from Jerry Kulig). … Winston Justice of the Colts had an awkward fold in his jersey on Sunday (from David Bremer). … Good article about England’s soccer team’s move from Umbro to Nike (from Patrick Runge). … Leftover observation from Saturday’s college football action: When’s the last time Temple wore red pants? (From Andrew Hoenig.) … Northwestern will be wearing black jerseys this weekend (“to the surprise of no one,” adds Tim E. O’Brien). … Faaascinating look at the inside story behind the NHL’s propaganda campaign for the lockout. … Kudos to the All Blacks players, who’ve successfully campaigned to reduce the size of the corporate sponsorship logo on their jersey. … Nike will be outfitting Aussie football teams for at least the next 11 years (from Leo Thornton). ”¦ Also from Leo: New court for the Spurs. ”¦ Here’s more info on that fucking hideous Boise State BFBS costume (from Bryan Council). ”¦ Here’s a beauty: the 1916 Cubs and White Sox wearing jackets made by the same company (big thanks to Todd Radom). ”¦ According to several readers who were listening to last night’s NLCS game on ESPN Radio, broadcaster John Sciambi had this to say during Hunter Pence’s first plate appearance: “According to Uni Watch, Hunter Pence is the only player in MLB to wear just one batting glove.” Not bad. “He asked Chris Singleton (the color analyst) if he knew what Uni Watch was,” reports Brian Gaul. “Singleton had no idea and thought it was something about watches. Lame.” ”¦ Some great uniform shots in this slideshow of the 50 greatest Bears (from Ron Roza). ”¦ Chris Miller spotted a cab in Seattle with a swoosh on the back. “Not the greatest picture, as I was in stop and go traffic, but I can confirm it is indeed the mark of the beast,” he says. ”¦ Gratuitous pink is bad enough, but it looks particularly bad when paired with San Diego’s powder blues. Woof! ”¦ In a related item, Austin Hardison notes that Peyton Manning wore pink wristbands in the first half, when the Broncos played like shite. But then he came out for the second half in white wristbands — and the Broncos promptly stormed back to a big comeback win. … Angel Pagan had a big ol’ sticker on his underbrim last night (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Here’s a video of the Suns’ new court being assembled. Key sentence: “The goal behind the change was to create an ambigram so that fans can read the team name no matter which side of the arena they sit.” Hmmm, an ambigram? Never heard that word before, but sure enough. Very cool! (Big thanks to Kyle Hanks.)

Comments (93)

    Hats off to boog.

    And given the complaints about instant replay in baseball and the dehumanization of the game, goto youtube and look for the “robot baseball” he did while at 790 in miami.

    If by “Boog” you mean John Sciambi, I agree. I liked the guy when he was doing Braves games for our local Fox affiliate. Wish he had never left. He seems to be a pretty cool guy. Obviously he has good taste in websites, if he is in fact a regular visitor.

    If it was just pink kicking tees, end zone pylons, and wrist bands, the NFL could go pink all season long for all I care. Keep it subtle, keep it mostly stuff that’s not sold in the team store, and keep it away from actual player or ref uniform elements.

    If it were a soft pink, I could deal with it. Instead, they go with an eye-searingly oversaturated magenta shade.

    I find it ironic that the logo for #nouniads has become as brand-recognized logo itself, I now see it as unique advertising in that the logos used I am identifying with more positively than negative…and, if done as creative as your own logo, I wouldn’t be as much against ads as I once thought.

    the logo for #nouniads has become a brand-recognized logo itself…

    It has?

    It has achieved a certain resonance here on this site (I hope) — which isn’t surprising, given the number of times it’s been displayed here — but I don’t think it’s achieved any deeper penetration.

    hmmm…let me re-think/re-phrase that…
    When I see the NBA logo…I now see YOUR logo…and I WANT to see the ads built in…and now, I am awaiting to see if someone (or myself) could create an MLB / NFL / NHL one…

    It would make a great business card image for anyone in sales…

    Just me or do the Suns clearly seem to be fading out the purple more and more year-by-year? I count it as a good move, more black and orange is good!

    Well, sure, when we hear of a team called the “Suns” that plays in place known as the “Valley of the Sun”, who doesn’t immediately think of the color black. ;)

    The name tends to make me think of strong light AND strong shadows alike, so black/orange doesn’t seem like such an unnatural scheme.

    What’s more, highly sun-beaten cultures (such as the SW, Mexico, Arabia, and North Africa) often like “cool,” vibrant colors such as blues, purples, and greens–these tend to offset the surroundings and provide an oasis-like contrast. As a result, they figure highly in native decor. In other words, I’m not even sure that the Suns’ purple is terribly out of place.

    I’d love to see an article here on advertising on soccer jerseys. It’d be interesting to discuss the history of it (wasn’t always that way), how it has effected uni design, and it’s rising influence on American pro sports.

    Love the photo of Bill Hewitt (50 greatest bears) playing with no helmet, while those other wussies want to protect their prcious noggins!

    In the Chicago/Chicago uniform manufacturer team photos, #23 for the Cubs is Mascot. And it ain’t somebody in a bear suit either.

    (the “mascot” discussion has arisen here before)

    All eight “Black Sox” appear in the photo. Ed Cicotte’s name is incorrectly spelled “Cycotte.”

    When I saw this picture a few years ago I figured it had to be Eddie Bennett but I think 1917 was too soon for him based on this article from SABR:


    Either way it seems it was somewhat popular for teams to employ little people for jobs like Batboy or Mascot.

    A little disappointed in that All Blacks story. I thought it was going to be about how the adidas logo would now be smaller than the silver fern, but no – adidas logo and AIG box make the fern seem tertiary. I’ll leave the idea of AIG as corporate sponsor alone for now.

    Not the first time they have had a jersey sponsor. I have a jersey from the mid-90’s with a Steinlager patch on it (just like this one):


    “The goal behind the change was to create an ambigram so that fans can read the team name no matter which side of the arena they sit.”

    They had an ambigram from day 1. The news was that they went away from it with the last set of jerseys.


    btw: you can find plenty of ambigram generators on line and fart around with ambis of your own. pretty cool.

    Never heard of ambigrams before, either. I’m looking at the Wikipedia page for ambigrams and trying to figure out if “ambigram” really is an ambigram, but unfortunately I’m viewing it on an iPhone, so every time I rotate it the display rotates too so I’m always looking at it right side up. I guess I could stand on my head.

    I understand the BFBS no matter how stupid it looks because the kids like it and it’s hip. What really irks me is that schools like Northwestern have made it part of their regular color scheme when it isn’t a school color. I love NU’s new unis but you can’t see the black stripe on the purple jersey and the purple jerseys with black pants are terrible as well.

    IMO, some colors look terrible with black. Blue and purple are two of them. That’s part of the reason I don’t understand these schools forcing it into their color scheme. My alma mater’s colors are purple and gold, and they tried black a few times last year. It looked awful. So far I haven’t seen it this year, so there is hope.

    Northwestern and TCU seem to have too much black now to return to just purple and white. Boise has been so well known for the blue, why would they even try black? It’s just stupid and looks horrible.

    I think we can partially blame the Mountain West Conference for Boise State’s black uniforms. They’re the ones that decided to ban the school from wearing mono-blue with their blue field.

    Well, I can’t really blame the MWC for that. Just watching the games on TV it was difficult to see the players. I can’t imagine how hard it was for opposing teams. The only reason they went monochrome blue on that blue field was to take advantage of the blending blue!

    Call me crazy but I actually like Boise’s Black. It’s definitely one of the better BFBS uniforms I’ve seen. That helmet looks great!

    You’re crazy :)

    I’m actually ok with the helmet as well, as far as new designs go. If they had just swapped blue with black, and went with an all black/orange uniform, it would have been decent. The blue just doesn’t work for me.

    I totally agree. Purple and black is not a good look. TCU and Northwestern should not use black with the purple. Use white instead.

    I do not like any BFBS. Especially how overdone it is now.

    John Sciambi must read the NY Times. This factoid, complete with reference to Paul and UniWatch, was in Tyler Kepner’s article about the NLCS in Sunday’s Times.

    It’s odd that the Suns are talking about their new court like it’s a design revolution. Their best logo design from the great Charles Barkley teams of the mid-90’s had a very similar word-mark, which they used on the court at the time, too.

    I had never heard the word ambigram, but the ’70s band Angel (Greg Giuffria was a member) used a logo that was one.


    Funny that the Suns had to go and design a “contemporary-looking wordmark” when the original Suns mark would achieve the same effect, no?


    The plan was never to have uniform ads this season. The plan, which now appears to be dead — DEAD! — was to start having uniform ads next season.

    Anyway, I always wondered about the identity of the one person who watch NBA preseason games. Now I know.

    It’s not me to be worried about, we were at the bar watching game one of the ALCS.

    This other dude at the other end, making the bartender turn on the Celtics-Knicks game and losing his shit like it was the Eastern Conference finals, my god. Kinda hilarious to watch.

    Hah, basketball purists enjoy NBA preseason games (baseball is still going on?) Looking forward to the Nets visiting the Celtics in their black vs. the home whites Celtics tonight!

    “Ambigram”? Pardon the language geekery, but mixing Latin & Greek roots has always given me the hives. Any chance we can go with “amphigram” instead?

    Dead for now? That sounds way too optimistic.

    I’d say it’s more like the NBA had a miscarriage.

    They might have to wait a little while, but they’ll be right back at it trying to get pregnant again as soon as they can.

    While listening to the Tony Kornheiser Show Podcast it was mentioned that the owner of the company supplying all the pink kicking tees for October’s NFL games had sent the show one of them for the Wedding Gift Box.

    anybody else notice that the suns new center court lettering looks a lot like Oklahoma State’s lettering?
    Both have the 2 shades of orange look.
    Ok State’s lettering: link
    Suns new court lettering: link

    I was thinking the exact same thing..The beveling and the color makes it almost identical.

    Never heard of ambigrams? I point you to the comments section on September 27, when the Suns court was first announced


    is the Northwestern helmet in the black uni picture look like a chrome helmet like TCU just did?

    It (almost certainly) isn’t. It’s from the same photo shoot as when they first released the new unis and the helmets looked the same in those images. Plus TCU’s helmet has a frog skin pattern on it…

    The campus of Cal State Northridge has a 3D ambigram that reads “CSUN” from pretty much any angle. I can’t find a good link that has multiple pictures of it, but if you do a google image search for “CSUN sculpture” you’ll get the idea.

    Andray Blatche of the Nets says he chose to wear 0 because he felt he was disrespected in Washington. Methinks he’s a whiner making 7.5 million a year…


    When asked about what changes are on the table for the Cleveland Browns, new owner Jimmy Haslam said “Everything but the helmet.” At his press conference today.

    Oh, great. Sounds like we may get another uniform designed by people who learned all there is to know about what makes a great uniform from watching the Power Rangers and playing video games.

    Re-submitting the original comment…

    For those interested, there is a new copy of the excellent book on the..

    at Amazon for $40.

    Typically, even used copies go for $100 or so, and I’ve seen it new at almost $250.

    I found a new copy there and, if the that 1961-62 experiment intrigues you, it is WELL worth the money (It also will kill most of a day, at least, once you start browsing around in it. Very thorough, just an excellent job by author John Fulgaro.

    A tidbit from the book. Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle were draft choices.

    Love it. Great whimsy without being overbearing about it, and a vastly underused color scheme. Plus the whole beer thing. Shame they don’t play in the same league as the Helena Brewers!

    Would anyone mind if the NBA went to an advertising program like the NFL? Advertise on practice uniforms.

    The NBA already has that. Several teams wear ads on practice jerseys.

    And nobody gives a fuck, because [insert Allen Iverson rant here].

    “And nobody gives a fuck, because [insert Allen Iverson rant here] it’s the NBA.”



    This may have been mentioned but are the Suns redesigning their uniforms to match the court?

    Saw this driving around this morning…..nice to see some local businesses still working the Rainbow Warriors Nuggets look. Lets see how long it lasts…


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