By Phil Hecken
A most interesting (and seemingly rare) occurrence was reported in yesterday’s IndyStar.com (h/t to Tim Bierbaum): The Indiana Hoosiers, steeped in rich basketball tradition — basically told adidas
to piss off “Thanks, but no thanks” when adidas approached them to wear their fancy-schmancy adizero uniform system. They are foisting that upon six schools for post-season play: Baylor, UCLA and Louisville will wear the short sleeve “uniform system” (debuted last month by the Golden State Warriors), and Cincinnati, Kansas and Notre Dame will wear the sleeveless version. According to that article, “when Adidas, IU’s shoe and apparel company, recently approached its bigger schools with a new uniform for the NCAA tournament, the Hoosiers declined.”
Good for them.
When Paul covered the uni release a little over a week ago, he entitled the column “In Which the Stupid Gets Even Stupider.” I didn’t weigh in on those unis then (in fact, I was bedridden with the flu) — but I will echo those sentiments. The tank tops, with their zubaz-cum-camo striping are dumb; the sleeved versions are even stupider. In fact, they look like something adidas would try to unload on a high school team — oh wait, that’s just what they did. Good lord. Hey adidas, the 90’s called — they want their unis back.
Clearly, adidas holds great sway over its programs when they can make some of the more storied programs trot out in … that. Can you imagine if John Wooden, he of 12 national championships with UCLA, were asked by adidas to wear those? You can be fairly certain he’d have told them where to go. Or Digger Phelps? He’d never allow Notre Dame to wear this (maybe this or this — OK, maybe Digger wasn’t such a good example). But still, those six programs are no slouches when it comes to college hoop history.
But when adidas approached IU, they said no. According to that article, IU athletic director Fred Glass said, “When you look at that picture, it’s really hard to tell those uniforms apart. It has really been a consistent look. Our thing is stability and a classic look. It’s about the name on the front of the chest and not on the back. All those things are important to who we are. I take seriously our obligation to be a good partner with Adidas, and we weren’t cavalier about this. But when all is said and done, that’s just not something that I think is appropriate for us here at Indiana to do.”
But what if IU had acceded to adidas’ request? How bad would their uniform have been? I asked my Duck Tracker (and frequent contributor) Tim E. O’Brien (who happens to also be an IU alum) to mock it up. The result (click to enlarge, if you dare):
A wise decision not to take part, indeed.
Now, Tim being an IU alum, I asked him what he thought of this rather serendipitous “No Thank You” from the Hoosiers. Here’s what he had to say:
I haven’t been an Indiana basketball fan very long. Once I got accepted in 2006, I started following the Hoosiers and college basketball in general, so I have an appreciation for the history, but I don’t have nostalgia built into my memory banks (especially when you consider I was at IU for the Kelvin Sampson years and the early [read: Bad] years of Tom Crean).
Now, given that brief background I don’t think an alternate uniform would be a horrendous thing for the Hoosiers. It is boring watching two uniforms that basically haven’t changed (except a few tweaks along the years) since the beginning of collegiate basketball. And these aren’t the Packers unis, or the Michigan football Wolverines’ unis or even the Chicago Blackhawks’ unis: They’re not the pinnacle of uniform design – but they are pretty great.
I would prefer a fauxback or throwback to some stock Adidas design, in part because the stock Adidas designs all suck out loud, but mostly because tradition is the main thread that permeates IU basketball – even if Tom Crean coaches a fundamentally different style of basketball than his most famous predecessor, Robert Montgomery Knight.
Something new and flashy wouldn’t just feel forced, it would feel like whomever approved it didn’t understand what they were doing. Indiana may play 21st century basketball, but it wants you to remember it’s roots in the 20th century.
What – in my infallible opinion – can never change are the warm ups. If I have to explain why, Uni Watch isn’t for you. There are flaws (the jackets are kinda lame and ill fitting) but the flaws are what keep you coming back for more. They look timeless. Always have. Always will.
But all of this is a bit of a moot point for two reasons.
1.) Indiana basketball is about the game and the people. As long as good, clean, hard basketball is being played in an arena called The Assembly Hall (a new stadium is in the University’s master plan for the next quarter century) and as long as the 17,000+ faithful along with the largest student section in college basketball is on their feet cheering, IU could wear spandex and puffy shirts to play and people would learn to live with it. Experiencing an Indiana home basketball game is on par with any sporting event in the world. Bar none.
and 2.) Indiana has got it’s sh ¡t together, aesthetically.
It wasn’t always this way and Adidas isn’t always a helper, but it wasn’t too long ago that the interlocking IU was only used by some sports teams, blue was used on other teams’ uniforms and black was the focal color of the football program. The current administration knows what it wants IU athletics to look like: Crimson, White (not “cream”, that is just to fit a rhyme scheme in a fight song…) traditional and understated. In the past five to 10 years, they’ve simplified much of the university’s aesthetics, including on-campus signage as well as creating an athletics identity that now has solid base in which branches may sprout off of, but they still resemble the main trunk.
We are a proud university that likes to fashion ourselves around the ethos of the southern Hoosier: Hard working, modest and passionate. They are the ones who founded our university, enrolled in it and made it what it is today. The pride and face of the university – the basketball program – trotting out fruit stripe uniforms would fly in the face of this ethos and the school’s history and tradition. I believe there is a place for innovation, adaptation and change, even in our basketball program, but it is not going to be found in a new ostentatious Adidas template.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your perspective), there was a bit more in that article:
Said Glass: “The Indiana uniform is such a reflection of who we are as a program and a university that we weren’t comfortable moving away from our classic, iconic uniforms.’’
Glass did say, however, that just because IU won’t change its basketball uniform, that doesn’t mean the football team wouldn’t consider a different look.
“Someone told me a long time ago that fair is not treating everything the same,’’ Glass said. “Fair is treating like things alike. And in a variety of ways, I think our basketball program is different than our football program.
“We might step out and do a few different things with our football uniforms.’’
Is this a ‘tradeoff’? Will IU, and its vaunted, powerhouse football program now be a blank palette for adidas graphic artists? And, really, would that be such a bad thing? Actually, IU’s football unis are pretty good now, having been through a few ups and downs in the early and mid-2000s. But, if they must change (for adidas’ sake), then I have only one suggestion for them (and it was concepted by Tim E.):
So there you have it. I was never particularly a big fan of Hoosier hoops, but after Fred Glass (hey, wasn’t that the name of Jan Brady’s boyfriend…or was that George) said “NO,” I think I have a new rooting interest for the dance.
March Madness (with those adizero costumes) will live up to its name. But at least there will be a bit of sanity in the form of IU. Hoosier Daddy? Not adidas.
In case you forgot…
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with Mike Cahalan, who has a completely new look for the Bills:
I’ve long hated the Bills uniforms. Next to the Browns, I’ve always thought they were the most in need of an update. I’ve attached a uniform concept using basically the same logo but changing the colors for a more modern look.
Next up is Shawn Smith, with a logo set for the new Seattle team (if they’re not the Sonics):
I was bored and I’m pretty excited about Seattle getting an NBA team. Seeing as how the “Royals” nickname could possibly be fair game to Seattle, I thought it would be fun if they dipped waaayyy back into the Kings history and borrowed the image from the old time (1945/46-1956/57) Rochester Royals.
The dark grey and white strikes resemblance to the BK Nets and the Raiders, but hey, it’s all for fun.
I really enjoy your site and I’m constantly fascinated with all the information you have to offer. Thanks for feeding my interest.
And today we close with Brandon Manzione with a concept for the Blue Jackets of Columbus:
Here is my “uni tweak” for the Columbus Blue Jackets
I was trying to create a new look for the Blue Jackets that better represents the name and image. I often hear people say they don’t know what a blue jacket is, and the CBJ logo and the star/flag logo does nothing to explain the name. The new cannon is better but, the cannon doesn’t say Civil War. I wanted to create a tougher image for the team and represent the name, I also loved the original jerseys, so I brought those back with some small changes.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Back today with a nice big set (and a couple familiar names who we haven’t heard from in a while). And of course, John Turney and George Chilvers, plus a very special “reader suggested” colorization from Gary Chanko for your viewing pleasure.
Click on each image to enlarge.
We begin today with George who has two for us:
Another football (quelle surprise!) stadium – this is Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea (fairly apparently) during the 1921 FA Cup Final between Tottenham (white) and Wolverhampton (gold and black).
One of the most expensive grounds in the UK now, with average tickets for normal league games costing over £50.
Here’s another on the same theme.
This was quite a famous game, dating back to 1945. Football had ceased during the War, but on resumption the Moscow Dynamo (as they were called then) toured the UK, and this game is against Chelsea (wearing their change shirts of red) before a capacity crowd at Stamford Bridge. Health & Safety went out the window with people perched on the roof of the stands, the people in the foreground kneeling on a wall.
Next up is Gary, who took on a request from David Hampton. And, as a special treat, they’ve included a bit of a backstory for the picture:
Last month I completed Dave Hampton’s colorization request for a vintage stock car photo. The two fellows in the picture are important pioneers in the sport as Dave explains in his write up that follows.
The Myers Brothers
By Dave Hampton and Gary Chanko
The picture was taken in the early to mid 1950s at Danville Speedway in Danville, Virginia. Danville Speedway closed a long time ago and little remains of its location if anything.
The Myers Brothers, Bobby (R) and Billy (L), are actually quite famous in Nascar history as they are considered to be pioneers of the sport. Sadly though, both died well before their time; Bobby in 1957 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina and Billy in 1958 at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Through out the 1950s both had a lot of success on the local tracks of the East Coast which gained them rides in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. Had their careers not been cut so short many suspect they would have been champions of Nascar’s top national series. Today, they are memorialized with the Myers Brothers Award given by the NMPA to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the sport each year during the Nascar awards weekend in December.
Completing the colorization required a bit of research to determine the car’s color scheme. Dave was able to contact Randy Myers (shown here as a youngster in car #705) and confirmed the actual colors.
Next up is a bunch from John:
This uniform never made sense until I saw the one I colorized last week. But the shades of grey allowed me to conclude which was red and which was blue for the red, white, and blue Yankees. I had to guess at the shade of brown the helmet and canvas pants were. I added a kodochomre filter to darken tones. The original photo had been “dodged” and that hid some of the striping, but as I burned those areas the blue stripes on the sleeves were revealed.
1930 Giants welcome Cagle, wearing a couple of different shirts.
May be practice. #1 is Benny Friedman. Red is hard to work with, but tried to make this colorful.
Same shot but with a 1930s filter on it.
Makes the reds and blues darker . . .a matter of taste.
John also included a colorization he did not do, but wanted to include it to compare ‘old school’ colorization techniques:
Looks like another airbrush job from 1950. Shows the red helmet of Rams but the image is heavily painted and figures are outlines, even the goalposts . . .
And we conclude today with another fantastic (if less prolific) colorizer, Pete Woychick, who returns with a flourish (and a great backstory):
“Sure, let’s have the visiting team run the gauntlet of the home fans. What could go wrong?”
Fun facts: Two of Conacher’s brothers, Lionel and Roy, also made the HOF, and he is a “distant relative” of current NHL’er (Tampa Bay Lightning) Cory Conacher.
Phew! That’s it for today. HUGE thanks to Gary, George, John & Pete (wow — that’s almost the original Beatles) for their outstanding efforts today!. Lets keep those colorizations coming Uni Watchers!
And that will do it for this fine first Sunday of *unofficial* spring. Don’t forget to make sure your clocks are turned ahead (unless you live in Arizona or Hawai’i, or possibly some non-US country). After the rough week of weather a good chunk of us have had, I’m sure many of our thoughts are now firmly on warmer weather, baseball, and the NCAA tourney — they’re all right around the corner.
Thanks to Tim E., and all the colorizers and concepters. Great job one and all. Also join me in wishing an early birthday to Terry Duroncelet, who turns 22 on Tuesday. Have a good one, TJ. You guys have a great Sunday, and I’ll catch you next weekend.
“Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
We’re going to Wem-ber-lee
Que sera sera
Thank you. I feel better for that.”