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The uniform images you see above are part of a childhood project undertaken years ago by Alex Lyons. I know some of you don’t care about these childhood uni drawings as much as I tend to, but I think everyone will appreciate the story behind Alex’s project. I’ll let him describe it in his own words:
I grew up in foster care and group homes. One of the group homes I lived at had a staff member who’d punish misbehaving kids by sitting us down on a chair for the rest of his shift and feeding us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because “the state says I have to feed you” (I still hate PB&J to this day). One of the things he would let us do was draw. Not being an athlete like the other group home kids, I started to create fake basketball teams, which I formed into a league called the USBL.
This USBL was like a minor league NBA and was filled with my own created star players (those head shots were cut out from Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section): Casey Hokey, named after the Ninja Turtle character; Joe Who, a three-point bomber who “came from nowhere”; and Chris “Little Kemp” Madden (which shows the age of the league). There were also old NBAers like Muggsy Bogues, Manute Bol, and Scott Skiles.
I also wrote a monthly magazine called USBL Action, which was filled with stories of corporate team buyouts (the Houston franchise was bought by Warner Bros. to become the “Coyotes,” named after Wile E.), expansion/contraction (one team was banished to “Arctic Bay Canada,” the northernmost city I could find on a map, because of how bad the team was), player interviews (that female player, Jill Anderson, was based on staff member in our group home), and even apparel licensing. I developed a brand called Trenchwave to supply the league’s uniforms because I didn’t feel this minor league team should have a big name attached to it. An article from the magazine included the following line: “We should not be caught up in big name companies like Nike, Addias, or Fila. If this league fails, it will be because of us, not some shoe company.”
When I finally got access to the internet, I found out there was already a league called the USBL, so I wrote an article about the real USBL suing my USBL [continued here]. I called my league the USBA after that.
Even though it was a make-believe league, it was a great opportunity to channel my childhood creativity. Living in a group home, it was very therapeutic and comforting to transport myself into a league where I made the rules, identity, backstory, and future. These days I’m the creative director for a small creative studio, and I see the USBL as part of the early groundwork I had to practice for my career years before I even touched a computer.
How awesome is that?! What a great project — so much imagination, so many creative little details. Alex also sent along some additional USBL drawings and notes, which you can see below (or just click here):
Uni Watch News Ticker: Today is Jackie Day, which means all MLB uniformed personnel will wear No. 42. Teams that aren’t playing today will be 42-clad tomorrow. … New football uniforms for UNC, Ole Miss, and UCLA road. Phil Provided full coverage on these in yesterday’s entry. … Speaking of UNC, here’s a photo gallery of their uni history. … On Friday I mentioned that Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, and Dustin Johnson all wore the same shirt for the first day of the Masters. Turned out they kept wearing matching shirts for the entire tournament. … Further controversy over the name “Redskins,” this time involving a Pennsylvania high school (from Adam Brodsky). … Yup, having the NRA sponsor a NASCAR race was a great idea. ”¦ The Pirates debuted their early-’70s throwbacks yesterday. ”¦ Reprinted from Friday’s comments: The Bruins went G.I. Joe for pregame warm-ups on Thursday night (thanks, Teebz). … The main gripe I’m hearing about the new UConn logo, from students and alums alike, is that the version of Jonathan the Husky was all-white, while the new one is two-tone, which makes him look like all the other husky logos out there. But Doug Brei says huskies aren’t all-white to begin with, and that the old logo actually depicted a Samoyed, not a husky. … Life-size bobbleheads of various Detroit athletes have been positioned all over the city. Additional info here (from Jim Polacek). … Ohio State softball is wearing striped white stirrups with red sannies (from Kyle Snoke). ”¦ The North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors has announced the winners of its Best Dressed Public Safety Awards program (from Brady Graham). … Lots of promotional jerseys on tap this season for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs(from Gary Mattox). … For reasons that are unclear, Nike is terminating the accounts of several Philly-area retailers (from Kurt Esposito). … If you like the Brewers’ ball-in-glove logo, you’ll probably like this Pepsi 12-pack rendering of it (big thanks to Paul French). … A few players on the Cincinnati baseball team are wearing very nice striped stirrups (from Tim Root). … Potentially major news out of Texas A&M, where Johnny Football was wearing a shirt with what appears to be a non-beveled aTm logo (good spot by my ESPN editor Dave Wilson). … Jared Peterson found some uni-notable photos in the Syracuse archives. Here’s a the women’s hoops team playing against a Penn State squad that was wearing untucked jerseys with SNOB, for example. And dig this: field hockey stirrups! And here’s an awesome shot of football in the snow. … An old St. Louis Browns uniform has been chosen as one of the 250 artifacts to be featured in the Missouri History Museum’s exhibit celebrating the 250th birthday of St. Louis (from Blain Fowler). … David Traub has made some patch and NOB observations regarding the Las Vegas 51s. … Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles will be wearing green for 18 home games this summer. “The reason for the green is that about 70% of the Tohuko region is forest, and that’s where the golden eagle lives,” explains Jeremy Brahm. … Here’s a video of UCLA football coach Jim Mora explaining why the team’s UCLA striping now looks like shite (from Jonathan Amaya). … The Clippers and Hornets went color-on-color on Friday night. … It’s a little hard to see, but Denard Span suffered a torn pant leg on Friday (screen shot by Max Weintraub). … “You may know that medicinal marijuana is legal in Washington State,” says Matthew Eng. “One of the dispensaries (or cooperatives) in Seattle uses a Sonics-inspired logo.” … We’ve noted in past years that David Price often goes without a squatchee on his cap. A reader who prefers to remain nameless notes that that’s still the case this year. … Good spot by Matt Weisenfluh, who notes that Warriors third-string center Andris Biedrins now has diacritical marks on his NOB. He used to not have them. … Michigan didn’t use the repurposed Oregon State orange jerseys for its spring game after all. Instead, they got right proper orange Michigan jerseys. Also, some players had shiny helmets and some had matte. Also-also, as you can see in that last photo, they wore small number decals on the back of the helmet, which means the TV numbers on the helmets probably won’t be used this season (all this from Christopher Hall). … Tyler Kepner attended Friday night’s Nats/Braves game in DC. “As we were leaving the park after the Braves’ 10-inning victory, a Braves fan teased a Nats fan about the Nats’ logo: ‘Nice Walgreen’s hat!’ The Nats fan was like, ‘Dude, Walgreen’s? That’s the best you can do?’ Pretty funny.” … Dodgers fans sitting in high-visibility seats at a Diamondbacks game at Chase field were told to stop wearing Dodgers gear by D-backs owner Ken Kendrick. Douchebag. ”¦ Auburn baseball wore G.I. Joe caps that other night (from Clint Richardson). ”¦ We’ve all seen pitchers wear jackets while running the bases. But I’m not sure I’ve seen a pitcher wearing a sweatshirt. That’s Alfredo Simon of the Reds, after getting his first MLB hit on Saturday (from Jason Christie). ”¦ Marshall QB Rakeem Cato wore a camera on his helmet during Thursday’s practice (from Brice Wallace). ”¦ Real Sociedad wore jerseys with fans’ faces in the uni numbers on Sunday (from Mark Coale). ”¦ Also from Mark: “Everton and QPR wore armbands for the anniversary of Hillsborough on Saturday and had a minute of silence (for the 96, not for Margaret Thatcher). It looked like Everton used black tape to make their armbands.” ”¦ New jerseys for the New York Times softball team (from Reuven Szleifer). ”¦ Eric Yarolimek noticed that Jason Kidd had something — maybe a mic clip? — on his jersey collar the other day. ”¦ Chris Young of the A’s, who was wearing stirrups with white sannies last week, is now wearing right proper gold sannies (from Rich Paloma). ”¦ Three Dayton football players are test-driving a new, supposedly safer helmet designed by former auto racer Bill Simpson (from Liberty Bowman). ”¦ Greg Trandel was reading this article and noticed a reference to college hoops players wearing football shoulder pads during practice, so he went looking and found this. That come at about the 5:20 mark of this video. ”¦ During last night’s Yanks/O’s game, ESPN’s broadcasting crew told a story about Buck Showalter, who had a big hand in designing the Diamondbacks’ inaugural uniforms in the late 1990s. According to the story, Showalter went to lots of paint stores looking for just the right shade of purple but couldn’t find what he wanted. Then, while attending an LSU football game, he liked what he saw in the LSU locker room, so he asked for — and received — a chunk of the carpet. And that’s what the Diamondbacks’ shade of purple was based on, at least if you choose to believe the story. ”¦ Speaking of Showalter, he appears to be the only Oriole who’s wearing the Earl Weaver memorial patch on his jacket (from Mike Mongada). ”¦ The Cardinals wore their new retro alts for the first time on Saturday. And at least five different Cardinals went high-cuffed yesterday (from Kevin Eckhoff). ”¦ North American hockey legends and Russian hockey legends faced off in New Jersey on Saturday in a benefit game for Hurricane Sandy relieft. Kevin Clark got a few shots of the uniforms (taken through the plexiglass, which explains the blurriness). ”¦ Sensational patches on this vintage varsity hockey jacket. ”¦ Pitcher Yohei Kagiya of the Nippon Ham Fighters used a purple glove on Saturday (Jeremy Brahm again). ”¦ Blue Jays pitcher Casey Janssen warmed up in the wrong jersey the other day, but he got things straightened out in time for his eventual appearance in the game. … Matt Kemp, who’s usually a pajamist, went high-cuffed last night (screen shot by Stetson Pevear). ”¦ Nebraska baseball wore G.I. Joe caps on Friday and G.I. Joe jerseys on Sunday (from Mike Vamosi). ”¦ Several readers sent in this story about a Mississippi State football stadium-themed groom’s cake. ”¦ New 25th-season logo for the Magic, who’ll also wear 1989-90 throwbacks next season (from Mike McLaughlin).