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Uni Watch DIY Project: A Set of NBA Buttons

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry by Thomas Fiers, who recently completed a totally excellent DIY project. Enjoy. ”” PL]

By Thomas Fiers

I wanted to make a Christmas gift for my best friend, who loves the NBA. I came up with the idea to create a collection of pinback buttons representing the backs of NBA players he followed and liked, because I figured the arched NOBs would fit well with the curvature of the buttons.

I began with the most important part: selecting which players and uniforms to represent on the buttons. I chose 30 players — half of them with colored throwback uniforms, the other half current players in white or yellow uniforms. Once I had settled on the 30 players, I drew the button designs on my computer [for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge]:

For the next step, I printed the images and cut them out with a circle cutter:

Then I used a button press to create the buttons:

So now I had the buttons, but I also wanted to create a display box, I used a laser cutting machine. I had to draw the different parts of the box in two dimensions because the box would be cut from a plate of wood.

Once that was done, I just had to assemble the box, put the buttons inside, and there you go:


Paul here. Man, that has got to be one of the best DIY projects we’ve ever had here on the site. Great job, Thomas — thanks for sharing it with us!

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White-out: Neglected to mention yesterday how disappointed I was by the Chiefs’ decision to wear white pants for Saturday’s wild card playoff game against the Colts. As I’ve written several times before, KC’s red britches are arguably the NFL’s single greatest uni element, so it was a shame not to see them.

What I didn’t know, at least not until I checked yesterday afternoon, was that the Chiefs hadn’t gone white-over-white all season long, and had only done so once in the previous season. So they weren’t just executing a major aesthetic downgrade — they were tempting fate.

Even worse, as you can see at right, the Chiefs wore the wrong socks for yesterday’s game. The white-topped socks are supposed to be worn with the red pants, while the white pants are designed to be worn with the red-topped socks. Sigh.

(My thanks to reader Doug Bernero for reminding me to address this issue.)

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Yes, Virginia, I survived the Niners’ win over the Pack, and my back is finally starting to come around after ten days of sheer misery, so now we can roll out the latest edition of Collector’s Corner. Let’s start with this 49ers helmet bottle opener from the 1960s (which I initially thought was a bank, like this Packers one!). We’ll also toss in this 1972 Burger King cup featuring someone’s favorite Niner from when they were growing up. [Thanks, Brinke! ”” PL]

Here’s the rest of this week’s eBay haul:

• For you disconsolate Packers fans, this set of 1960s prints from Mobil should help ease the pain from Sunday’s game.

• Wanted to include this Tudor NFL game because of the box art. Looks like Ray Nitschke to me, am I right? I had this very game and box but got mine Christmas of 1971. [Side note: We’ll be having a main entry devoted to electric football shortly. ”” PL]

• This guy has four complete Chiquita NFL sticker sets to sell?! Ack, I just want one!

• Ladies and gentlemen, your 1970s Hamilton ”¦ Fincups? What’s a Fincup?

• Gotta love the look of the Swingin’ A’s on this 1972 World Series program cover. Joe Rudi climbing the left field wall (I was seated just above him) continues to haunt me to this day.

This eBay seller has 16 NFL gumball helmet buggies for sale. (And from a different seller, here’s a Patriots buggy still in the box.)

• Take a look at this 1950s/1960s MacGregor Baltimore Colts kids uniform.

• This 1950s L.A. Rams button is pretty quaint by today’s standards.

• IHOP NFL alert: This is called an IHOP TV NFL football game panel. Not sure what that is, but I’ve never seen it before!

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath, except for ’Skins Watch, which was handled by Paul.

’Skins Watch: This is interesting: Mark McLawhorn is a cartoonist who specializes in drawing NC State’s “Wolfie” mascot beating up other teams’ mascots. But that presents a problem when the other team’s mascot is a Native American. Brittain Peck recently conducted an interview with McLawhorn that addresses this issue.

Baseball News: The Big Hurt appears to have made to mend in his pants at some point during his career. Does anyone have any information on this picture? … You can get this San Francisco Giants-themed Mustang for the low-price of $6,000.

Football News: The Packers don’t wear captaincy patches during the regular season but they always add them for the playoffs. So on Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers became the first Packer to ever wear the 5-year gold “C” patch and Jarrett Bush joined Charles Woodson as the only other Packer to reach the 4-year plateau (from Mark Medinger). … The opening of the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie has Gotham City University playing Metropolis State University (from Ira Creasman). … Two of the Colgate subs in this 1922 game against Cornell had triple-digit numbers (from Ryan Dowgin). Does anyone have any pictures of the actual game? … This is a list of hand signals used by the coach to the players on the field for the 1895 Union College Dutchmen (from David Firestone).

Hockey News: Labatt’s, a Canadian beer that is now owned and operated by an American company, unveiled beer cans with the USA Olympic sweaters through the years. Never forget 1980. … Jeff Barak is trying to get documentation of a white Montreal Canadiens 1911-12 sweater. Here is some background on the research he has done so far. … The Islanders’ 2014 Stadium Series logo is here to stay on the alternate uniforms for 2015, perfectly timed for the team’s move from Uniondale to Brooklyn. … Here is a list of best old school jerseys of teams currently in the NHL. … A hockey referee named Ron Ego makes for a fun NOB (from Teebz Alexander).

Basketball News: Bradley Beal wore 23 throughout high school and college because of Lebron, not MJ. … Aaron Liberman of Northwestern became the first person to wear a yarmulke in a Big Ten game on Sunday (from Andrew Cosentino).

Grab Bag: Under Armour is gearing up for its Olympic debut (from Rick Friedel). … In more Under Armour news: The University of Maryland signed a 10-year extension with the company. … French tennis player Richard Gasquet has switched from Lacoste to Le Coq Sportif.

Comments (128)

    Actually, the Chiefs socks were normal. They always wear the white socks with the white jerseys and red socks with red jerseys. The pant color doesn’t actually matter for them.

    Yeah, they’ve been doing it that way for a few years *but it’s wrong.* The sock design is supposed to be driven by the pant design, not by the jersey design. The whole point of NFL socks is to provide contrast at the point of pant/sock intersection. That’s why the Chiefs have two different sock designs to begin with.

    They’ve been consistent about it since they initially dropped the red pants in 1989 (which they should have never done either, of course). They’ve been wrong for so long that they’d actually look weird to most people if they switched.

    The Chiefs actually wore red socks with white-on-white a few years ago during the AFL throwback uniform season. They wore black shoes for that game(s) as well. I recall specifically a road game in Oakland that season, but I’m not sure if they wore red socks with white-on-white on the road for other games also.

    We’ve seen a lot of teams do that in the current era (match socks to jersey). The Jets, Browns, and Bears have all worn their white socks when they go all white on the road. Sometimes it looks better (Browns, Bears) sometimes it doesn’t (Jets, Washington). Even the Bills whose away socks are still blue topped, wear the same same socks regardless of which pants the wear on the road.

    If by “a few years” you mean any time we’ve worn mono-white since we actually went with red-topped socks in Super Bowl I, then yeah, we’ve donned white-topped socks with those awful all-whites for “a few years”.

    This is correct since 89 the Chiefs have always worn the “wrong” socks with the White on White

    Interestingly enough when they went AFL 50 Throwback as the Texans they had White on White with the “correct” socks. Also 60’s era Chiefs wore the red topped socks. (see SBI images)

    As a Chiefs fan I tend to disagree with Uni-Watch, and like the White on White, but I do hate the fact they don’t wear the original red topped socks.

    Speaking of Tudor football, anyone in the DC area up for a UW electric football get-together? Got a set for Xmas from in-laws who always give me odd things (like that English lead toy soldier kit I’ve never used, because, um, I’m not melting lead in my kitchen). Haven’t played electric football since maybe 1987. Now if I can just decide how to paint the little guys.

    My thoughts exactly, if I wanted to go for real actual NFL teams. But what fun is that? I’m thinking of giving the red team green pants and helmets, and on the white team, I’m wide open.

    Awesome project, Thomas! Thanks for sharing. On the box, do you own or have professional access to the laser cutting machine? The box looks more professional than many commercial equivalents I’ve seen.

    Thanks for the comment, I don’t own the laser cutting machine, but there is a fabrication laboratory (FabLab) I can freely access every saturday afternoon, that offers the use of such a machine. I’m sure the FabLabs exist in the U.S. as well (I’m from France) since I believe it was created in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Beautifully done!

    In my school district, we have STEM Labs that are simliar to the Fab Lab.

    What used to be Industrial Arts has morphed into Technology Education and now S.T.E.M…Science, Tech, Engineering and Math. We have a laser cutter and #D printer in the high school lab. We ae working on getting them in the MS as well.

    Thomas, was the “printing” of the text and NBA logo on the box also done with a laser tool? If not, how did you do it. It looks beautiful!

    Yes indeed, the laser cutting machine can cut, but also engrave. It was made that way.

    I have a tool that can do it at home, but it wouldn’t have looked as good.

    This is a great DIY project. I think this my favorite that’s ever been published on this site, and there have been some dandies too.

    Thanks, and yes, he’s a great friend indeed. And the fact he loves the whole league instead of only one or two teams, is pretty cool !

    Excellent project! Beautifully rendered with loving detail. WOW! I preach the badge life, myself, but have one of those Badge-A-Minit gadgets, which are more suited to craftspeople and scrapbookers. They have a high failure rate and aren’t so well suited to mass production. If I had a high-end badgemaker like yours, I’d be doing it for a living!

    Thanks Walter. I bought the button press in the U.K., it’s the smallest size as it only does 25mm buttons, but that’s the size I prefer for buttons, since you can easily put them on any piece of cloth or on any accessory.

    The mend in Frank Thomas’s pants don’t appear to be newsworthy. Just a repair – made probably on the road – due to a 6’5″, 240lb dude sliding into 2nd, 3rd, or more likely home plate at some point. No amount of polyester can hold up to that friction more than once.

    Yeah, I’m not sure what they’re looking for here… what are we missing? Baseball pants are mended all the time… not newsworthy.

    I’m thinking it was actually a Velcro panel that could be opened easily for needle injection, if a steroid/testosterone boost was needed in between innings. Very practical.

    yeah cause everyone knows how “Big” the Big Hurt got when he got to the majors and all the ped talk he’s been linked with…..whatever….nevermind that he was always in the forefront of wanting drug testing because he was clean. One of the best right handed hitting players of all time.

    I’ll join the chorus singing praises of the amazing Thomas. What a project.

    Also great, but in a different realm:
    “… This is a list of hand signals used by the coach to the players on the field for the 1895 Union College Dutchmen (from David Firestone)…”
    Check it out if you haven’t already.

    Glad to see that Union (Schenectady NY) still “Dutchmen/Dutchwomen.” Another fine relic of the bequests of New Netherlands: on the orange in official NYC colors; on the name Knickerbockers; and on American English, e.g. “stoop” and “boss.” Oranje Boven!

    re: the Skins Watch portion, it should be “NC State”, not SC State. NC State are the Wolfpack, while SC State are Bulldogs.

    Dang, love the button set and the entire packaging. Love stuff like that. Was just working on some button designs last night and now I see someone has lovingly crafted something even better (and Batumier!) Fantastic work.

    I just want to publicly thank Paul for his Christmas gift giveaway. I got mine (the Man United catalog) over the weekend and I couldn’t be happier. Some shots of older players like Cantona and Hughes, a ridiculously young Ryan Giggs, and the sheer 90s-ness of it all. The lack of internet references on things of that vintage or older is jarring to say the least. A great trip down memory lane to a time when a scrap of info about the club, or European soccer in general, was a hard won prize, at least where I was living. Thanks again, Paul.

    Hamilton Fincups: Joe Finochio, and Ron and Mario Cupido. Fin + Cup = Fincups. Yes, I know, really stupid name, but what can you do? One of the most itinerant teams in junior hockey, the Fincups:
    moved to Brantford, Ontario, where they were the Alexanders for six years;
    had another go in Hamilton as the Steelhawks for four seasons (Hamtown being the Steel City of Canada);
    spent eight years in St. Catherines, Ontario, as the Niagara Thunder;
    and finally, the last seven seasons in Erie, PA, as the Otters.

    Minor correction: the Thunder played in Niagara Falls, not St. Catherines. .

    Though the Fincups did play one year in St Catherine’s earlier on (as the Fincups) when they had arena issues in Hamilton

    Second minor correction: The franchise has been in Erie, PA since 1996. This is the 18th season as the Otters…and so far, one of their best ever. #1 ranking in the entire CHL.


    Please excuse me, I think my hometown fanhood is showing.

    The Islanders’ 2014 Stadium Series logo is here to stay on the alternate uniforms for 2015, perfectly timed for the team’s move from Uniondale to Brooklyn

    I think it’s a fantastic idea, provided they strip away the chrome-y outline. The letter/stick is a great logo even removed from the island crest.

    Interesting that the Zach Snyder movie has Gotham University using the same colors that Christopher Nolan used for the Gotham Rogues pro team in the Dark Knight Rises (black, gold, grey).


    I don’t know, I think it’s kinda uncreative since the other movie isn’t exactly that old. Besides, Gotham U should have theoretically existed for decades and have their own colors which have nothing to do with Batman. I mean, unless Bruce is just a big football fan and picked his logo colors because of his love for the team.

    I took my oldest son to the Nets game last night – it was my first game in the new arena, and his first basketball game ever.

    We arrived to learn that it was Noche Latina, and I was suddenly worried that his first experience would involve stupid-looking alternate uniforms. Lucky for us the Nets don’t go in for that sort of thing, and the festivities were limited to Spansish-language introductions and some Brooklynette mambo routines of dubious authenticity.

    The one Christmas present my 9 year old daughter asked for was to see King James.

    So Thursday night, we are going to the Garden for her first NBA game.

    More Uni-Worthy is the fact that my sister hooked us up with tickets to Barclays the following night to see lebron and the Heat play the Nets on Nickname night.

    They were hitting the nicknames pretty hard yesterday, in the intros as well as the video to start the second half.

    Shamne about Brook Lopez, though. Was looking forward to seeing “Brooklyn” on the front and back of a jersey. How much more Brooklyn? None. None more Brooklyn.

    Have you been to both arenas? Be interested to hear what you think of them – last night was the first basketball game I’ve been to in maybe thirty years.

    I used to live within walking distance of MSG, now I could walk to Atlantic Yards, but just never went to a game. Was very impressed last night.

    Those Labatt’s cans are a great reminder of just how beautiful the 2010 Olympic sweaters were. (As were Canada’s that year too.) Though I think the can doesn’t sufficiently arch the USA letters. I totally jonesed for one of those jerseys at the time, but held out for the inevitable post-Olympics clearance-price sales that never came. Alas.

    One more correction: Labatts is owned by a Belgian brewery, not an American one

    (seriously- AnheuserBuschLabattInterbrew or whatever it’s called is HQed in Belgium)

    Not exactly. It’s a little more complicated than that, but Paul is right.

    The Canadian Labatt is owned and operated by Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, still an American company and a subsidiary of AB-InBev, the global holding company based in Belgium.

    But the company responsible for the USA sweater can, Labatt USA, is owned by North American Breweries, which itself is owned by Florida Ice & Farm Co.

    Fair enough.

    You’re right that its more complicated than that – I had it in my head that Labatts was Belgian because they were originally bought by Interbrew long before Anheuser was involved. (that was the transaction that led to the end of the Blue Jays as a viable baseball team)

    Also I believe they no longer use the “Labatt’s” name and simply go by “Labatt”. IIRC, “Labatt’s” was used in reference to a specific offering in the 70s and the company name has always been “Labatt.”

    Wow on the NBA pins.. Paul, a column on sports pins is in order. The old school pin backs are off the charts cool in a retro simple perfect way. I wear one proudly on my game day go-to green nylony A’s Starter jacket from back in the day. A’s fans all know the yellow and green “The Swingin’ A’s pin. My first A’s games in the seventies were spent in the bleachers with the Booster Clubbers who had all manner of A’s pins and buttons on vests and scarves and of course their hats. Even still have a Croix de Candlestick from another team…

    Paul, I think the photo of Frank Thomas is from 2003, it looks like he is wearing the All Star Game patch from that year. The White Sox played in New York August 26-28, in the first game Magglio Ordonez grounded into a double play with Frank on first. I bet that the photo is from the next game on August 27 (it looks like Frank hit a home run in the photo and he hit homers in both games). Also, Bartolo Colon started the game for the White Sox on August 27th and I seem to recall he was quite fond of wearing the black tops.

    By the way, I’m almost certain that the Chiefs wore their captaincy patches for the first time on Saturday as well. I didn’t go through all the games this season, so this is based on their last home and away games(that the starters actually played in).

    Week 15 @ Oakland:

    Week 16 vs. Indy:

    Playoff game:

    During the FSU-Auburn game last night, I noticed that the yard digits on one half of the field were outlined in what looked like orange (for Auburn), while the numbers on the other side appeared to be outlined in FSU garnet. I believe the 20-yard lines got similar treatment.

    Is this something new, or am I woefully behind the times in terms of my awareness of team-oriented color-coordinated on-field graphical enhancements?

    They have trimmed the numbers for at least the past few years. They trimmed the Michigan State end in green (which hardly showed up) and the Stanford end in cardinal for the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl. I think the Rose Bowl does their field the best except for two things. I would like to see a huge rose in the middle and I would like to see them fill in the whole end zone with paint instead of leaving the green border around it.

    Who knew that after a little Google searching (and literally just one search of ‘Chiefs captains’), one could actually find the answer to one’s question. Yes, the playoff game was actually the first time this season they wore the captaincy patches. The reason:

    Why don’t Chiefs captains where the “C” on their jerseys like every other team?

    Because coach Andy Reid likes to rotate captains, so unlike most teams, the Chiefs don’t have permanent guys. The goal is for everybody to be a leader.

    Source: link

    Yeah, I was going to add an ‘a la Packers’ fragment to that post. I thought I’d bring up my Chiefs doing it since it only seems like it is brought up when the Packers do it. Of course, this is an Andy Reid thing and this was his first year, so it is new to the team. Oh, and of course, it’s been a few years since the Chiefs have gone to the playoffs, so even if it was a traditional thing like the Packers, we wouldn’t have seen it for awhile anyway.

    Thomas, those are fantastic. Really cool and thanks for sharing. Now the NBA legal team is on line two…something about copyright infringement with their logo on the box. :)

    Seriously, awesome work!

    Yep, I was just kidding. Sad that it was the first thing I thought of when I saw that professionally-produced logo on the box. And I’m not an IP expert, but I imagine you’re right…as long as nobody is “profiting” off the logo, there’s nothing for the NBA to come after. And again, these are absolutely awesome! :)

    Thanks Eric ! Don’t worry, the things you create in a FabLab can’t be used for commercial purposes, (unless you pay the licence I guess).

    This may happen often in NCAAF but FLA had two #8’s. I believe they were a WR & DE ?
    FLA State and Auburn are two of the best uni’s in all of football (IMO). But there is a tweak I would do, have FLA’s numbers a tad thinner is all.

    This is the first DIY project I’ve seen that actually looks professional. Well-done, and way to nail the font on the display box.

    This is the first DIY project I’ve seen that actually looks professional.

    While I don’t disagree with this sentiment, I think it’s important to point out that many DIY projects aren’t necessarily trying to look “professional.” That’s often the fun part of a DIY project — it looks more organic, less processed.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with something that looks as polished as Thomas’s project here today. Just saying that “professional[ism]” isn’t necessarily the best standard by which to judge a DIY project.

    Did anybody notice how similar Gus Malzahn’s vest in the championship game looked like the sweater Mike Ditka wore in Super Bowl XX?

    A quick comment on the Chief’s white uni set, I thought they looked fabulous, and I wish the NFL would drop the color pants trend and go back to all white, or color tops with white pants. And the high school style all color unis are hideous no matter what the team or color. Oh, and the main thing missing from the Chief’s attire is a gold helmet stripe to match the shirt/pants stripe…sorely needed!

    Whether the Chiefs wearing their white socks with their white pants is aesthetically right does not change that the solid white combination is the norm in the NFL today. There are 6 teams in the NFL today who have white, stripped socks in their uniform retinue: Bills, Bears, Browns, Chiefs, Jets, and Patriots. If one includes Washington, whose white socks were last seen in 2011, that goes up to 7. Of those 7 teams, 6 also have some type of white pants in their wardrobe.

    Out of those 6, every single team pairs their white socks with their white jersey (or at least have most recently done so).

    The Bears have done so since 2000, the last time in 2009. The Browns have do so since the ’80s except for a 5 year span in the mid 2000’s. The Chiefs have made it their norm since bringing back the all-white look in the ’90s. The Jets have done so almost exclusively since introducing their white socks in 2003. Lastly when Washington last attempted the all-white look in 2009 they did so with white socks.

    These teams have two main threads in common. The first is that all 6 employ traditional stripe based templates. Whether it’s Washington’s two stripes, the Bears’ three, or the Browns’ five each team employs a pattern on the jersey which is easy to duplicate on the socks. The other thing they have in common is that they also employ dark pants on the road often with equal or greater frequency. For 4 of those teams, their white socks began life being worn exclusively with their dark pants. Only the Browns and Bills, both of whom recently introduced dark pants. Not coincidentally the Browns full-time reintroduction of the white socks/pants combo occurred immediately after their experiment with Brown trousers in 2009.

    The likely cause is the growth of the leotard look and the new trend of combinations. With the leotard look gaining acceptance the Cardinals, Chargers, Ravens, and Dolphins ditched their white hose. The teams that were left all had white socks which were either traditionally worn with white pants (Browns and Chiefs) or permanently associated with their white uniform which was matched with dark pants (Bears, Jets, Washington). When teams began to mix and match the all white look made sense.

    The Saints painted the Seahawks logo at midfield on their practice field to try and “simulate” the environment they’ll encounter in Seattle.


    Of course, if they wanted to be really serious, they’d have the shadow of soccer pitch markings, do the end zones and pump in 130 decibels of noice, but that might just be my OCD saying those things.

    Outstanding job on the pins! The NBA would be fortunate to have someone so creative designing products for them. One question: what prompted you to go with the blue Rockets jersey for Olajuwon? It’s a subjective thing, of course, but I remember those jerseys not being the most popular, so I was curious as to why you didn’t go with the red, championship-era jerseys. Keep up the good work!

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