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NBA Releases Logos for 2016 All-Star Game

Next season’s NBA All-Star Game is being played in Toronto, and yesterday the league released the logo set for the game. The primary logo featuring Toronto’s CN Tower rendered in Raptors colors, is nice enough. And the secondary logo, showing a toque, is sensational — nicely done. The logo with the maple leaf will presumably be worn on the jerseys, above the NOB.

According to this press release, “NBA All-Star 2016 will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the birth of basketball. Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian, invented the game in 1891, beginning the nation’s rich history with the sport. Toronto also hosted the first game in NBA history on Nov. 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens.” So will the game feature Naismith-era throwback uniforms and peach baskets? Probably not, but we can hope.

One thing about the logos: The word “Game” never appears. Similarly, as you can see in that press release quote from the last paragraph, the league is officially referring to the event as “NBA All-Star 2016.” This is standard practice for the NBA, whose employees are in the habit of saying jargon-y things like, “Are you going to All-Star?” and “I can’t wait for All-Star!” Okay, so the game is really just an excuse for a three-day marketing extravaganza, I get it. But the game is the whole reason the extravaganza is happening in the first place — would it kill them to include the word “Game” in the logo, as MLB and the NHL do?

Speaking of the NBA: With the Warriors having beaten the Rockets for the Western Conference championship and advanced to the NBA Finals last night, we now have our title match-up: Golden State vs. Cleveland. That’s a particularly intriguing pair of teams, because over the years they’ve worn some of the best and worst uniforms in NBA history. I’ll be exploring the uni-related aspects of the Finals pairing in a new ESPN column today — link coming soon. tomorrow.

• • • • •

T-Shirt Club update: I recently indicated that the July design for the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club would have an Independence Day theme. That prompted a note from reader Mike O’Connor, who happens to be from Canada:

I was wondering if there had been any thoughts about also doing a shirt to celebrate Canada Day, which is on July 1. I suspect most of your readers are American, and I have no idea how many orders you’ve been getting from Canada (between the shipping rates to Canada and the exchange rate, it becomes almost a $50 T-shirt). But if the numbers warrant it, and if there is time to design it, I respectfully request a Canadian design option for July. This would allow for both our national holidays to be celebrated, and for the excellent work of Uni Watch to be spread.

This is an excellent idea (one that, I confess, hadn’t occurred to me), especially since the Blue Jays always do a Canada Day jersey. So I conferred with my Teespring designer, Bryan Molloy, who liked the idea as well. Here’s what we came up with (click to enlarge):

Nice, right? But before you get all excited, here are a few reality checks:

• We’ll add this shirt as a July option if there’s enough demand for it. As it stands now, we’ve only been getting about eight international orders per month (not so surprising, given the financial issues Mike mentioned in his note to me), which frankly isn’t enough to justify doing this design. But hey, maybe a bunch of you north-of-the-border readers would be willing to shell out for Canada Day.

• Even if, say, 25 or 30 of you want this shirt, it’s still likely to be pretty pricey. Part of that is due to the sleeve patch, which adds a ridiculous amount to the cost of each T-Shirt Club design because it’s in an atypical spot. I considered not including the patch on this design, but then it would be another case of you Canadians getting the short end of the stick, which I know is a cultural sore point for many of you. And besides, it’s not an official T-Shirt Club shirt unless it has the official T-Shirt Club sleeve patch! Gotta stay true to the program, I say.

• Okay, would you be interested in this shirt? If so, please tell me now. We’ll decide how to proceed based on the responses.

(If we do go ahead with this shirt, people on the “Collect ’Em All” program will be able to maintain their eligibility by purchasing either the Independence Day design or the Canada Day design. You will not have to purchase both.)

As for the Independence Day design, I’ll show that to you tomorrow.

• • • • •

Phone case reminder: The official Uni Watch smart phone case, featuring a nifty stirrup-based design created by reader Matt Beahan, is available for six more days. You know what to do.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Dodgers traded Juan Uribe to the Braves, and he made his debut with them last night. Unfortunately, the “I” on his BP jersey’s NOB fell off, and here’s how it was remedied. … In a related item, the Dodgers announced that they’ll go ahead with their scheduled Uribe bobblehead giveaway, even though he’s no longer with the team. ”¦ Also: Looks like Uribe is still using bats with the Dodgers knob decal (from Robert Montenegro). ”¦ The Gary SouthShore RailCats will wear Back to the Future jerseys on June 13 (from Phil). … Douglas Ford found Braves-branded lotion and lip balm at a gas station in Atlanta. … Jeffrey Sak found a good shot of Al Kaline wearing a script Tigers jersey (which Detroit wore in 1960) with a flocked logoless helmet. And while not uni-related, I liked this story about how Tigers OF Willie Horton saved Kaline’s life in 1970. … The Clearwater Threshers are wearing centennial patches in honor of the city. The Phillies wore the same patches in spring training (from Steve in Florida). … The Bridgeport Bluefish have a sharp yet unconventional stirrups and sannies color combo (from Mark Wolven). … The Lakewood BlueClaws will wear Boy Scout jerseys and Christmas sweater tops next month. … Speaking of the minors, the Kalamazoo Growlers have a few themed nights planned for the next two months, including “Release the Kraken” jerseys on June 20 (from Brian Beebe). … A few readers sent in this shot of the 1908 St. Louis Cardinals in very nice buttoned warm-up sweater. … Here’s a compilation of the best baseball throwbacks from Mitchell & Ness. Also, Nike is selling vintage-styled jackets (both from Phil). … Indians players shaved their heads to support Mike Aviles’s daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia. … Reading Phillies P Zach Eflin writes messages on the inside of his cap (from Pat Costello). … Even the umps wear period-appropriate garb at the Rickwood Classic, which this year celebrates the 1948 season. Paul will have more Rickwood photos tomorrow. … The Bowling Green Hot Rods will wear throwbacks on Friday (from Eric Leach). … The Kearney (Nebraska) Runza Legion team uses Rice’s Olde English “R” logo (from Jason Johnson). ”¦ Check out Nats OF Bryce Harper’s old-school wristband (from Brad May). ”¦ Braves P Jason Grilli was wearing the Mother’s Day ribbon and a very beat-up belt last night.

NFL News: A few people sent this in: Grantland explored the NFL’s relationship with the military. … Calvin Johnson’s new training shoes have a peach on the back of them in honor of his home state (from Phil). … “Former football teammate Mike England received this ‘small’ 3×5 postcard sent to our track coach Dick Small at Defiance College in Ohio (a NAIA Division III program) inviting the Yellow Jacket stand-out to a tryout with the then Houston Oilers way back on March 4, 1974,” says Gary Brackle. “The invitation was for March 23, and reminded Mike to ‘report to Memphis Memorial Stadium on March 23rd at 8 a.m. with your own shoes, workout togs (sweat cloths, shorts, etc.).’ My how we have come such a long way since then.” … Ravens safety Will Hill is adding a suffix to his NOB (from Stephen Murphy). … New Jets coach Todd Bowles has been wearing some retro Jets logos on his caps at recent press conferences. I’ve always liked the 1980s-90s Jets wordmark (from Jay Braiman).

College Football News: Colorado State will do an orange-out on Sept. 5. ”¦ Here’s an writer’s picks for the top 15 college football mascots (from Andrew Cosentino).

Soccer News: New home shirts for Wolfsburg (from Ed Å»elaski). … I’m not a soccer guy, nor do I watch ESPN all day, so I’m out of the loop on whatever is going on with FIFA right now. Apparently, though, Nike is involved in this FIFA mess. Further info here (from DC Reiser and George Chilvers). ”¦ Amber Brooks, who plays for the Seattle Reign, has a new set of shinguards featuring photos of her loved ones (from James Gilbert).

NBA News: The carpet pattern at the Portland International Airport is pretty popular. It has its own Facebook page, Twitter handle and online shop. Blazers PG Damian Lillard’s new shoes have the pattern on them, too. To promote the sneakers, Lillard tweeted a rough photoshop of a PDX carpet-patterned Blazers jersey. Graphic designer Conrad Burry went one better and mocked up a full PDX Blazers jersey (thanks, Kristina Cruz). … While I was aware that NBA players like Stephon Marbury and Al Harrington marketed affordable basketball shoes to kids in the 2000s, I didn’t know Hakeem Olajuwon did the same thing in the mid-1990s. ”¦ With the Finals match-up now set, Conrad Burry has updated his beautiful circular NBA playoff bracket.

Grab Bag: Logo creep has expanded to the 3D-printed titanium jaw on an injured turtle. “I’m on the fence about this one but am leaning toward being okay with it,” says David Greengard. “The turtle gets a second chance and the company get a bit of advertising, albeit on his jaw.” … A Houston radio duo counted down the worst unis in sports (from Phil). … Not sure if we’ve had this already, but new camo pattern for the Army in July (from Emily Bennett). … Check out the style guides for Nike, Apple, Bing, Four Square and others (from Brinke). … As Phil points out, these New Era blank caps ain’t exactly blank. … Here’s how the Indy 500 logo for the 100th race, being run next May, was developed (from Tim Dunn). … Stanford’s women’s golf team wears numbers on their shirts. Neither Drew Mastin nor I have seen that before.

Comments (84)


    If you look at the logo’s for the NBA All Star “game”, it hasn’t been called the all star game since 1988. It was called the All Star Weekend from 1989-1999 and then just the NBA All Star from 2000 to now.

    Plus, no one really watches the game, they watch the 3-point shootout and slam dunk competition. The game’s a joke.

    Yep – for MLB and NHL, the game is still what people tune into. In the NBA, the weekend’s outgrown the game itself. There are occasional memorable games (Magic Johnson’s return, Scottie Pippen the year after Jordan’s retirement, the double OT in 2003, this year’s Russell Westbrook game), but they’re usually defined by individual performances and the selection to the game is generally bigger than the game itself.

    Referring to the weekend events as “the All-Star” is just bizarre. I had never heard that before.

    I don’t follow the NBA at all anymore – I guess this kind of encapsulates why better than any other description.

    I dont even call it “Uni-watch” anymore. I ask my friends: “did you check out UNI today?”

    At the time they thought it was possible, though now it’s just a euphemism for any obstruction of the throat by the tongue.

    Bridgeport Bluefish wear the “Magic City” navy blue jerseys and pants, and Carolina blue stirrups, only for Sunday games, I believe.

    Also, the Kalamazoo Growlers are NOT a minor league baseball team, but a summer collegiate league team.

    I was hoping someone else caught that, I would’ve thought that the Northwoods League is well known enough that they wouldn’t be mistaken as minor league baseball.

    “Well known enough”? I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “summer collegiate league” baseball until today.

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard or seen Bridgeport referred to as “Magic City.” Is this real or just a Bluefish thing?

    Seems like a Bluefish thing… they are claiming it ties into PT Barnum, somehow.

    That shot of Kaline is awesome. Great hat! Anyone know if the logo-less helmet was a team-wide thing or a Kaline wardrobe malfunction?

    Was just looking at those Mitchell & Ness throwbacks and came across the Joe Morgan A’s jersey. This past weekend, I saw a guy wearing that exact jersey and it looked as great in person as it does onscreen.

    The Nats player with the wristband is Bryce Harper not Jayson Werth. The wristband did pop out while watching the game so very fun to see it featured on the site today.

    Less than 36 hours after our discussion of numbers replacing letters in words, I saw a car with the license plate “RE2PECT” last night.

    I had a pair of white patrick ewing shoes in like 4th or 5th grade. They were alright.

    I’d argue that the turtle thing is not logo creep. Isn’t logo creep about logos appearing in places that had previously been logo-free? Is there a long history of turtle-jaw prostheses without logos? Not that I’m aware of, and I actually know a little about turtle rescue. Besides, the logo in question is more of a maker’s mark than a logo on a uniform. A fine distinction, but Nike’s purpose in putting the swoosh on the collar of a baseball undershirt isn’t primarily to take credit and responsibility for the manufacture of the shirt; it’s primarily about surreptitiously advertising itself to the viewing public. The marks on the turtle prostheses seem to be closer to the old-fashioned maker’s mark purpose of taking credit and responsibility for the work itself, only secondarily about advertising to a broad public.

    Meh. I’m still calling it “logo creep.” A maker’s mark is used to identify a product put into the commerce stream so that it can be distinguished from competitors’ products and its origin can be authenticated against knock-offs.

    Does Btech Innovation really need to distinguish its turtle jaw prosthesis from all the competing turtle jaw prostheses on the market? I’m going to go ahead and say no on that one.

    The only reason to put their logo on the prosthetic jaw is for the publicity the company receives as the story catches on with the public. And that sounds like logo creep to me.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, an in-depth discussion of logo creep on turtle jaw prosthetics has to be just about the most Uni Watch Comments Section thing ever.

    LOL. This is awesome. Anyhow, Nike’s logo on its own shirt indeed represents logo creep, since manufacturers logos didn’t always appear in such prominent places on uniforms. Previously makers-marks/logo tags were inside the neck, or on the hem. Now they are on the collars, or on the chest – more-visible places. In hockey, logos/makers-marks used to appear on the back hem, off to the left or right side. Now they are above the back numbers. That’s logo creep.

    The same is true of logo creep as is true of most things bad…namely, that the French are to blame.

    I also like the hats that todd Bowles has been wearing. Wish he’d add a “H.C.” to the “NYJ” ones…

    or put HNIC on the back like they do for the NFL logo or MLB logo or golfers who have their last names on the back of Ryder Cup hats.

    Okay, maybe because I’m not a hockey fan, but whenever I see “HNIC”, I immediately think “head n***a in charge” and takes me like 5 minutes to realize it means something different in Canada.

    Living close enough to the border to get Hockey Night in Canada (and being a fan of it), seeing the initialism in this case left me confused for a moment.

    When the Jets ditched the Concorde logo for the retro Namath-era look, it felt like an upgrade. The Concorde logo was beginning to feel a bit dated and stale, and the retro thing was all the rage in the NFL. Now the Namath-era logo and uniforms feel like they’re starting to show their age.

    Interestingly enough, the Concorde logo seems like it would serve as the basis for a great brand refresh. It’s crisp, simple, and memorable. And putting that logo on a green helmet would give the uniforms a nice pop of color as a counterpoint to the trend of teams reverting to white helmets (see San Diego and Buffalo’s recent uniform updates).

    I’m surprised to find myself advocating for a throwback to the “New York Sack Exchange”-era for the Jets, but I think the look could stand up well for a number of years. Funny how aesthetic trends and attitudes tend to come full circle like that.

    I, for one, hope the Jets keep their current uniforms, albeit with the green coloring fixed and normalized. I would even like to see the logo made football-shaped, like the original, rather than oval.

    I don’t mind the 1978-97 wordmark, although I always thought it was kind of lame to have a wordmark instead of a logo on the helmet. I also thought the uniforms were too plain, especially compared to the Namath era; I really like the opposite-colored sleeves and TV numerals. The black-trimmed variant (1990-97) was OK but in pictures it always looks like the green is too bright and everyone’s jersey is too big.

    If they do a throwback, assuming the NFL lifts the ridiculous one-helmet-shell rule, they should do the 1978-89 version, with the white facemasks and no black trim.

    There are things I like about either Jets’ uniform. What they now wear is let down by inconsistencies in green fabric and the disappearing sleeves endemic to modern football. But yeah, the wordmark with plane and contrail is a keeper. The first time I saw them in the Richard Todd uniforms, the reaction was “My God, how stark!” It was refreshing, instead of dull.
    Here’s something they haven’t tried: Two shades of green! In fact, no football team has ever done that. Only the 1986 Milwaukee Bucks.

    Why is the typeface in the hat logo different than the one in the tower logo?

    Also, that over-rationalization of next year’s Indianapolis 500 logo was comical. I’m definitely not a fan of it. That’s a terribly inelegant way of incorporating the 1. Yeesh.

    Yeah, to me there’s nothing exceptional about that secondary All-Star logo. Minimalism is welcome, I suppose. But it has a too basic, almost juvenile appearance. The primary is better work. Simple, without being juvenile.

    The Indy 100th… that requires some study. Definitely a product of its time (hipster minimalism, again). No opinion on it, yet. Not sure about the typeface. Not sure about the gray strips in the 0, and not sure about the 1.

    I don’t think any of it is bad. It may be a grower. It sure will be easy to embroider… and fax ;)

    I actually like the Marlins’ teal.

    However, if Mitchell & Ness offered an Andre Dawson #10 throwback in Montreal white or sky blue, complete with racing stripes, I take exception to the Marlins’ jersey on the list.

    Same here. Definitely better the current scheme. If any team is entitled to wear teal, it’s the Marlins (though they wore the color back when they played in a far off suburb).

    “A Houston radio duo counted down the worst unis in sports.”

    What do these clowns have against the Jayhawks logo?

    Granted, the football unis overall don’t look so great…


    …but that’s the case with about 90% of college teams these days.

    The bird is cool, though!


    That’s how to do a cartoony logo the *right* way.

    Well, I’m biased because they accept my money for the possibility of a degree, but I think the jayhawk is maybe the best and most original mascot. Plus the term jayhawk has a fascinating history. I do prefer the belligerent jayhawk though


    They lost me when they said the Rockets’ pinstripe pajamas were better than what they wear now. I’d rather wear a Raptors throwback than that old mess.

    Granted, I’m not very fond of the current Rockets look. I wouldn’t be putting it on any worst-of list, though. It’s just meh.

    The personalized shinguards – apparently, the company link. Most of them aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but you never see them during a game so I guess they’re really meant to be personal.

    Seems kind of funny to me that you would want to put photos of your loved ones on an item of equipment designed to get kicked instead of your shin. Perhaps it’s a passive aggressive thing?

    re: PDX carpet

    Portland Timbers also sell a link. The only thing that would make it more Portlandastic would be putting a bird on it.

    For better or worse, I own the Portland Thorns PDX carpet scarf. Nothing says soccer more than a carpet scarf…

    I created a similar Canada Day promo shirt for work last year, and below the number on the back added a rectangular stitching design to emulate the fight strap of a hockey jersey. Those who got it thought it was funny.

    “…I didn’t know Hakeem Olajuwon did the same thing in the mid-1990s.”

    Yeah. But the coolest Hakeems were made nearly a decade earlier:


    No information on what the original retail price might have been.

    I have to admit, the L.A. Gear Fire High is pretty cool, but I don’t think that it was ever actually a signature shoe.

    Olajuwon was featured prominently in advertisements for the Fire High, but as far as I know, nothing on the shoe itself or its packaging ever bore his name.

    He did actually wear the Fire High in games…


    …unlike Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who wore them in an ad, but never (to my knowledge) in a game:


    Also check out this print ad:


    Lots of L.A Gear, including the Fire High, but it’s not labeled as a signature model. By contrast, on the far right, we see the “K. Abdul Jabbar” (which, as far as I know, Kareem also never actually wore).

    Convoluted, I’ll admit, but I stand by this analysis, absent convincing evidence to the contrary.

    I actually had a pair of the Spalding shoes, which lasted from 1995 to 2010, with lots of regular wear.

    Loved the uniforms at yesterday’s Rickwood Classic. The Barons uniforms were an improvement over their current uni. The only complaint I had was the caps, adjustable New Era caps. Every year that’s the case…Russell made the uniforms but I’d hoped they’d been better made, since they were being auctioned after the game. If anyone never has been I can’t recommend the experience enough. Rickwood is a great dead ball era stadium. I’d also say stick around long enough to see Regions Field too.

    Why didn’t the Jacksonville Suns participate in turning back the clock? In previous iteration of the Rickwood Classic, both teams have worn old-time uniforms.

    I’m thinking this marks the first time in Toronto pro sports history that the CN Tower has been included in a logo.
    If this is true what the heck took so long?

    Could be because the CN Tower is trademarked and any use of it needs to be licensed (presumably for a fee)?

    Reminds me of when Conan O’Brien had the CN Tower and the Seattle Space Needle mud wrestle. I wonder if they had to fill out one of those forms in order to make the CN Tower costume?

    Re the Olde English font: the *fabled* University of the South football team has used it on their helmets as well for a number of years now.

    Old English lettering is beautiful, and suggests a combination of antiqueness and strength. It’s a handy font to use if too many schools in the neighborhood/conference start with the same letter.

    For the Canada Day shirts, why not move the sleeve patch to the chest like sleeveless MLB teams?

    We actually considered putting it on the chest. But again, I thought that would be making the Canadians accept a watered-down version, which didn’t seem fair.

    I would love a Canada Day shirt. I am a Canadian living in US because of my family. I love both countries, but it is nice to put on the Maple Leaf and fly the flag. I really appreciate the effort you guys are putting into the T-shirts, VERY thoughtful!

    I was thinking moving the sleeve patch to below the number on back, but chest could work too.

    Instead of the “Canadian Tuxedo” I was thinking more of a “Kenora dinner jacket” look.



    Interesting that Lakewood is having a Christmas theme. Demographically, the town is overwhelmingly Jewish, accounting for 80% of the town’s population.
    And what if a gay player wears the Boy Scout tribute uniform? This is a conundrum wrapped inside a quandary!!

    Emailed the Stanford SID for Golf and got this response:

    hi jason,

    thanks for reaching out..the uniforms are part of nike’s new line, and the players got to choose what number to put on other significance..

    hope this helps..


    Alan George | @treeSIDjorge

    I’ve heard of the Defiance College coach as mentioned in the NFL section. To his athletes, he always preached the importance of the motion of the ocean.

    I don’t know much about Defiance track coach Dick Small, but I should mention that attempting a search engine query for his name alone is fraught with peril.

    Count me as a fan of the Barons’ throwback game and of those Bluefish stirrups – yes… I’d wear those!

Comments are closed.