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Uniform Advertising Coming to NBA All-Star Game

Potentially big news out of the NBA last night, as The Wall Street Journal broke the story that the league will wear KIA advertising patches on its All-Star Game jerseys this season and next season.

According to the Journal, the patches will be 3.25″ by 1.6″, and will be positioned on the upper-left chest — the same spot where the NBA logo used to appear before they moved it to the back of the jersey last season. The ad patches will also be included on the retail versions of the jerseys.

Is this the next step toward Adam “It’s Inevitable” Silver’s cherished goal of adding ad patches throughout the league’s games? Maybe, but I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion just yet. Consider:

1. They plan to use the ad patches for the 2016 and 2017 All-Star Games, after which the program “will be evaluated as a test run.” So there will be no uni ads this season or next season, aside from the ASG. (Perhaps not coincidentally — and perhaps ominously — the two ASG trial runs will take us through the end of Adidas’s partnership with the league, with Nike poised to take over for the 2017-18 season.)

2. A key passage from the Journal article:

The NBA [ad patch] arrangement was brokered between the league and Turner Sports, the broadcast rights holder to the All-Star Game. A provision for sponsored jersey patches was included in the contract between the NBA and Turner Sports when it was negotiated last year. ”¦

By debuting sponsor patches on All-Star jerseys, bypassing approval from team owners, the NBA was able to sidestep a few logistical hurdles.

In other words, putting ads on an ASG jersey is a lot simpler than putting them on regular season jerseys. The bit about “bypassing approval from team owners” is important because, as you may recall, one of the biggest problems the league has had in instituting a a uni advertising program is that the owners have been too greedy to agree on how to divvy up the loot. They’ve bypassed that problem with this ASG initiative, but the problem remains for regular season ads. I have complete faith in their ability to be so greedy that they keep fucking this up.

3. All-Star, Shmall-Star — honestly, who cares? It’s just an exhibition and the uniforms usually suck anyway. They already have Sprite jersey ads for the slam dunk contest, and those are on team jerseys — nobody cares about those ads either. Personally, I don’t care if they put ads on skills contest jerseys, all-star jerseys, exhibition jerseys, practice jerseys, retail jerseys, summer league jerseys, preseason jerseys, video game jerseys, D-League jerseys or anything else that isn’t part of games that actually count. And as of now, there’s still no indication that they’ve figured out how to make that happen.

#NoUniAds

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Click to enlarge

And it has an embarrassing name I won’t print here: Yesterday the Nuggets became the latest NBA team to unveil a new alternate uniform just as the season is getting underway, as they released photos of the new sleeved alternate you see above. A few quick thoughts:

1. Just like with all the other recent NBA releases, we’ve known about this one since late July, and it looks exactly like what we expected.

2. While most sleeved NBA jerseys kinda look like T-shirts, this one really looks like a T-shirt, thanks to the relatively small chest graphic and the white background.

3. The chest logo itself isn’t bad. Another version of it appears on the shorts:

4. Should be interesting to see whether the silver numbers present legibility problems on the white background. Silver on white isn’t that different from white on white, which would put us back in the realm of the “Big Color” Christmas uniforms, and you remember how problematic those were.

5. What’s with the waistband on the shorts? Looks like putty or something. Actually, kinda looks like they rolled it down, but there’s no way both players did that — is there?

6. Too bad about the tramp stamp.

7. See that barber pole-style striping on the shorts? I usually love that kinda thing but it doesn’t work with this design. The jersey is clean and minimalist (although it’d be cleaner without sleeves, obviously), so that chunky stripe pattern is a poor fit.

8. This thing where the Nuggets have their players pose with pickaxes for the team’s uni-unveiling photos, which has been going on at least since 2012, is so hilariously stupid, I crack up every time they do it. You can tell the players just looooove it:

I think we should get every team to do something like this. Cavs players can pose with swords; Pistons players can pose with dipsticks; Celtics players can pose with a pot of gold; all the animal-based teams can have their players pose with live animals (a bear for the Grizzlies, a pelican for the Pelicans, an entire hive of stinging insects for the Hornets, etc.), and so on. Sure it’d look ridiculous, but no more so than the Nuggets’ players already do. Why should they be the only ones we get to laugh at during NBA unveilings?

The schedule of when this uniform will be worn can be found here, and there are some additional photos here.

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And as long as we’re talking about the NBA…: This kinda says everything that needs to be said about the new Clippers jerseys, eh?

(My thanks to Phil for letting me know about that tweet.)

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: While the Royals have four statues at their stadium, the Mets haven’t been interested in adding statues to Citi Field. … Check out this drawing of Beartolo Colon. It comes from this Tumblr feed (from John Dankosky). … I love this collection of World Series ticket stubs (from Russ Havens). … SportsLogos.net’s Chris Creamer wrote a strong piece on Mets uniform and logo history (from Phil). ”¦ Royals C Salvador Perez has pine tar on one of his shinguards, and nobody has a problem with that.

NFL News: The Steelers’ DeAngelo Williams and William Gay were each fined for uniform violations after displaying support for personal causes against the Chiefs on Sunday. Williams had the phrase “Find the Cure” printed on his eyeblack (more information on that here). Gay wore purple cleats to show support for domestic violence awareness. … Mike Ditka has endorsed a lot of products over the years, most of them bad. … Russell Wilson has the best-selling jersey in the league (from Phil). … A Fred Jackson Bills jersey that was owned by Toronto mayor Rob Ford is for sale on eBay (from David Firestone).

College & High School Football News: Rather than purchase new helmets for $300 apiece, Ohio State repainted its helmets for $60 each for the Buckeyes’ BFBS game two weeks ago (from Chris Scott). … Utah will wear all-black this weekend. … A taxidermist recreated the final scene of the Michigan-Michigan State game from a few weeks ago (from Garrett). … An Iowa newspaper is holding a contest for readers to design alternate jerseys for the Hawkeyes. … High school teams in New York and Tennessee wore Pinktober jerseys (from Cort McMurray and Adam Childs, respectively). … Yesterday Paul asked about the dove decals on Syracuse helmets. Here’s the answer.

Hockey News: The Capitals wore lavender cancer awareness warm-up jerseys last night (from Phil). … Here are a bunch of photos of various Toronto hockey teams, taken from 1910 to the mid-1960s (from Ted Arnold). ”¦ Check out these NHL jersey cell phone cases (from Ryan Lindemann).

Soccer News: This spread around the uni-verse yesterday: 1970s German soccer models dancing in soccer uniforms (from James Mellett and Sara Schieve). … A new Pennsylvania USL team will be named Bethlehem Steel FC. The Steel will use gold as a color to match its parent team, the MLS’s Philadelphia Union (from Tom Gabor). … The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is not a fan of kids wearing jerseys sponsored by Fox Sports 1 in AYSO leagues across the country.

Basketball News: The Kings and Clippers went color-vs.-color last night. ”¦ Before their opener against Minnesota last night, the Lakers wore MPLS throwback warmups to honor T-Wolves coach and GM Flip Saunders, who passed away this weekend. … The Warriors received these championship rings two nights ago. … New court for the Celtics (from Brian Shea). … Last year, Charles Barkley famously said that the Warriors couldn’t win the title because they were a jump shooting team. He wore a shirt the other day that admits his error. … The Hawks have quite a pregame court projection animation. … Instead of being remembered for his NCAA title at Duke or his consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound seasons, Carlos Boozer is known for when he painted his hairline back in 2012. This week, he talked about the story behind that fateful decision. … A designer reimagined NBA teams as soccer clubs (from AW Rader). … New uniforms for Clarendon College (from Dan Tharp). … New unis for South Dakota State. … Basketball players for the Rens, a New York youth league, will wear orange patches to promote gun violence awareness. Four players in the league have been shot over the last year. ”¦ You can still see ghosts of last season’s decals atop the Thunder’s backboards. “Sloppy,” says Chris Perrenot. … The Celtics opened their season by wearing green at home (but the Sixers wore white on the road, so it wasn’t a color-on-color game). “They did this for last year’s home opener as well,” says @FandF_Sports. ”¦ The Wizards have a cool new franchise history jersey display at their arena (from Noah Petro). ”¦ D’Angelo Russell of the Lakers wore an old jersey with the NBA logo on the front and no gold tab on the back for last night’s season-opening game against the Timberwolves.

Grab Bag: Here’s a brief roundup of some corporate logo tweaks from this year (from Brinke). … Forrest Page is a teacher at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology. To drum up some college enthusiasm, he covered three of his room’s walls in college pennants and posters. Very nice! … New lacrosse uniforms for Colorado Mesa.

59 comments to Uniform Advertising Coming to NBA All-Star Game

  • C Ward | October 29, 2015 at 8:11 am |

    I don’t think those are even pickaxes. They look like mattocks.

    • Johnk | October 29, 2015 at 11:44 am |

      Those are mattocks. Just another reason for the players to look embarrassed.

  • Toddro | October 29, 2015 at 8:17 am |

    Beartolo Colon made me laugh. Thanks.

    • CortMc | October 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm |

      Beartolo Colon deserves to be on t-shirts. Beartolo Colon deserves to be on bumperstickers and decals. Beartolo Colon is almost enough to make me a Mets fan.

      Brilliant!

  • Phil Hecken | October 29, 2015 at 8:19 am |

    The tramp stamps have icicles (or something white) dripping off them.

    Just gonna leave that there.

    • Toddro | October 29, 2015 at 8:37 am |

      guessing they are stalactites

    • Bernard | October 29, 2015 at 8:40 am |

      You see tramp stamp, I see “Butt Nuggets.”

      • Adam N. | October 30, 2015 at 7:31 am |

        You win!

  • BurghFan | October 29, 2015 at 8:26 am |

    Proofreading: “I have completely faith”

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2015 at 8:28 am |

      Fixed.

  • LoseRem | October 29, 2015 at 8:56 am |
  • Solomon Duncan | October 29, 2015 at 9:15 am |

    Re: Ohio State repainting their helmets…

    Would this be an option for NFL teams doing a throwback without violating the one helmet rule? Since it would still be the same helmet.

    • Phil Hecken | October 29, 2015 at 9:20 am |

      “Would this be an option for NFL teams doing a throwback without violating the one helmet rule? Since it would still be the same helmet.”

      ~~~

      I believe it is and I think we actually discussed this as a possibility once the “one helmet rule” was announced. Not sure if the NFL dismissed this as a possibility, but there was something to do with “needing more than one week” in order to complete the process (hence, even if a team had a “bye” to repaint the helmets for a throwback, they’d need a ‘second’ bye week in order to change them back). Or some bullshit excuse like that.

      But it seems like repainting is acceptable under the one helmet rule. They just don’t want to do it (or “can’t”).

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2015 at 9:50 am |

      Yes. But NFL teams have shown no interest in repainting.

  • walter | October 29, 2015 at 9:23 am |

    Is anyone else upset about the shabby quality of basketball uniforms since they went to the perforated matte fabric? Hoop uniforms are tentative enough, without making them out of Handi-Wipes. Remember how gear the Nuggets pastel blue suits looked when they were made out of the shimmer fabric? Now… Bleah!

  • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2015 at 9:23 am |

    What kills me about these jerseys is that the NBA insists on calling them “Pride jerseys”. Because nothing says “pride in the team” quite like abandoning the team colors and trying to look as little like the regular uniform as possible.

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2015 at 9:51 am |

      “Pride” is just marketing bullshit. Ignore it.

  • Ran Isaacs | October 29, 2015 at 9:27 am |

    Since my Heat can’t quite be standing next to the Sun, I’d like to see their photos taken outside in the Miami heat, perhaps lathering up and holding a bottle of Coppertone; even go the extra mile, and thrown the Coppertone girl & dog in there.

    Or maybe hire a dog to pull down their shorts, the players in the classic pose. There’s a lot to work with there.

    • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2015 at 9:28 am |

      That dog would need a stepladder.

      • KC | October 30, 2015 at 9:52 am |

        Maybe a Great Dane

  • Chase | October 29, 2015 at 9:29 am |

    Would anything absurd team prop be better than Jazz players with saxophones? I guess the possibilities are endless.

    • CortMc | October 29, 2015 at 1:57 pm |

      The Knicks in tricorn hats? The Rockets riding rockets, like Slim Pickens? The Pelicans, holding pelicans? The Wizards, dressed like Merlin?

      Nah, the Jazz with saxes is more absurd.

      • KC | October 30, 2015 at 10:12 am |

        “The Rockets riding rockets, like Slim Pickens?”

        Slim wasn’t riding a rocket, he was riding a gravity bomb dropped from a B-52.

        I could tell you what kind it was, but then I’d have to kill you.

  • The Jeff | October 29, 2015 at 9:33 am |

    A taxidermist recreated the final scene of the Michigan-Michigan State game from a few weeks ago

    Yeah. That wasn’t creepy at all…

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2015 at 9:49 am |

      Taxidermy is creepy by definition. But as creepy taxidermy goes, that display is completely hilarious and awesome.

    • Forrest Page | October 29, 2015 at 10:48 am |

      As a proud Spartan fan I completely agree, it was grotesquely awesome. The moment can now live on FURever. See what I did there….?

  • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2015 at 9:36 am |

    A new Pennsylvania USL team will be named Bethlehem Steel FC. The Steel will use gold as a color to match its parent team, the MLS’s Philadelphia Union (from Tom Gabor)

    It’s more than just the parent club, the Union own them. And the name is a throwback to an historical club from the early 20th century. Last year, the Union had an alt uniform throwing back to that team, which the Union wore to the US Open Cup Final. Had a much better logo than this new club, though.

  • Mike Engle on iPhone | October 29, 2015 at 9:37 am |

    Magic players get the whole treasure chest of magicians’ props. Top hats, rabbits, the special coffin to cut people in half for a moment…

  • arrScott | October 29, 2015 at 9:53 am |

    Those Nuggets alts are almost fantastic. Continue the shirts stripe up the jersey side and make the numbers readable and it would be one of my favorite NBA unis.

    It’s also a rare example of a basketball uni that justifies sleeves. Sure, it looks like an undershirt. But if it didn’t have sleeves, it would look like a different kind of undershirt, one that has an unfortunate nickname.

  • arrScott | October 29, 2015 at 9:57 am |

    Timberwolves could pose with husky-looking dogs from the local animal shelter.

    Wizards could pose with pizza slices, colorful dice, and D&D character sheets.

    Bucks could pose with rifles and blaze orange hats. (Or blaze pink when the Wisconsin legislature passes its pink-hunting bill.)

    • Ran Isaacs | October 29, 2015 at 10:04 am |

      Your Wizards idea is spot on. A similar D&D theme was in my head.

      • Lance Smith | October 29, 2015 at 11:32 am |

        I was thinking Elton John in Tommy.

        • SWC Susan | October 29, 2015 at 11:47 am |

          Nice…

  • Luke | October 29, 2015 at 10:38 am |

    Nice hit on the OSU repainting their helmets BFBS. I have been wondering the feasibility of NFL teams doing this, for throwback games. If I’m not mistaken, the new NFL rules mandate only one helmet. So teams like Tampa Bay couldn’t do the “creamsicle” unis, due to helmet color. What do you think?

    • MotorCityJeff | October 29, 2015 at 11:57 am |

      Read the comments starting at 9:15am EDT.

  • andyharry | October 29, 2015 at 10:42 am |

    I think DeAngelo Williams’ fine is absurd.

    I can understand Cameron Heyward being fined, regardless of intentions, because “Iron Head” is unquestionably a personal cause and the rule clearly prohibits displaying that.

    However, if the NFL is going to encourage players to wear pink accessories and sell merchandise with “A Crucial Catch” and other sponsored marketing on it, they have no ground to stand on when a player dons a commercialized breast cancer message on his eye black.

    I guess “A Crucial Catch” is okay because the NFL presumably owns the rights to it and gets the royalties from its sales and exposure, but “Find the Cure” is owned by someone else (or public domain or whatever) and nobody else should reap the pink benefits from the NFL’s “charity” work.

    • DarkAudit | October 29, 2015 at 11:29 am |

      That deafening silence you hear is the Steelers management refusing to stand by their players. I really thought the Rooney family was better than that. I guess I thought wrong.

      • mild bill | October 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm |

        Hopefully the Rooney family, which has always seemed to be a low-profile but effective ownership group, is working on some sort of solution with the league.

      • Eltee of DC | October 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm |

        They don’t call it the “No Fun League” , except for shameless marketing and pay for patriotism schlock that I hope is running it’s course, for nothing.

      • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2015 at 12:50 pm |

        How exactly would you like them to “stand by” the players?

        • BurghFan | October 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm |

          IIRC, L.C. Greenwood was fined for wearing his gold shoes, and the club paid the fines (something like $50/game). Now, there are probably salary cap ramifications.

    • Paul Lee | October 29, 2015 at 7:52 pm |

      The Steelers should refuse to wear Pink during Pinktober.

  • Brent | October 29, 2015 at 10:52 am |

    I wish teams would stop making the numbers on a jersey the same color as the fabric.

  • Forrest Page | October 29, 2015 at 10:57 am |

    Thanks for the shout out on the Grab Bag. It has been fun. I am 325 emails deep into universities and colleges and starting to run low on ideas. I am open to suggestions and donations from this community too! PS: Is the NBA making money on these “pride” kits, seems like I have never seen anyone repping a “pride” jersey on the streets of Grand Rapids.

  • Rob | October 29, 2015 at 11:08 am |

    Hey Paul,

    You or Phil may have tackled this article already, and if so my apologies, but it came out during your vacation and so I’d be happy to hear your thoughts. The basic premise, that ads on jerseys (hockey in this case) are inevitable, is something you’ve definitely argued against. But I think it makes some interesting points as well, mainly that the teams themselves are brands, and that it’s silly to put one class of brands on a higher pedestal than others, and that these teams change their jerseys more than Pepsi changes their can design.

    Anyway, just curious to see what you think!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/in-defense-of-ads-on-nhl-jerseys–trending-topics-201052045.html

    Thanks!

  • Phil P | October 29, 2015 at 11:37 am |

    Speaking of uni ads, I’ve noticed that Porto and Sporting in Portugal aren’t using sponsors on the front of their jerseys, or at least not full-time. I just found an article about Portugal Telecom, which sponsored the three top teams (including Benfica) would stop jersey sponsorship for this season. Benfica has Emirates air as their sponsor but Porto and Sporting have gone ad free. Don’t know if that was by choice, can’t imagine that either of them couldn’t find a sponsor. Anyhow, it’s interesting to see these teams play with blank fronts.

  • Mike Engle on iPhone | October 29, 2015 at 11:46 am |

    In other news on that Nuggets uniform, that basketball at the bottom of the front neckline has to be one of the most generic logos ever. If you think the Milwaukee Brewers’ ball in glove just says “M.B. Baseball,” well that basketball just says…basketball.

  • Matches | October 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm |

    If someone wonders if the color of a jersey number will present a contrast problem with the jersey color, the answer is almost always YES, yes yes.

    Can’t stand these no-contrast, outline-only jersey numbers that keep cropping up.

  • mike 2 | October 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm |

    The best part of this Thursday so far is getting an email that my October tequila sunrise – rainbow guts shirt has shipped!

  • Sara Schieve | October 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm |

    I will not buy another add-jersey. I have owned 2: Barca bright yellow UNICEF because I got a good deal before seeing them en vivo at Soldier Field and a Bayern T-Mobile I found in the burbs of Houston. It’s some minor league looking crap. I will not suffer such bush league antics in MY Uni-Closet.

  • Jim Vilk | October 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm |

    All-Star, Shmall-Star – honestly, who cares? It’s just an exhibition and the uniforms usually suck anyway.
    Ah, for the days when that game looked great (and that wasn’t just in the past…a certain uniform matchup reviewer once put the 2009 game in his Top Five) and the players cared. Yeah, they showed off more than they would in a regular game, but towards the end it got very serious.

    Should be interesting to see whether the silver numbers present legibility problems on the white background.
    The front number is way too small, so there’s already that. Pretty sure the back numbers will be hard to see as well.
    Been trying to figure out why I’ve never warmed up to the Nuggets light blue and gold era (aside from the skyline fauxbacks, that is). I like bright colors, I love the crossed pickaxes, but it just doesn’t add up. They’re too bright (although they added *some* contrast this year) and maybe they should replace the jagged mountain peak in the logo with a golden nugget.

    I think we should get every team to do something like this. Cavs players can pose with swords; Pistons players can pose with dipsticks; Celtics players can pose with a pot of gold; all the animal-based teams can have their players pose with live animals
    That’s thinking with your dipstick, Paul!
    Done tastefully, it could be fun. Emphasis on fun…if they try to look tough, it won’t work.

  • Jim Vilk | October 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm |

    Forrest Page is a teacher at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology. To drum up some college enthusiasm, he covered three of his room’s walls in college pennants and posters. Very nice!

    Looks like Arnold’s Place on steroids.
    http://www.endedtvseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/restaurants_arnolds_interior.jpg
    Agreed, though. Very nice.

    • Mangler | October 29, 2015 at 9:02 pm |

      What bothered me about seeing how Arnold’s was decorated was seeing what was obviously the pennants of area high schools when the teenage characters were going to Jefferson High School, and those pennants replaced by college pennants, most notably a possibly anachronistic design for New York University. It was as if Arnold’s was the exclusive property of a particular generation, with no way for succeeding generations to enter in!

  • Michael Poplawski | October 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm |

    More about the German video is that they were concept uniforms, i.e. “The Future of Bundesliga uniforms”, if you will.

    The host is interviewing Günter Netzer who had a reputation as a stylish pro (sports cars, personal style, long hair, etc.) and later for being irritated by broadcasters, notably Gerhard Delling, with whom he worked for a number of years.

    I’ll submit his irritation by broadcasters may have begun with this fashion show.

  • Mike Wissman | October 29, 2015 at 10:08 pm |

    What’s up with this ‘color rush’ business that was just announced during the game tonight on CBS? I heard ‘new unis’. Is this new news?

  • Tony Kellogg | October 30, 2015 at 9:21 am |

    I always love the “we need advertising” stuff. If I don’t know who you are, great. If you’re “Joe’s Pumpkins”, advertising is good. But when you’re a corporate monolith that is known by pretty much anyone who can speak, your advertising is POINTLESS.

    I’m sure if McDonalds suddenly stopped all advertising, we’d all forget about Chicken McNuggets, right?