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The Warriors yesterday became the latest NBA team to add an advertising patch, as they announced a new deal with the Japanese tech company Rakuten.
The deal is notable for several reasons:
• The Warriors are the defending NBA champs, so anything they do carries extra weight.
• The deal is reportedly worth $60 million over three years, which is by far the highest price that’s been paid for an NBA uniform ad so far, nearly doubling the value of Cavs’ deal with Goodyear.
• Most of the other NBA teams participating in the uni advertising program have partnered with local companies — perhaps as a genuine expression of community solidarity, or perhaps just to provide a fig leaf of respectability to the ad patches (probably some of both). By going with a Japanese company, the Warriors are essentially saying, “Never mind the local community. We’re looking to market ourselves to an international audience.”
• The deal also includes a new name for the team’s practice facility, which will now be known as the Rakuten Performance Center. (I still call it — uh, what did it used to be called?)
• Rakuten also advertises on FC Barcelona’s jerseys, making them the first soccer uni advertiser to double-dip with the NBA.
• According to the Warriors and Rakuten, the ad patch is not actually a patch. It is, they insist, a badge, which really scales new heights in newspeak and chutzpah. (No joke: About two hours after the Golden State announcement, someone on Twitter wrote to me about “NFL captain badges.” Sigh.)
Here’s how the
badge patch will look on the team’s white uniform:
A white version of the logo will be used on the team’s blue uniform.
Golden State is the 14th NBA team to sell ad space on its uniform. Sixteen teams remain ad-free — for now.
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Titans contest results: Today, finally, we have the results of the Titans-redesign contest over at ESPN (including Gene Sanny’s design, shown above, which as you can see solves “flaming thumbtack” problem by keeping the flames and eliminating the thumbtack). Check it out here.
Eight of one, two dozen of the other: For years now, people have been wondering and debating which number the Lakers would retire for Kobe Bryant. Would they go with No. 8, which he wore for the first half of his career and his first three championships, or No. 24, which he wore for his second half and final two championships?
And now we have our answer: They’re going to retire both numbers. It’ll take place on Dec. 18, prior to L.A.’s game against Golden State.
I know of no other player in any sport who’s ever had two numbers retired by the same team. Some may think it qualifies as overkill, but I think it’s actually the right move. Bryant was a special player, he put up similar stats with each uni number, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else ever wearing either of those numbers for the Lakers, so why not go ahead and retire both of them? Works for me.
This will also make Bryant, by my count, the 12th person from the Big Four pro leagues to have two different numbers retired (although all the others did it with multiple teams, not one team). Here are the other 11 that I’m aware of:
[table id=31 /]
There are no NFL players on that list because only one NFLer has ever had a number retired by two different teams: Reggie White, whose No. 92 was honored by the Eagles and Packers.
Also worth noting: Moses Malone has had his No. 24 retired by the Rockets, and there was talk two years ago that the 76ers were going to retire No. 2 for him, which would qualify him for this list. As of now, however, the Sixers haven’t gone through with that plan.
New MLB anniversary logos: Two MLB teams released anniversary logos yesterday — one officially, one unofficially.
Let’s start with the Rockies, whose 25th-anniversary mark is shown at right (and can be clicked to enlarge). They released it yesterday on Twitter, and although they didn’t specifically say that it’ll be worn as a patch, it will be.
I’ll say this much: It certainly doesn’t follow the standard MLB boilerplate patch style, so they get points for breaking the mold. Can’t say I love the design, though, and I’m generally not fond of square patches — the Mariners have been wearing one this season, and I think it looks clunky.
Next up: the D-backs. They haven’t made an official logo announcement, but they did tweet their 2018 schedule yesterday, and the graphic included a 20th-anniversary logo. I managed to isolate it from the background, as you can see at left.
Although the shape is a bit odd, the use of symmetry makes this more of a conventional MLB patch design — and a fairly handsome one. The weird thing is the big “20” echoed by the use of “20th” on the bottom line. Why the repetition? Doesn’t make sense.
Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of patches in 2018, as these two designs are joining the ones for the A’s 50th anniversary in Oakland and the Royals’ 50th season, which were released a while back. It’s worth noting that next year is also the Marlins’ 25th anniversary and the 60th anniversary of the Dodgers and Giants moving to California, so they may have patches as well. Stay tuned.
Too good for the Ticker: The Pirates released their 2018 schedule yesterday, and they did it via a one-minute video clip that is completely brilliant. I don’t know who created it, but they deserve a raise. Trust me, this is the best 60 seconds you’ll spend today:
— Pirates (@Pirates) September 12, 2017
(Big thanks to Yancy Yeater for letting me know about this one.)
Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off some cool Hartford Whalers memorabilia. Full details here.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: The third base umpire in last night’s Rays/Yankees game was wearing a snapback cap (from George Falkowski and Ryan Siciliano). … Spotted in Cleveland yesterday: a Tigers/Indians frankenjersey (from @mgvanwormer). … This poster shows the uni evolution of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Royals’ AA affiliate (from @EnigmaSolutionz). … Brian James Simmons found a youth baseball team sporting not-quite tequila sunrise jerseys. … Dodgers OF Curtis Granderson is still wearing his Mets batting gloves. … The ad for Dodgers merch appears to show what the postseason cap patches will look like (from @GoBeavers24). … Astros P Lance McCullers Jr.’s charitable foundation is selling “Houstrong” tequila sunrise T-shirts, with the proceeds benefitting animals that were affected by Hurricane Harvey (from @BeautyOfAGame). … The A’s have chosen the site for their new stadium (thanks, Brinke).
NFL News: Here’s another piece on the Vicis Zero1 helmet (from Tommy Turner). … It’s hard to read in these photos, but it appears that the Browns include a hashtag on the jerseys that players wear when doing charitable work in the community. Does anyone know what it says? (From Beau Parsons.) … An editorial cartoonist illustrated a Bills-themed comic earlier this week, and put a hamster in a ’00s Bills jersey (from Brad Loliger). … Niners fans think the team’s stadium is too hot, so the team is exploring ways of “enhancing the fan experience” on warm weather days (thanks, Brinke).
College/High School Football News: Minnesota will be going mono-yellow on Saturday, with — get this — Goldy the Gopher-themed helmets (from Ted Chastain). … The ACC Tracker has been updated to reflect week two. The University of Manitoba, a college football team in Canada, will sport new unis this season. Here’s what they wore from 2008-2016 for reference (from Daren Landers). … New uniforms for Riverside High School in West Virginia, designed by reader Ethan Dimitroff. … AZCentral.com ranked the top 10 high school football uniforms in Arizona (from Tyson Tomao).
Hockey News: The Golden Knights broke out their white jerseys last night — and the white gloves finally made an appearance (from Maximiliano). … The Maple Leafs will be one of the few teams to sport an alternate jersey this year, as they’ll wear 1918 Toronto Arenas throwbacks during the “Next Century Game” in December. The game celebrates 100 seasons of NHL hockey in Toronto (thanks, Paul). … New unis for North Dakota (from Patrick Thomas). … Here’s a really interesting video showing how Blackhawks D Connor Murphy got to help paint the team’s center-ice logo (from @True2Atlanta).
NBA News: It looks like the Hornets will be unveiling a new uni today (thanks Paul). … NBA Live 18 may have given us a sneak peak into what Nike plans to do with referee uniforms (from @cdj80). … Suns head coach Earl Watson presented a customized Suns jersey to former president George W. Bush on Monday (from Josh Pearlman).
Soccer News: This may have been shared before, but the Premier League put together a graphic that includes every jersey that every team has ever worn in the league’s 25-year history (from Chris Cruz). … New away kits for Bologna FC of Serie A. The striping includes the names of past Bologna players (from Ed Zelaski). … Charleston Battery of the USL will wear orange kits on Saturday, which will later be auctioned off to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (from Will Chitty). … Aaron Creswell of West Ham wore last season’s home shorts for the second half of Monday night’s game (from Ben Isaacs).
Grab Bag: A bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C., baked a giant UNC cake for the grand opening of a new campus bookstore. Unfortunately, they misspelled “Tar Heels” (from James Gilbert). … Ben Whitehead spotted a Pittsburgh pro sports logo mashup window decal the other day. … Someone mocked up a football helmet for Ballast Point, a craft brewery based in San Diego (from Andrew Cosentino). … The Adelaide Crows — that’s an Aussie football team — are letting fans vote on their 2018 clash guernsey (from Jeremy Brahm).