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NBA Honors MLK

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The NBA commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, as players throughout the league wore “I Have a Dream” shirts during pregame warm-ups. Naturally, I could have done without the NIke maker’s mark, but whaddaya gonna do.

Here’s how the shirts looked on the back:

The Grizzlies went a step further, debuting their new MLK-themed alternate uniforms, which are based on signage from the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. The minimalist design looked great on the court:

The NBA relaxes its sneaker regulations on MLK Day, so several players wore special designs and messages for the holiday:

The uni-related tribute to Dr. King went beyond the NBA. Hudson Catholic High School in Massachusetts wore “Equality” warm-up tops:

Meanwhile, in a nice baseball development, the Double-A Birmingham Barons used the holiday to announce that they’ll have a new alternate jersey this season featuring the text of MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

I’m sure there were other uni-related MLK celebrations that I missed. If so, please feel free to post them in the comments.

(My thanks to Zach Loesl and Phil for their contributions to this section.)

• • • • •

Zebra loses some fur: A ref who was working a high school game in Kentucky last week had an embarrassing moment when the ball hit him in the head and dislodged his toupee!

That got me thinking: Baseball umps and football officials all wear caps; hockey officials all wear helmets. But basketball refs have their heads uncovered. Soccer refs, too. I wonder if they’re more inclined to wear toupees. Hmmmm.

(My thanks to @profjimmyc for this one.)

• • • • •

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Paint the teams the way you want to (paints not included!) with this 1967 NFL Aurora model kit. You can even paint them the way this vivid box cover shows, with both teams — obviously the Bears and the Niners — wearing colored jerseys! [As an aside, I’d say this is one of the best-looking CC splash-photo items ever. — PL]

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• “Watch the NBA ‘over’ ABC.” That’s the slogan on this drink coaster from Pabst Blue Ribbon.

• From the 1960s: NHL Power-Play Electric Hockey is “the fastest and most realistic hockey game in the world!”. Sounds good enough for me!

• The Falcons weren’t able to advance in the NFL playoffs this past weekend, but their fans can still celebrate their season with this set of promo bumper stickers from Frito-Lay. A total of 16 included in the auction lot.

• Luv Ya Blue! Diehard Oilers fans can watch the Big Game with this vintage Oilers picnic helmet.

• Speaking of the Oilers, here’s a 1960 Kra-Lite RK2 Oilers helmet. Looks pretty bare-bones, right?

• I sincerely doubt that this thin, vinyl 1970s San Francisco Giants giveaway jacket would’ve kept away the Candlestick chill. Your sponsor was “Dubuque Plumpers” (a hot dog brand).

• The Minnesota North Stars had such a simple, clean logo. It’s nicely displayed on this 1970s milk mug, which is still in very good condition.

• Apex made this Super Bowl jacket for the Bills/Cowboys matchup in January of 1994. No teams on this one, just the peach motif since the game was held in Atlanta.

• Ovaltine was part of the 1960s “NFL Training Table” and this 1969 promo folder/package is so labeled, but the cover artwork is as generic as they come.

• Football is a “Thinking Man’s” game, at least according to this 1969 board game.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Interesting note about former Cub Juan Pierre from this blog: When asked to sign a 2006 Topps card, Pierre made sure to mention “that this was a spring training photo. (Former Cub Matt) Murton asked, ‘How can you tell?’ Pierre replied, ‘I only wore my socks down in the spring!'” (From Jeff Wilk.) … There’s a bit of an oddity on this 1990 Upper Deck Wade Boggs card: Two players, both in different home uniforms, high-fiving at home plate. That’s because the photo was taken at the 1989 All-Star Game (from Jay Pritchard). … Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III discusses the team’s decision to wear red caps on the road, the Cardinals’ third uniform, special weekend unifroms and his 2012 interview with Uni Watch at 54:40 of this podcast (from @2xAught7). … Matt Ryburn came into possession of some ’80s-era Dodgers tickets (which barely changed from 1984-88) after his parents found them while cleaning out their house, including a 1983 stub commemorating the team’s 25th anniversary in LA and a 1984 stub advertising the Los Angeles Olympics to be held later that year. … Someone in Houston is driving around in a tequila sunrise pickup truck (from Nick Lineback). … Not to be outdone, Gilbert Sarabia‏ sent along a photo of an Astros boat. … A designer put together some hockey sweater concepts for some Major League Baseball teams (from C.J. Burks). … Here are the accessories TCU will be using this season (from Joe Nocella). … South Carolina players also got their new accessories yesterday (from Phil). … Here are the gloves that Oklahoma State players will be wearing this season (from Nick Baril). … Mid-Maryland United, a youth travel team, will have new uniforms next season. … The Blue Jays are the latest team to announce that they’ll be extending the protective netting at their stadium.

NFL NewsThis thread breaks down the possible end zone designs for Super Bowl LII (from Jeff Flynn). … In 1966, the goal line sign at Busch Stadium pointed the Cardinals toward “Pay Dirt” (from Bill Kellick). … Angus O’Keefe photoshopped the AFC Championship and NFC Championship matchups onto football helmets. … Matthew Wolfram spotted this strange Rob Gronkowski denim jacket at a gym in Los Angeles recently.

College Football News: It looks like Iowa State will have new threads come next season (from Phil and Kary Klismet). … Here are some mockups of proposed changes to North Carolina’s Kenan Memorial Stadium, most of which never happened (from James Gilbert).

Hockey NewsThe Kings gave away this awesome poster prior to their game with the Sharks yesterday (from Brian Wulff). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: A designer put together some hockey sweater concepts for some Major League Baseball teams (from C.J. Burks). … The San Jose Barracuda went formal for Tuxedo Night yesterday (from Kyle Minogue).

Basketball News: RJ Hunter, newly signed by the Rockets, got into last night’s game against the Clippers but didn’t have his name on his jersey. … Fox Sports Wisconsin was using old Bucks and Nets logos in a graphic yesterday — but the logos were from two completely different eras (from Ryan Ziegler). … This guy has a lot of Blake Griffin jerseys (from Dan Kennedy). … Teams in Australia’s National Basketball League are participating in Heritage Month, which includes teams wearing throwback jerseys to the league’s inaugural season, 1978. But the Perth Wildcats have chosen to wear their throwback design in their modern color scheme of red and white — and include uni ads. The team used to wear black and yellow (from Richard Meloy).

Soccer News: Wales has hired Ryan Giggs as its new manager and introduced him yesterday with a NOF (name on front) jersey (from Thomas Courtman). … The blog post runs down the new clubs that will be joining the USL this season (from Josh Hinton). …  Similarly, this piece discusses the rise and fall of the NASL (also from Josh Hinton). … Grimsby Town FC of England’s League Two is asking Luton Town FC supporters to wear retro shirts to raise awareness for Sporting Memories, a charity that deals with dementia, when the two clubs play on Jan. 27 (from The Boot Room). … New official match ball for Poland’s top league, Ekstraklasa (from Ed Zelaski).

Grab Bag: Tennis star Maria Sharapova played Tatjana Maria of Germany in the Australian Open last night, which made for some score bug shenanigans (from Ben and John). … This artist literally paints pictures (many of them sports related) with words (from Jim Brunetti). … John Cronin, a 21-year-old Long Island man with Down syndrome, told his father he wanted to start a business after he graduated high school. Just two years later, he’s built a $1.4 million sock company (from Ted Arnold). … Apparently, Kim Kardashian’s trash cans have a Louis Vuitton pattern (from James Gilbert).

Comments (45)

    The only thing that irks me about the Grizzlies’ MLK design is that word mark reminds me of the Clippers white jerseys.

    LOVE that Oilers Kra-lite helmet and the one-bar face mask! I wish ALL football helmets looked like that…I hate the Great Gazoo-looking current helmets and the candy-ass cage masks today’s players wear.

    “John Cronin, a 21-year-old Long Island man with Down’s syndrome…”

    It’s *Down* syndrome. I’m aware you probably unknowingly copied the article’s error. Insert comment about the state of journalistic editing here.

    Both are correct. The UK usually uses the possessive (Down’s) to indicate that the syndrome is named after the doctor (John Langdon Down) who most fully described it.

    It is interesting (to me) that the “I have a dream” speech is a copyrighted item. It cannot be played or quoted in its entirety without permission of the MLK estate. But excerpts are OK under the Fair Use doctrine. I heard about this on NPR yesterday.

    Not that the NBA would print the entire speech on those warm-ups.

    You CAN buy a copy of the entire speech from the MLK estate if you want to.

    Expect similar shenanigans whenever Gerrit Cole comes to town to pitch against Cole Hamels.

    Thinking Man’s Football was one of several sports games under the 3M brand (Thinking Man’s Golf was another). It was featured in a scene from “Brian’s Song”, although the “Thinking Man’s” part of the name was covered.

    Always thought it was interesting how the vast majority of people omit the “Reverend” portion of Mr. King’s title…. He always considered himself a reverend first and foremost.

    Forever rest in peace and in heaven, and it is my prayer that your work is never forgotten.

    “the vast majority of people omit the “Reverend” portion of Mr. King’s title”

    Dr. King ;)

    Not to pick on Dr. King, who had good reasons beyond vanity to insist on both honorifics, but for many Protestant clergy, “reverend doctor” is redundant. One’s divinity degree is what confers the title of “reverend.” (The details of the practice vary widely between the many various Protestant denominations and sects, so for some it’s possible to be a reverend non-doctor or to have a divinity doctorate but not be a reverend.) Much of the time, “reverend doctor Doe” is equivalent to calling a physician “doctor doctor Doe” or a senior naval officer in command of a ship “captain captain Doe.”

    In the Baptist tradition, “The Reverend” is not usually associated with a degree, but rather with ordination. It recognizes the individual as a “licensed” clergyman, but not necessarily as one who has obtained a doctorate. I would not say it is redundant.

    WT in KY,

    Agreed which IMO is why he went by both, also gotta ask: Cats fan???

    And where in KY? (Greetings from slushie and bad-roady, snowy Lexington).

    Josh, I am actually a Cards fan, but it has become an ethical dilemma for me (ha). From Owensboro, now living in Georgetown.

    I really like those minimalist MLK Day jerseys for the Grizzlies, particularly because they aren’t an over-the-top reference and you would never know what they were for until you learned, and then once you learned you wouldn’t forget (and you would have the images from the actual incident burned into your brain that much more strongly).

    In the US Bank Field mock-ups, why is there a baseball diamond? It looks more like a Metrodome/USBF Frankenfield. Baseball was never an option there, right?

    The Grizzlies wore socks that were white on the front (as seen in the picture of Tyreke Evans included), and black on the back.

    If you look closely, you’ll see that right field has a yellow line on the wall that determines a home run. I read an article about it last year. For the life of me, I can’t find that article. Maybe someone who’s better at Google can find it.

    Actually, I wonder if that “Pay Dirt” goal-line marker wasn’t from Pittsburgh? The stands don’t look like old Busch Stadium, and I know Pittsburgh used to have signs like that saying

    I don’t doubt you.

    Just out of curiosity, I checked the St. Louis schedule for 1966; Cardinals visited Pittsburgh on 11/13/66, had a bye week 11/20/66, then hosted the Steelers on 11/27/66.

    And in 1966 the Steelers wore white at home in every home game except vs. Redskins, so with the Cardinals in their red, you could be correct.


    Apparently I’m a child, bc I came here for discussion of the toupee.
    I can’t stop watching the individual reactions of the players, including the kid who basically curls up in a ball to hide his laughing.
    Related note: Men, you should know you’re fooling no one with a toupee. No one. Don’t be that guy!

    I liked those hockey concepts, combining my 2 favorite sports! Excited to see the other concepts.

    I had a Giants promo jacket but it must have been from a different year because it was all orange. I wore it once and because it wss plastic sweated profusely. Never wore it again.

    If he ditched the toupee (i.e.: threw it into the stands), I bet he’d gain the crowd’s respect and they’d give him a standing ovation.

    Regarding the Kenan Stadium concepts:

    I remember seeing this a while back, and really most of the proposed renovations did happen, although maybe not exactly as pictured in these proposals.

    The main one that hasn’t so far are the arches shown around the stadium’s exterior.

    I do recall that there were three stages to the Kenan expansion (the most notable being the closing off of the end zone) and I’m not sure that stage three is ever going to be done.

    I posted the below comment in yesterday’s feed and then realized I might have better luck if I post on today’s thread. Also, I completely bungled the Roman numerals for the Super Bowl so my apologies.
    “Why have the Vikings not worn all white on the road since their redesign? Maybe they have and I’ve missed those instances, however I think of the all white road unis as a classic look and am surprised they don’t install the look more often. As I understand the rules, NFL teams have helmet and uniform restrictions but can switch up their pants at their choosing. I believe that the NFC team is the designated away team for SB LII, which would be a great time to rock the all white uniform. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated and thank you for all that you do!”

    According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, they went mono-white once in 2015 and also in the 2013 preseason:

    It appears that they just prefer the purple pants.

    While we are talking Vikings white on white, Paul do you have any why their classic sets had UCLA stripes on the white jersey, but regular sleeve stripes on the purple jersey?

    Nope! As I recently wrote, the original design concepts were by Karl Hubenthal, and his sketches had different sleeve/shoulder treatments for home and away:

    The different stripes on white jerseys vs. dark is just kind of an old-school football uniform thing that sometimes maybe just doesn’t have a reason. Rams had the same situation in blue and yellow:


    Also in blue and white:


    Different stripes on white jersey vs. dark happened in Canada back in the day. Not UCLA stripes, but thinking of those 1966 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders:


    Is it a little jarring to anyone else how blue the Vikings purple looks at home? When contrasting with the field markings (or even the score bug), the jerseys looked almost straight up royal blue.

    The Vikings never looked royal blue (or any other shade of blue) at home to me, and I have seen at least a little bit of every one of their home games this season.
    I’ve seen them from at least 6 TVs/computers this year.


    The Memphis alternate is great. Nike and other manufacturers/designers should take note how less is more when it comes to uniforms.

    I know where I’m getting my socks from now on. That’s a phenomenal story and funky socks are right up my alley. I’m wearing a teal pair with ping pong balls and red solo cups right now

Comments are closed.