[Editor’s Note: Collin Wright has been tracking the NBA’s uniform matchups throughout the 2017-18 season. With the regular season now over, here’s his final report. Enjoy. — PL]
By Collin Wright
When the NBA announced that home teams would be free to wear whichever uniforms they chose this season, we wondered how that would play out. After crunching the final numbers here are the results: 43% of all games had the home team in white and road in color; 32% had the home team in color and road in white; and 25% were color vs. color.
Here our final week-by-week chart, complete through the end of the season (click to enlarge):
Some interesting notes and numbers of note to wrap up the season:
• Here’s a look at how frequently each uniform “edition” was worn at home, on the road, and overall:
• Similarly, here’s a look at the frequency of each uniform color at home, on the road, and overall:
• White vs. blue was the most common matchup throughout the season, occurring 373 times, and red vs. blue was the most common color-vs.-color matchup, occurring 65 times. Here’s a chart showing all color matchups — the two colors in each bar represent the color pairing (click to enlarge):
• The Lakers had the most color-vs.-color games — 35 (but 12 of those were when they wore gold at home, so those same matchups would have occurred under the old uniform system). Close behind were the Rockets, who had 34 color-vs.-color games, and the most color-vs-color wins (28). Here’s a chart showing the relative frequency of color-vs.-color games for all teams (click to enlarge):
• The Knicks had the fewest color-vs.-color games (five) and did not win any of them.
• The Nets, Bulls, and Rockets did not wear their primary white uniform at home at any point during the season (although the Bulls did wear their white fauxback “City” design at home five times).
• The 76ers were 8-0 in their light cream-colored uniform and the Rockets were 4-0 in their “City” design. Those are the only designs that were undefeated during the season. The Timberwolves (green) and Raptors (“North”) each had a uniform with only one loss.
• The Grizzlies were 1-13 in their light blue uniform, “earning” it the title of the season’s least successful uniform. The Suns were 1-11 in their throwback set, the second-least successful design.
• Seven games featured both teams wearing blue, and two games featured both teams wearing grey.
• Neither Denver nor Phoenix ever broke from the unitard look — their leggings and socks always matched the base uniform color.
• At the other end of the spectrum, the Pelicans were the most likely to wear contrasting elements. They were mismatched in 76% of all games, including their final 58 games. The last time they went full-unitard was December 4th.
• And here’s how matching and mismatching accessories varied by uniform “edition” (click to enlarge):
• Finally, here’s the breakdown of uniform frequency for each team in the league.
That’s it for 2017-18. Thanks for the chance to share this information with you during this season — it’s certainly appealed to the more meticulous side of my personality.
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War paint on the mound: The Twins were getting blown out last night at Yankee Stadium, so they brought in a position player — center fielder Ryan LaMarre — to get the last two outs in the bottom of the eighth, thereby creating the rarely seen spectacle of a pitcher wearing eye black (see above).
That got me thinking about what is probably the most famous instance of an eye black-clad pitcher: Game Four of the 1990 ALCS, when Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens wore eye black (and was ejected for barking at umpire Terry Cooney in the second inning). I found some video from the game and discovered something interesting: Clemens wasn’t wearing eye black while warming up before the game:
But just as I had remembered, he did indeed have eye black during the game:
(My thanks to @ajs0889 for letting me know about LaMarre being on the mound last night.)
Another raffle: Last week our friends at Ebbets Field Flannels raffled off a New York Knights T-shirt to a lucky Uni Watch reader. This week they’re raffling off one of these awesome Santurce Cangrejeros T-shirts.
To enter, send an email with your preferred T-shirt size and your shipping address to the raffle address by 7pm Eastern this Sunday, April 29. I’ll announce the winner next Monday.
Also, if you scroll down to the bottom of any Ebbets web page (including that one with the Santurce Cangrejeros shirt), there’s a link where you can get on their email list. Feel free to sign up if you like.
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By Brinke Guthrie
Found this set of Cleveland Browns media guides from the 1970s. Pretty plain and nondescript, using the same helmet art every year, until the end of the decade. But the 1979 edition immediately caught my eye as an old Cowboys fan from back then: I would swear the Browns used a 1975 photo of Cowboys lineman Blaine Nye and running back Robert Newhouse for that shot. (Here is a close-up.) I recognized their helmets right away. You can see the resemblance in this photo from later in the play. Am I right?
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Sportbilt of Somerville, Mass., was the maker of this 1970s-1980s team-issued New England Patriots gear bag.
• These 1970s Minnesota Vikings stadium seat cushions were brought to you by “Panasonic, The Winning Team.”
• One more for the Vikes: this 1970s Faultless golf ball with single-bar Vikings helmet and the NFL shield.
• This 1970s Pirates beer mug featuring their classic pirate logo has been in storage for the last 20 years.
• This pair of Phillies drinking glasses has been around even longer — the seller says “1950s” for this set.
• This 1970s Denver Broncos mug was sponsored by Sonic and Dr. Pepper.
• One more for the Broncos: this 1970s “reflector protector” for your bicycle.
• The eBay seller notes that this 1970s custom-made Steelers rug was “commissioned by a fan” and is “one of a kind.”
• I’ve never seen a 1970s Chargers helmet buggy with the navy blue helmet, until this one! No yellow facemask, but looks to be in perfect shape (although it looks like they put the bolts on the wrong way, no?).
• Niners fans! Get cleaned up with this 1970s “Soap & Wash Set.”
• The seller for this Celtics jacket says it was game-worn from the 1960s, and fits more like a sweater. Did they have the NBA patch on jackets back then?
Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.
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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is a really good one — it’s about a beer can tab. Check it out here.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Twins P Jake Odorizzi paid tribute for his former teammate, White Sox P Danny Farquhar, by writing “FARQ” on his cap last night. Farquhar remains in critical condition after suffering an aneurysm rupture during a game this weekend (from Chris Hanel). … Seattle also paid tribute to Farquhar by hanging his Mariners jersey in the dugout last night as they played the White Sox. Farquhar played for the Mariners from 2013 to 2015 (from Mike Chamernik). … This Memorial Day, Lids and New Era invite you to celebrate monarchy. Of course, hundreds of thousands of US servicemen and -women have given their lives to uphold democratic values and fight tyranny, but “We Salute Our Kings” seems like a particularly bad holiday slogan for a country whose founding was based on opposing the concept of royalty (from Casey Hart and @DapLajoie). … In an effort to combat sign stealing, Rockies catchers have been wearing quarterback-style wristbands that contain an elaborate code (from Mike Chamernik). … The Astros will give away a purple-and-gold Alex Bregman jersey at this weekend’s Bayou Bash Street Festival. Bregman played college ball at LSU (from Ignacio). … Baltimore Magazine has a feature about the hot dog race videos the Orioles play at Camden Yards (from Andrew Cosentino). … Brian Hertz was re-watching a 1999 Dodgers game and found a sign that would probably fit better in Nationals Park. … The Durham Bulls will wear jerseys designed by a local clothing company on May 31 (Paul Beardsley and @GoatJerseys). … New road pullovers for the Kannapolis Intimidators, a Single-A White Sox affiliate (from Sean Jankowski).
NFL News: Playing into the whole pirate thing, the Bucs will have a parrot deliver their third round draft pick to an announcer at the pirate ship inside Raymond James Stadium later this week. … This 1979 TV Guide cover has a great example of infinite regression on a football helmet (from Ray Hund).
College Football News: Alabama posted a video yesterday that includes a look at the team’s national championship rings (from Hayden Kay). … It’s always been rumored that birds flock to Boise State’s blue turf because they think it’s a lake. Now, we have photographic evidence (from Mike Chamernik). … Many HBCU fans cheered when Russell Athletic decided to stop making uniforms. But that now means more expenses for already taxed athletic departments (from Steven J. Gaither ). … IMackulate Vision Gaming has announced it will be releasing an college football video game — the first since EA Sports killed NCAA Football amid a lawsuit scare — in 2020. The game will come pre-loaded fictional teams, though players would be able to create up to 126 teams filled with custom-made players — meaning players could conceivably create, share and download most of the NCAA.
NBA News: Reggie Bullock of the Detroit Pistons says he’d like to see NBA teams wear rainbow jerseys in support of the LGBT community (from Mike Chamernik). … Ohio State will use one of these four court designs beginning next season (from KT).
Soccer News: Our own Jamie Rathjen has an update from yesterday’s lede: D.C. United wore their Earth Day kits on Friday in scrimmages against Maryland and the USL Richmond Kickers, since they didn’t play this weekend. … Tons of stuff today from Josh Hinton: Manchester City has clinched the Premier League championship, and will wear these jerseys for pre-match workouts for the remainder of the season. The shirts include the word “CHAMPIONS” above the team’s crest. … Qatar Airlines has agreed to buy advertising on AS Roma’s jerseys. It’s a disappointing development, as Roma was one of the few remaining European clubs to regularly go ad-free (also from Ed Zelaski). … Club America of Liga MX has that new kits pay homage to Mexico. … Olympique Marseille’s home kits for 2018-19 have leaked (also from Ed Zelaski). … Finally, clubs often add stars to their jerseys to commemorate championships, but Louisville City FC supporters did them one better. They bought the club an actual star to commemorate Louisville’s 2017 USL title. Thanks Josh! … We may have had this before, but Arsenal’s 2018-19 home kit has leaked (from Megan Brown). … Remi Walter of France scored a goal for OGC Nice earlier this year — with the retail tag still attached to this jersey (from Hue).
Grab Bag: The Chicago Tribune has a good one-on-one with Tom O’Grady, a sports design expert (fom Phil and @GameplanChicago). … The Worcester Railers, a minor league hockey team in the ECHL have turned the faceoff dots in their arena into Pepsi ads (from Stan Cupp). … New chrome helmets for Syracuse lacrosse (from @PhillyPartTwo).
A quick final thought: My latest ESPN column, about the new Defender catcher’s mask and its interesting implications for the realm of equipment endorsements, was published fairly late in the day on Friday, so you may have missed it. I’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback on this one — I think you’ll like. If you haven’t already read it, check it out here.