By Phil Hecken
Over the past couple weeks, the NBA released all new ‘City’ jerseys for teams, which conveniently dropped just in time for your holiday shopping needs. Now, no team(s) need 4 (or 5 or 6 or 7) different uniforms, so none of these are necessary — and most of them are terrible or bad or awful or (insert adjective here). A couple, if you throw out the fact that these are unnecessary, aren’t too bad.
I had thought about ranking them from first to worst, but there’d be a list of about six or seven at the top and the remainder would need to fight it out for worst. So, riffing off Paul’s good or stupid rating system, I’ve decided to give them a “Shoot” or “Shite” (you can figure out which is which) score. You may agree or disagree. Feel free to argue in the comments. Here we go…
The Nets don’t play in Bed-Stuy, but does it matter? Facts are stubborn things. The ‘graffiti’ font is already played out and while the Biggie panels aren’t horrible, this uni is.
New York Knicks
Oh. Cream. That’s original. But I do have to say I think this is a pretty good lookin’ kit. And some of the doo dads aren’t overkill. Plus, how many times to you see “Philadelphia” actually spelled out in full on a uni?
I’m gonna be honest. I never got the whole Drake/OVO thing. So I’m just gonna judge this as a uni. And I just don’t get this. I’m not saying they need to wear the purple dino unis all the time, but this just doesn’t scream “Toronto” to me at all. Sorry.
When I think of the Bulls, I don’t think powder blue. I mean, I guess there is a precedent for such colors in Chi-town, and clearly this is a riff on the City flag. But man, if I turn on the TV and the Bulls are playing and wearing this, I will have NO idea who I’m watching.
Designer #1: “Hey, we need another uni for the Cavs. Any ideas?”
Designer #2: “How about a mashup?”
Designer #1: “OK. What eras?”
Designer #2: “All of them”
Can any uni save the Central? Well, if there’s one uni that’s pretty decent it is the Pacers’. Yeah, the whole Indy 500/checkered flag motif is cliched, and we’ve kinda already seen this look, but it’s still sharp, and it looks good in white.
Milwaukee’s nickname is “Cream City.” The uniforms are cream. OK, we get it. They’re not terrible uniforms, but man, that script font sucks. And didn’t they already do a cream uni? I actually prefer the angry deer. Which is sad.
Yeah, I get that these “City” uniforms are supposed to be for the residents, and Peachtree Street obviously means a lot to Atlanta. But damn, for the rest of us, we will have a hard enough time reading the name on the jersey, much less get the reference. OK, so the Hawks don’t exactly have a beautiful jersey history (just wear the Pac Man and call it a day), but these aren’t much better.
I loved it when they wore this in white. Then they made it in black. And then they made it in pink. And now it’s back, in powder blue. I still love the design and the colors are very SoFla, but damn.
And you thought the whole “Lets put the Airport Code on the jersey” was played out. Guess again.
I actually kinda like this one — the flag pattern stripes actually look good (if we can overlook that whole flag code thing), and it’s not the worst thing the Wiz have ever worn. Yeah, that DC logo looks a tad phallic, but what’re ya gone do?
I love the iconography, but that’s about all that’s good about this uni. Denver’s not a BFBS team, and mountain rainbow doesn’t look good set against black. It didn’t look much better set on white either. Their best bet was just to stick with the tetris buildings.
I mean, I get that they’re trying for a bit of a Minneapolis Lakers vibe with these, but “MSP”? Why not go with MPLS if you need to abbreviate it? Oh, right…that whole airport code thing. Full Stop.
Oklahoma City Thunder
I should hate this one just for the ad patch (and well, I do), but I actually kinda like this one. I respected what they were doing with the whole turquoise OKC Native American thing previously, but this is actually a pretty classically-designed uni. You can read the stacked “Oklahoma City” and the side panels don’t detract that much. Wow. OKC surprises.
Portland Trail Blazers
Before they came out with this, I was saying to myself “Please don’t say ‘Rip City'”. Alas, twas not to be. We get it. You had it on there once before (or maybe even more than once?). That’s plenty. Now it’s just annoying.
Hey, haven’t we seen this one before? Yep. That’s right — the Jazz kept their previous ‘City’ uniforms, instead of dropping another one just because they could. I mean, they could have just reversed the pattern, right? Dark on top shading down to light at the bottom? Restraint is the better part of valor.
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Wait, isn’t this what the team already wears? Well, no… that one has purple letters/numbers with white block shadow and this one has well, the opposite. And it’s actually the jersey the team should be wearing. And Shaq designed it, so..,
Interesting the Suns chose to make their Noche Latina jersey their ‘City’ jersey. I thought most teams just kinda got those jerseys as an extra bonus for extra sales. I’d rip them for just being lazy and not making it say “Los Soles” but I kinda dig the Arizona flag pattern on the pants. And the “LOS SUNS” and number have a pattern to them as well.
What the hell is this? Oh, just the natural progression of a shitty design. Sactown doesn’t sound like a compliment either, if you catch my drift. This may be the worst of them all.
Did I just say the Sactown unis were the worst? Scratch that. I don’t know if their intent was to go all Fresh Prince, but no one can unsee it now. I’m sure there is a clever story behind these but I’m really not interested. I’m just gonna be chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school.
Oh, FFS. If “Sactown” is bad, “H-Town” is worse. Yes, I’ve known it’s been referred to “Houston Town” (at least in song) for years, and H-Town is just that abbreviated, but really? And the only thing worse than H-Town is the non-hyphenated knockoff. Needs a piece of electrical tape or something.
No, it’s not pure white and thus invisible on this page — the Grizz technically don’t have a ‘City’ jersey this season. Technically they’re calling the Vancouver throwback their ‘City’ jersey. I’d have been fine if they just reused the 2017 uni again (that one was based off the historic font on the “I AM A MAN” signs used when Dr. King visited Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers — King was assassinated shortly thereafter). But kudos to Memphis for NOT having a ‘City’ uniform…or technically using their Vancouver throwback in its stead.
New Orleans Pelicans
I love the Pels in Mardi Gras colors, and wish they’d actually just make all their unis in them. But the NOLA thing is kinda played out, ya know? (At least this one doesn’t have sleeves). Keep the colors, drop the nickname. And whatever you do, don’t put “NAWLINS” on a shirt. Ever.
San Antonio Spurs
The good news is the Spurs have said “NO” to the nonsense of a new ‘City’ jersey this year. The bad news is they’re sticking with their shitty camo print pattern they’ve used for years. It didn’t look good then, it still doesn’t. And yet, if they must have a ‘City’ jersey, their choice(s) are so easy.
And there you have it. Let me know what you think.
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
Title: “Bill Gatewood, 1916” (color study)
Subject: Bill Gatewood, 1916
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
Bill Gatewood is usually best known as the answer to a trivia question. Who gave James Bell his nickname, “Cool Papa?” Only a slightly lesser known fact, Gatewood is also the man who taught a young Satchel Paige how to throw his famous hesitation pitch, which was said to be a slowdown in his delivery that offset the batter’s timing. But when we read more about him, it becomes evident that there was definitely more to Bill than those two bits of trivia.
The tall right hander found himself playing his first professional games on clubs with some of the greats of the era, including “Home Run” Johnson, Smokey Joe Williams, Spottswood Poles, Pete Hill, and Rube Foster. It was the latter of that bunch who taught Bill how to hone his craft, as he came to employ both a spitter and emery ball. And at 6’7” and 250 pounds, he could be rather overpowering, and was not afraid to throw inside.
Throughout his career, he pitched for more than 20 clubs, though never spectacularly. Throughout the first two decades of the century, he traveled the country extensively, always in search of employment with various teams. In 1920, he found a notable home with the Detroit Stars, a ballclub in Rube Foster’s new Negro National League. In only his second year with the team, he tossed a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Cuban Stars. Larry Lester, a Black baseball historian, had this to say about the event:
“In a 1921 game, as a member of the Detroit Stars with Bruce Petway catching, the Cuban Stars protested to the umpire that the ball was doing ‘funny things.’ The umpire examined the ball and found a nick and tossed it out of play. A short time later more complaints were registered and …The Cubans demanded that Gatewood be searched. The pat down revealed a half-dozen bottle caps in (the pitcher’s) pocket. Busted and now angry, Gatewood started off batters with knock-down pitches and eventually struck out 10 and walked two batters en route to a no-hitter.”
Here’s Bill with the St. Louis Giants in 1916. This is one of 200+ paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
Uni Concepts & Tweaks
After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!
I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
I received an e-mail from reader Johnny Woods who has a concept for a new Seattle Hockey Team.
This whole logo concept has been bouncing in my head for years.
The logo, right to left, is an evergreen tree whose sharp angles form a lightning bolt signifying power and strength (sorry Tampa Bay Lightning).
The three hockey sticks also help form the bolt and form the letter E (sorry Philadelphia Eagles).
The slanted box with two sharp and two round corners form an S (sorry Saskatchewan Roughriders).
On top of that, the colors are green and silver with a darker green that looks similar to those last two teams colors.
Oh, the three-stick design is the basis of the three-line stripe on green (sorry Hartford Whalers).
Added note: You can’t really use a lumberjack in an Evergreens logo because they are the enemy of the evergreen trees. Similar to those Whalers using Pucky the Whale as a secondary logo.
~ Johnny Woods
Thanks Johnny. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
The game has returned! At least for a trial basis, but I got a lot of positive response to its return, so we’ll see how long we keep this one going.
Today’s scoreboard comes from reader ojai67.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
While there’s probably more than enough information on the scoreboard (teams, players, etc.) to solve this one, there’s also one yuge clue spelled out for ya in the middle!
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
If you guys like this, please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
5 & 1 Help Wanted
No, it’s not what you think. I’m not getting rid of Memal. But circumstances have transpired over the weekend where Mr. Malinowski will be without the Interwebs, so there *may* not be a 5 & 1 for tomorrow.
Now, I know it’s recently become your favorite part of the SMUW, so I don’t want to leave you without one — so I’M going to be doing it. But I’d love your help. Either tweet (@PhilHecken) or e-mail (address above or phil.hecken@gmail) or in the comments below, please make your own choice(s) for your best (top 5) and worst (and 1) games. I’ll be happy to look at any suggestions and if I pick your choice, I’ll give you credit in tomorrow’s 5 & 1. There have been a few games already played earlier in the week, and I have a clubhouse leader so far, but that could easily be dislodged. And I’m not going to be able to look at all the games played today, so help me out a bit by picking your choices for the good, the bad, and the ugly in the comments or other ways below.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: The hot stove continues to simmer, but you might not know it from this article announcing the Minnesota Twins will be dumping their home whites for an “all-Kasota gold uniform” — Now, it’s not April 1, but obviously this isn’t real. If the content wasn’t a dead giveaway, the URL should be. … Look closely: “I don’t know if I posted this last time I went there, but the Detroit Historical Museum has a Mark Fidrych rookie jersey in the Lindell AC sports bar exhibit that looks like it was re-numbered,” says Douglas Moon. … Johnny Okray says, “Brewers Kids Club membership offerings putting good use to the new BiG logo and Barrel Man.”
NFL/Pro Football News: ICYMI, the Seattle Seahawks will be wearing their snot green color rash jerseys on Monday Night football, but not the CR pants. Instead, they’ll be wearing their blue pants to create a new uni combo. This is something I have been calling for for almost two years. … Falcons Coach, Dan Quinn, was wearing U.S. Army Airborne wings on his shirt on Thanksgiving (from Timmy Donohue). … The Tennessee Titans will be going mono-blue Sunday (from Titans Uni Tracker), which isn’t that odd, except they’re doing it on the road against Indy, who will be going white at home (a very rare occurrence — according to the GUD, this will be the first time in white jerseys at home since 1995, when they wore blue pants). … At long last the national nightmare is about to end: The XFL will finally unveil
uniforms jerseys (actually I’m pretty sure they’ll show the whole uni) this Tuesday, December 3 (from Marcus Hall). Here’s a bit more on that. … The Iggles will wear mono-white against the Dolphins Sunday.
College Football News: For their Senior Day outfits today, the East Carolina Pirates will be wearing matte gray black helmets with the old school throwback ECU Pirate logo decal. … Should THE Ohio State University and the University of Michigan go color vs. color for THE game? Munch Suchland thinks so. … Eastern Michigan is honoring its senior players by putting their numbers on its logo for the 3rd year in a row (from Blaise D’Sylva). … Louisville will be going red/white/red today (from Josh Hinton). … Baylor will wear a new uni combo, gold/green/gold, when they take on Kansas today. … In what could look either really great or really awful, ASU and Arizona will go color v. color for their Territorial Cup game today. You can read more here (from Cole Streeper). … FAU will wear black jerseys & britches today (from Kevin Fielder). … Looks like Iowa football has a painted football field on top of their equipment trailer (from Brett Baker). … ‘Cuse will go Orange/Navy/Orange today vs. Wake Forest (from Jakob Fox). … Georgia Tech will go gold/gold/white vs. Georgia today (hopefully UGA will be wearing red tops). … The awesome Blaise D’Sylva continues his helmet countdown by looking at the helmet history of San Diego State University. … Josh Hinton asks, “Does ESPN honestly expect fans to be able to read the Memphis record on the score bug if they’re not 5 feet away from the screen?” … Oregon will be going mono-green today in the Civil War vs. OSU.
Hockey News: ‘Tis the season: the WHL’s Vancouver Giants will be breaking out some pretty sweet Grinch-themed uniforms on December 6th and 8th. … So, you think the Tampa Bay Lightning’s worst jersey is the one that has “B O L T S” written diagonally down the chest? Well, you’d be wrong. … From Mike Styczen: “Spotted on the internet – this PK Subban 3-team Frankenjersey at (Thursday) night’s Devils-Habs game.” And here’s the dude! (from Hughdini). … Is this hockey jersey for real? Max Weintraub says, “It looks like this team combines the CSA battle flag with the Canadian maple leaf flag. I get that they’re the Rebels, but… seriously?” … “Noticed (last) night the Caps were wearing red makers’ marks on their home helmets,” observes Jonathan Sluss. “They had been white through the last game against Florida.”
NBA News: Tweeter Etienne Catalan has put together a graphic with his choices for best NBA player by uniform number — and points out that there have been 12 never-worn numbers in NBA history. … If you care about such things, here’s the Lakers uniform schedule for the remainder of the season (from Lakers Uni Tracker). … The Kings will be wearing the brand new red unis 14 times this year. Here’s the sked (from Sac Kings Tracker). … Are you one of those folks who thinks the *gold* the Lakers wear is more like highlighter yellow, well, they’re aimin’ to fix that. … To go along with their new alternate unis, the Orlando Magic also have a new court (via Paul).
College Hoops News: Here’s a look at the University of North Carolina’s Garrison Brooks wearing goggles due to a corneal abrasion he suffered on Thursday (from James Gilbert). … So, Ole Miss has jerseys with just an “M” on them now? (from Timmy Donahue). … FAU debuted a new “Paradise Vice” uni yesterday.
Soccer News: Just the crossover we need: Iron Maiden and West Ham United team up for kit collaboration (from Dougie Stardust and Maximiliano). … Ed Żelaski writes, “new Christmas market inspired shirt for Nürnberg.” … New home kit top for Cork City FC (from Ed Żelaski).
Grab Bag: For all you Super Rugby fans out there, the Stormers have unveiled three new jerseys, including one based off Marvel’s “Thor” character. … Under Armour may have lost out on the MLB uni contract, but they’re doubling-down by securing a new deal to design uniforms for space tourists who are set for departure in 2020 on the Virgin Galactic spaceflight company. … Infinite recursion, math teacher tie version (from William Hughes).