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As NBA Finals Begin, Next Season’s Throwbacks Keep Leaking

The NBA Finals finally began last night (more on that in a minute). But meanwhile, throwback designs for next season are continuing to leak via the appearance of retail shirseys. Yesterday Dick’s began selling T-shirts based on the Nets’ infamous 1990 “tie-dye” design and the Mavericks’ 1980s green uni. While neither leak has yet been confirmed, prior experience strongly suggests that we can expect to see both of these designs on the court next season as throwbacks.

The tie-dye Nets treatment had been hinted at a few months back, when Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was spotted wearing a pair of the shorts.

These Nets and Mavs leaks follow the similar shirsey-based leak of a 1960s Lakers blue throwback, which was quickly confirmed as legitimate by SportsLogos.net’s Chris Creamer. I expect Chris will likely be confirming the legitimacy of the Nets and Mavs leaks soon.

Meanwhile, as the NBA Finals got under way last night, it occurred to me that the rear jersey treatments — which for many players featured a lengthy social justice statement, an NOB, the gold championship tab, and the newly added Finals logo — may have been the busiest in league history:

The jersey fronts were also quite busy, especially for the Lakers, since (a) they have the Kobe Bryant memorial patch and (b) the black David Stern memorial strip was much more visible on their jerseys than on the Heat’s black jerseys:

Add it all up and I think we can safely say that these uniforms had more flair and gewgaws than any previous uniforms in NBA Finals history.

(My thanks to @StaticShaq and @letsopolis for their contributions to this section.)

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MLB playoff update: Has there ever been a better-looking MLB postseason pitcher than yesterday’s starter for the Padres, Chris Paddack? Unfortunately, he kinda sucked, giving up six runs, all earned, in two and a third innings. But hey, if you’re gonna stink out the joint, you might as well look really good while you’re doing it.

From a hosiery heroics perspective, Paddack’s prodigious and prevailing postseason predominance is likely to remain unchallenged until Friday or Saturday, when Pablo López’s turn comes up in the Marlins’ rotation. San Diego and Miami would both have to advance all the way to the National League Championship Series in order for us to have a potential Paddack/López pitching matchup (the two teams are on opposite sides of the N.L. bracket), but that’s what I’m hoping for!

In other MLB postseason uni news:

• Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth’s 3D helmet logo appeared to be warped or bent:

• The Astros and Twins went color vs. color:

Embed from Getty Images

• Prior to the A’s/Chisox game, the umpiring crew met at home plate, removed their caps, and bowed their heads together:

It looked like they were praying, but I’d never seen that before (maybe I just never noticed..?), so I posted the photo on Twitter and got lots of responses confirming that they were indeed praying. I’ve been watching baseball for nearly half a century now and had no idea that this was a thing.

• Earlier, prior to that same game, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was tossing around an NFL football:

That’s the new, 2020 version of the NFL ball, complete with the full-color shield. (Also: Anderson appears to have seriously long fingers!)

(My thanks to Brad Phillips for the Padres helmet logo item.)

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ITEM! October Pin Club launch: Today is the first day of October, which means it’s time for the Uni Watch Pin Club’s latest design. Somehow Todd Radom and I had gotten this far into the year without doing a hockey-based design, so we combined hockey and Halloween by coming up with a pumpkin-headed goalie. Dig the Cheevers-style stitch marks on his face!

This design was produced in a limited/numbered edition of 250 pins. You can order yours here.

Need to get caught up? Here are our January, February, March, May, June, July, August, and September pins. (Sorry, April sold out!)

Meanwhile: As you may recall, last year we did a Uni Watch Press Pin to coincide with the start of the World Series (in fact, it was the success of that pin that prompted us to do the Pin Club program this year). We will have another press pin this year — look for it to launch later this month. That pin is separate from the Pin Club, and you won’t need to purchase it in order to qualify for the Pin Club’s “collect ’em all” bonus pin (although of course we hope you’ll consider it — I think you’ll really like the design once you see it!).

Speaking of which: We’d like to get at least a ballpark sense of how many people have been collecting ’em all. If that’s you, and if you plan to purchase the remaining pins to complete the year-long collection, shoot me a note. (No need to provide any documentation or proof — that will come later. For now, like I said, I’m just trying to get a ballpark sense of how many people we’re talking about. Thanks!)

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Who was that masked man? Remember when a mask was for protection against broken bones, not against microscopic viruses? Someone has compiled a good video showing NBA players wearing those protective masks on the court. Good stuff!

While we’re at it, here’s another NBA video of interest, this one showing a Heat uniform unveiling from 1999:

(My thanks to Mike Chamernik for both of these clips.)

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Uni design meets poster design: If you’re a fan of graphic design history, or just 20th century art, then you probably recognize the image above as Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, a highly influential 1919 constructivist propaganda poster by the Russian artist El Lissitzky (you can read more about it here and here). Why am I showing it here on the blog today? Because the Belarusian club Vitebsk has used it as the basis for their new shirts (click to enlarge):

And why did they do that? Because El Lissitzky lived in Vitebsk during his childhood. Pretty cool historical reference!

(Big thanks to Ed Zelaski for this one.)

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ITEM! Color Remix T-shirt raffle: Reader Zach Pearce ended up with an extra Uni Watch Color Remix T-shirt — the royal/orange design, in Medium — and has generously offered to let me raffle it off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. American mailing addresses only. To enter, send an email with your shipping address to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, and Zach will then mail out the shirt to the winner.

Big thanks to Zach for sponsoring this one!

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: Video of the Zoom panel discussion about Native American imagery in sports that I participated in back in August, arranged and hosted by Baruch College, is now available for streaming. … Ay yi yi: In the early 1960s, the Minnesota Vikings staged a publicity photo featuring three of their players dressed up as Indians and “setting an ambush” for the Dallas Cowboys. Shameful (from Jimmy Lonetti). … Social Circle High School in Georgia has decided to keep calling its teams the Redskins and will also keep its Native American logo/mascot (from David Clemons). … As of last last week, the CBS TV affiliate in NYC was still using Chief Wahoo in its score ticker (from @retailrich).

Working Class Wannabes™: During last Thursday’s Dolphins/Jaguars game, broadcaster Troy Aikman called Miami QB Ryan Fitzpatrick “a blue collar quarterback.” Fitzpatrick, in case you’ve forgotten, played college ball at Harvard (from Wes Muniz). … An article about the Gardner-Webb baseball team says the imagery in the team’s locker room “evokes the core principles of the Gardner-Webb baseball program — Selfless, Relentless, Blue Collar.” … Baylor’s women’s soccer coach says Iowa State is “an athletic and fast, tough, blue-collar team.” … An article about the Wilmot High School football team in Wisconsin says the team has “a solid blue-collar work ethic up and down the roster.” … An article about the Kentucky football team says the Wildcats have a “hard-nosed, blue collar mentality.” … The best man at Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu’s wedding says LeMahieu is “just a bring-your-lunch-pail-to-work kind of guy, kind of blue collar.” That article also includes the term “work ethic” three separate times, plus it quotes LeMahieu himself recalling a time he “just had to really dig deep and grind.” Bingo! (From @DaveGH2P.) … A high school football coach in Florida described an opposing team as “a middle-of-the-state, tough, blue collar football team.” … A recap of a high school football game in West Virginia says Chapmanville High “got a blue-collar effort from running back Jaxson Turner.” … New York Giants coach Joe Judge, asked after last Sunday’s loss about his team being 0-3, responded with a series of laughable blue-collar clichés. … An article about a high school football team in Iowa refers to “that blue-collar work ethic,” “put[ting] in the work we consider blue-collar,” “hav[ing] a blue-collar work ethic,” and more. … Although I didn’t hear this myself, Twitter-er @_swfit24 says MLB broadcaster Alex Rodriguez referred to Yankees OF Brett Gardner as a “blue collar guy” last night.

Baseball News: Reds P Trevor Bauer is giving away his cleats from yesterday’s start (from Griffin Smith). … Here’s an interesting story about how Denver’s old Mile High Stadium used a water-driven hydraulic system to slide the grandstand back and forth to accommodate different field dimensions for baseball and football (from Kary Klismet). … NLCS and World Series games will take place with a limited number of live fans in attendance. … Check out this Dodgers logo mug with a football instead of a baseball. LA Times NFL writer Sam Farmer says it’s from when the NFL had its eye on Dodger Stadium as a potential venue in the late 1990s (from Jeff Ash). … Former Cy Young winner Denny McLain — the last pitcher to win 30 games — is selling off a bunch of his memorabilia (from Tom Konecny).

NFL News: The NFL, having already fined four coaches for not wearing masks on the sidelines, is now threatening to take away draft picks from teams whose coaches don’t comply. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Here’s an interesting story about how Denver’s old Mile High Stadium use a water-driven hydraulic system to slide the grandstand back and forth to accommodate different field dimensions for baseball and football (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a nice little 1960s video clip of Bears QB Billy Wade warming up at Wrigley Field, complete with the ivy-covered wall in the background. … Here’s what 16 NFL teams’ helmets might look like if they were designed for the online game Destiny 2 (from Jeff Wilk). … Browns C and NFL Players Association prexy JC Tretter wants all NFL teams to use grass fields in order to reduce injury risks. … The Jags will be going mono-white this Sunday. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Check out this Los Angeles Dodgers logo mug with a football instead of a baseball. LA Times NFL writer Sam Farmer says it’s from when the NFL had its eye on Dodger Stadium as a potential venue in the late 1990s (from Jeff Ash).

College Football News: The Military Bowl has a new presenting sponsor advertiser (rare non-Houston-related contribution from Ignacio Salazar). … Iowa State going mono-BFBS this week. … Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman will wear No. 0 this year to symbolize zero tolerance for racism (from Erick Kriewaldt).

Hockey News: In 1962, the Niagara Falls Flyers wore hard hat-style helmets on the bench — but not on the ice — to protect themselves from debris thrown by fans in Montreal. You can scroll down on that link for some additional info (from Wade Heidt). … Although the NHL draft is being held remotely, the league is sending caps for 31 teams to potential first-round picks, so they wear their new team’s logo, whatever it turns out to be.

Basketball News: Whoa, check this out: Former president Barack Obama’s high school basketball jersey is up for auction (from @1NepC).

Soccer News: “Usually I don’t consider soccer NOBs to be Ticker material, because players can basically wear whatever they want as long as it’s some part of their name, which leads to lots of variations of abbreviations, spelling, and punctuation,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “But when Scottish Premiership team Livingston signed striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on Wednesday, the shirt he held up in his reveal picture had his initials, ‘JET.’ I think the use of initials is a new one. I’ll try to see if it’s actually his NOB this weekend.” … Also from Jamie: Two new shirts for Australia’s A-League and W-League’s Western Sydney Wanderers.

Grab Bag: Good piece on how moving the French Open to autumn has changed what the players wear (WaPo link) (from @jmj_fisher). … Speaking of the French Open, yesterday’s broadcast coverage included some odd scorebug shenanigans. … Here’s a look at the history of the Ferrari logo. … New 100th-anniversary logo for the University Interscholastic League, which administers athletic, musical, and academic contests for public schools in Texas (from David Wiechmann). … Bristol Motor Speedway may be converted to a dirt track for a NASCAR Cup race next year (from Christopher Hickey). … Here’s a Dallas-centric website’s picks for the best and worst jerseys in the city’s history (from @OrsonMcFeathers). … New rugby union kits for Italian side Benetton Rugby (from Jeremy Brahm).

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36 comments to As NBA Finals Begin, Next Season’s Throwbacks Keep Leaking

  • BurghFan | October 1, 2020 at 8:32 am |

    The Brooklyn Dodgers played in the NFL from 1930-43 and 1946-48. I have no idea what their logo would have been.

    • Graf Zeppelin | October 1, 2020 at 9:02 am |

      I was thinking the same thing; that might be a logo from the old Brooklyn Dodgers football team. Which doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been repurposed in the ’90s…

      • Chance Michaels | October 1, 2020 at 11:04 am |

        The 46-48 Dodgers were actually the AAFC, not the NFL. They used a bomb logo, not the baseball team’s logo.

        The AAFC’s also had a New York Yankees, who did the baseball team’s logo adapted for a different sport.

        Look on these works, ye Mighty.

  • Dave | October 1, 2020 at 9:48 am |

    “From a hosiery heroics perspective, Paddack’s prodigious and prevailing postseason predominance is likely to remain unchallenged until Friday or Saturday, when Pablo López’s turn comes up in the Marlins’ rotation.”

    Adam Wainwright is pitching on Friday. I’m not sure about the stirrups, but he’ll be rocking the hosiery and cuffed pants.

  • Dane | October 1, 2020 at 9:56 am |

    I am not a pin collector, but if Jack O’Goalie appeared on a t-shirt, you would have my attention.

  • Ted | October 1, 2020 at 10:07 am |

    The Pandemic Porch Cocktails picture speaks to me today. So much life happening. I love the jacket hanging, ready for it to cool down. The one trash can on its side, the lid laying there, all waiting to be picked up and put back. Across the street, why are there cinder blocks in a wheelbarrow? Someone’s doing some serious stuff.

    I dunno, maybe I just need to get outside more today!

  • Phightin21 | October 1, 2020 at 10:25 am |

    I guess that is Crew Chief Ted Barrett’s crew. He is a very religious man and has prayed with his crew before games on some occasions.

    • SumusResNovarum | October 1, 2020 at 11:36 am |

      And, interestingly to me, it looks as if there are 5 guys in the huddle, so perhaps one of the six opted out. Barret was one of the umps in “The Third Team” on MLB Network a few years ago and watching a crew behind the scenes is pretty fascinating. There is a whole different culture when four guys call 162 games together and are with each other more than their families for half a year.

      • Scott | October 1, 2020 at 6:54 pm |

        Yeah, pretty sure it’s just a Ted Barrett thing. His crew was working a game in St. Louis a few years ago when I saw them doing the prayer huddle prior to first pitch.

  • Marcus from Baltimore | October 1, 2020 at 10:29 am |

    Hey Paul,

    When the Washington Football Club Organization Squad Assembly Team finalizes their new team name, will you still call your first Ticker segment the “‘Skins Watch”??? I guess technically, I could ask why do you still call it the “‘Skins Watch” when the team has already changed their name?

    I also wonder how the history of the organization will be told? Will there be an attempt to blur the logo out of footage? I can’t imagine NFL Films telling the story of Doug Williams or Joe Theismann or Art Monk without referring to the old team name or by blurring out imagery.

    -Marcus

    • Paul Lukas | October 1, 2020 at 10:34 am |

      I have no plans to change the name of ’Skins Watch. If you read today’s installment, you can see one good reason why.

      • Marcus from Baltimore | October 1, 2020 at 11:11 am |

        Makes complete sense to me :-)

        • walter | October 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm |

          I also wonder how the history of the organization will be told? Will there be an attempt to blur the logo out of footage?

          I think it pointless to speculate on the future of censorship, and it would be a sin and a tragedy to attempt to whitewash the history of the Washington NFLers, or any Indian-themed team. Wait until it happens before you deal with it.

  • Wes | October 1, 2020 at 11:25 am |

    Correction: it was Troy Aikman, not Tony Romo, who called Ryan Fitzpatrick a “blue-collar quarterback”

    • Paul Lukas | October 1, 2020 at 11:29 am |

      Thanks, Wes. Will fix!

  • Nate | October 1, 2020 at 11:40 am |

    Not that this makes a material difference, but that “best Dallas uniforms” article is from December 2019.

  • Phil P | October 1, 2020 at 12:02 pm |

    Regarding the blue collar/working class tropes (forgive me if some points/questions have been discussed before): that’s some dog-whistle racial type stuff going on there, at least to some degree. Why do I say that? Well, I think blue collar is supposed to be set up as a polar opposite to the primadonna, flashy skill players who are seen as relying on skill versus working very hard (generally African American, I can’t think of too many white players who would get lumped into this group). I mean, what else would the “blue collar” thing be meant to oppose: highly complex/skill oriented/avoiding physical contact type of play? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a coach thing to praise a player who doesn’t like to think too much and be willing to put up with all the crap like breaking their bodies? Perhaps it’s a combination of all those things, but it’s definitely some type of right leaning virtue signaling, in my opinion.

    • Paul Lukas | October 1, 2020 at 12:06 pm |

      To a degree, this is accurate. But it’s also worth nothing that there are some significant exceptions to it. The University of Alabama basketball team, for example, whose roster is overwhelmingly Black, has been using the term “blue collar basketball” and even using hardhats as props for a while now (all of which is still bullshit but is not *racially coded* bullshit).

      • walter | October 1, 2020 at 9:08 pm |

        If I want to see a coach or team president praise “white collar virtues”, is that just a different kind of pandering?

  • Rick | October 1, 2020 at 12:08 pm |

    Nice article on the old Mile High Stadium and the moving grandstand. If I remember right, the left field line was still pretty short, just 335 feet (and at altitude!). Center field was a whopping 425, and right was 375ish. It was an odd layout for sure.

    • Tom | October 1, 2020 at 2:44 pm |

      I saw a game from the left field upper deck at Mile High the Rockies’ first year. The place held 70,000+ and it was absolutely packed. A crazy place to see a game. The Giants were in town that night. Barry hit two home runs that laughed at that 425 to center. They were launched halfway to Red Rocks.

      What a time that was.

  • JessMan | October 1, 2020 at 12:33 pm |

    *Shouldn’t the Niagra Falls Flyers ticker item be cross-posted in the Blue Collar Wannabe section?

    *joke

  • Aled Thomas | October 1, 2020 at 12:49 pm |

    Some of the White Sox players against Oakland in the Wild Card games (I don’t know which game, sorry, we get the games at all sorts of weird times, often 18 hours later.) were wearing socks with white patches which sort of evoked stirrups, but not quite well enough, frankly.

    https://www.nj.com/sports/2020/09/chicago-white-sox-vs-oakland-athletics-game-2-free-live-stream-93020-watch-al-wild-card-mlb-playoffs-online-time-tv-channel.html

  • That's racing | October 1, 2020 at 12:58 pm |

    As a NASCAR fan, the changes to Bristol Motor Speedway (to dirt) and to Fontana (to a short track) are pure folly, wastes of money, and desperate attempts at attention from a regional sport which has failed to garner the imagination of the fans.

    If they wanted to be ahead of the curve, they would hire more diverse people at all levels of the sport, allow drivers collective bargaining rights, and start preparing an electric car series.

    There have been too many gimmicks: stage racing, neon lights on the undertrays of cars, the “Mexico-style” paint jobs putting sponsors on the doors and numbers towards the rear, and the plan to have one wheel nut instead of the five lugs holding a wheel onto a car.

    Gimmick, gimmick, gimmick.

    • Brian | October 1, 2020 at 1:30 pm |

      RE: Fontana
      How many boring 1.5 and 2 mile tracks are needed? I’m glad Michigan is losing a race. Not enough short tracks on the schedule, so – to me – that’s a welcome change.

      RE: Bristol
      Yes, it does have gimmick element to it. It’s also the history of the sport. And the combination of track changes and car developments has cause Bristol to lose the luster of what it was, I don’t mind it. It’s another skill for the drivers to show.

      The neon lights were, IIRC, only for the All Star race, so what’s the harm?

      Some gimmicks – which is what the NBA called the ABA’s 3 point line – turn out to be inspired.

      Not to say some of your suggestions aren’t needed – although I doubt granting drivers collective bargaining rights will get more people attend/tune in for a race. The schedule needed adjusting and this does that.

      And, I’m very pleased Road America is getting a Cup race!

    • Tim | October 1, 2020 at 4:43 pm |

      The Indy car schedule was released this morning. Some are apoplectic that only 4 of 17 races (only 3 locations as Texas will host a doubleheader) next year will be on ovals.

  • Wade Heidt | October 1, 2020 at 2:47 pm |

    Looking forward to seeing the Dallas Mavericks wear the green 1980s uniforms next season. Will look much better than any uniform they wear now.

  • aboynamedart | October 1, 2020 at 2:58 pm |

    First-time commenter, longtime reader here. Those throwback tees just reinforce my belief that the NBA should design their “replica” merch as ringer tanks rather than t-shirts. Much closer to the real thing without making you look like a talk radio goon.

  • Will S | October 1, 2020 at 4:42 pm |

    Love the inclusion of the Vitebsk “Uni design meets poster design” article today. Great Stuff.

    • walter | October 1, 2020 at 9:13 pm |

      Yeah, those Constructivist designs cry out to be used in a fashion context. Good uniforms, good design!

  • Tim | October 1, 2020 at 4:51 pm |

    With the right stirrup treatment, this would be my best uniform from yesterday…unfortunately, the majority of the A’s seem to go baggy pants…love the Kelly green.

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/khris-davis-of-the-oakland-athletics-is-congratulated-by-news-photo/1277684195?adppopup=true

  • SRP91 | October 1, 2020 at 5:52 pm |

    According to a few different places, the Calgary Flames will be going to their retro jerseys, both white and red, full-time when the next NHL season begins. The team has teased an announcement for Monday, which is the day before the NHL draft.

  • Steve D | October 1, 2020 at 11:49 pm |

    The only thing as hideous as the Jet uniforms is their play. At least the stupid shapes on the Broncos unis are somewhat coordinated.

  • Michael Gallagher | October 2, 2020 at 1:02 am |

    Hey Paul,

    I thought this would be something interesting: https://news.uwgb.edu/featured/alumni/09/30/uw-green-bay-unveils-new-phlash-caricature-items-now-available-at-the-phoenix-bookstore/

    The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay rebased a new caricature of its mascot, and it was designed neither by a design firm but a recent graduate as part of there work in the communications office. The student was also able to use the work as part of their portfolio to land a job post graduation.

    Pretty neat that went this route of keeping it ‘in house” and giving a student the experience.