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Oh Say, Can You See Team USA’s Numbers?

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Slow uni-week, my foot, Phil…

Hello again! Jim here with more breaking news. Mr. Hecken is en route to his curling bonspiel, and just as he was leaving we got a look at both the “home” and “away” uniforms for the USA Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. The Women’s Team photos for the away unis are available as well, but not the homes. Back in April, Paul gave us a first look at the blue jerseys for the men. Now we can see the shorts and on-court warmup as well.

I’m going to call this the Anti-Lee Greenwood Collection, because if you’re using stealth lettering for your country’s name, you seem as if you’re not very Proud To Be An American.



No, it’s not as stealthy as some other jerseys, thanks to the block-shadowing. Still, numbers and letters that are the same color as the jersey is an affront to on-court/on-field aesthetics that needs to be stopped. People in the cheap seats still pay good money these days to see a live sporting event. They, and the announcers and statisticians who aren’t always close to the action, deserve better. Sure, it’s a nice looking *fashion* jersey, and I’m $ure that’$ why Nike keep$ going with thi$ look. So sell it separately and remember that on the court, Contrast Matters.

Anyway, the Women’s jersey has the same issue, but in red instead of blue.




I don’t mind the blue/red sublimation on the sides of both the jerseys and the shorts. That was my only look at the shorts for the women.

One more thing about the jerseys: just above the jock tag (so not visible when tucked in), the men have the words “Sparks of Destiny,” while for the women it says “Embers of Dynasty.”




For the men, you can see the shorts in better detail, which features a star at the bottom of the side panel.



Then there’s the on-court warmup, which is a blue wavy-patterned zip-up hoodie that doesn’t Respect The Placket.



Another Nike design that looks good on a computer screen, but not so much in real life. The jersey and the warmup were *this* close to looking great. Just Do It Better next time.






I Think That's It For Today...

I know that’s it for me today, because I have to pick up my daughter and then I work tonight. Take care, everyone…enjoy the 4th and I’ll see you this weekend!



Comments (17)

    “[N]umbers and letters that are the same color as the jersey is an affront to on-court/on-field aesthetics that needs to be stopped.”

    Hear, hear!

    These had a chance at greatness. Sigh.

    Why does it say “embers” on the women’s jock tag and “sparks” on the men’s? It just makes it seem like the Women’s team is on the downswing—like their legacy of victory is dying—but, in my view, both the women’s team and men’s team are still incredibly dominant so neither of them are embering or near-embering.

    When I saw “sparks” my thought was the LA Sparks of the WNBA. I could see why they wouldn’t use that for the women, since they have players from more than one team.
    But yeah, I see your point. And “sparks” makes it sound as if the men’s dominance is just beginning.
    Both teams should have used the title of an essential Yacht Rock song instead.
    When in doubt, always go with Loggins.

    The Nike Commandment – There shall be no feature of the uniform more prominent than the corporate logo.

    Not the best USA basketball uni (my favorite is the 1996 Atlanta design) but far from the worst.

    Why, oh why, do these designers think they have to be so cute? Just put white on dark and dark on white and be done with it. This ain’t rocket surgery!

    So this is what it’s come to? Nikes next big thing is to make unis that don’t actually serve their function?! This is just dumb….

    These are actually the USA Olympic chess or checkers team uniforms, judging from the waistband pattern. Or should that graphic represent sparks and embers? I never tuck in my basketball jersey but I would with a tag line as corny as these. Sparks Of Destiny? SOD Off! Embers of Dynasty is saying: yes, we are bad right now, we know it and we are almost extinguished. What kind of message is that?
    Otherwise these uniforms are quite decent except for the anti contrast numbers: stupidly trendy. The warming up pyjama tops should be forgotten as quickly as possible. A fashion faux pas, especially for games in Paris.

    Why is the blue so dark? Flag blue is not royal blue but these look almost black. And the ghosted numbers would be such an easy fix to make. You would think the Olympics could make a rule saying the numbers must be a contrasting color. They order the numbers a player can wear, why not the color? And FIFA makes teams block off the space where numbers go on the shirt backs, which affects teams wearing stripes or hoops. The US would force Nike to comply if eligibility in the Games was on the line.

    I know I’m an outlier here but I like these and don’t mind numbers/letters that are the same color as the uniform depending how drop shadow/outline is used.

    Not my favorite but I do like it in this instance. I’d like it better if it was a novelty and not part of a poor uniform design epidemic. The corporate shit annoys me.

    Anyway, longtime reader, rare commenter. Keep up the good stuff UW community!

    NFHS, the national high school sports federation, has declared “ghost” numbers like this illegal starting with the 2024-25 basketball season. Basically, if you remove the outline(s) and can’t read the number against the jersey color, it’s now illegal.

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