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NBA Honors MLK

For all photos, click to enlarge

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.)

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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.

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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).

Monday Morning Uni Watch

On Saturday, the Tugboat Captain and I were at a bar in deepest Brooklyn, watching the Eagles/Falcons game. When that game ended, they switched to the Titans/Patriots game, and they showed Tom Brady walking onto the field.

I realize that a lot of people hate Tom Brady. Some people hate him because he married a supermodel (which I don’t care about because celebrity culture means less than nothing to me). Other people hate him because they hate Boston and/or hate teams from Boston (I like Boston fine, and I’m a Yankees-hating Mets fan, which means I’m predisposed to liking the Red Sox). Others hate him because of deflategate (he served his suspension).

As I explained to the Tugboat Captain as we watched the game the other night, I really like Tom Brady. Not so much because he’s a great quarterback, but because he’s a great-looking quarterback. When I think of what I want a quarterback to look like, aesthetically, I think of Brady or someone very much like him. Everything about his body and posture looks and feels Just Right. The ratio of his torso to his legs, the ratio of his thighs to his calves, the width of his shoulder pads, his height, the way he plants his back foot after fading back to pass, even the way he wears his eye black. From an aesthetic standpoint, he is immensely pleasing to watch. He’s like the dictionary definition of how a quarterback should look (at least in my dictionary). About the only thing I don’t like about his look is the knee brace on his left leg, which looks particularly clunky with the Pats’ striped white road socks.

Brady also happens to be tremendously successful, but on-field success doesn’t always correlate with aesthetic appeal. Peyton Manning was a great quarterback, but I never enjoyed watching him play. His body, and the way that body moved, never appealed to me. Another example: Dan Fouts. When I was a kid, I was always surprised that Fouts was so successful, because he didn’t look like he’d be successful. His body was stubby (well, relatively speaking, compared to lots of other quarterbacks, or at least it looked that way, in part because he was one of the first QBs to wear a flak jacket under his jersey) and his movements weren’t graceful.

Quarterbacks I’ve loved to watch over the years, aside from Brady, have included Roger Staubach (although I’ve always hated the Cowboys and therefore always hated Staubach) and Randall Cunningham (great posture, and I loved his shoulder pads and even his thigh pads, if you can believe that). Quarterbacks that have kinda bugged me have included Fran Tarkenton (too small), Drew Brees (too small), and Joe Namath (terrible posture with those sloping shoulders). I don’t mean to take anything away from those quarterbacks, each of whom, obviously, is an all-time great. I just haven’t found them as visually satisfying to watch.

The two teams I root for — the 49ers and Giants — are both in the NFC, so I rarely have any emotional stake in Brady’s games. I’m free to observe him on a strictly aesthetic basis, and I usually like what I see.

As for yesterday’s playoff games:

• Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette wore his old purple and gold shoulder pads from LSU:

• Steelers linebacker Vince Williams wore a backplate emblazoned with the uni number of injured teammate Ryan Shazier:

Embed from Getty Images

• The Jags celebrated their win with teal champagne — gross.

• Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught the miracle game-winning catch against the Saints, wore solid white socks with no purple:

Embed from Getty Images

Meanwhile: Only three games left to go in the season. There’s still a chance that we could have our first mono-black Super Bowl team (and history’s worst Super Bowl helmet), if the Jags win in New England. There’s also the unsettling possibility of the Jags facing the Vikings, which would be an aesthetic shitshow of epic proportions. You know who I’ll be rooting for next Sunday.

(My thanks to Robert Hayes, Ryan Miller, and Griffin Smith for their contributions to this section.)

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NBA uni ad update: When the NBA season tipped off on Oct. 17, 17 of the league’s 30 teams were wearing corporate advertising patches. Less than 10 days later, that number ticked up to 18, as the Pelicans got on board. Less than three weeks after that, the number reached 19, as the Hornets revealed their ad patch.

At that point, it seemed plausible — or at least not implausible — that there’d be a steady drip-drip-drip of additional teams joining the ad program as the season progressed. I recall one longtime reader (hi, Dan!) posting a comment that basically said, “Well, now it’s obvious that every team is going to do it.”

It has now been exactly two months since the Hornets became the 19th ad-clad team, and we’re still stuck at 19. With the season now a bit more than half over, I’d say it now seems plausible — or, again, not implausible — that the number is likely to stay right where it is.

I think the primary lesson here is that this is all uncharted territory and that we should refrain from making strong predictions, or even having strong expectations, because the whole enterprise has turned out to be extremely unpredictable.

All of that said, while I’m disappointed that so many teams have gone ad-clad, I’m very pleased that more than a third of the league’s teams have remained ad-free, at least so far. A nice surprise. #NoUniAds

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NBA Uni Tracking
By Collin Wright

The three possible types of color matchups are beginning to level out, but we’ll probably see more home teams wearing colors and color-on-color games as teams begin wearing their two alternate uniforms, most of which are colored (click to enlarge):

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Just think about it: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the day when we celebrate the life of history’s greatest American. It’s astonishing to think how short that life was — King was only 39 when he was assassinated nearly 50 years ago. If he were still alive, today would be his 89th birthday. Imagine what he could have accomplished in those 50 years, and imagine how much better off we’d be for it. What a waste.

The Grizzlies, who are playing the Lakers today, will honor King today by debuting their new alternate uniform, whose design is based on signage from the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike — the final civil rights campaign of King’s life. The full story behind the design is nicely spelled out here — definitely worth reading. The game will tip off at 5:30pm Eastern and is being televised by TNT.

In addition, the UMass-Lowell basketball team will be wearing King-themed uniforms for this afternoon’s game against New Hampshire:

(My thanks to Tommy Coyle for his contribution to this section.)

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Membership update: If you made a New Year’s resolution to finally sign up for a custom-designed Uni Watch membership card already (like Ryan Koslen’s card, shown at right, which is based on the Trail Blazers’ new Dr. Jack Ramsay-themed alternate), there’s no time like the present to make good on that resolution.

Remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a miniature Blue Ridge Parkway sign (among lots of other trinkets, as seen above). Check it out here.

I am low on KRC content and in need of new entries. If your key ring includes a special object with a good story behind it, please get in touch.

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Curling update: My curling team won its final game of the season with a very solid 7-2 victory last night. That’s me holding the “Curler’s Crying Towel” that reader Will Scheibler recently sent me (and that I showcased on the site last week). Fortunately, we didn’t need any of those excuses this time time around.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Cardinals third base coach José Oquendo is reclaiming No. 11 in his second spell in the position, moving the current occupant, infielder Paul DeJong, to No. 12 (from Braden Claassen). … Reader Chris Flinn found a baseball-themed Sesame Street book with great visuals, including a bullpen cart as well as Bert and Ernie et al. wearing stirrups.

Hockey News: The Tulsa Oilers (ECHL), an affiliate of the Blues, wore Blues-themed jerseys on Saturday (from Mike Iles). … Former Blackhawks winger Éric Dazé was invited onto the ice before his team’s game yesterday against the Red Wings, appearing with the CCM jersey he would have worn instead of a current one (from Michael Alper).

Basketball News: Vanderbilt did a blackout yesterday against Kentucky, except the team wore gold instead (from Josh Hinton). … The officials in yesterday’s Indiana-Northwestern game were wearing stripes of two different widths (from @Adam_PHN).

Soccer News: Everton striker Cenk Tosun, who joined the team this week, wears FNOB. He’s not the only Turkish-German player in Liverpool to do so, as Liverpool defender Emre Can does as well. … American winger Landon Donovan recently un-retired to play for Mexican team Club León. Donovan is to wear No. 20, which “must be a reference” to the seven times that the U.S. have beaten Mexico 2-0 since 2001 (collectively known as “Dos a Cero”), says Mark McGinnis. … New white third shirt for Scottish Championship team Queen of the South. … Japanese team FC Tokyo revealed its new home kit (from Jeremy Brahm). The team’s website also shows the away and three goalkeeper shirts. … Future USL team Nashville SC has one of those explanations of the elements of its crest, except you can’t see all of it here (from Josh Hinton). The guy standing in front of it is pro wrestler Eric Young. … Also from Josh: An Arsenal fan at yesterday’s game at Bournemouth was wearing a mashup of this season’s home shirt, last season’s away shirt, and the team’s 90s-era crest. … The NOB of Sevilla’s Danish center-back Simon Kjær has what Charlie Eldred calls “AshOB,” as in the name of the letter “æ.” … English second-tier women’s team Millwall Lionesses have a rare advertiser-free kit, except for the maker’s mark.

Grab Bag: The NLL’s Rochester Knighthawks wore teal alternates at home, creating a color-on-color matchup with the New England Black Wolves (from Wade Heidt). … The chair umpires at the Australian Open tennis tourney now have motorized seats (from Blake Fox). … Several new paint schemes for NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan (from David Firestone). … Reader Preston Salisbury sent us a view of British Airways’ 1984-1997 livery. … New brown berets for the U.S. Air Force.

Gotham Baseball Gets A New Logo

By Phil Hecken

One of the things I do is get google alerts for such things as “uniforms,” “jerseys,” and “helmets,” among other things, and earlier this past week, I actually got an alert for an item that ran on Chris Creamer’s board, titled “Gotham Baseball Unveils New Logo“, by “Guest Author” (meaning they basically just took a press release and reworked it). Literally just as I was about to tweet the story, Mark Healey (who I know from several Mets’ QBC events) DMed me and asked if I’d seen the story. Now, Mark runs Gotham Baseball (which piqued my interest to begin with) and I also noticed that their new logo was designed by none other than UW pal Todd Radom.

For those who are unfamiliar (which I assume is probably most of you), Gotham Baseball has been and is many things; a print magazine, a popular website and message board, a podcast, and a multi-platform product with a digital magazine and podcast component. But really, it’s a celebration of New York Baseball. The “past, present and future of the New York game,” according to the “About” section of their website. I’d checked out the online site a number of times, and there really is a lot of great stuff on there (the online archives go back to 2009). Yes, it’s primarily concerned with (as the name implies) New York baseball, but it is also a great resource for the baseball fan.

But back to the original press release. You’ll note it says “To celebrate a website redesign and other ongoing projects slated for 2018, Gotham Baseball is rolling out a new logo. Designed by award-winning designer Todd Radom, the new Gotham Baseball logo incorporates aspects of Gotham Baseball’s past, while incorporating a sleeker look that mirrors the brand’s push forward.” This would have made for a nice ticker item, or even a sub-lede, or I could have simply repurposed the release here. But as I know both Mark and Todd, I wanted to delve a little further — what did the old logo look like? was there more than one iteration? And how did Todd (and Mark) come up with the new logo, which looks like this:

I asked Mark if he could take me from the first logo up to the present, and he gladly obliged. The original concept artwork was very different from the sharp logo of today.

“The first images are the first-ever identity for Gotham Baseball,” Mark says. “They were conceptualized by myself and Mike McGann, with the actual design work being McGann’s. A year later, Mike and I parted ways; and I decided to completely rework the entire look and feel.”

From these humble beginnings, the visual identity for Gotham Baseball began:

After the original logo had outlived its purpose, Mark decided on a redesign. This time the focus would be more on the New York aspect.

“I wanted the new design to put more emphasis on “Gotham” and really wanted more of a baseball feel,” he says. “This time around, I wanted an element from every team in the design: the navy (Yankees), orange (Mets), Dodgers (the tail) and Giants (the G, from the 1951 Giants logo). Some of the elements were deliberately derivative, like the tail and the G, for obvious reasons, but also wanted something original.”

What came from that was the GB logo, Mark II (no pun intended):’

(And as with all logos, there are several different iterations depending upon the situation.)

“Designer Karen Cousino did the actual design work, but I was more involved in the conceptual design this time around,” adds Mark. “My wife — after days of Karen and I going back and forth on the primary logo — suggested an oval to place the text inside of. The primary logo, the GB oval, was born.”

Here’s how a couple of those logos looked on the GB mag:

Never one to be satisfied, Mark decided that 2018 would bring the dawn of a new logo. And this time, he decided to use the immense talents of Todd Radom (who is not only a friend to UW, he’s designed the official logos for Super Bowl XXXVIII and the 2009 NBA All Star Game, as well as the graphic identity for Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels). I’m sure most of you are familiar with his work.

Below are the previous logo and the new logo, after Todd redesigned it:

I gave a quick shout out to Todd to ask him about the new logo (what follows is a VERY quick and dirty Q&A, as Todd and I were both pressed for time):

Uni Watch: This is a great looking design! I’m curious as to how much of this is original and how much was Mark’s (and Gotham Baseball’s) contribution. Did he provide you with sketches for this first, or did you look at the previous logo history and kind of update/reimagine the new logo After Mark first approached you about the new logo, how long did it take (roughly) from start to finish to create it?

Todd Radom: The logo spun off of some additional components within the overall project. I’d say that the core part of the work took part over the course of a week and a half or so.

UW: As far as logo redesigns go, was this one “easier” than the average one?

TR: None are EVER easy, but knowing the subject matter as I do and knowing Mark made for a streamlined process.

UW: Looking at the 2006 logos, before you came on board, I think these were pretty solid. Did having a strong identity like this make it easier or harder or come up with a reimagining?

TR: The original art needed some finessing — it really needed to be made less dimensional for versatile usage more than anything else, but yes, it represented a solid foundation to move forth from. There was existing brand equity here, so the new work really was an evolution off of what already existed.

UW: The colors are (obviously) navy, white and orange (taken from area baseball teams) and the “G” derives from the New York Giants — a pretty great template to begin with. Did you (even if you could) ever have thoughts about tweaking those colors or did you find them an excellent palette to begin with?

TR: A great palette with deep resonance and great contrast.

UW: Was it your idea to change the logo from an oval to basically a roundel? Any reason for this (without giving any industry trade secrets)?

TR: Sometimes the best solutions are ones that don’t overthink the problem. Round logos allow for an expansive and intelligent use of real estate, and that was the case here.

UW: Did you add the bats and stitching into the logo? Since the logo already reads “Gotham Baseball” do you think those added elements provide for a stronger ‘brand’? I think this would allow the logo to be used without the words — the “G” and baseball elements provide a strong visual cue that, ‘hey, this is a baseball team/logo’. Will that be an option (for say, a secondary logo)?

TR: I did add those elements. They provide context to the “G,” but they also serve as visual ballast and help lasso it in, a structural thing.

At this point, you’re probably saying (if you’ve gotten this far) “OK, so what’s the deal with the splash photo? That looks like a baseball cap with the logo. But they don’t have a team or uniforms or anything.” Well, while discussing this with Mark, he let me in on a little secret — there WILL be uniforms.

“YES there are unis involved in this current project,” says Mark, “but it’s very hush, hush at the moment…Todd designed THREE different sets (home and away for both).” Unfortunately, while the unis are designed, they’re not ready for prime time yet. But when they are, you can be sure we’ll show them here. Are they great?

“They are really awesome,” Mark says “It’s tied to the book I am currently working on, Gotham Baseball: Legends of the New York Game.”

Mark actually showed me some of his uniform sketches (unfortunately I can’t share those with you). But he did allow me to tease a pic of the forthcoming cap:

I haven’t seen how Todd worked these into uniforms (yet), but I did follow up with him on them a bit:

Uni Watch: OK — now on to the REALLY good stuff — I know Gotham isn’t ready to reveal the uniforms (yet). But I understand you also designed them from sketches provided to you by Mark. Can you talk about the design process without really giving anything away?

Todd Radom: That was really fun—imagining how this “team” would have evolved over the course of time, looking at historic reference and executing the art with all of that in mind. This is right in my wheelhouse, a combination of knowledge, research, and execution. I think that everyone will really enjoy the results.

UW: How close will the uni designs be to what is actually produced?

TR: We will see — as always, the manufacturing process often drives the process forward in pragmatic fashion.

UW: Was this a fun redesign for you to be a part of?

TR: Absolutely! I am a native New Yorker with a love and appreciation for baseball and history and design and have been since I was a kid. Pure serendipity.

So how great is that? I don’t have an ETA on when we’ll get to see the unis, but as soon as they’re ready, I’ll happily share them with you guys.

Before I close, I wanted to point out that Gotham Baseball also had an anniversary logo:

That was “designed by myself and Gene Berardelli,” says Mark. “Gene’s one of my partners in Gotham Baseball, and is an attorney who does graphics on the side. He has worked on so many projects over the years.”

Finally — and anyone who has ever attended a Mets QBC (“Queens Baseball Convention”) will know, Mark’s dad bears an uncanny resemblance to (now former) Mets skipper Terry Collins. He even dresses in Mets gear when he attends the event, fooling a bunch of folks along the way.

The QBC is next weekend at Katch Astoria. Sadly, Paul, Todd and myself, who have formed a portion of the “Uniform Panel” (chaired by Paul) and been at every QBC since its inception, all have separate plans and won’t be there this year. But Mark will be back this year, hosting his “State of the Mets” panel. Hopefully a few readers will be in attendance and can check it out — if you see him, make sure to pepper him with a few questions about the new logo and unis!

Big thanks to Mark and Todd for all their insights into the new logo here.

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Jersey Number What If’s

Got an e-mail from Joseph Gerard that I was originally just going to ignore, but it’s kind of an interesting little think-piece. It’s way too long to be a ticker item, so I’ll just post it below:

Phil,

Earlier this week I was on NFLShop.com seeing if I could order an Antonio Brown jersey with his college number (27) instead of his normal 84. I mainly wanted to see a mock-up, which I guess NFLShop.com no longer has for customized jerseys.

That led to me thinking: what if NFL players coming out of college were allowed to wear their college numbers in the pros and weren’t forced to go by the NFL’s rigid numbering system? Even though the NFL has loosened up the rules quite a bit since the current system went into effect in 1973, they’re still more rigid than any other sport and certainly more rigid than all other levels of football.

Here I wanted to see a what-if, if certain past and present NFL players got to wear their college number if their college number wasn’t in the “correct” numbering scheme. A few rules I have:

• Only players that have played in the league since 1973. Players before that obviously had more leniency on numbers and were grandfathered well into the 1980s, so they’re excluded.

• Offensive lineman are still stuck with numbers 50-79–consistent with all levels of football for ineligible receiver-based reasons. Honestly, lineman should be the only ones IMO consigned to certain jersey numbers due to that requirement: skill position offensive players and all defensive players should be allowed to wear whatever jersey number they want as long as it is available.

• No retired numbers or “unofficially retired” numbers, as well as numbers already taken by an active player on the roster that would otherwise fit within the number grid.
OK, here we go…

Antonio Brown, 27
Start with AB. Business would be boomin’ with 27. At the time he was drafted, 27 was being worn by cornerback Joe Burnett, so let’s say Brown goes with 84 for training camp. Burnett ends up being cut during the final cutdowns to 53 players, so Brown picks up 27 at that point. The rest, they say, is history.

Hines Ward, 19
Hines actually wore 15 during his rookie training camp and preseason before switching to his more familiar 86 at the start of the season, with Andre Coleman having had 19 the year before. (Note: this was six years before the NFL allowed wide receivers to wear numbers 10-19, Keyshawn Johnson aside.) Coleman by this point had switched to 83 (his number with the Chargers), so I’m not sure why Ward wore 15 instead of 19. I can guarantee you that if he would have been able to wear it, the current holder of 19 (rookie sensation JuJu Smith-Schuster) would be wearing a different number, seeing that 86 is now among the many numbers now out of circulation for Steelers greats.

Doug Flutie, 22
Dave Dureson had 22 locked up when Flutie went to the NFL with the Bears, but wouldn’t it have been fun to see him wear it in New England or Buffalo? 22 was available when Flutie was traded to the Patriots, as well as when he returned to the NFL with the Bills. Even today, it’s rare to find quarterbacks in college that wear a number higher than 19.

Larry Fitzgerald, 1
Fitzgerald adding another 1 to his jersey with the Cardinals was an easy fix, but seeing that he is one of the all-time great receivers (and a class act at that off the field), wouldn’t 1 be fitting for him?

Charles Woodson, 2
I’d say Woodson would look pretty sweet wearing number 2 in the NFL. Even though he was with the Packers by the time the team drafted JaMarcus Russell, I’m sure Mark Davis would have no qualms with him wearing the number in his 2nd stint in Oakland, unlike, say…Terelle Pryor.

Lawrence Taylor, 98
OK, this number would be allowed today. But not only was it not allowed when Taylor entered the NFL in 1981, numbers 90-99 weren’t even allowed by the league AT ALL. Nonetheless, he DID wear it during his rookie preseason before being forced to switch to 56 at the start of the season. The NFL started allowing defensive lineman and linebackers to wear 90s numbers in 1984, but by this point LT was too well-known to be making a mid-career number change. If we could only see him ending Joe Theismann’s career in number 98 instead of 56.

Reggie Bush, 5
OK, so the recently-retired Bush did try to petition the NFL to allow him to wear number 5, but failed and had to settle for 25. Ironic since he ended up wearing multiple jersey numbers afterwards–many without a 5 being a digit–and at least in Buffalo would have been wearing a different number anyways due to Tyrod Taylor already wearing number 5.

Jeff Reed, 45
OK, this is more of a joke, and it does violate one of my rules since Reed was signed by the Steelers mid-season and 45 was already worn by fan favorite Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala at the time. But, kickers and punters do tend to wear the least desirable numbers in college and I’m pretty sure Sheetz employees don’t have to worry about Fu’ vandalizing a men’s room paper towel dispenser.

LaVar Ball…I mean, LaVar Arrington, 11
It’s too bad the NFL banned leaping over players at the line of scrimmage. Arrington’s specialty wouldn’t work today. But, wearing number 11 with the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons would look pretty sweet, with all due respects to Mark Rypien. Too bad he would’ve had to change his number in New York since an obnoxious NFL studio analyst for CBS has that number retired.

I’m sure there are more. Do you think we could have these numbers photoshopped onto these players?

Thanks Joseph, I think.

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Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Paul forwarded to me this awesome e-mail from UW pal Marty Hick, whose beautiful daughter just celebrated her 5th birthday.

Check this out…

Something old, something Uwe

Probably because of her room colors and the cheep hat we scored at Ross Dress for Less, the Dolphins are Clara’s favorite team.

She turned 5.

I give to you… Uwe Von Schamann.

Tag included.

Thanks for sharing Marty! (and yes, I did get your belated Happy B-Day wishes — thanks!!!)

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: The Canton (OH) Repository ran an article on a local man creating wallets from old baseball gloves (from Tom Pachuta). … Check out this absolutely gorgeous photo of Lou Brock as a Cub (photo taken & sent in by Paul Plaine). … Here’s a good look at the Pirates new alternate jersey for 2018 & the matching hat (from Robert Hayes). … CROSSOVER ALERT: The Houston Astros’ Tony Kemp was rocking a Tennessee Titans beanie at Astros FanFest yesterday (from Ignacio — also posted in NFL). … Hah — check out this TV uniform action, courtesy of “The Greatest American Hero”. California Stars versus the Oakland Mets, in Dodger Stadium (from Shawn Hairston).

NFL News: Whoa! Check out this program from the original Buffalo Bills, the Bills of the AAFC from 1947 (from Dylan Nowak). … Ugh, the New Orleans Saints will wear their worst possible combo today versus the Vikings (from Russell Goutierez). … “Can somebody PLEASE tell (Houston Texans’ Head Coach Bill O’Brien) to wear a hat that matches the uniform?” asks Eric Olson. “Am I the only one who cringes when I see him wearing a black cap with the logo?” … “I am in process of moving, and had this jem of a poster packed away in my basement,” says Peter Fredrickson. “Packers in the 80’s were a deeply depressing team to follow. My Uncle in the Bay area would send over 49ers items whenever he could in the early to mid 80’s. I love the detail of “that Superbowl Season”! All games they won that year are represented, including playoffs and SB. Here are a few pics of what is featured on it. I hope to find a good place to display this in my new home.” … Of Super Bowl VIII, played on January 13, 1974, Jimmer Vilk notes this: “IIRC, only SB with stripes on footballs, last with goalposts on goal line & a nice uni matchup.” … CROSSOVER ALERT: The Houston Astros’ Tony Kemp was rocking a Tennessee Titans beanie at Astros FanFest yesterday (from Ignacio — also posted in baseball). … Another great program cover: From the 1st ever meeting of the Boston Patriots & Houston Oilers, November 25, 1960 (from Michael Malnicof). … The Philadelphia Eagles Lane Johnson wore some kind of dog mask yesterday. Submitter Blake Fox adds, “Awesome look for Lane Johnson! Ironically, they had a dog trick show at half-time!” … Yesterday, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was wearing an old Reebok hoodie under his Nike jacket (from Aaron Medina). It’s a good look. And it’s probably one of these (from Eric). Yeah, it definitely was. And in the second half, was he wearing a balaclava? (from Dan Kennedy). It appears so (from Brian). … Brandon Cooks is another player who has his TV numbers extending over his shoulder loops (from @Arlington10). Also sporting TVs with number overlaps is Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones (from Mike Karamas and
Justin Hicks
. … After the Eagles defeated the Falcons yesterday, Tony Dungy visited the Eagles locker room and his son was wearing an inside out Colts champs beanie (from Kyle). … Tom Brady wore a turtleneck with an upside down NFL logo (from John Bedell). … Finally, we bid farewell to these Titans unis, as they’ll be getting a new set next season (from @AtoZSports). I was never a fan of these unis (combined to much modern — the helmet stripes, shoulder yokes, numbers — with old). But I did really like that combo. Hopefully whatever they get in their redesign will include the white tops over light blue pants.

College Football News: College Football season may have “ended” last Monday with the National Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia, but yesterday the Akron Zips introduced a “Z-bar” facemask — I guess it’s legit (it comes from the Akron Zips Equipment twitter account). Any helmet/mask guys know if something like this is even legal? (Update: the mask is for display/recruiting purposes only, as I’d suspected. The Zips Equip then followed up with this humorous tweet.) … Tweeter @TheTDJ saw this black Wisconsin helmet in a restaurant yesterday. “Not a great look,” he notes.

Hockey News: The US Hockey NTDP (National Team Development Program) has revealed Star Wars Inspired Jerseys — Team USA unveils Darth Vader themed jerseys for a January 20th event (from @bturner12387). Here is some more on that, plus more photos. … CROSSOVER ALERT: Yesterday the San Jose Sharks wore Golden State Warriors-inspired sweaters during warmups (also posted in NBA). There were also some crossover logos (from Alex.

NBA News: The Charlotte Hornets turn 30 this year. Looks like they have a special new logo to commemorate the occasion. They’ve got a whole bunch of stuff planned, including news that “team will also reveal a ‘Classic Edition’ uniform before the 2018-19 season to wear for certain games,” (from Brad Solomon). … The Memphis Grizzlies will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (this Monday) when they break out their awesome City alternate uniforms. Here’s an interesting article that details the Griz’ & Memphis connection. “The Memphis Grizzlies do not stick to sports. They have never stuck to sports. They were not brought here to stick to sports. They may be the only major league team whose very existence was inspired by the desire to deepen racial understanding in a community.” … CROSSOVER ALERT: Yesterday the San Jose Sharks wore Golden State Warriors-inspired sweaters during warmups (also posted in hockey). There were also some crossover logos (from Alex.

College Hoops News: According to the tweeter who goes by Fifty Shades of Gratuitous Class (aka @JMLedgewood), Xavier was not wearing the modern design throwbacks from their reveal. They were wearing the same outfits they brought out last year. Maybe they didn’t want them to rip. Nevertheless, Jimmer Vilk thinks the throwbacks they wore were “fire icon.” … Or maybe it wasn’t a mistake at all. … Youngstown State and UW Milwaukee played a color vs. color game yesterday (from Robert Hayes). … Also going color on color yesterday was Texas Tech and West Virginia (from Cameron Schneider). Here’s another look (from Josh Claywell). … An increasing number of Virginia Tech players have been rolling down the waistbands on their shorts, giving the appearance of a white stripe around their hips (from Andrew Cosentino). … Looks like Syracuse either had new unis or something else was “fresh” at FSU yesterday, from the looks of that tweet (via Paul). … The OSU Cowboys wore
these special shooting shirts in honor of Texas guard Andrew Jones. They added, “We’re behind you all the way, Andrew!” (from Rob Gimlin). … San Francisco State debuted new purple unis last evening.

Soccer News: Here’s a look at the kits to be worn in the Premier League for this weekend (from Josh Hinton). This includes some that were worn yesterday, as well as Sunday-Monday.

Grab Bag: The Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers teams in the BBL and WBBL T20 cricket competition wore indigenous-themed jerseys for their games at Tregear Park, Alice Springs (from Graham Clayton). … When good logos go bad: From Patrick Thomas, “alright this UVU logo has been bugging me for a bit. The first U is supposed to look the state in the negative space which is brilliant…but the other U is not even the same U….and it’s so annoying.” … Ollie Schniederjans is playing in his first 2018 PGA Tour Tournament, the Sony Open in Hawaii, and he still isn’t wearing a hat or visor, notes Zach Loesl. (This is odd for a couple reasons: [1] golfers almost always wear something to deflect the sun, even when it’s not sunny and [2] that is prime real estate for a sponsor logo). Also from Zach, John Peterson was wearing a camouflage hat in the Sony Open.

• • • • •

And A Quick Note From Jimmer Vilk: All gifts from the Vilkmas Raffle will be going out into the mail this week.

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Some Additional Ointment (For The Rash)...

By Phil Hecken

Just a little under a month ago, with the great help of graphic design artist Matthew Blinco, I penned a column that would attempt to maybe, possibly, somewhat fix the NFL’s ill-fated color rash uniform debacle (herein after simply referred to as “CR”). In that column, I asked Matthew to create several new uniform combos, combining either the jerseys or pants from the CR uni, coupled with regular uniform elements, to create something that was in most cases, a bit more appealing to the eyes than the monocrap that is CR. Since it was during the holiday season, some of you may not have seen it. In a subsequent column, Matthew created one additional combo that had been suggested. I asked readers if they had more suggestions for combos, adding that I’d try to get Matthew to whip up some more. You guys responded — and so has Matthew. He did up EIGHT more possible looks based on your suggestions, and I’d like to share them with you today. You can click to enlarge any image below.

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Buffalo Bills (white jerseys with red CR pants):

Like the red jersey with white pants, I like this combo, but not as much. There’s something about a team with a white helmet having a white jersey and dark pants that just doesn’t look “right.” I actually think I like the blue jersey/red pants look better. But ANYTHING is better than the all red they’ve worn thrice now (even though that snow game against the Colts provided a perfect opportunity).

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Dallas Cowboys (white CR jerseys with silver/gray pants):

This is basically the opposite of the uniform that started the CR mixing (regular blue jerseys over white CR pants). I liked that look and I like this one. I get why the Cowboys stick with their royal blue NOB, stripes & numbers on their regular white home uni, and the now-iconic-but-almost-comical green/blue/silver pants, but I think wearing the CR jersey (with navy blue) and their normal hat/’road’ pants looks neater. Maybe it’s my OCD acting up, but this one is much more pleasing on the eyes.

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Green Bay Packers (green jerseys with white CR pants):

Here’s another look I like, (in this instance, the Packers CR uni was mono-white instead of mono-green or mono-gold, which probably would have looked awful). But the Pack are so iconic in their green and gold, it’s hard to picture them wearing white pants other than when forced to by the league. It might be interesting to have seen how an all green or all gold CR uni looked. Maybe then green pants with a white jersey could be an option. But it’s probably best to just leave the Pack alone here.

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New England Patriots (blue CR jerseys with white CR pants):

Unlike many teams (thankfully), the Patriots actually have both a mono-blue CR uni and a mono-white CR uni (though the jersey is unchanged from their regular white jersey). This combines the tops and bottoms. I have never been a fan of the current iteration of the Pats’ unis, so I like this mashup — especially the UCLA shoulder loops. But, to borrow a phrase from 45, everyone agrees the Patriots in red jerseys and Pat Patriot on their hats is the best look.

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New England Patriots (blue CR jerseys with red pants):

OK — the Pats don’t (yet) have an all red CR uni (and lets pray they never do), so this one was a reader request for a uni that doesn’t have any ability to exist (yet). But the Patriots do have a history history of red pants — so it’s not out of the realm of possiblities. It might be interesting to see that one with a white jersey and red pants. Unfortunately the Pats “white” CR jersey is just their regular white jersey. So maybe we wouldn’t want to see that after all.

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Baltimore Ravens (white jerseys with purple CR pants):

I can’t say I’m in love with this one, at least with the black leggings/socks that almost make the look monochrome. Despite the Ravens wearing predominately purple jerseys, I prefer the white over white look; I actually don’t even hate the BFBS-ish look (because of the mostly black hats), and even the purple over black isn’t awful. The problem is the pants have no stripes. And I was certainly no fan of the one and done mustard pants. The one redeeming feature of the CR pants is the stripes — if they could just add those to the black pants, I’d be totally fine with the white over black look. (Of course, they’d need contrasting socks, but I digress…)

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New Orleans Saints (black “CR” jersey with white CR pants):

OK, this one doesn’t quite exist — I had asked Matthew if he could make a black version of the drop dead gorgeous CR unis the Saints currently sport. There’s a lot of things wrong with the Saints unis, but when they go white over gold or black over gold, they are palatable. However, adding a black “CR” jersey would be a monstrous upgrade (really, they need to tweak the metallic or vegas gold they currently use and return to their original old gold). In fact, just bring these back full time. But until then, they need to at least consider a black “CR” jersey.

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Pittsburgh Steelers (white jersey with black CR pants):

The Steelers all-black CR uni was actually pretty good, all things considered. Many (myself included) actually prefer the jersey with its all-gold numbers/striping and block font. (Here’s how that would look if they wore their regular jerseys — IMHO not as good). If only they could tweak (or wear) their current black and white jerseys to match the block font, we’d have a winner. The black pants look better than I thought, but that is no doubt due to them matching the helmet color. One reason the Saints (see above) look so shitty in black pants is their hat is gold. But the black pants work with the Stillers here.

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Seattle Seahawks (gray jersey with neon CR pants):

For whatever reason, seeing how the Seahawks would look with different jerseys or pants remains a popular request. Sadly, I don’t really think there is ANY existing jersey or pants that could be combined with the neon/snot/lime CR elements. Is it better than full-on CR? That’s a judgment call. I just haven’t found anything that combines well with that element. And Matthew (I think) tried them all!

• • • • • •

And there you have it — your requests fulfilled by one very talented Matthew Blinco. I’m not sure there is any ointment that will cure the rash (the best idea, of course, would be for a very few of the teams whose CR elements are actually better than their current unis to retain them, but for the NFL to scrap this whole stupid experiment). TNF is already a disaster (and it’s not just because of the unis), but if they really wanted to spice things up, they should make the uniforms “Throwback Thursday” Night Football. Yes, I realize the single helmet dictum wreak some havoc, but it’s not like the CR unis look good on any teams whose helmets don’t match their CR colors to begin with. I’m sure not too many would mind Bucco Bruce on a pewter helmet if it means we get to see these beauties once a year.

Big thanks again to Matthew for all his help with these!

Matthew Blinco is a graphic designer in Nashville, TN and co-founder of local apparel brand Project 615, you can find your new favorite tee at project615.org. He also buys and sell vintage clothing as a hobby an you can follow him at @relikvtg on Instagram. Matt has been a UW reader for 8-10 years and had 2 designs chosen to win in the Lewis & Clark league design contests a couple of years ago. You can see his portfolio at cannonballcreative.com and is open to freelance opportunities. You can follow him on twitter @mpblinco.

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Well, now it’s official

Yesterday (ending the suspense to the surprise of no one), the Toronto Raptors made official that which we’d basically known for weeks (if not longer): they have released their City Edition new alternate uniform.

Like many of the 4th uniforms sets, you’ll probably either love them or hate them (I think I fall in the latter camp with these). The marketing-speak is heavy too: The uniforms feature “six points in a chevron design which represents the six boroughs of Toronto”, “NORTH” to “represent a territory all our own,” and the black and gold “colourway inspired by Ovo” which is a nod to rapper Drake’s sound label, and who has been involved with the Raptors for years.

Here’s a another at the unis:

The team will wear these unis for the first time on January 26th. Looks like there will also be a new warmup jacket (probably for retail sale, natch) to go along with the new unis.

And of course, as is de rigueur these days, the team will also have a new court (to match the unis):

I kinda like the court. I’m not crazy about the unis. Aside from being terribly unnecessary they aren’t terribly good.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Good shot of the new Spring Training sleeve patch as it appears on the Reds’ jerseys (from Robert Hayes). … The Mankato Moondogs of the North West League, a collegiate summer league, have unveiled a new wordmark and primary logo. Is anyone else seeing Google’s “G” in the Moondogs’ “G”? (from Ashle Norling). … Get a load of these new Richmond Flying Squirrels alternates (here’s a shot of the equally ugly back). Is it bad that the thing that annoys me most about these is the full wordmark on the cap? (Blame goes to Brian Kappus for bringing these to our attention). … Clever design in this 1999 ad for the Altoona Curve (from Steven James). … The University of Auburn unveiled its new jerseys today. More info (and a video) here (thanks, Phil and Clint Richardson).

NFL News: Tracy Lehrmann found an early example of the wishbone-c in football I’d never seen before, in a 1907 photograph of a Carlisle Indians team coached by Pop Warner himself. And check out those sleeve stripes! Excellent find. … The Eagles are going midnight green over white for today’s playoff game against the Falcons (thanks, Phil). … Great article and video here on the Vikings’ seamstress. Next year will be her 50th working for the Vikes (thanks, Phil). … At the CFL GM meetings in Banff, Ab., the Montreal Alouettes were represented with an old silver helmet, despite changing to white full-time last season. Could be an indication of a change back? It’s more likely the CFL just had an old helmet laying around and thought no one would notice (from Wade Heidt). … The Pro Football Hall of Fame posted some absolutely gorgeous Super Bowl III art on Twitter yesterday (from Kelly P. Fitzgerald). … Burt Reynolds’ character in 1976’s Gator wore a Falcons cap (from @RearAdBsBlog). … Mike Selock sends along this shot of a Lions player with a circa-1980 rally towel, The Dirty Duster. Guess it never took off like the Terrible Towel.

College/High School Football News: Arkansas confirming what we already suspected: recruiting plays a big role in team uniform selection (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a timelapse video showing the design process of Alabama’s National Championship logo (from Griffin Smith and David Clemons).

Hockey News: The Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL are breaking out the 1980s fauxbacks designed by John Elbertson as part of a Phil’s August Uni Watch design contest! Looking good, John! … AP sportswriter Joedy McCreary noticed NHL commish Gary Bettman was wearing Hoka sneakers, instead of sneakers from the NHL’s equipment partner Adidas (from Don Hammack). … Just under a month ago, the Hershey Bears released the design for the 2018 Outdoor Classic uniforms. Now, the sweaters have arrived at Giant Center, and now we have actual jerseys to look at.

NBA News: The Raptors are selling Sun Life ad patches for fans to apply to their replica jerseys (which are sold without the ad patch), taking the NBA’s uni-ad obsession to dizzying new lows (from Timothy Chiu). … The Bucks brought out the alternate court design for last night’s game against the Warriors (from C.M. Hawkins).

College/High School Hoops News: What do these nine doves on the shorts of the Goose Creek High School (SC) basketball team represent? The nine churchgoers at the Charleston Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church slaughtered by white supremacist Dylann Roof in 2015. A beautiful, poignant memorial to those nine people (excellent find by @willchitty4). … Louisville women went red-at-home against white-on-road Notre Dame on Thursday (from Josh Claywell). … Vanderbilt is wearing black at home tomorrow against Kentucky and are encouraging fans to do the same (from Josh Hinton). … The Big 12 Conference logo was backwards on K-State’s Peyton Williams’ Play 4 Kay pink jersey last night (from Mason Voth).

Soccer News: The crest of thew newest NPSL club FC Columbus was unveiled yesterday, and it looks like it was made in Microsoft Paint. We’re less than two weeks in, and we might have our worst logo of 2018. Blech. … Our very own Jamie Rathjen found this excellent photo of Nottingham Forest midfielder John Metgod in black tights and fur-lined gloves in a wintry 1987 FA Cup tie against Crystal Palace. … Footy Headlines put together a piece showing all the leaked kits from the major European leagues (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh Hinton: the United Soccer League has realigned. … One more from Josh: Borussia Dortmund fans are boycotting a Monday night home match in February against Augsburg due to discontent with the “absurd” kick-off time.

Grab Bag: Northwest Nazarene University’s new mascot was unveiled yesterday: the Nighthawk. Previously, NNU’s mascot was the “Crusader” (from Tyler Keefe). … Remember 2004 and 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich? He’s running for Governor of Ohio and released his campaign logo on Friday. The problem? Kucinich’s logo is blue and yellow – University of Michigan colors. Yesterday, he dropped the yellow and moved to an all-blue logo.

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