The latest design-related arms race involves NBA courts. Several teams have had two court designs (the Bucks, for example, have a green one and a black one, depending on which uniform they’re wearing, and Golden State has used standard and throwback designs), but the Kings are now poised to become the first team with three distinct floor patterns.
First they’ll have their basic purple-themed design — a carryover from last season — which they’ll use when wearing either their white or purple uniforms (remember, the home team can now wear whichever uniform it wants). They’ll have a new black-themed design, shown above, when wearing their black alternate uniforms (the Nike-updated version of which is expected to be unveiled very soon), and they’ll have a third court design to go with their final alternate uniform. That court/uni combo will be revealed later this year. The idea is to create a unified design presentation for each game, literally from the ground up.
Regarding the new black design: If you look in the top-right and lower-left corners, you’ll see the team’s crown logo rendered with Chinese characters. There’s also a version with the logo rendered in Hindi. Those logos will be used for the team’s Lunar New Year and Bollywood theme nights. More info on all of this can be found here.
Personally, I like the idea of matching the court to the uniform. If the team can handle the logistics of it, why not?
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Meanwhile, here are the latest NBA leaks: The photo you see above, showing what appears to be a Thunder alternate uniform, began circulating yesterday. It matches the design shown in the video screen shots that were posted two days ago on SportsLogos.net. So this photo not only confirms the Thunder screen shot but also lends added credibility to the remaining screen shots.
Late last night, this video began circulating as well:
Personally, I don’t care for this design at all. Don’t like the color scheme, don’t like the big honking “OKC” on the chest. That said, there are some noteworthy elements:
• I kinda like the gradation, which appears to be only on the back.
• Subscript NOBs are always interesting, although I don’t know that there’s a real point to it here.
• See how the “OKC” lettering looks jaggy? You can get a better sense of it in this video game shot. I assume this was intended to evoke, you know, thunder and lightning. But given that Oklahoma has been experiencing an unprecedented rise in earthquakes due to fracking (more info here), maybe fractured lettering wasn’t the brightest approach.
And while we’re at it, yesterday Suns point guard Tyler Ulis posted a photo of what appears to be the team’s upcoming throwback uniform on Instagram. Here’s a look at that one:
That design is apparently based on this one. Not bad, although we’ll need to see more in order to assess it properly.
(My thanks to Colin Butler, who was the first to alert me to the Thunder photo, and Conrad Burry, who first tweeted about the Suns photo.)
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Rash is fading: Last night was the first Thursday Night Football game of the NFL season. Well, not counting the season opener between the Pats and Chiefs, which took place on a Thursday but for some reason doesn’t count as Thursday Night Football. And neither do the games on Thanksgiving, which will happen on a Thursday but also don’t count as Thursday Night Football. And for some reason the Thursday Night Football schedule includes three Saturday games and a Monday game, which I guess means the NFL has created a time warp or something, which is pretty rad when you think about it.
But I digress.
As I was saying, last night was the first Thursday Night Football game of the season, which means it was also our first matchup of solid-colored uniforms. Which in turn means that the mono-uni season has started without any hype. No big announcements, no press releases showing all the week-by-week color pairings, no hype photos showing the mono-blue team playing on blue turf.
Maybe they think it’s sufficiently well-established that they don’t need to hype it anymore. Or maybe they realize it’s been a bust, what with so many of the games featuring a team in mono-white, and are soft-pedaling it. Either way, I’m grateful for the more restrained marketing approach.
Meanwhile: Can you spot the uni-notable detail in this screen shot of Bengals defensive back Adam Jones?
If you said, “Hey, his jersey number is 24 but his helmet number is 15,” that would be what my 11th grade math teacher liked to call “the right wrong answer.” Jones has been wearing 15 on his helmet as a tribute to Chris Henry since at least 2015, so that’s old news (although that didn’t prevent approximately eleventeen jillion people from asking me about it during last night’s game).
No, the more interesting detail in that photo is that the Bengals wear the American flag and NFL logo decals on the same side of the helmet (and it’s not just Jones — it’s a team-wide thing). The typical format is to have them on opposite sides. That’s the right right answer.
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Naming Wrongs reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, we have some new Naming Wrongs shirts. They’re all based on the design shown at right (which you can click to enlarge), with lots of different color combos. Get the full scoop here.
September call-ups reminder: Also from yesterday, we have three new additions to the Uni Watch team. Meet them here.
Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off some cool Hartford Whalers memorabilia. Full details here.
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The Ticker By Kris Gross
Baseball News: Last night Twins wore red caps with their regular home whites for the first time this season (from Jordan Oster, @TwinsPics). … Here’s a look at this year’s ”Postseason” cap patch compared to last year’s (from Josh). … The Brewers will wear their home uniforms as the “road team” this weekend after their series with Marlins got moved to Milwaukee due to Hurricane Irma (from Johnny O). … Angels DH Albert Pujols will wear “Strike Out Slavery” cleats this weekend, part of an anti-human trafficking endeavor. Additional info here. … Here’s a great comic from the Big Book of the 70s on “baseball’s most out-of-control decade,” the 1970s (from Ray Hund). … The St. Pius X High School (Kansas City) Quiz Bowl team uses a modified throwback White Sox logo (from Brick Barrientos).
College Football News: Boise State went full orange last night, and we had a shoulder stripe malfunction — note how the stripe angles don’t match (from Tim Cross and Tyler Novak). … Iowa State will wear mono-white on Saturday (from Tyler Gross). … Here are this week’s uniform combos for North Carolina, West Virginia, Northwestern, and Texas State for the weekend (from James Gilbert, Broc, Craig R, and @stallionjockey). … TCU will wear white jerseys and pants and have white end zones for their “white out” against SMU. … Each week Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente picks a special teams player to wear No. 25 to honor Frank Beamer. This week, it’s Greg Stroman Jr. (from Andrew Cosentino). … Wayne State is celebrateing their 100th anniversary with new uniforms. The NOB will honor Medal of Honor recipients (from Ryan Keberly). … Arkansas State will go all red (from Tice Singleton). … Columbia helmets this season feature the New York City skyline (from Joe Sibley). … Here is an archive of North Carolina media guide covers from the past half-century (from James Gilbert). … 47 years ago this weekend, we had the first college football double-header, with Xavier vs. Miami and Cincinnati vs. Dayton (from Kevin). … ESPN’s Gamecast uses blue turf for Boise State home games (from Tom Whitfield).
Basketball News: A new look for Baylor’s practice court (from @BearDroppingsBU). … Check out former Bulls player Norm Van Lier sporting old warm-ups from “1973-ish” (from Ray Hund). … The California Bearcats, a San Diego club team, are about to become the only team outside of LaVar Ball’s club to sport the Big Baller Brand logo. There’s a manufacturing partnership between the team owner and LaVar Ball.
Pink turns to blue: Last week I wrote about the death of Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, which was my favorite band for most of my time in high school. Yesterday, in an eerie coincidence, word came down about the death of Grant Hart, co-founder of the Minneapolis hardcore trio Hüsker Dü, which was my favorite band through most of my time in college.
I saw Hüsker Dü twice during those years — once in some basement shithole in Syracuse in the fall of 1984 (they were very, very good) and once in an auditorium on the campus of my college, SUNY-Binghamton, in February of 1986 (honestly, I thought they were only so-so that night). I also played their records incessantly, wrote about them a lot for our college newspaper, talked about them a lot with my friends and girlfriend, encouraged people to buy their records at the campus record store that I managed, and generally obsessed over them. It’s not going too far to say they changed my life, or at least had a major impact on one chapter of it.
A few hours prior to that Binghamton show, I had the chance to hang out with Hüsker Dü in their dressing room. I was more interested in talking to their other songwriter, Bob Mould, who was one of my heroes at the time, but I was embarrassed to face him because I had done a fairly awful phone interview with him two weeks earlier for an article I was writing (it was my first time interviewing someone I admired, and I was all nervous and flustered). So I figured I’d talk to Grant Hart instead. I can still see him there, sitting on a table, barefoot, his big mop of hair all mussed up, a smile on his face. He looked like a friendly teddy bear.
I approached him, and he immediately asked if I had any drugs or knew where to get some. I was this record-collector dweeb who at that point had never dabbled in anything stronger than alcohol, so I mumbled, “No, sorry,” and then kinda slunk over to the corner of the room, where I stayed for a bit until I excused myself to go watch the opening band.
Hüsker Dü broke up the year after that. I soon learned that Grant Hart asked a lot of people for drugs over the years. I also learned that he was gay, which was a surprise, because he’d written a lot of songs about female romantic partners. (He’s hardly the only gay songwriter to have done that, of course.) He continued to make music in other bands and under his own name, although none of it was as special as his work with the Hüskers, and stories began circulating about how he was a bit of a mess. I never met him again, but I have several friends in the music biz who dealt with him in various capacities, and they all agree that he was a gentle soul, a friendly soul, a troubled soul. I think I got all of that in that brief encounter 30 years ago. I wish I’d found a way to talk with him for a bit.
As songwriters, Mould and Hart were a punk version of Lennon and McCartney. Mould usually (but not always) wrote the darker, more introspective songs, and Hart usually (but not always) wrote the poppier, catchier tunes. The push-pull between those two sensibilities was part of what made Hüsker Dü such a special band. On balance, I always preferred Mould’s stuff — like I said, he was my hero (I’ve always preferred Lennon over McCartney, too) — but Hart’s best tunes were every bit as good as Mould’s. I’m embedding a few of them below. Here’s hoping that troubled soul is now at peace. RIP.
Lots of NBA news yesterday, kids. One thing at a time:
1. In a move that had been widely expected, the Hornets became the second team to announce a throwback for the upcoming season (the first was Milwaukee). As you can see above, the new rendition takes a few liberties with the Alexander Julian-designed original, most notably by making the stripes signifcantly thicker. Here’s a side-by-side comparison — original design on the left, throwback on the right (click to enlarge):
Personally, I’ve never liked this design. I don’t like the asymmetry of the stripe pattern, plus I hold this uniform responsible for igniting the purple and teal Dumpster fire of the 1990s. But it’s been made very clear to me over the years that Charlotte fans love this uniform, so good for them — now they’ll get to see it again. (Additional photos here.)
But they won’t get to see it very often, because, the Hornets plan to wear the throwback only three times: Nov.15 against the Cavaliers, Dec. 23 against the Bucks, and Jan. 13 against the Thunder. I guess that’s what happens when you have so many other jerseys to sell wear.
2. NBA uniform sleuth Conrad Burry posted a video game screen shot of what was purported to be a red alternate jersey for the 76ers:
That got the attention of the Philly-centric sports blog Crossing Broad, which promptly posted photos — real photos, not video game screen shots — of the same red jersey. It’s not clear where they got them or how long they’d been sitting on them. Here’s the front shot (you can see the rear view and the shorts in the Crossing Broad post):
The team hasn’t confirmed anything. But given that the photos match the screen shot, I’m inclined to believe that this is legitimate. Some quick thoughts:
• Speaking of the script: What the hell is that extra prong between the “i” and the “x”? Look:
Okay, so we all know cursive writing is going the way of the dinosaurs, but that’s a bizarre way to connect those two letters. Let’s compare it to that Christmas design:
Now, which one of those looks better? Even worse, which one looks like “Sixers” and which one looks like “Suxers”? Come on, people — what were you thinking?
3. And then came the mother lode: That Sixers screen shot — the one that Conrad Burry posted — was originally tweeted at him by a gamer in Australia who apparently got his hands on NBA 2K18 ahead of everyone else. The gamer also posted shots of alternate designs for the Celtics and Raptors:
So Burry asked the gamer if he could provide similar shots for all of the other teams, and the guy obliged. Burry then posted all 30 of them on SportsLogos.net — a great scoop on his part.
Ordinarily, I’d be at least a bit skeptical of video game shots. But the fact that the Sixers design appears to be legit suggests that the others probably are as well. We’ll know for sure soon enough, because the Suns are planning to unveil their alternate design tomorrow, and I’m hearing that there may be other unveilings tomorrow as well.
As you can see from those Celtics and Raptors jerseys, the screen shots indicate these alternates are a mix of new designs and old ones that teams have already been wearing. Some of the new ones are fine, and one is outstanding; some of the others aren’t so hot. You can see all of them in Burry’s post. I’m going to hold off on assessing them until we know for sure that they’re legit.
Also: As Burry notes in his piece, we were originally told that these alternates would be listed under the rubric of “the Athlete’s Mindset,” but the video game has them listed as “Statement Uniforms.” Those two terms are cringeworthy in roughly equal measure, so we’ll just keep referring to them as alternates.
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ESPN reminder: My latest ESPN column has the results of our Titans-redesign contest. Check it out here.
Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off some cool Hartford Whalers memorabilia. Full details here.
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Uni Watch roster update: As you may recall, I recently put up a “Help Wanted” sign so I could hire a new Ticker intern in the wake of Mike Chamernik’s departure from the site. I’m happy to report that we had so many excellent applicants that I ended up hiring three of them. Meet Jamie, Kris, and Anthony:
I’m from Centreville, Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. area, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in English, and a longtime Uni Watch reader who had never submitted anything to the Ticker until last Thursday. That was a good time to start, I suppose.
My favorite sports are hockey, soccer (men’s and women’s), football (college and pro), and college basketball. I don’t actually play a sport (although I tried out for the UVa quidditch team), but I enjoy running and cycling. My other interests besides sports include reading, writing, music, video games, history, geography, and trivia.
I am a 24-year-old board op/producer working for ESPN Radio in Dallas. I also work part-time with the Dallas Cowboys TV department.
I am a uniform enthusiast with a passion for purple jerseys (sorry, Paul) and a disdain for white pants. I graduated from TCU in 2014 with a degree in Sports Broadcasting, and I’m getting married to a girl way out of my league on Oct. 21.
[It’s a measure of my belief in Kris’s potential that I didn’t let the purple thing get in the way. — PL]
I’m a 22-year-old English student at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. You may know me from the handful of soccer pieces I’ve written with Phil over the years. Soccer is indeed my favorite sport. I first got into Uni Watch via the ESPN column and then the blog, which I’ve been reading religiously since I was a teenager. I’m proud to be a part of the team.
Jamie, Kris, and Anthony all did extremely well in their Ticker auditions, and I’m confident that you’ll see no drop-off in quality when they’re on duty. With these new team members in place, and with deputy editor Phil Hecken and assistant editor Alex Hider still on board, we’ve reshuffled the Ticker assignments. Effective immediately, the Ticker will be authored by the following people on the following days:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays: Alex
I’m extremely happy to have these new additions to our roster. Please join me in welcoming them to the Uni Watch family.
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Naming Wrongs update: Scott Turner and I have been wanting to create an all-purpose design that would apply to all corporate-named stadiums. We briefly dabbled with a design that said “I Hate Corporate Stadium Names,” but the use of “hate” seemed a bit extreme, plus we felt we could come up with something more creative. And now we have (click to enlarge):
Not bad, right? We can do this in just about any color combo. If you have specific requests, just ask. We’ll also be adding versions with the word “Stadium” replaced by “Arena.”
All of these designs are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop. They’re also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop, where card-carrying members can get 15% off. (If you’re a member and need the discount code, send me a note and I’ll hook you up.)
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The Ticker By Paul
’Skins Watch (now running on Thursdays): The city of Montreal, moving toward reconciliation with indigenous people, has added an Iroquois symbol to its flag and will rename Amherst Street, which had been named after the British general who advocated giving smallpox-laced blankets to Indigenous tribes (from @PureLipschitz).
Baseball News: I remember when this happened: Pirates OF Dave Parker had to wear a helmet in the field in Montreal because fans were throwing stuff at him. … The excellent Threads of Our Game website, which chronicles pre-1900 uniforms, has recently turned up some good info on designs from 1891. … A tweet from A’s exec Chris Giles indicates that the team will be moving back to kelly green. Maybe so, but I can tell you that it isn’t happening in 2018 (from Kyle Brown). … Speaking of kelly green, look at this! That’s the Single-A Eugene Emeralds. Yes, the stirrups are backwards, but still. Here’s another shot (from Wade Heidt). … Good spot by Jeff Walter, who noticed a sleeve logo inconsistency in a 1996 Reds game. … Durham Bulls P Mike Broadway was victimized by a NOB font inconsistency (from Casey Hart). … Check out the Phillies’ locker room nameplates: The lettering font matches the jerseys, but the number font doesn’t (good observation by Frank McGuigan). … Here’s our best look yet at the “Postseason” cap patch (from @frankie2pants).
Hockey News: Some new uni number assignments for the Rangers (from Alan Kreit). … Speaking of the Rangers, look how their torso striping looks on the new Adidas road jersey — ay-yi-yi. That looks more like an Islanders fisherman jersey than a Rangers jersey. … New center ice design for the Capitals. “The buried lede of the whole situation is that they also changed the stripe pattern of the red line, from white stars to red stars within a red outline,” notes Zach Spencer. “I think the stripe looks way better and cleaner this way.” … The Canucks’ new practice jerseys use the team’s retro logo (from Ryan Wetstein). … New Ron Hextall-inspired mask for Flyers G Brian Elliott (from Patrick Thomas).
Soccer News: Nike’s soccer jerseys are making too many teams look the same (thanks, Alex). … UK soccer team logos reimagined through a Simpsons filter? Sure, why not (from Tanner Welch).
Grab Bag: A Canadian judge was suspended without pay and reprimanded for wearing one of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” caps in his courtroom. … Gross: William Penn University puts the Nike logo on its business cards (from Jesse Gavin). … Here are this week’s IndyCar liveries (from Tim Dunn). … Interesting piece on hate group logos and iconography (from Jeremy Baker). … According to this book about marketing, chicken farmers in Nakuru, Kenya, painted their chickens purple. Why? “The color purple is not appetizing to birds of prey. As a matter of fact, eagles and hawks don’t know how to process purple things — they don’t recognize purple as food.” No comment (from Will Scheibler).
The Warriors yesterday became the latest NBA team to add an advertising patch, as they announced a new deal with the Japanese tech company Rakuten.
The deal is notable for several reasons:
• The Warriors are the defending NBA champs, so anything they do carries extra weight.
• The deal is reportedly worth $60 million over three years, which is by far the highest price that’s been paid for an NBA uniform ad so far, nearly doubling the value of Cavs’ deal with Goodyear.
• Most of the other NBA teams participating in the uni advertising program have partnered with local companies — perhaps as a genuine expression of community solidarity, or perhaps just to provide a fig leaf of respectability to the ad patches (probably some of both). By going with a Japanese company, the Warriors are essentially saying, “Never mind the local community. We’re looking to market ourselves to an international audience.”
• The deal also includes a new name for the team’s practice facility, which will now be known as the Rakuten Performance Center. (I still call it — uh, what did it used to be called?)
• According to the Warriors and Rakuten, the ad patch is not actually a patch. It is, they insist, a badge, which really scales new heights in newspeak and chutzpah. (No joke: About two hours after the Golden State announcement, someone on Twitter wrote to me about “NFL captain badges.” Sigh.)
Here’s how the badge patch will look on the team’s white uniform:
Golden State is the 14th NBA team to sell ad space on its uniform. Sixteen teams remain ad-free — for now.
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Click to enlarge
Titans contest results: Today, finally, we have the results of the Titans-redesign contest over at ESPN (including Gene Sanny’s design, shown above, which as you can see solves “flaming thumbtack” problem by keeping the flames and eliminating the thumbtack). Check it out here.
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Eight of one, two dozen of the other: For years now, people have been wondering and debating which number the Lakers would retire for Kobe Bryant. Would they go with No. 8, which he wore for the first half of his career and his first three championships, or No. 24, which he wore for his second half and final two championships?
And now we have our answer: They’re going to retire both numbers. It’ll take place on Dec. 18, prior to L.A.’s game against Golden State.
I know of no other player in any sport who’s ever had two numbers retired by the same team. Some may think it qualifies as overkill, but I think it’s actually the right move. Bryant was a special player, he put up similar stats with each uni number, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else ever wearing either of those numbers for the Lakers, so why not go ahead and retire both of them? Works for me.
This will also make Bryant, by my count, the 12th person from the Big Four pro leagues to have two different numbers retired (although all the others did it with multiple teams, not one team). Here are the other 11 that I’m aware of:
10 (Reds), 11 (Tigers)
12 (Rays), 26 (Red Sox)
27 (Red Sox), 72 (White Sox)
9 (A's), 44 (Yankees)
30 (Angels), 34 (Astros, Rangers)
6 (76ers), 32 (Nets)
7 (Jazz, Pelicans), 44 (Hawks)
10 (Wizards), 15 (Knicks)
32 (Heat), 34 (Lakers)
1 (Bucks), 14 (Kings)
2 (Sabres), 7 (Maple Leafs)
There are no NFL players on that list because only one NFLer has ever had a number retired by two different teams: Reggie White, whose No. 92 was honored by the Eagles and Packers.
Also worth noting: Moses Malone has had his No. 24 retired by the Rockets, and there was talk two years ago that the 76ers were going to retire No. 2 for him, which would qualify him for this list. As of now, however, the Sixers haven’t gone through with that plan.
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New MLB anniversary logos: Two MLB teams released anniversary logos yesterday — one officially, one unofficially.
Let’s start with the Rockies, whose 25th-anniversary mark is shown at right (and can be clicked to enlarge). They released it yesterday on Twitter, and although they didn’t specifically say that it’ll be worn as a patch, it will be.
I’ll say this much: It certainly doesn’t follow the standard MLB boilerplate patch style, so they get points for breaking the mold. Can’t say I love the design, though, and I’m generally not fond of square patches — the Mariners have been wearing one this season, and I think it looks clunky.
Next up: the D-backs. They haven’t made an official logo announcement, but they did tweet their 2018 schedule yesterday, and the graphic included a 20th-anniversary logo. I managed to isolate it from the background, as you can see at left.
Although the shape is a bit odd, the use of symmetry makes this more of a conventional MLB patch design — and a fairly handsome one. The weird thing is the big “20” echoed by the use of “20th” on the bottom line. Why the repetition? Doesn’t make sense.
Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of patches in 2018, as these two designs are joining the ones for the A’s 50th anniversary in Oakland and the Royals’ 50th season, which were released a while back. It’s worth noting that next year is also the Marlins’ 25th anniversary and the 60th anniversary of the Dodgers and Giants moving to California, so they may have patches as well. Stay tuned.
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Too good for the Ticker: The Pirates released their 2018 schedule yesterday, and they did it via a one-minute video clip that is completely brilliant. I don’t know who created it, but they deserve a raise. Trust me, this is the best 60 seconds you’ll spend today:
NFL News: Here’s another piece on the Vicis Zero1 helmet (from Tommy Turner). … It’s hard to read in these photos, but it appears that the Browns include a hashtag on the jerseys that players wear when doing charitable work in the community. Does anyone know what it says? (From Beau Parsons.) … An editorial cartoonist illustrated a Bills-themed comic earlier this week, and put a hamster in a ’00s Bills jersey (from Brad Loliger). … Niners fans think the team’s stadium is too hot, so the team is exploring ways of “enhancing the fan experience” on warm weather days (thanks, Brinke).
Hockey News: The Golden Knights broke out their white jerseys last night — and the white gloves finally made an appearance (from Maximiliano). …The Maple Leafs will be one of the few teams to sport an alternate jersey this year, as they’ll wear 1918 Toronto Arenas throwbacks during the “Next Century Game” in December. The game celebrates 100 seasons of NHL hockey in Toronto (thanks, Paul). … New unis for North Dakota (from Patrick Thomas). … Here’s a really interesting video showing how Blackhawks D Connor Murphy got to help paint the team’s center-ice logo (from @True2Atlanta).
NBA News: It looks like the Hornets will be unveiling a new uni today (thanks Paul). … NBA Live 18 may have given us a sneak peak into what Nike plans to do with referee uniforms (from @cdj80). … Suns head coach Earl Watson presented a customized Suns jersey to former president George W. Bush on Monday (from Josh Pearlman).
Soccer News: This may have been shared before, but the Premier League put together a graphic that includes every jersey that every team has ever worn in the league’s 25-year history (from Chris Cruz). … New away kits for Bologna FC of Serie A. The striping includes the names of past Bologna players (from Ed Zelaski). … Charleston Battery of the USL will wear orange kits on Saturday, which will later be auctioned off to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (from Will Chitty). … Aaron Creswell of West Ham wore last season’s home shorts for the second half of Monday night’s game (from Ben Isaacs).
Grab Bag: A bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C., baked a giant UNC cake for the grand opening of a new campus bookstore. Unfortunately, they misspelled “Tar Heels” (from James Gilbert). … Ben Whitehead spotted a Pittsburgh pro sports logo mashup window decal the other day. … Someone mocked up a football helmet for Ballast Point, a craft brewery based in San Diego (from Andrew Cosentino). … The Adelaide Crows — that’s an Aussie football team — are letting fans vote on their 2018 clash guernsey (from Jeremy Brahm).
[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from the goalie-obsessed DIY genius Wafflebored, whose latest project was a commission from a Uni Watch reader. Enjoy. — PL]
I was recently contacted on Twitter by Uni Watch reader Chuck Eldridge, who wanted to know if I would be interested in making a custom jersey for him to wear in his beer league and pickup games. The project appealed to me immediately, as Chuck is a goalie. In fact, he’s a big goalie at 6’6″, so I knew interesting custom tailoring would be needed. In addition, he had an absolutely great concept for the design: Chuck is a proud resident of Santa Ana, California — the seat of Orange County — and envisioned a jersey design based on the great vintage orange crate labels from the region.
We bounced around some ideas, and I made some quick sketches of possible logos that could serve as the jersey crest. In addition, we had ideas for interesting treatments of the sleeve numbers and back number. I made this mock-up so Chuck could get a feel for what I was thinking for the overall jersey design (I opted for dark navy as a lot of the vintage labels seemed to use that color, probably because it contrasts so well with orange):
Chuck was happy with the designs, so I started work on the jersey, using a heavy polyester mesh. Chuck sent me some measurements of his existing jersey, which looked a little tight, so we made it a bit larger. Off-the-rack goalie jerseys can still be snug for a guy of Chuck’s size, and I guessed he’d probably never enjoyed the feel of a loose-fitting jersey.
Here are some photos of the jersey as I was working on the collar and sleeves:
I had a lot of fun with the front crest. Since the vintage produce labels used a lot of color and different elements, I made sure to use a variety of fabrics, including a red-pinstriped baseball jersey material, as well as poly-cotton twill and satin tackle twill. I used hand-drawn paper patterns. Everything was sewn down with a standard zigzag stitch.
For the sleeve number patch, I envisioned something like the old Cleveland Barons jersey, where they had the sleeve number within an Ohio-shaped patch. We used a single orange with the number inside it. I used a number font inspired the typography of the vintage fruit box label era.
For the back number, Chuck and I agreed we wanted to do something unique, similar to the Warriors’ cable car design. After trying to fit the number 31 inside a crate, I came up with a design that shows a graphic representation of an orange crate as viewed from the end. You can see the slats on the side, and the top is overflowing with picked oranges. I included a green tree leaf, which is a common theme throughout the jersey and also references the green leaves that are commonly found on the vintage crate labels.
Of course, 31 is a classic goalie number, but it also has multiple meanings for Chuck. He grew up as a Ducks fan and watched Guy Hebert when he wore that number. In addition, California is the 31st state, plus Chuck has multiple family members who are retired from the Santa Ana police department, and 31 is the local station number that appeared on all of their badges. All of this information really added to my enjoyment of the design and end product, since everything on the jersey was totally customized for Chuck.
As luck would have it, Chuck’s parents were visiting Vancouver the week after I finished the jersey, so I dropped it off at their hotel so they could deliver it to him personally.
Chuck has now worn the jersey on the ice, and it’s exciting for me to see these pictures of him wearing it (photos by Jason Frerking):
Paul here. What a spectacular project! Big thanks to Chuck and Wafflebored for sharing it with us. You can see more Wafflebored projects here.
Meanwhile, here are a few closing words from Chuck, the very happy client:
It was fascinating to see the creative process. In the couple games I’ve played wearing the jersey I’ve had quite a few opponents and refs compliment the look. And believe me, it’s unusual to have those two parties take a moment to skate up between face-offs and start chatting about a jersey. They’re always shocked to learn that it was hand-crafted. It’s also by far the best-fitting jersey I’ve worn
My beer league captain has ordered team jerseys, but they have yet to arrive, so for now it’s a free-for-all regarding jerseys during the games. Once the team jerseys arrive, that’s what I’ll wear. But I’m also a semi-permanent sub with another team — as a sub (and a goalie, at that), I can wear what I want, and the Orange County jersey is a unique and stylish look when I’m in the crease.
Great stuff. Thanks again, guys.
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Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off some cool Hartford Whalers memorabilia. Full details here.
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Click to enlarge
Collector’s Corner By Brinke Guthrie
When I first saw this jersey I thought, “Fouts knockoff.” But no, this one’s from Sand-Knit, and they made a lot of jerseys back then. So perhaps this one was just as close as you could get to the real thing. Sure looks nice, right?
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Kinda funky-looking handle on this Oakland A’s beer stein. The listing says 1970s, but they used this logo from 1982-1992.
• Check out this beauty: a 1970s NFL football bank with 14 teams on the base. You lift the laces on the top to drop your coins in. Looks like the red striping is peeling a bit, but a little glue will fix that. Reasonable price, too.
• Had one of these! This is an early-1970s Dallas Cowboys display button. You could stand this 6″ button up with the pop-out cardboard stand on the back, or pin it to your shirt, though I always wondered how anyone would wear such a large button.
Baseball News: D-backs P Jake Barrett somehow ended up with two American flag cap patches last night. … A Sherwin-Williams ad behind the home on deck circle in Cleveland misspelled “Serwin.” … The Indians, who have the best record in the American League, have won 19 straight. The Dodgers, who have the best record in the National League, have lost 11 straight. And L.A. still has four more wins than Cleveland. Think about that.
NFL News: Fun fact that I hadn’t been aware of: The Falcons wore white for their first-ever home game. Good-looking uni matchup there, eh? (From Jay Jones.) … Just a few months after installing new turf, the Pats are replacing it with newer turf (from Mike Chamernik and Dan Tarrant). … We’ve seen this before, but it’s always interesting to see the odd FIOB style that the Chargers used back in the mid-1970s. Additional examples here. The Browns did the same thing (first Chargers photo from Andrew Greenstein). … An official in last night’s Broncos/Chargers game mistakenly announced that a time out had been taken by “San Diego.”
College Football News: I’ve seen plenty of thigh pads with an imprint of the team logo, but I’m not sure I’ve seen them with the player’s uni number. That’s Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (from @FightinPhils13). … Hmmm, why does Michigan WR Grant Perry not have TV numbers? (Good spot by John Canterbury.) … GFGS this week for Miami of Ohio. … Mono-orange this week for Idaho State (from Brad Davis).
Basketball News: The Suns will unveil their alternate uniform “from the athlete’s mindset” this Friday. … New uniforms for Rutgers (from Dan Torsiello).
Grab Bag: This is so completely awesome: People dressed exactly like random things. Don’t miss (from my pal Jules Verdone). … Ever see those ads for wristwatches that are almost free? Or actually free, if you pay for the shipping? The great Bay Area artist Jenny Odell, who I first became aware of when we were both part of a Pop-Up Magazine live performance thingie, has written a really brilliant piece in which she investigates the origins of one such watch. Interesting and entertaining — highly recommended. … New black-and-white logo for BMW. … New logo possibly in the works for Apple.