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Draft Day Tradition

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The Timberwolves have never had good uniforms, but they do have one of the best uni-related rituals in all of sports: Each year they mark the day of the NBA draft by preparing draft prospect jersey cookies. How cool is that? The maker’s marks are a bit depressing, but I guess you have to give them points for accuracy.

(Big thanks to Jared Hensch for this one.)

• • • • •

Odd couple: On the left is rapper/actor Ice Cube. On the right, uniform designer/historian Todd Radom (in a photo taken recently by his daughter, Hannah Radom). My latest ESPN column, which will post today, is about how these two gents teamed up to create the uniforms and logos for BIG3, the new 3-on-3 basketball league that’s debuting this Sunday. Check it out here, and then I’ll have a follow-up blog piece next week with a lot of additional background info from Todd.

And speaking of ESPN stuff, in case you missed it yesterday, here’s my piece on five takeaways from the NHL/Adidas unveiling.

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Just give me all your money already: In case you missed it yesterday, there’s a lot of new Uni Watch-related merch currently available, as follows:

• Four new Naming Wrongs designs have just launched (including the Murph design shown at right; click to enlarge). You can see all of the new designs here, you can read more about them here, and you can order them in the Naming Wrongs shop. (They’re also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop, where card-carrying Uni Watch members can get 15% off. If you don’t already have the discount code, get in touch and I’ll hook you up.)

• The third batch of StripeRite socks is now available. Most of the designs from the first and second batches are available as well.

• With Independence Day fast approaching, this would be a swell time to order the Uni Watch stars and stripes T-shirt. But in order to get the shirt in time for the holiday, you’ll have to choose rush shipping, which costs an extra $7. (For those of you who ordered this shirt yesterday, I think it will arrive in time for the holiday even with normal shipping. Fingers crossed.)

Okay, end of sales pitch. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: In light of this week’s Supreme Court decision overturning the ban on trademarks for offensive terms, which was widely viewed as a win for the ’Skins, the New York Times editorial board, which had previously opposed granting of trademark status to the ’Skins, now supports it (from Tommy Turner).

Baseball News: New bat knob decals for Twins INF Ehire Adrianza. … The Montgomery Biscuits have a new cap with a wraparound biscuit design. Not bad, but nothing can match the anthropomorphized biscuit. … Poutine-themed jerseys this Saturday for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (from Tris Wykes). … The White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle’s No. 56 on Saturday. Fans will receive a commemorative pin with this logo. … This is pretty cool: The old Hale America “Health” patch, which was worn on MLB jerseys in the early 1940s, is now being featured on a cap (from @civil_standard). … Great little video clip about the origins of the Cardinals’ birds on the bat insignia. … Our own Phil Hecken is featured in this excellent podcast by the Hall of Very Good crew — don’t miss.

Pro Football News: The Calgary Fire Department donated a custom-painted Calgary firefighters helmet to be awarded to the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders’ special teams player of the game following wins (from Wade Heidt). … The Ravens hung a motivational sign from the goalpost of their practice facility (from Andrew Cosentino). … Cris Routh spotted the Dolphins using mismatched “2” numerals for two games in 1988: against the Bucs on Oct. 30 and against the Browns on Dec. 12. In that second shot, the 7s are mismatched as well. … For reasons that aren’t clear, Steelers WR Antonio Brown was spotted working out in a Panthers helmet. … The CFL’s Montreal Alouettes have two interesting anniversary decals on their helmets: Canada 150th and Montreal 375th. Halftime performers last night wore jerseys with No. 375 for the Montreal anniversary. … NFL officiating note: The head linesman will now be called the down judge. The designation on the back of the jersey will be “DJ” (from Mike Wilson).

Hockey News: Here’s something I hadn’t remembered: At one point the Florida Panthers’ gloves were supposed to have claws (from Moe Khan). … Gotta love a hockey uniform that references Naragansett beer and Jaws simultaneously (from Joel Mathwig). … The Stars will retire Jere Lehtinen’s No. 26 on Nov. 24 (thanks, Mike).

NBA News: The Bucks’ D-League G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, officially unveiled their logo set, although there wasn’t much drama because the primary mark had already leaked a few days earlier.

Soccer News: A uni-related gaffe on Arsenal’s website may have hinted at Alexis Sanchez’s departure from the team (from Ted Arnold). … New road kit for Barca. … The LA Galaxy will celebrate LGBTQ Pride Night on Saturday, with rainbow-patterned warm-up tops and corner flag. … Experts have identified the worst jersey in the history of English soccer (from Matthew Solly).

Grab Bag: American Airlines is searching for a new uniform manufacturer following repeated staff complaints about their unis causing various health problems (from Dan Tarrant). … Longtime reader/contributor R. Scott Rogers put his 2017 Purp Walk sticker on his curling broom handle. … The city of Columbia, S.C., is getting ready to choose a new flag design (from @jhlichty).

NBA Draft to Proceed Without Nike Jerseys

Hi there. Las Vegas was fun (more on that in a minute), but it’s good to be back on terra Brooklyna. Got back to Uni Watch HQ at about 9pm. The good news is that since my body was still on Pacific Time, I was able to stay up and watch most of the Mets/Dodgers game; the bad news is that the Mets/Dodgers game wasn’t worth watching, at least if you happen to be a Mets fan.

Anyway: The NBA Draft begins tonight. That has led to a bunch of questions from various readers, so let’s shift into Q&A mode:

Will the NBA and Nike unveil their new uniforms at the draft?

As far as I know, no.

So when the draftees pose for photos while holding up jerseys, they’ll be using the old Adidas jerseys?



Presumably, yes.

But I thought Nike is taking over for Adidas next season.

Yes. But next season isn’t here yet. My understanding (and I’m phrasing it that way because I haven’t 100% confirmed it, but I’ve heard it from more than one source so I’m about 98% sure that it’s true) is that Adidas is outfitting the NBA Summer League, which runs through mid-July. In other words, Adidas’s contract isn’t quite finished yet.

So when will the Nike unveiling take place?



It’s not clear. Several different NBA teams have said that their new unis would be revealed “later this summer,” but I haven’t heard anything more specific than that. And believe me, I’ve tried to find out, because my secret fear (or is it actually my secret hope? )is that I’ll make plans for a summer vacation and then find out that I’ll be away on the unveiling date. So I’ve made a lot of inquiries, but nobody’s talking.

The NHL held their unveiling prior to their draft. Why can’t the NBA do that too?



As I just explained, Adidas’s contract isn’t actually finished yet.

Then the NBA should move the draft to a later date, so it takes place after the Nike contract kicks in.

Maybe. Or maybe a bunch of staged photo ops featuring overgrown children posing with corporate executives isn’t the most important thing about the draft. Or maybe the staged photo ops will work just fine with the current jerseys instead of the Nike jerseys.

———

The draft, incidentally, will be held at the Nets’ arena, just down the road from Uni Watch HQ. But I have other plans for tonight, so apologies in advance if I miss any uni-related moments.

Meanwhile, a few thoughts regarding Las Vegas:

• The heat topped out at 117º on Tuesday, tying the city’s all-time record high (and shattering my own record high). Naturally, I stayed indoors as much as possible. But I took seven cab and Lyft rides and inevitably ended up talking about the heat with most of the drivers, all of whom said, more or less, “Yeah, it’s hot, but my car can handle it, and it’s fine as long as the air-conditioning holds out.” One guy added that he has to buy new windshield wipers pretty frequently, because the rubber dry-rots in the Vegas heat.

• My one extended period of being outdoors came on Tuesday morning, when I took a one-hour tour of the Neon Museum, which was pretty excellent. I’ll share some photos with you soon. (The temperature at the time was “only” 95º. The tour guide, who wore one of those safari caps with the flap on the back to protect his neck from the sun, insisted that we all bring a bottle of water, and they also offered us umbrellas. I declined the umbrella and had no problem with the conditions, although a few of my fellow guests peeled off and retreated to the museum lobby midway through the tour.)

• I didn’t gamble at all — in part because I had a busy itinerary and never really had any down time, in part because gambling by myself has never seemed like much fun (I’d rather be doing it with a friend or girlfriend). Also: Over the years I’ve found that I prefer gambling in non-Vegas settings — in Reno, say, or at Indian casinos, or at small-town “Las Vegas Night” events, or in Canada. There’s something interesting about how those places try to mimic Vegas, which for some reason I find more interesting and endearing than Vegas itself.

• I’ve been watching the new season of Twin Peaks, much of which takes place in Las Vegas (mostly in residential and office settings, not on the strip), and I was surprised by how much I found myself thinking about that during my time there. I asked a few locals how they felt about the show’s portrayal of their city, but none of them had watched it. Usually I’m the one who hasn’t watched the TV show that other people are talking about, so it was weird to be on the other end of that equation.

• I only had one free night to make my own dinner plans, and I had really wanted to eat at Chicago Joe’s, which is basically this little house. About the most un-Vegas-y setting imaginable, right? That seemed like it’d be fun and interesting. Unfortunately, they were closed on Mondays. Dang. Maybe next time.

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More NHL stuff: As everyone continues to process all the information that was presented at Tuesday night’s NHL/Adidas unveiling, here are a few follow-ups:

• On my plane ride home yesterday, I wrote an ESPN piece with five major takeaways from the unveiling. It’s up now on ESPN.

• Golden Knights owner Bill Foley has been telling people that the team will wear gold gloves, rather than the white ones that were shown at the unveiling. A few people at the event told me that the team actually went back and forth on the glove color in the days leading up to the unveiling. They also said that gold gloves were difficult to manufacture and might not be possible, which seems odd, but I’m not in the glove making business (yet), so what do I know. For now, I’d say we should all treat the team’s glove color as “to be determined.”

• Speaking of the Knights, after they chose goalie Marc-André Fleury in yesterday’s expansion draft, the NHL posted a short video of Fleury wearing a Knights jersey. The weird thing is that the jersey includes the NHL centennial patch, which teams wore last season:

That patch, wasn’t included on any of the jerseys shown at Tuesday night’s unveiling, but all NHL teams began wearing it midway through last season, as soon as the calendar turned to 2017, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them keep using it through Dec. 31. I’ve asked the league and Adidas about that and will let you know once I hear back from them.

• Random factoid: One of the most interesting bits of information that emerged from my interviews with Adidas and NHL people came when I was talking with NHL exec Brian Jennings. I mentioned how the NHL logo at the base of the jersey collar was being changed from an embroidered patch to a Chromaflex chip. He said that when he saw the first prototype with the chip, he ran his fingers against the chip’s edges and decided they were too sharp, because a player could get cut if an opposing player grabbed his jersey and pushed it up into his face. So the logo chip had to be retooled with smoother edges. What a great bit of uni minutiae!

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Naming Wrongs update: Scott Turner and I have been working on the next round of Naming Wrongs shirts, and I’m happy to report that four new sets of designs are now available for ordering. Let’s go one at a time:

1. The Ralph. Got lots of requests for this one. (Also got requests for Rich Stadium, but we can’t do that one because that’s a corporate name — sorry.) We’re offering four different versions, although I’m assuming the first two will be the most popular (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):

2. The Rose Garden. Another no-brainer. We decided that this one called for something more than just typography (although we may add a straightforward typographic version if people ask for it):

3. The Murph. This was an interesting one, because Qualcomm’s naming rights deal just expired last week, and there’s some question regarding what the stadium’s new name will be. So we’re introducing a new phrase: Instead of “I Still Call It” or “I’m Calling It,” this one will have “Just Call It”:

4. The Ted. I received quite a few requests from Braves fans who wanted a shirt for Turner Field. “I Still Call it” obviously doesn’t work here, and “I’m Calling It” didn’t feel right to me either, because the new ballpark is off in the suburbs and has no connection to the Ted. So we once again went with “Just Call It.” I’ll be interested to hear how that works for everyone.

All of these designs are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop, and are also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop (where card-carrying Uni Watch members can get 15% off; if you don’t already have the discount code, get in touch and I’ll hook you up). My thanks to everyone who submitted suggestions and ideas. We’ll have more designs soon.

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Seasonal suggestion: Independence Day is fast approaching, which means we’ll be seeing lots of stars and stripes uniforms throughout the uni-verse (including in MLB, where they plan to have players wear flag-based unis for four consecutive days).

With that in mind, I humbly suggest that you consider the Uni Watch stars/stripes T-shirt for your holiday needs. It has a handsome flag-themed script on the front, and the back design allows you to tell the world what you think of “patriotic” uniforms.

The shirt is available here. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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StripeRite reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’m extremely happy to announce that the latest batch of StripeRite socks (shown at right; click to enlarge) is now available from American Trench. I really like these designs, and I hope you will too. Supplies are limited, so move fast if you want to get in on these.

And remember, most of the designs from the first and second StripeRite batches are still available as well.

Sorry about all the sales pitches today. Just one of those things where several projects came to fruition at the same time. My thanks, yet again, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: An opera about Negro League legend Josh Gibson, named The Summer King, recently ran at the Pittsburgh Opera. Though the story is a tragedy (Gibson suffered a brain tumor and died of a stroke at only 35), the production included lots of great old uniforms (from Ted Arnold). … The Mariners’ Kyle Seager wore light blue batting gloves on Tuesday night. They were probably left over from Father’s Day weekend — or, as @SpoonT12 points out, maybe they were UNC gloves, because Seager is a former Tar Heel. … Cory Fisher picked up some Michigan State stirrups from the university surplus store. … The Diamondbacks gave away team-themed car sun shades earlier this season, and they came in handy yesterday, as temps in Phoenix reached 115º (from @ASU_Uniformity). … Royals C Salvador Perez hit a grand slam while using Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera’s bat, which was left behind in KC when the Tigers were in town (from Jason Pratt). … Speaking of the Royals, why do some players wear their sunglasses backwards on their caps? In the Royals’ case, it’s because their minor leaguers are taught never to cover their cap logos.

NFL News: The Broncos used to share Mile High Stadium with the Triple-A Denver Bears baseball club. For the Broncos’ 1978 opener, they kept the dirt infield, but put artificial turf over the pitcher’s rubber. That comes from this video clip (from Bill Kellick). … Pope Francis tried on a helmet and was given a personalized Papa Francisco jersey yesterday when Jerry Jones, Ronnie Lott, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame delegation made a visit to the Vatican (from Alex and Mary Lynn Delfino). … An October 1975 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News contains a full page on NFL uniforms. The piece includes a story on how Vince Lombardi, through force of personality, changed the Redskins’ colors when he took over as coach in 1969 (from @SportsPaperInfo). … Based on metrics including attendance and amounts of social media buzz, a sports analytics professor ranked the popularity of NFL teams (from Douglas Ford). … Former Vikings coach Bud Grant required his teams to wear black shoes. That clip also includes a humorous bit with a Vikings player describing black Converse high-tops as “America’s shoe.”

College Football News: Illinois is getting rid of their center helmet stripe. Here’s last year’s helmet for comparison (from Craig Choate). … Arizona will have new uniforms next season (from Phil). … Ball State updated its helmet design (from Adam Maxwell, via Phil). … New argyle gloves for UNC (from James Gilbert). … Toledo announced a new apparel deal with Nike (from Ryan Hercik). … New orange uniforms for Sam Houston State (from Chris Mycoskie). … Remember when Tennessee wore “Smokey Grey” alternates in 2013? The Vols planned on wearing a new version for 2014, but outcry from fans pushed them to scrap the look. The never-worn 2014 unis were sent to a youth football team in Israel (from Mark Smith). … Check out the amazing jersey design worn by the officials in the 1970 Rose Bowl (from Jerry Wolper).

Hockey News: The Red Wings revealed a logo for their inaugural season at Little Ceasar’s Arena. No word yet on whether it’ll be worn as a jersey patch. Lots of fans on social media immediately pointed out that the swirl at the center of the design looks like the Hurricanes’ primary logo. … The Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa will indeed miss the 2017-18 season, and possibly beyond, due to a skin disorder exacerbated by his equipment. Hockey players have long suffered from mysterious rashes and skin outbreaks due to their pads and jerseys: The plague was known as the gunk back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1988, the Oilers discovered that the formaldehyde used to prevent mildew and maintain the color of the equipment was to blame. … The Penguins will raise their Stanley Cup banner at their home opener on Oct. 4 against the Blues. … In the wake of the NHL uni unveilings, one observer picked winners and losers based on the teams’ redesigns and tweaks. … The NHL draft is tomorrow, and here are the the draft caps (from Nick Lineback). … The Sabres’ lace collar looks like a fish skeleton (from Ross Taylor). … The Columbus Burn, a proposed SPHL team, revealed their logo. Having a “Burn” logo in blue reminds me of those color text brain teasers. … An NHL jersey change you may have missed: The Blues’ numbers have changed from yellow to white (from Dave Singleton).

NBA News: The Pacers’ Lance Stephenson swung a deal with teammate Kevin Seraphin to obtain No. 1. Stephenson, who rejoined Indiana late last season, wore the digit during his first stint with the team. …The Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stopped by the Alamo before Game 4 of the 1983 Western Conference Finals against the Spurs in San Antonio. He even signed the guest book (from Jeremy Kendrick). … No photos, but the last two paragraphs of this article indicate that a New York Nets player wore a Miami Floridians practice jersey during a 1969 ABA game after Nets management misplaced his normal uniform (from Jerry Wolper). … Pro wrestler Kassius Ohno likes to wear NBA-inspired ring gear. … The Clippers have come up with a logo variation that’s even worse than their regular logo.

Soccer News: Here are the pre-match training top and the match tee for the U.S. Men’s team for this summer’s Gold Cup (from Conrad Burry). … New home kit for Arsenal (from an unnamed reader). … New home and away kits for Chelsea and Tottenham have leaked (from Charles George). … The NWSL will honor Tony DiCicco with a moment of silence and armbands at this weekend’s games. DiCicco, who died of cancer on Monday, was the USWNT coach in 1999, when they won the World Cup. … Manchester United’s new home kit has leaked (from Charles George). … New away kit for Inter (from Tim Kraus).

Grab Bag: Here are the liveries for this weekend’s IndyCar race, the Kohler Grand Prix Road America (from Tim Dunn). … A scathing inspector general’s report indicates that the Pentagon wasted $28 million on the wrong type of camo for uniforms for the Afghan army. Officials opted for a proprietary forest pattern, even though Afghanistan is mostly desert. You can read the full report here (from Trevor Williams and Hugh C. McBride). … This might be the most unlikely connection in the history of connections: Bob Saget and some of his fans think he looks like the Cholula hot sauce mascot. … Rather than “borrow” a pro team’s logo, Weiss High School in Austin, Texas, designed its own new logo. Here’s the final result (from Clint Loerwald). … A Tennessee sports fan has created a mash-up logo honoring the Titans, Grizzlies, and Predators. Scroll down through the responses to see similar designs for other cities.

NHL/Adidas Unveiling Recap

Photo by Chris Creamer

Good morning! I’ll still be asleep when some of you see this entry, and then I’ll be on an airplane for a big chunk of the day, but let’s not let that get in the way of a good entry, shall we?

So: The most surprising moment of last night’s NHL/Adidas unveiling event in Las Vegas was when the Golden Knights’ home uniform was revealed and you could sort of feel everyone mentally processing the fact that the team will be wearing white gloves. Bizarre, right?

I was never in love with that Golden Knights logo, and I still don’t much care for it. I do like the uniform’s color scheme, however (grey, black, gold, and red work really well together). But ugh — those gloves. That’s not gonna work.

I interviewed several Adidas and NHL execs, all of which was interesting. I hope to be able to tell you more about that later on, but one takeaway was that NHL branding czar Brian Jennings told me flat-out that uniform advertising is not on the table for the NHL. That doesn’t mean it’ll never happen, but he seemed pretty serious about it as we discussed it. (Yes, I’m aware that Deadspin more or less declared NHL jersey ads to be a done deal yesterday afternoon. But if you read the piece, you’ll find that the writer’s entire evidence for this is that “it seems inevitable.” He also asserts that NHL jersey leaks were pre-orchestrated inside jobs, again with no evidence. Draw your own conclusions.)

One major frustration is that the league and Adidas did not provide a summary of all the design changes by the various teams. When I asked about this, they said, “We need to let the teams tell their own stories.” It’s nice that they’re deferring to the teams, but come on — you can’t unveil 31 new uniforms without giving us some kind of road map. It’s just too much information for reporters and fans to process on the fly. I did my best to summarize some of the more significant changes, and also gave an overview of the new Adidas template, in this ESPN news piece, which I wrote right there at the event. It was published as I took a cab back to my hotel.

If you want more detailed team-by-team information, I recommend the following:

• Most of the information and photos floating around out there are only about the jerseys, not about the full uniforms. But I took full-body photos of all of the uniformed mannequins at the event. You can see those by scrolling through my Twitter feed.

• SportsLogos.net’s Chris Creamer managed to get access to the designs in advance and therefore had time to put together an excellent overview of the team-by-team changes. He also has some good photos on his Twitter feed.

• There’s also lots of good info and imagery (mostly retweets, but still) on the Icethetics Twitter feed.

So what did I think? Here are some very quick reactions:

1. The new hemline format is a big improvement.

2. I hate the new collars with that pentagon of fabric to showcase the NHL logo. When the pentagon is contrast-colored, as it is on many of the jerseys, it’s as bad as the old Ree-box. (This is sort of like the NFL’s changeover from Reebok to Nike in 2012, when the most visible aspect of the new outfitter was the annoying new collar format.)

3. Not a fan of the dimpled fabric on the shoulders. Here’s hoping it isn’t visible on TV.

4. I love the Wild’s new home uni, hate the Devils’ new sleeve stripes (waaaaay too wide — it’s like one of those Stadium Series designs where they make everything oversized so the guy sitting in the upper deck can see it), and am agnostic about the Bruins new black socks (which don’t look bad in a vacuum but seem kinda silly because now the Bruins look too much like the Penguins).

5. Last week I mentioned that the Red Wings appeared to be moving away from direct-sewn lettering for their NOBs and were using a nameplate instead. But the mannequin at last night’s event had direct-sewn letters — no nameplate! I asked an Adidas exec about this and he confirmed that teaser photo was wrong and that the team would not be using a ’plate. A nice surprise.

There’s more, but I have to pack and get ready for my flight home. See you tomorrow!

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Two new NBA uni advertisers: The Magic announced yesterday that their uniform advertiser for next season will be Disney. Given that the team’s name was inspired by Disney’s nearby Magic Kingdom, and that there’s actually a cruise ship called the Disney Magic, this one makes a certain amount of sense, even though it’s still disappointing and unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have announced that their uni advertiser will be Fitbit. The patch design won’t be revealed until the unveiling of the T-Wolves’ new uniform set later this summer (no specific date yet on that), but you can see various iterations of the Fitbit logo here, so the patch will presumably look something like one of those designs. The patch will also appear on the uniforms of the Timberwolves’ D-League G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves.

I had expected most of the NBA advertisers to be lifestyle brands like Disney, but the Fitbit deal continues the trend of teams partnering with advertisers who specialize in data and analytics. Other teams going that route have included the Nets (whose jersey advertiser will be Infor), Celtics (GE), and Jazz (Qualtrics).

The press release, straining for a local tie-in, notes that “Minnesota is home to many like-minded companies, clients and partners of Fitbit, including UnitedHealth Group, providing additional opportunities for collaboration in the future.” That’s nice, but Fitbit itself is headquartered in San Francisco, so there’s no local connection here for the Timberwolves.

• • • • •

Brand-new opportunity: Yesterday I received a very nice note from a representative of the Brooklyn Cyclones, as follows:

Good morning, Paul. My name is [redacted] and I work for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Our home season is starting tonight, 6/20/17 and wanted to reach out to you to see if you would be interested in bringing the Uni Watch brand out here to MCU Park to co-brand with the Cyclones via ballpark signage and website inclusion. I have just a few signs left for the taking and can cut you an unbelievable discount to get this done. Please call me today at [redacted] to discuss. I can turn-key this for you and make it happen on a very quick turnaround.

Being a huge fan of your site, and bringing the brand out here to MCU Park in Coney Island would be a fantastic way to get our fan base acclimated to Uni Watch and your “U-Watchers”. Thank you, in advance, for your time and consideration.

Now, I’m not gonna lie and pretend that it wouldn’t be fun to have some sort of Uni Watch sign out at the ballpark. And the guy sounds polite and sincere. But man, that’s a whole lot of “brand”-speak, eh?

A few hours later, at the NHL unveiling, I bumped into a writer whose work I’ve long admired. We’d emailed many times over the years but had never met in person, so it was a treat to shake his hand and get better acquainted. Things were going really well, and then he said, “So has ESPN been good for your brand?”

I realize there’s an increasing tendency for all of us to be in our own little bubbles. And my bubble is probably worse, because I work by myself at home (well, except when I travel to the desert for a hockey event). But still, all this chatter about branding, always with a straight face — is that really how people talk these days?

• • • • •

StripeRite update: I’m extremely happy to announce that the latest batch of StripeRite socks (shown at right; click to enlarge) is now available from American Trench. I really like these designs, and I hope you will too. Supplies are limited — seriously, they are, that’s not just a sales pitch — so move fast if you want to get in on these.

And remember, most of the designs from the first and second StripeRite batches are still available as well.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Rangers announcers made note of P Nick Martinez’s stirrups last night. … Speaking of the Rangers, OF Carlos Gomez was wearing Superman cleats (from Todd Oliver). … ESPN’s Tim Kurkjan wrote a piece hypothesizing what baseball will look like in 20 years, and he included this passage: “… long before 2037, all that space on a player’s uniform will be used for free marketing and advertising purposes, à la NASCAR.” (From Kary Klismet). … Tigers fans: Jason Werth needs your help in tracking down one of these Michigan/Old English D shirts. … This artist has a number of famous fans — namely, the Toronto Blue Jays (from Ted Arnold). … Cool photo of the Reds’ Johnny Temple testing out an early batting helmet in 1959 (from Sports Paper). … Speaking of batting helmets, Ben Matukewicz‏ found this old photo of a Red Sox player wearing a batting helmet with the team’s “hanging sox” logo. … We may have shared this before, but there is a statue of the Padres’ Swingin’ Friar made out of Lego at Legoland in California (from Sean L.). … The Hartford Yard Goats wore green caps last night, but at least one player was wearing a blue cap in the dugout (from Ricky Schumaker). … Looks like the Staten Island Yankees have some number font inconsistencies (from Jeremy Posner). … A player for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers was missing his Chief Wahoo patch on his sleeve last night. This is what the jerseys is supposed to look like (from Collin Kelly). … Some TCU players are wearing an “M” patch on their caps during the College World Series. Anyone know what it means? (From Jonathan Hall). … Louisville wore tequila sunrise jerseys last night, but the red numbers on red stripes really ruined what could have been good jersey (from Dave Cohen). … No photo, but the Brewers will wear their gold “Cerveceros” jerseys on July 1 (from Kurt Krowley).

NFL/CFL News: The Ravens have worn “Arm & Hammer” merit patches on their practice jerseys for years to signify that they’ve attended 85 percent of OTAs in the offseason. But according to Bryan Duklewski, they’ve added more patches this season: Stars apparently signify how many seasons they’ve been awarded “Arm & Hammer,” AFC logos to signify AFC North Championships and a Lombardi Trophy to signify a Super Bowl. But does anyone know what the final row of patches mean? … Actor Ashton Kutcher wears an Ottawa Redblacks shirt on his Netflix show, The Ranch (from Ted Arnold).

Hockey News: Here’s a good Q&A with the Canadiens’ equipment manager. He discusses assigning numbers and the weirdest piece of equipment he’s ever seen (from Moe Khan). … Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks may have to retire due to a “serious allergy” to his equipment (from Mike Chamernik).

NBA News: The Bucks’ new D-League G-League team, the Wisconsin Herd, will be officially unveiling their logo tomorrow, but it has apparently leaked.

College/High School Hoops News: KJ Smith, son of former North Carolina standout Kenny Smith, is transferring to his dad’s alma mater, and donned his old jersey to mark the occasion (from James Gilbert). … New floor for Fargo South High School in North Dakota (from Greg Enkers).

Soccer News: The NBA may be adding ad patches next season, but we in America are still light years ahead of the state of unis in South America. Thom Gibbs shared a photo of a jersey for Bolivian team The Strongest that his sister brought back for him from South America — 14 different ads!

What Happens in Vegas ... Is Lots of Pretty Cool Stuff

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Greetings from balmy Las Vegas, where I had dinner last night with longtime reader Kaine Messer, who flashed his official Uni Watch membership card at the table (based on the late-’90s Angels uniforms, don’tcha know). His Cali-themed card notwithstanding, Kaine turned out to be a passionate advocate for Las Vegas, schooling me in the city’s various ins and outs, all of which provided an excellent grounding for my visit here. (He also turned out to be a really nice guy and a very enjoyable dining companion. Thanks again, Kaine!)

As for dinner, we ate at the aptly named Prime Rib Loft, where we both opted for the titular menu item. I went with the largest size they offered, mainly because it comes on the bone:

Meeting Kaine and eating prime rib were two of the three major pleasures I had here yesterday. The third was a visit to the National Atomic Testing Museum, which traces the history of the nearby Nevada site where several nuclear weapons were tested in the 1950s and ’60s. Faaascinating stuff.

I’ll be visiting another museum this morning: the Neon Museum, where I’ll be taking a tour of the “boneyard” — the place where old neon signs go to die. I’m pretty excited about that one.

After that, I’ll shift into NHL mode and get ready for tonight’s unveiling. My understanding is that the event itself will begin at 8pm Eastern, but that the actual unveiling won’t be until about two hours after that. I’ll likely be tweeting a fair amount, so you can follow me to stay in the loop. At some point, though, I’ll be interviewing a bunch of NHL and Adidas people, and then writing at least one ESPN story. Not sure when those will be published, but it’ll probably be pretty late. Should be a fun night — see you then.

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Let’s try this again: What you see above is a Riddell 3-D scanning gadget showing a scan of me. I was wearing a tight black hood thingie because they wanted to get the exact contours of my head. This is the part of the process for Riddell’s new Precision-Fit helmet program, which produces custom-made interior padding for a precise fit between player and headgear. I’ve written a new ESPN piece about this, which I think you’ll find interesting. It was actually posted yesterday, but I didn’t get a chance to link to it because I spent most of the day on an airplane and then running around. Check it out here.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

With Paul sizzling in Las Vegas for tonight’s NHL/Adidas rollout, I thought it appropriate to go all-hockey for this week’s installment of CC. I really got into hockey with the minor league Dallas Blackhawks and Cincinnati Swords, and then with the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers when they debuted (I was at their first game over 40 years ago). Here we have a Stingers promo glass sponsored by 700 WLW radio. I have one of these myself, sitting right here. The seller wants a ton for it — maybe a set of four for not nearly as much works better for ya. Those also show the WHA player logo, and no radio sponsor.

Now for the rest of our hockey picks:

• Look at this Original Six patch from the Toronto Star Weekly.

• Nice-looking 1970s NHL lunchbox. Is that Espo on the front?

• Get lotsa snow in Winnipeg, eh? Then you’ll need this 1980s Winnipeg Jets Booster Club ice scraper.

• Whaler fans! We know you’re still out there, so how about this 1979 Whalers/NHL pin?

• Always liked how Indy’s WHA team was called the Racers, which of course rhymed with their Pacers basketball team, much like New York’s Mets, Jets, and Nets. If you were a Racers Hockey Nut, this bumper sticker is for you.

• Excellent artwork on this 1960s “All-Star Canadian Hockey” tabletop game from Munro and Sears.

• And yes, I had to look up the difference in spelling of “Canadian” vs. “Canadien” when I came across this 1960s Canadiens Stanley Cup pennant.

• Here’s a terrific 1970s Aladdin Thermos for The National Hockey League.

• Ah, the magnificence of the Quebec Nordiques logo is showcased on this practice-worn jersey. One of my very favorite hockey logos, along with the earlier mentioned Stingers, Racers, Jets, Whalers, and the…

• … Atlanta Flames. Here’s that simple yet so effective logo on a collectible puck. (Another thing about this logo: It was cost-efficient to reproduce, because it was just one color.)

• And we close out this week’s CC with a set of 1970s NHL coasters, including the K.C. Scouts and the California Golden Seals.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a rhinestone rainbow key tag. Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: After the final out of the 1967 World Series, third-base umpire Augie Donatelli snatched Cardinals infielder Julian Javier’s hat off of his head during St. Louis’s victory celebration. The moment has long been a part of Uni Watch lore. Though Donatelli is dead, a St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter spoke with Javier and Donatelli’s family members to find out what happened to the cap. It’s a cool story, highly recommended (from Scott Fite and Kyle Sawyer). … The Braves’ uniforms have been roughly the same since 1987, but the chest wordmark used to have a much steeper upward slant. You can see the progression of their jerseys in this video (from Austin Gillis). … The Astros team in Josh Claywell’s local Little League uses the current hats with the former logo on the jerseys. Plus, unless that kid has a specialized helmet, the Rays team uses a paw print decal. … The Lafayette Aviators will wear Harry Potter jerseys this Friday (from Forster Keenoy). … Nike hats sold at the College World Series in Omaha have inner bands with a Nebraska outline pattern on them (from Aaron Maisel). … The Nationals will hide 10 prize-filled “dragon eggs” around the DC-Maryland-Virginia area in advance of Friday’s Game of Thrones Night against the Reds (from Phil).

NFL & College Football News: The Supreme Court ruled that the law that barred the ’Skins from registering their name as a trademark is unconstitutional, which means the team will likely be able to retain trademark protection after all. … Here’s a good story on Dick Honig, the man behind an officiating apparel company that was basically the Nike of the referee world. He had more than 400,000 clients (from James Gilbert). … Georgia Tech will find a new apparel manufacturer after its deal with Russell Athletic ends next June (from James Gilbert). … New field for Nebraska Kearney (from Jason Johnson). … Rams fans are apparently unhappy with the current state of the team’s uniforms (from Brian Rouse). … Riddell is opening its largest football helmet plant so far in Ohio (from Jason Hillyer).

NBA News: De’Aaron Fox, a prospective top-five pick in Thursday’s draft, said on the Ryen Russillo Show that he wears No. 0 because he fears no one. He will wear the number in the NBA if it’s available on his team (from Andrew Cosentino). … Despite the new corporate partnership, NBA’s development league will not be known as the Gatorade League, only the G-League (from @HitTheGlass). … A couple summers ago, Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net theorized that roundel logos were becoming popular again because they work well as social media icons. Robert Hayes notes that after the Twitter update, several NBA team’s new-ish logos fit perfectly within the circular profile picture space.

College & High School Hoops News: New court for Kent State (from Mary Lynn Delfino). … New court design for Waukegan (Ill.) High School, my alma mater. The Dawg Pound, as it’s known, is the most intimate high school gym in the northern Chicago suburbs.

Soccer News: Adidas has given four national teams (Faroe Islands, Armenia, San Marino, Luxembourg) the same kit, just with different badges (from Josh Hinton). … New kits for Swansea. Here’s a video of the unveiling (from Terry Mark). … New home jersey for Benfica (from @MikeD3783). … San Francisco City FC of the Premier Development League will wear Pride jerseys on Sunday.

Grab Bag: The logo for next year’s Kentucky Derby has been revealed. … Ben Hayden makes an interesting observation: Three of the four Detroit major pro teams will have new uniforms next season. The Lions unveiled a new set a few months ago, the Pistons recently changed their logo, and the Red Wings and the rest of the NHL are touching up their unis (only the Tigers have kept the status quo). He asks if any other city has had three or more uniform/logo changes in one year. Does anyone know? … New logo for the U.S. Ski Team (from Matt Hughes). … The NHL apparently has its first player with two consecutive Ys in his surname (from Alex Hider).