Most NBA players these days wear a compression tank top under their jersey. So why not just skip the jersey and wear the compression undergarment function as the uniform top?
That’s an idea that the NBA has decided to test-drive in the upcoming all-star game. The league will announce today that all players in that game will have the option of wearing skin-tight compression tanks instead of the standard Adidas jerseys.
It isn’t yet clear how many people will take the league up on this offer. But while we wait to find out, here are a few thoughts:
• Obviously, the Adidas “PowerWeb” bands are beyond ridiculous. Ruins any chance of this experiment succeeding on a visual level.
• But if you can remove the bands, or just ignore them, the idea of form-fitting basketball jerseys is intriguing. I generally prefer tight over baggy. Also, Nike’s System of Dress jerseys on the college level are fairly trim-fitting, and I think they generally look quite good (hope all of you who think I’m incapable of liking anything Nike-related are paying attention). If Adidas can come up with something similar on the NBA level — again, without the lame-o performance bands — I’m all for that.
• The risk here is that the skin-tight look could put too much emphasis on the players’ physiques and take things too far in the superhero direction.
• Then again, while the players have super-human bodies, most fans do not. If a team ever went to compression-style jerseys, would fans buy a merchandised version of that? I for one do not want to see Vinnie from Queens in a skin-tight Knicks jersey.
• When I first heard about this idea back in October, I mistakenly thought they’d be giving players the option of wearing compression shorts as well. I wish they’d gone that route — a full skin-tight uni, sort of like the Australian women’s hoops team (only two pieces, not a unitard) or the infamous NC State one-piece uni (which was basically a unitard, but it looked so awful that the players wore shorts with it anyway). As it stands now, they’ve got the potential for tight on top and baggy on the bottom, which is the same problem that afflicts the System of Dress. If you’re gonna go with the compression look, I say go all the way.
All in all: an interesting idea. Might not work, but I’ll be curious to see how it looks.
The NBA will be officially announcing all of this, plus a bunch of other all-star stuff, this morning. Meanwhile, if you want to see how the regular, non-compression jerseys look on several of the all-star players, look here.
Golden boys: One of the worst-kept uni secrets of the past six months or so is that the A’s will be ditching their black alternate jersey this season and replacing it with a gold alternate. Broadcasters have mentioned it on the air, reporters have referenced it in print, and so on. But the team hadn’t officially acknowledged the new jersey until yesterday (further details here).
I say it’s a win-win. Getting rid of the black jersey is addition by subtraction, and the new jersey is my-t-fine. Well done.
Giveaway reminder: I’m raffling off an official Super Bowl XLV football. Details here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Dwyane Wade has been having problems with migraines, so last night he planned to wear dark goggles to reduce the glare that can trigger his symptoms. But the NBA ruled that the goggles were too dark, so he had to go with amber glasses. And since Miami was playing the Knicks, who have Amare Stoudemire, the game was a real specs-fest. … Who? Hu, that’s who! … The Russell Athletic site has a pretty cool uni design interface (with thanks to Jay Jennings). … The Steelers have sued a local manufacturer for producing knockoff merch. … New sneakers for Kevin Garnett (with thanks to Carlos Jalife). … BJ Lanier reports that Michael Vick has been rigged with a helmet camera during Pro Bowl practices. … The Mariners have unveiled their Dave Niehaus memorial patch. … Remember the newfangled helmet that LaMichael James was wearing early in the BCS title game? Here’s an article about it (with thanks to Jef Green). … Jeff Scott recently acquired a bunch of game-used Cardinals stirrups. “There’s a pair from Dave Ricketts (#10 written at top) and three singles,” he says. “One has both #18 and #32, suggesting use by Mike Shannon and Steve Carlton; one has #6, suggesting it belonged to Stan Musial (as you know, he trained with the team long after his playing days); and one has #25 and is signed by Julian Javier. It’s interesting how different these stirrups are. The Ricketts pair, which likely is the oldest given his tenure with the team, is more of a coarse double-knit, while the three singles are more like Durene, tighter and silkier. Also two of the singles feature one-piece construction, but one has an extension on the bottom, and that extension is different than the extension on the Ricketts pair, both in width and type of material. I also acquired a Bob Gibson-worn undershirt, which is 90% wool!” … Nothing says hockey like a sand castle. … Lots of team-colored football fields — although by no means a comprehensive round-up of them — here and here. … DC United will unveil a third kit on Saturday. … Here’s a great slide show of the Packers’ jerseys being prepped for the Super Bowl. … Allison Ambrous found an old hockey trivia book that says Wayne Gretzky had a personalized version of the Olympic rings stamped into the butt end of his stick for Olympic play (not sure which year). … The Twins are retiring Bert Blyleven’s number.
Looking ahead: Busy week upcoming for me on ESPN. The story + video of my trip to the Wilson football factory in Ohio will run on Monday, plus I’ll have a Super Bowl installment of Uni Watch on Thursday, plus-plus I’ve written a piece about the Puppy Bowl, although I’m not sure which day that’s running. Haven’t decided yet how all this will affect things here on the blog — might take a day off, depending on how a few other things shake out.
Also: Tomorrow I’m taking a lamb-butchering course. Photos to follow next week.