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Stands for Another Atrocious Undertaking

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I don’t pay much attention to college basketball. So it makes sense that I also don’t pay much attention to AAU basketball, the amateur youth organization that’s become a feeder system for the major college programs. And that’s why I didn’t notice the recent publication of Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine, which apparently exposes a lot of the corruption and other unsavory business that goes on under the purview of the AAU. (You can get a better sense of what the book’s about by reading this well-written review.)

Reader Jack Nicolaus has read this book. A few weeks ago he sent me the following note:

[T]he most interesting thing about the book is how the shoe companies (Nike, Adidas, and to an extent Reebok) are the ones who are driving the market. They sponsor traveling teams in the hopes of landing the next Lebron, who will be loyal to them. Coaches scramble to get players so they can get the shoe company paydays. The coaches lie, cheat, and steal to convince players they can make it to the NBA. There are some interesting fly-on-the-wall bits where the writer gets to be in the room for conversations between shoe company execs as they decide how to dole out the cash.

That sounded interesting, so I asked Jack if he’d be willing to transcribe some of the more relevant bits. He agreed. The resulting post is a bit long-ish, but I found it fascinating. Hope you do too. Without further ado, here’s Jack.

Play Their Hearts Out: Excerpts and Analysis

By Jack Nicolaus

The book chronicles eight years in the life of a youth basketball coach and his star player, from fifth grade through high school graduation. Joe Keller, the coach, becomes a foster parent to Demetrius Walker, the player. The book uses their journey as an entry point into the manipulative landscape of youth basketball.

One of the book’s major focuses is on how “grass roots” AAU basketball has become intensely monetized, particularly in terms of how the big shoe companies are involved. The sponsorships they dole out to youth basketball teams lend prestige, which helps attract the best players in the area. The shoe companies hope that one of the young phenoms becomes the next Derrick Rose or Lebron James. If that happens, the youngster will already be loosely affiliated with the shoe company when it comes time for endorsement deals. Meanwhile, the other, less talented kids grow up idolizing the kids who have the shoe company sponsorships and their apparent legitimacy.

Joe Keller, the coach who serves as the book’s case study, is haunted by the payday he missed when he discovered a young player named Tyson Chandler, who eventually went on to fame and fortune in the NBA. Keller admits that he’s a coach because he wants to make money off of the kids’ futures. Where does the money come from? Here’s a good outline of the Catch-22 Keller was facing, as written by the author:

In most urban centers, the shoe companies sponsored one or two coaches. In Southern California, the number was higher because of the concentration of talent, with around a dozen or so coaches paid as “consultants” by Nike or Adidas. The ratio of unsponsored coaches to sponsored coaches might be 20:1 in a hotbed like Los Angeles, which produces more Division I talent than any other metropolitan area…

[T]he difference between the haves and the have-nots is stark. On a map highlighting the percentage of market controlled by the coaches in Southern California, Barret [a Nike-sponsored coach] and the Pumps [Adidas] would be identified by huge black dots blanketing all but a small portion of the region. So many of the elite kids are on their teams that the market share for the unsponsored coaches … would barely register. On the map, the unaffiliated coaches would be tiny red dots on the periphery.

Keller was the quintessential red dot, and like all red dots he dreamed of landing a shoe deal. But the landscape of the grassroots basketball market worked against him. The power and the money were concentrated with the sponsored coaches, who, while they didn’t collude, watched each another closely and employed the same tactics to dismantle the competition. It was a market dominated by a few competitors, an oligopoly, and Keller was out on what economists call the “competitive fringe.”

[The sponsored coaches] all had different styles, but the model for how they enticed players was largely the same. After identifying a special prospect, they offered free shoes, free travel to tournaments all over the country, and a chance to team up with the most heralded players. With parents, they talked of the “exposure” their son would need to land a college scholarship and how that exposure could come only from playing for a sponsored coach. They put a question to parents: Do you want to risk your son’s future by letting him play for someone else? They rattled off the names of former players who had received college scholarships and sometimes had one of them call to support the coach’s candidacy…

This was maddening to Keller. He could recruit harder and coach better, but, in the end, his paradox remained the same: Without a shoe deal, it would be difficult to recruit and keep top players. And without great players, he would never get a shoe deal.

A bit later in this chapter, the book gives a brief account of how the shoe companies broke into the youth basketball market. It all started with Sonny Vaccaro getting Michael Jordan to agree to sponsor Nike.

In 1991, Nike fired Vaccaro, and a year later he landed at Adidas. He had a smaller budget but the same objective: to establish Adidas as a basketball brand. The best college programs, thanks to his earlier work, were with Nike, so “I had to go younger,” Vaccaro said. “The only place I could do battle with Nike was at the youth level.” He brokered sponsorship deals with top high schools and signed five of the most influential AAU coaches in America…

It hardly made a ripple at the time, but Adidas’s move into the AAU game changed basketball. Nike quickly followed Vaccaro’s lead, aligning with high schools and forming its own stable of grass roots coaches.

Vaccaro’s decision to move younger was followed by the drafting of high schooler Kevin Garnett by the Minnesota Timberwolves with fifth pick in the 1995 NBA draft. Garnett’s early success, coupled with Vaccaro’s infusion of capital, fueled the rise of the AAU game. The search for players who might one day become NBA stars moved from college down to the prep level. The AAU season from April to August became the most important time of the year for players to showcase their skills.

This all comes to a head with Joe Keller’s “breakthrough” insight into the AAU market: He decides to go even younger, recruiting middle-school kids:

Keller’s dilemma when he returned to coaching was not unlike Vaccaro’s when he arrived at Adidas. He couldn’t compete for the older kids, so he decided to go after the younger ones. In an oligopolistic market, a new operator must find a way to circumvent the barriers to entry… Independent coaches like Keller often tried to build teams around recycled players, kids that sponsored coaches had passed on or cast aside. But that was hard work. You had to do more coaching and hope for a late growth spurt or a sudden jump in ability that would push your players into the upper echelon of prospects. Keller chose instead to find a new entry point into the market. He theorized that if he cultivated a strong relationship with kids and their parents long before the more prominent coaches came after them, their loyalty to him would percent them from jumping to another team. Then, if the shoe companies wanted access to his great players, they would have no choice but to give him a contract like Barrett’s, with the fat salary and all the free gear his players wanted.

There’s a great deal more to the book (it’s over 400 pages), focusing on the relationship between Keller and Demetrius Walker, and Keller’s machinations and schemes. Throughout, the shoe companies are the half-hidden overlords. There are people representing Adidas/Nike, but the corporations themselves remain hidden behind curtains of plausible deniability.

Spoiler alert: In the end, the Big Bad Greedy Guy makes a fortune on the Poor Oppressed Kid. Demetrius Walker is currently on scholarship at University of New Mexico, so he’s not exactly a failure, but Keller’s fortune makes it obvious that it hasn’t been a fair deal. The book illuminates the world of those that the system casts aside once they’re no longer useful. Players who have thrown their entire young lives into athletic success are left penniless and (probably more importantly) deemed irrelevant by their adult role-models. Sounds a lot like college football.

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Paul here. All very interesting, no? And very sad — or at least that’s how it seems to me. Granted, I’m (a) generally anti-corporate and (b) admittedly quite ignorant about the AAU scene, so hey, maybe there’s another side to this story. But to me it sounds like child exploitation, plain and simple.
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Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie

In honor of pitchers and catchers reporting this week (thank goodness), we’re all baseball this week. Take a look at our lead-off item.

• Here’s one from reader Jon Solomonson: a Jerry Lewis baseball jersey.

• Ever hear of Brocca Pop soda? Lou Brock loved it, although I don’t know if “My favorite red pop” is the most ringing endorsement.

• Speaking of the Cards, will you look at this jersey. Perfection. [Man, sleeves were so short in the ’60s. For some reason I always liked that look for that era, even though I hate the disappearance of sleeves in the NFL. — PL]

• Mike Burke sent along this nice vintage flannel jersey.

• Remember those children’s baseball jackets with patches for every single MLB team? Here’s the cap version, courtesy of Nicholas Bean

• Now that’s a Pirate!

• And one non-baseball item, because it’s something you don’t often see: a 1970s Bobby Unser race suit. Va-va-vrrrooom!

• And one from Paul: a really neat set of Wilson retail displays.

Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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Guess I won’t tell him that I like roast squab: As you may have heard, Animal planet is about to debut a new show about Mike Tyson and pigeons. ESPN is all over this, so I’ll be doing a phone interview with Tyson this afternoon. My question to you folks: What should I ask him? I mean, I already have a list of questions, but this is an unusual situation — I don’t know jack about pigeon racing, and I’m all too aware that Tyson’s been interviewed a few jillion times in his life, so I don’t want to ask all the obvious stuff (“How’d a rough, tough guy like you end up having such a soft spot for birds?”).

I’m serious, people: If you were interviewing Mike Tyson about his new TV show, what would you ask him? Send your suggestions here. I’ll print some of the best submissions later this week. As always, thanks for your help.

Infographics reminder: Remember, I’m giving away a free T-shirt or a free Uni Watch membership to the reader who whips up the best sports-related infographics submission. It can be about a big, official thing, like Super Bowl results, or a small, personal thing, like your cap collection. Details here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Two spring training notes from Jonathon Binet: The Rockies are wearing team-logo socks, and Evan Meek was in no hurry to wear a Pirates cap the other day (and who can blame him?). … Cam Newton has signed with Under Armour. … New logo for the Great American Conference (with thanks to Sean Patton). … Here’s the best (read: worst) view so far of Texas A&M’s camo-trimmed hoops jerseys (with thanks to Chris Smith). … I think we’ve now reached a new low in logo creep: swoosh-emblazoned sanitaries. That’s the Florida softball team. Awesome stirrups, natch, but those sannies are a freakin’ disaster (big thanks to Nate Kurant). … On the other hand, some swoosh placements please me no end (as noted by Erik Johns). … Info on Red Sox uni number assignments can be found at the bottom of this page, and Yankees uni number news is at the bottom of this page (with thanks to Matt Harris). … Interesting to see that Michigan coach Kevin Borseth’s blazer has an “M” logo on the inner lining (good spot by Chris Drouin). … Cycling news from Sean Clancy: “Luxembourg officials aren’t too keen on the jersey design of national road race champ Frank Schleck. He may have to find a more distinctive design for his national champion’s top.” … Lots of rare sports footage, including highlights from the very first NBA game and from a 1966 Jets/Pats tilt, available here. … Get this: Tim Zelmanski was so unhappy with the Lightning’s new uniforms that he wrote a lengthy letter to the team. Not only did he get a response, but he got an invitation: CEO Tod Leiweke has invited him to come in next week to chat about his concerns over coffee. Impressive! Keep us posted on how it goes, Tim. … Arin Mitchell — who says he can’t start his day without Uni Watch and a Coke — reports that Serge Ibaka will be wearing this sneaker design for this weekend’s dunk contest. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Virginia Tech wore VPI throwbacks on Sunday. … Fun DIY project from Andy Moeschberger, who writes: “In 2008, I started working at a new high school. As such, it had a logo featuring a snarling animal — in our case, a wolf). For our first homecoming week, I decided to create a faux-back letterman’s sweater. I bought a plain black cardigan and adhesive-backed felt, printed out my designs, cut out the felt, and made myself a ’50-year-old’ letter sweater. It’s not the greatest thing ever made, but I’m proud of the ‘Howling Wolf’ logo I created for the back of it, and people love it every time I wear it to school.” … Genius observation in last night’s comments by Drew Elrick, who notes that the nostrils on the Bulls logo have been missing in the recent ESPN power rankings. … Serious color-on-color game from last Saturday: Xavier vs. Duquesne. … Fun primer on logo design (with thanks to Kyle R.).

 

144 comments to Stands for Another Atrocious Undertaking

  • JohnnySeoul | February 15, 2011 at 8:30 am |

    Gotta love those Texas A&M uni’s!! Anytime a sports team shows support for my fellow brave men and women busting their butts overseas, I can’t help but feel a greater since of pride to wear this uniform…I know I’m heading back to the sand box soon. Kudos to the Aggies.

    • Andy | February 15, 2011 at 9:05 am |

      That’s interesting. Would you estimate a good amount of service men/women feel honored when teams make this type of gesture?

      As far as people outside the service(s), it seems about 50/50 to me. Some think it’s a nice gesture, some think it’s tasteless and overdone; just a marketing tactic used to sell more gear.

      • JohnnySeoul | February 15, 2011 at 9:24 am |

        I’ve been active duty for 14 years and have yet to come across a sports man that didn’t take pride when a team wears some sort of “shout-out” to the military. Posssibly a few WWII or Veitnam vets may grumble, but then again that could be the result of a major generation gap. Yes, these schools, teams, and companies (Nike, Reebox, and etc) make a profit off of them too, but in today’s age, what doesn’t turn into a profit? Like I’ve said, I 100% approve teams that do this. It gives us a sense of pride. It’s difficult to constantly leave our loved ones with not knowing if we will return home to ever see them again. It’s nice seeing a “thank you” on TV.

        • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 9:48 am |

          I asked military personnel to weigh in on the camo question back in 2009. Here are the responses I got:
          http://www.uniwatchb...

          And here’s the article I wrote around that same time:
          http://sports.espn.g...

        • Simply Moono | February 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

          @JohnnySeoul: I’d go as far as to say that tOSU should switch to those unis permanently. Couple of changes though:

          1) Switch out the sleeve flag for this logo:
          http://www.sportslog...

          2) Use the current grey/silver helmet with a darker grey to better match the pants.

          3) Make the tall grey socks scarlet… or just do the smart thing and use college-style white crew socks (with all-black cleats, of course).

          4) Hide in my secret lair when RPM blows his top at the sight of the new unis.

      • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:25 am |

        If there’s one place where it is going to be more appreciated by the ROTC, it’s A&M. They have stronger ties between their general student body and their military students than any other school I’ve seen that’s not actually a military school. It still looks bad, but I would guess it’s well appreciated there.

        • JohnnySeoul | February 15, 2011 at 10:08 am |

          Great article, Paul. I thought the best so far was Ohio State’s 1942 Pro Combat uniforms worn against against Michigan in 2010 that displayed a bronze star on the back of the helmet to honor the service of team captain Charles Csuri, who was recognized for his heroism in the Battle of the Bulge. Outstanding.

  • Broadway Connie | February 15, 2011 at 8:43 am |

    “… Fun primer on logo design (with thanks to Kyle R.)…”

    Hilarious.

    ***

    The whole AAU / sneaker-makers / crazed coaches conspiracy thing… There’s an example in a major program in our neighborhood. Awful. Certain kids, it must be said, seem to profit from the experience, even some of the kids who don’t make it to college. But many, maybe most, of the kids get hooked on a mathematically-improbable dream that postpones – or even cancels – the requirements of maturity. Those hoop dreams produce a lot of 40-year-old adolescents. Such a waste.

    • Flip | February 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

      Gotta agree w/ your conclusion about the shoe companies and AAU bball. Exploitive and sad. One of these days the collegiate arms race will come crashing down, and while I have no visions of how it will fall, rest assured it will be ugly … and likely expensive.

    • Swine the Mad | February 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

      It’s not just AAU.

      In 2004, a little school in Georgia somehow had this big-time hoops prospect. They came by him honestly as he just happened to move in in 6th or 7th grade. The little school in Georgia had no connections at all to anyone and were going through a particularly bad time in basketball.

      The school knew The Kid was going to be good in 7th grade. He was starting in 9th and had all the potential in the world. Right before his sophomore season started, the coach said to his scorebook keeper, a friend of his, that a shoe company had contacted him about sponsoring the team. I think it was Reebok. Clemson was said to already be interested in The Kid.

      The world crashed down that year. In the big rivalry game, The Kid grabbed an opposing player by his dreadlocks, swung him around and took a few swings. The GHSA suspended him for a month. His father transferred him to another county’s school, which wasn’t bothered one bit by the questionable behavior (hey, back in the good times, they had tried to recruit our star, who lived close to the county line).

      The Kid would transfer again after that year, back to his native Ohio. He’d become a football star at Glenville and would get a scholarship to Ohio State. He started the past two years. The little school in Georgia’s football program was so perennially awful that they didn’t even consider that he could be that good in football.

      The little school in Georgia never got the sneaker deal. They’ve returned to their usual anonymity.

  • LI Phil | February 15, 2011 at 8:46 am |

    ask iron mike if pigeons have ears

    • b-t-p-h | February 15, 2011 at 10:45 am |

      Ask Mike if he prefers Frillbacks or Rollers? I raised pigeons as a kid and come from a long line of pigeon enthusiasts. I’ll definitely be watching the show and reading your interview. Tyson began fighting to deal with an animal abuser? Who knew? I think that’s a good reason to start war. Seriously.

  • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 8:46 am |

    Sounds a lot like college football.

    Actually, it sounds exactly like the market structure of the narcotics trade. Change “Nike” and “Adidas” to the names of any two major cartels, change “coach” to “distributor,” and change “player” to “dealer,” and you’d have an eerily precise recitation of any one of the several academic studies of the economics of the illegal drug industry. With similar outcomes for the personal fortunes of most of the people involved at the dealer and distributor – er, I mean, player and coach – levels.

  • Rob Juba | February 15, 2011 at 8:47 am |

    From the Cam Newton article-

    “He typically wore 17 Under Armour logos each Saturday during the season.”

    ‘Nuff said.

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:27 am |

      Remember that not all of those were visible. He probably had a UA jock, girdle, socks with the logos on the feet instead of the legs, etc.

  • Black Coffee & Bourbon | February 15, 2011 at 8:57 am |

    The logo primer was very funny. I like the part about how teams research on how to proceed with a logo design. Only one in recent memory to buck that trend are the Lightning. They went the whimsical child-like drawing route…

    • Ry Co 40 | February 15, 2011 at 9:13 am |

      looks more “hideous, unnecessary postmodern update” to me…

  • Joe Barrie | February 15, 2011 at 9:04 am |

    The basketball story is appalling, but not a surprise.

    Is there another country on this planet that sees its kids admitted to college because of athletic prowess?

    • DJ | February 15, 2011 at 9:09 am |

      As opposed to schools that admit kids based on their prowess in art, music, drama, etc?

      The scandal is not necessarily that kids are admitted to college for their athletic ability, but that they aren’t given a proper college education when they get there.

      • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 9:22 am |

        Poor analogy. Kids who get scholarships in art, music, and drama are usually majoring in art, music, and drama. They’re not just skill sets — they’re academic disciplines.

        The same can’t be said for athletics. That’s why athletic scholarships are such a scam.

        • Broadway Connie | February 15, 2011 at 9:54 am |

          Well, Paul, maybe not quite that simple. Art, music and drama are indeed “academic disciplines” on the appreciating-and-analyzing end of things, but there’s many an undergraduate who concentrates in those fields so as to become an actor, a violinist, a ballerina, a painter… Maybe the mathematics of supply-and-demand aren’t quite so daunting as they are for would-be professional athletes, but they’re still pretty long, and there are many many more would-be professional artists than there are real pros. Literature not excluded.

          It may sound insufferably elitist, but I think the Ivy League does it right. There are no scholarships “for” anything except for lack of money. “Need-based,” as they say. Now it is also true that an excellent high school football player has a better chance of being admitted than a classmate with the same grades – or even slightly better grades – who doesn’t football. Same with prodigy musicians and child actors. An important part of your admissions portfolio (besides your personal essay on bringing potable water to wretched peasants in the Guatemalan backcountry) is a demonstration of “excellence” in a desired field. Football and basketball are such fields, and it is an open secret that Harvard and Yale athletes enter and graduate from their institutions with scores and grades lower than the median. Fine by me. I like that system.

        • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 10:01 am |

          The point I was making is that if you have a scholarship for art, music, or drama, you can study those fields and get a degree in those fields. The study of those fields is part of the school’s academic mission, whether you’re studying them for purely intellectual reasons or for career-based reasons. Same goes for studying law, journalism, or any other field that that’s a legitimate academic discipline but also offers a career path.

          But there’s no degree in basketball, and basketball has nothing to do with a school’s mission.

        • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 10:10 am |

          The schools themselves admit the difference.

          Other students can hold part-time jobs, even in their field of study. A music major on full scholarship can get paid for playing rehearsal piano for a high school musical and no one says a word.

          Scholarship athletes are so financially hamstrung some don’t even have the money to call home.

          I’ve always though that a portion of the money from shoe/uni deals should go into a kitty for some basics like, say, a phone card or two.

          Either that or go back to letting athletes work at 7-11 or something. So much is made of the “college experience” yet athletes really don’t get to experience it. Rather they often live in some kind of half-reality that’s a huge part preferential treatment and at the same time depravation. You’re a big-time athlete, but if you have more than fifty bucks in your pocket, it better be because your family is well above the poverty line.

          It isn’t about paying them, it’s about covering the money they aren’t allowed to make (like any other college student) because they’re on an athletic scholarship.

          —Ricko

        • Kyle | February 15, 2011 at 10:14 am |

          Paul- I tend to disagree (and not just because I received an athletic scholarship)

          Many of my teammates majored in athletically related fields. Just as with the general student population, majors may not fit perfectly. I had team mates who majored in elementary education focusing on health, Physical education, nutrition, and coaching.

          Are these perfect fits? Not at all, But how many students that major in sociology become sociologists?

        • Kyle | February 15, 2011 at 10:16 am |

          Ricko-

          Athletes can work at jobs. I myself worked a summer job coaching. Many of my team mates worked as coaches or as waiters. The difficulty is you can not work during the season and yes, it is tough to do.

        • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 10:21 am |

          That D-1?

        • Kyle | February 15, 2011 at 10:49 am |

          Ricko-

          Yes it was D1. I have also worked in NCAA compliance and can say 100% it is legal for SA’s to work as long as they do not receive compensation for their likeness, they athletic ability (beyond coaching) and receive a wage that is comparable to the going rate.

          A few years ago Oklahoma got into trouble because they had football players working at a car lot. There was nothing wrong with that other than the fact that the players were clocked in while they were at football practice. Their starting QB got booted.

          You can work a job if you want to, it is just hard.

          Here is the link to the OU car issue.
          http://sports.espn.g...

        • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 11:09 am |

          Yes, many students study art, literature, drama, or sociology and few become Jeff Koons, Stephen King, Tommy Lee Jones, or [name of famous, wealthy sociologist]. Nonetheless, the point still stands that art, literature, drama, sociology, etc. are legitimate fields of academic scholarship. Athletics is at best comparable to sub-community-college vocational or technical education, not the subjects offered at a legitimate four-year college or university. There are no PhDs offered in dunking, no theses defended on hitting for power.

          Incidentally, this isn’t about some sort of brain/brawn elitism: a number of essentially vocational white-collar programs other than sports also don’t belong anywhere near a four-year college, at least as a program in which anyone can major. Journalism, for example, and most of the pre-grad-school business programs. And in some of these fields, as in journalism, dysfunctional and exploitative labor practices have evolved that are almost as vile as the D-1 football/basketball plantations.

        • Kyle | February 15, 2011 at 11:16 am |

          I am not sure why sports can not be legitimate fields in the right context. Coaching and physical education.

          That is like saying a blog covering sports uniforms is not journalistic.

          I must say that some of the best journalism and reporting I have read recently has come from here.

          Here if someone has a question, it is dug up until someone is satisfied (and sometimes past that too!)

        • Simply Moono | February 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

          @Kyle: Is this the same Kyle that commented on the mono-red vs. mono-black Mater Dei/Servite game months ago? Or is this a different Kyle?

    • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 10:28 am |

      Aw, hell, the bottom line is that this is the U.S., and damn near everything’s money-driven. Teams mean big money to schools in terms of alumni donations and things like the Big Ten Network, which thrives because those are huge schools with graduates (or those who at least attended for a while) all over the country.

      It’s about “product visibility”.

      And while I don’t enjoy the truly transparent sham of it when it rears its ugly head, I’ll be damned if I can come up with a solution.

      There’s just too much money involved, and no one’s going to walk away from that.

      A little the internal comubustion engine. Not the best way to get the job done, but we’re so far down the road that change is almost impossible…and won’t come until those who make money from it can STILL make money in the process.

      —Ricko

      • b-t-p-h | February 15, 2011 at 10:55 am |

        Band uniforms made by Paul’s favorite:
        http://www.flickr.co...

      • Anotherguy | February 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm |

        Ricko, my two cents: public colleges (in general) have blurred the line between trade schools and old-style British “university” education so much that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference anymore.

        Minnesota, Illinois and most of the other State U’s were founded on the idea that the burgeoning parts of U.S. civilization needed teachers, maybe some experts in crop sciences; and most of all educated people who would go on to study things like engineering, law, etc. in the manner that Lincoln became a lawyer. Obviously engineering and business eventually came into the State University fold, and then things like music and theater became majors: and now we’re gotten so far afield in answering whether the states really need more dancers, so why not give out athletic scholarships to people who will only be in “school” for a year? (rolleyes).

        There is no answer here. But the idea of what is and isn’t worthy of being a part of “college” overall (and especially a public college) will probably be hotly debated as we get further and further into the current public money crunch.

        That’s JMHO.

    • Christopher | February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |

      I’m a little late to the game here, but I have to disagree with Paul on this one. Though I kinda see where you’re coming from.

      Why can’t basketball be considered part of a university’s mission? Is it any less legitimate as art? film making?

      USC has one of the best film departments in the nation. The chances of most of the graduates actually making money directing films will be very, very small.

      Why can’t someone go to school for basketball? People make careers out of basketball in the US and overseas.

      As well, just like film school- those who don’t actually play have other career options in the NBA and other leagues.

      • Chance Michaels | February 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm |

        Actually, I’d wager that the percentage of USC film graduates who go on to a career in the entertainment business or a related field is pretty high.

        Higher, I suspect, than the percentage of its basketball players who are making a living in the field a decade later. But I don’t have any numbers to confirm or deny.

        • Christopher | February 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

          Well how about drama and acting? Very, very few people ever break into the industry professionally.

          Now, I’m never one to defend the exploits of the NCAA. They’re a cartel and often evil.

          I’m just saying- I never understood why its wrong to “go to school for basketball” and offer such a program.

  • Mark K | February 15, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    NY Times article on espn folks having shoe contracts…

    http://www.nytimes.c...

    • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

      Readers deserve to know: Is Paul secretly sponsored by a shoe company, and if so, which one? I would have guessed Vans, but the only photo I can find of Paul’s feet shows Adidas.

  • Rob S | February 15, 2011 at 9:07 am |

    The Bulls logo nostrils are missing on more than just the rankings page, and ESPN.com seems to be quite inconsistent about it too.

    Then again, the NHL You Rank ‘Em page has no less than five outdated team logos (the Bruins, Canucks, Lightning, Senators and Sharks are all represented by pre-Edge logos), and it looks like they didn’t even care about zooming in on the Sabres’ current logo to match. At least they did get rid of the ‘Slug, though, so that counts for something, I guess…

    • Chance Michaels | February 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |

      Six – that’s the old Islanders crest.

      • Rob S | February 15, 2011 at 11:28 am |

        Yeah, that’s right, I forgot about that… since they’re using the royal blue, four-stripes-on-the-stick version.

        But the phrase “no less than five” is still correct!

    • JimWa | February 15, 2011 at 11:14 am |

      Well lookie there … the Bulls logo without the nostrils actually looks quite like what you might see if you look up at Scottsman walking up a flight of stairs.

      The Bulls Logo: Not just robots reading bibles anymore!

      • Ry Co 40 | February 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

        “The Bulls Logo: Not just robots reading bibles anymore!”

        LMAO!!! i had to google that! please, please create a logo based off of that!!!

  • Dootie Bubble | February 15, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    I’ve followed and written about Ghanaian domestic league football. They used to have a televised competition between high schools which brought quite a few future Black Stars into school for the first time. When that show was canceled things went back to normal – soccer academies that don’t even pretend to be about academics. So while I think there are a ton of problems with college athletics in the US I’m not sure people really want the international alternative where AAU-style leeches rob the young men dry and don’t even bother exposing them to a potentially positive influence like a teacher. For those pimps it’s the more illiterate, the more manageable.

  • Ben Jye | February 15, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    Good lord, the pic of the VPI/Georgia Tech game really shows how big shorts have gotten. You could easily fit two of the GT player’s legs into one leg of his shorts, and the way the VT player’s shorts are flared it looks almost like he’s wearing a skirt.

  • ScottyM | February 15, 2011 at 9:31 am |

    Hey, Auburn,

    How’s it feel to sell your soul for a championship and a UA contract?

    Kid barely attends class for a year, doesn’t graduate, yet you’ll work with Under Armour to “unveil a whole collection of Cam Newton Auburn items, including jerseys with his name on the back, as well as football and training gear, including signature a signature shoe line.”

    Seriously, who does this? Be a REAL institution of higher learning there, will ya?

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:38 am |

      Texas is one of the better schools in the country (45 overall and 7 in business, US News) and they still sell Vince Young jerseys five years later. I believe Duke (9 overall) sells former players’ jerseys as well.

      • Aaron | February 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

        I know Duke doesn’t retire numbers of players who don’t graduate. I wonder if that’s true of the former player jerseys as well.

        Am I the only one that really liked TMQ’s suggestion to boost academics with athletes? He wants players to only be able to claim (in introductions, rosters, etc) the school from which they actually earned a diploma. So Cam Newton couldn’t say he is from Auburn until he finished his degree, or Durant couldn’t say he’s from Texas until he’s gotten that diploma. I think that could definitely change the schools’ thinking if they could no longer claim nearly as many players in the big leagues.

        • JTH | February 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

          Derrick Rose wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

      Sounds like the motto of my mythical college basketball team from storied Dribblegood State, the Dunking Demons…

      “Graduating on time, no matter how long it takes”

      —Rciko

  • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:32 am |

    In college, the teams are assumed to provide gear, including shoes, to the players as part of their scholarship contract, but AAU kids don’t contract with their teams, they just play for them. Without going into the morals or ethics of the system, which seem broken on their face, doesn’t a team providing a kid who has no financial stake $150-$200 shoes seem like a violation of amateur status?

  • Kek | February 15, 2011 at 9:41 am |

    I know from first hand experience the good and bad of AAU basketball and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, the bad outweighs the good. It’s destroying the game of basketball at all levels because fundamentals are thrown out the window. I would tell you how I really feel but I don’t have the time!!!!

    I heard Iron Mike lost over 100 pounds….obligatory comeback question?

  • Geno Jamison | February 15, 2011 at 9:46 am |

    Nate Montana headed transfering to Montana.

    This means Last Name on back matches State University and Team name on back.

    Whammy.

    http://rivals.yahoo....

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:52 am |

      Nice. I wonder how often that happens at any level. Occasionally you’ll see a guy named Brown on the Browns or someone named Washington playing for a team in DC, but I don’t think it happens that often that a player has the same NOB as either the team or team nickname. Can anyone think of really famous instances? The first one that comes to mind for me is Jim Brown of course.

      • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 9:54 am |

        Curtis Pride played for the Nashua Pride; Jerry West played for the West(ern) Conference in several NBA All-Star Games.

      • Mark K | February 15, 2011 at 10:12 am |

        Sadly, Miro Satan never played for New Jersey.

        • Rufus | February 15, 2011 at 11:15 am |

          I know it is Junior hockey but Jared Knight plays for the London Knights of the OHL.

        • Mike Engle | February 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

          Junior hockey again, gotta mention Wheaton King of the Brandon Wheat Kings. He was born in Brandon, MB, as well/of course.

      • Rob S | February 15, 2011 at 11:37 am |

        I wonder if Jim Brown ever actually wore his name on back in a game, seeing as how, if I recall correctly, NOBs were not mandatory in the NFL until the merger was completed. I don’t know if there were any early-adopting teams.

        • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 11:57 am |

          He never did, but he’s still the most famous Brown to play for the Browns. Whether Paul is the more famous person associated with the team is up for debate.

      • JimWa | February 15, 2011 at 11:48 am |

        I wish Martin St. Louis would get traded to … Chicago.

    • Ry Co 40 | February 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

      nathan arizona played for arizona… but only because nobody wants to buy furniture from a place named “unpainted huffheinz”

      • Rich | February 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

        If there were a “like” button, I would click it!

      • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

        They might in Houston.

        http://en.wikipedia....

  • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 10:55 am |

    Would Iron Mike encourage/allow his own kids to take up boxing? What about football?

  • Seth F | February 15, 2011 at 11:02 am |

    Not to change the subject of all the commentary so far, but I noticed in the ticker item about Evan Meek, he is wearing UA sweats with the “P” logo. Haven’t seen much UA liscensed MLB gear. Thought??

  • DJK | February 15, 2011 at 11:24 am |

    Are there any rules or limits on NCAA hoops teams wearing color at home?

  • Joe Barrie | February 15, 2011 at 11:26 am |

    I still await an answer to my question about athletic scholarshps in other countries. I think the answer is “No”.

    Regarding names, don’t forget Dave Philley and Jose Cardenal.

  • CoachKing | February 15, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    The tag on that vintage flannel jersey looked very familiar.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/...

    Sure enough, even the EFF tags are vintage inspired. Pretty cool.
    http://totakethetrai...

  • DJK | February 15, 2011 at 11:39 am |

    I thought that, aside from the stupid sweatback part, K-State’s grey/silver unis looked fantastic last night.

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 11:58 am |

      I thought they looked like Ewing era Gerogetown

  • pflava | February 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    Loved the cracked logo primer!

    http://www.cracked.c...

    “Atlanta Bullshit” made me snort-laugh.

    • Simply Moono | February 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

      “…because FUCK EVERYONE!”

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

      I’d buy swings from Murray Playground Equipment.

  • Jeremy | February 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

    si.com has a gallery of “untimely deaths” in sports. I’d never seen these Len Bias Maryland uniforms before- only black & gold/yellow- no red at all. also a nice picture of Sean Taylor’s socks in photo 9 of the gallery http://sportsillustr...

    • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm |

      In addition to Taylor’s socks, note the tape stripes on his facemask:
      http://sportsillustr...

    • Mike Engle | February 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

      Speaking of SI photo galleries…goalie fights. Has it ever been documented that Felix Potvin had a Felix the Cat patch on his leg pad?
      http://sportsillustr...
      Soapbox time, I kind of miss that kind of customization. Nowadays, goalies restrict all the customization to the mask and stick to color-by-number templates according to equipment manufacturer. It was the coolest thing when all the Brian’s goalies had star-emblazoned equipment, except for Trevor Kidd, who had checkerboards…

    • Daren L | February 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

      ‘Untimely’ deaths – what, as opposed to ‘timely’ deaths? Can’t wait to see the photo gallery on that one.

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm |

      Interesting that the Reggie Lewis pic has him wearing a memorial band

  • Jim Vilk | February 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    “Players who have thrown their entire young lives into athletic success are left penniless and (probably more importantly) deemed irrelevant by their adult role-models. Sounds a lot like college football.”

    Glad that last line was thrown in there, because I hope it shows this isn’t just a basketball problem. Every sport has this to some degree or another. It just comes out more in basketball, because a lot of the talent comes from inner cities.

    As for the coaches who are afraid of missing out on the top prospects, you can still carve out a niche for yourself by going after team players, teaching them the fundamentals and instilling a tradition of hard work and dedication. You may not win championships (then again you might) and you may not get the big sneaker money, but you won’t go hungry. Can’t say I feel too sorry for someone who “admits that he’s a coach because he wants to make money off of the kids’ futures.”

    • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

      >>Glad that last line was thrown in there, because I hope it shows this isn’t just a basketball problem. Every sport has this to some degree or another. It just comes out more in basketball, because a lot of the talent comes from inner cities.< < I've never understood this term "inner city." In NYC, at least, the poorest, most deprived areas are far, far from the center of Manhattan (which is an affluent area). Neighborhoods like East New York, Brownsville, Far Rockaway, Coney Island, and the South Bronx aren't "inner"; they're "outer." Wiki says the term refers to urban decay that happens after white flight to the ’burbs: http://en.wikipedia....

      In any event, it seems like it’s a term that’s over-used and has become a meaningless fig leaf. If you mean, “Poor, black area,” why not say, “Poor, black area”?

      • Jim Vilk | February 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm |

        I just used it, because most people know right away what I meant. Had I been writing an article or a book on the subject, instead of making a quick lunchtime comment, I might have elaborated more.

      • JTH | February 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm |

        Yeah, “inner city” has never made sense to me, either.

        Of course, most of my friends in the suburbs think that because my house is within the city limits, I live “downtown.”

      • Andy | February 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

        I think ‘inner city’ refers usually to the ring between downtown and the suburbs.

        • JTH | February 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

          Yeah, maybe so, but that still doesn’t really make sense.

      • Chance Michaels | February 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

        > > If you mean, “Poor, black area,” why not say, “Poor, black area”? < <

        Because "inner city" is a much more comfortable way of saying it. Not putting this on you, Jim, but it's much easier to talk about the plight of poor black kids if we can avoid actually mentioning poor black kids.

        • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

          Which is exactly why we SHOULD refer to them as poor black kids. Terms like “inner city” whitewash (no pun intended) the situation and provide a convenient linguistic smokescreen that lets us ignore reality.

        • Jim Vilk | February 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

          I didn’t realize “inner city” is the new “those people.” Duly noted.

          I simply used the term because my black friends who live there are not surrounded by all blacks. At least in Akron, the area just outside of downtown but not in the suburbs is a multicolored mix of poor people. Therefore, to say “poor black people” would be rather limiting. Plus, aren’t there whites and hispanics playing AAU ball as well? I thought so, but what do I know?

          I wasn’t trying to single out anyone, but it appears that’s what happened.

        • LI Phil | February 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

          I didn’t realize “inner city” is the new “those people.”

          ~~~

          wow

          i know what you meant jim, and i know you mean absolutely no offense…but sometimes these terms can be viewed as code words…and better phraseology is needed

        • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

          Jim, I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was just noting the appearance of a term that I think has become meaningless. There’s nothing offensive about the term “inner city,” but at this point I think it’s a term that hinders our understanding of issues more than it helps (and I say that as someone who has used the term myself). I was just trying to provide a quick reality check.

        • Jim Vilk | February 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

          No problem. I just wanted to make sure no one else got the wrong ideas.

        • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

          So many “inner cities” have been gentrified over the past couple decades that, yeah, the phrase is starting become more than a little inaccurate.

          I suppose it would offend everyone if we just went back to “ghetto”. Everyone knows what it means, for god’s sake.

          Elvis even sang about it (a song written, btw, by Mac Davis, who played QB Seth Maxwell in NORTH DALLAS FORTY).

          —Ricko

    • Jason from Philly | February 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

      I have a little gripe with the line “They are left penniless”. In most cases, aren’t these kids going to college on a full scholarship or at least a partial scholarship? That is not exactly penniless. They are being given a $100,000 gift that if used correctly can set them up to be successful the rest of their lives. Same goes with every other sport. Just because they might not make it to the professional level, kids are still given an education that others have to pay significantly more for.

      I don’t know about the rest of you, but I wouldn’t mind being considered “penniless” if someone gave me the gift of a free education.

      • The Jeff | February 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

        I think part of the point is that due to the focus on the sport, they aren’t actually getting very much of that free education.

        • Jason from Philly | February 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

          I would disagree with that. Are there a lot of time restraints being a Division 1 athlete? Yes, definitely more than the average student.

          But in the end, the opportunity is still there for them to get the same education as every other student at that University.

          And no one should discount the value of a college education.

  • LI Phil | February 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    this isn’t just a basketball problem. Every sport has this to some degree or another. It just comes out more in basketball, because a lot of the talent comes from inner cities.

    ~~~

    can you elaborate?

    • Jim Vilk | February 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

      Can’t give you a thesis while I’m supposed to be doing other stuff, but yeah, I can a little.

      Every sport has travel leagues, or something like them, for the serious prospects and those who are on the cusp of being a prospect. And there’s all kinds of lying, cheating and stealing involved, by coaches and/or parents. Google Danny Almonte for one example.

      Not sticking up for the AAU at all, just wanted to remind all the basketball haters here that this isn’t limited to hoops.

      • LI Phil | February 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

        i don’t have to google almonte, i’m well aware of his antics in the LLWS when he was “12”

        i don’t think anyone is saying hoops is the only place where this sort of stuff goes on … yet you felt the need to defend it as if it were

        i was more questioning your use of the term “inner cities” than anything else, and that perhaps you were using it as a euphemism

        and what do you mean by “basketball haters”?

        if someone doesn’t go all gaga over the sport, that makes them haters?

        • Jim Vilk | February 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

          Just from personal recollection, it seems that basketball gets skewered more than other sports in the comments section. That’s why I got a little defensive. Not singling out anyone in particular.

          Didn’t realize the term “inner cities” would cause a commotion today. I just meant what Andy said, “the ring between downtown and the suburbs” and the part where, whatever your color is, you’re not exactly well-off. I have friends and acquaintances who live in such areas, and for the most part, basketball is the thing there.

          Unfortunately, kids from these areas are affected more if their basketball futures don’t pan out, because they have less to fall back on than kids from other demographics. That’s what I meant by “It just comes out more in basketball, because a lot of the talent comes from inner cities.”

  • Tom Carlson | February 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    And the parents get a pass on all of this? Who is allowing these kids to be abused by this system? As a percentage how many kids are left hanging in the end and how many benefit from the opportunity to play the sport?

    I would assume that as a percentage these elite players are a small fraction of the total number of athletes participating in AAU.

  • jakepride | February 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    RE: the 1966 Jets-Pats highlights…

    The announcer mentions that the Jets “have a chance for the Super Bowl.” Interesting that the name was already in popular use, even years before the NFL officially adopted it.

    • Chance Michaels | February 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

      It was known by fans as the “Super Bowl” from the very beginning – just took the NFL three years to admit it.

      Great collection of sports cartoons from Super Bowl I here – not only was the term “Super Bowl” in wide use, the press was already calling it “Super Sunday”.

      • Chance Michaels | February 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm |

        And, best part, so was “$uper Bowl”.

    • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

      Again. It was called that even before it became official that such a game actually would be played.

      Well before the merger, writers often envisioned a day when the two leagues might someday meet in a “Super Bowl”.

      I take the “Lamar Hunt’s daughter had a Super Ball” story with a grain of salt. Maybe millions of peoples’ kids had a Super Ball, and the similiarity of the terms was not lost on writers. I’ll go to my grave saying neither Lamar Hunt, his wife, his daughter, nor his goldfish Herbie said it before writers/broacasters already had been usng it. That yarn exists because everyone wants to know the “a-ha” moment. There wasn’t one, but they feed us that so they can “claim” it. Or maybe Hunt didn’t know that other kids has Super Balls, too.

      What WAS interesting was not the name itself, but that the widespread slang nickname became the actual, official name for the game.

      Trust me. I watched it all happen. It was in the idiom LONG before anyone on the “inside” in either league had a lighting flash and was “inspired” to come up with the name.

      —Ricko

      • Chance Michaels | February 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

        You’re right – “Super Bowl” wasn’t exactly groundbreaking.

        I seem to recall that Hunt once said he didn’t like the name, that at the time he thought it was undignified. Could have been his way of retroactively claiming ownership.

        • timmy b | February 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

          100% right, Ricko and Chance. Look at ANY magazines or newspapers from late 1966 and January 1967 and you will see plenty of references to the Super Bowl.

          It really peturbs me when I keep seeing these stories where they say, “Back in 1967, they didn’t even call it the Super Bowl.”

          YES they did. They just didn’t refer to it as Super Bowl One.

  • traxel | February 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    There are certain, well positioned, locations on a uniform that lend to great spots for logo display. Ankle socks are not one of them. http://cache.daylife... It is just clutter much like the jersey litter on football and college basketball jerseys these days. http://www.kansascit...
    When it comes to just plain ole how does it look, those CR socks look no better than these sanis. http://farm5.static....

    • LI Phil | February 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

      agreed that the “CR” doesn’t look great, but at least that’s a TEAM logo, not a manufacturer’s logo, although neither should adorn ankle socks

      would a big “F” (or gatorhead) on the florida player’s sanis look any better (or worse) than a swoosh? prolly not, but i’d rather see a gator than a MOTB, if something must be there

      • traxel | February 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

        That’s why I said “from a plain ole how does it look” standpoint. I agree, a team logo is more appropriate, but both look like crap.

  • stu | February 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  • Jeff | February 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    Pic of the patch the Cubs will be wearing to honor Ron Santo:

    http://twitpic.com/4...

    • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

      Paging Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Indians line one: That is how you do it.

      • JTH | February 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

        It’s good, but it could be better. Does it really need the white outline around the blue border? For that matter, does it really need the blue border?

        And while I’m picking nits, the number 10 should be solid blue, the way it was when Santo played for the Cubs.

        On the plus side, at least they didn’t go with a heel click silhouette or something.

        • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

          Yeah, it needs the blue border to define itself on white or gray jerseys. The blue also serves as a mourning device, akin to a black sash on a badge or a black band on a sleeve. But point taken about the outline. If anything, it ought to have blue pinstripes as well. My point was just that if the number is sufficient to stand for the man, then adding his name, as on Cleveland’s Feller patch, is clutter.

        • JTH | February 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

          Yeah, you’re right. if the background is white, it needs the blue border.

          What I meant to say was “does it really need *such a heavy* blue border?”

        • Simply Moono | February 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm |

          “Does it really need the white outline around the blue border?”

          I think it’s there to make the blue border stand out on the blue jerseys.

        • JTH | February 16, 2011 at 8:00 am |

          “I think it’s there to make the blue border stand out on the blue jerseys.”

          So you agree with me — not necessary.

          Seriously, though, a white patch with a single, thin, blue border would look just fine on the blue jersey.

          It worked in 1998.

  • KT | February 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

    The (new) North American Soccer League’s (potentially vaporware) San Antonio franchise is down to the final three candidates for its logo (or, if you prefer, “badge,” kak):

    http://www.insidemns...

    I like that the first one has the outline of the Alamo and the star and that it’s more straight up and down. They may have to tweak the soccer ball (cliche) and simplify it a bit, but that’s where I’d go.

    One thing people too often overlook is how hard a logo is to reproduce in embroidery or on different fabrics. Simpler the better for my money.

    • pflava | February 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

      All of those are too busy, but the first one, with the Alamo, is clearly the best.

    • Bernard | February 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

      I’d go with the first one as well, if for no other reason than the claws of the scorpion appear as if they’re forming a letter “U”, and, well, I’m immature.

      • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm |

        Dammit, now I can’t unsee it! That’s definitely the best one though. Some cartoony mascots work. A scorpion isn’t one of them.

    • RS Rogers | February 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

      One is the best, and three is salvageable. The team will, therefore, choose number two.

      • LI Phil | February 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm |

        yeah…but #3 is kind of the inverse of the atlanta bullshit logo (seen in the logo primer)

        just like you shouldn’t make an angry deer…you really shouldn’t make a smiling scorpion

        • JTH | February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |

          Then they absolutely need to go with #3 because fuck everyone!!

      • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm |

        Absolutely, they will. Choose number two, that is.

        Everyone knows few things work better on a logo than a great pair of pincers holding a ball/puck/whatever…because nothing suggests athletic success the way the lack of opposable thumbs does.
        (small eyeroll)

        —Ricko

    • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |

      Captain Marvel (Tom Tyler) commends the sinister scorpion device (after defeating its namesake, “The Scorpion”) to a fiery doom. ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, Republic Pictures, 1941.

      http://farm4.static....

      —Ricko

      • Ricko | February 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

        Posted that link because #1 reminded me of the Scorpion device.
        There ’tis, in background…
        http://farm4.static....

        —Ricko

  • dilbert719 | February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |

    Kris Versteeg’s suiting up for the Flyers against the Lightning tonight, wearing #10. He’s the first Flyer to do so since John LeClair retired.

    However, while the team’s embroiderer, or Tampa’s, was lightning quick (no pun intended) the people who make the locker plaques weren’t quite so fast…

    http://s3.amazonaws....

  • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    My thanks to all who submitted Tyson queries. They only gave me 15 mins. with him, but I thought it went pretty well.

  • Joe D | February 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm |

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    http://shop.mlb.com/...

    • tosaman | February 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm |

      Cleveland, Cincy, whatever. It’s just merch to move and money to make.

      Guess today’s post has me a little cynical, hmm?

  • Bando | February 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm |

    Kevin Borseth undoubtedly shops at Van Boven, a very cool old-school mens’ store on State Street in Ann Arbor, where they sell those M-lined blazers.

  • Josh Petty | February 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    I’m currently sitting here watching tonight’s new episode of NCIS on CBS. When DiNozzo and McGee were out running, while on witness protection detail, McGee had a black piece of tape over the brand logo on the chest of his shirt. I’m guessing it’s a swoosh, but not sure. Funny though, since DiNozzo was wearing an Ohio State hoody.

    • jdreyfuss | February 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm |

      DiNozzo supposedly played basketball at Ohio State. When was the last time the Buckeyes had a 5’8″ anything playing hoops?

  • KT | February 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    I want it known that I am wearing my 1993-94 CSKA Moscow Russian Penguins jersey to go out to dinner tonight.

    That is all.

  • andrew | February 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm |

    Article in reference to Detroit Redwing brad stuart returning, notice picture of headgear he is wearing. http://redwings.nhl....

  • lemonverbena | February 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    “The Worst [Seattle] Uniform Ever”

    Not an entirely comprehensive list, in retrospect, but the author (ahem) gives Uniwatch due credit. http://www.lookoutla...

    • Paul Lukas | February 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm |

      Thanks for the credit. But hey, it’s “Uni Watch” (two words, both capped, space in between).

      • lemonverbena | February 16, 2011 at 12:59 am |

        Noted and corrected, thanks.

  • =bg= | February 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm |

    http://www.businessi...

    Erin Andrews isn’t the only ESPN-er with a shoe deal..

  • Natron | February 16, 2011 at 9:50 am |

    The Greenville Road Warriors from the ECHL are having an awareness night for a disease that I don’t recall anybody else paying tribute to before…

    Polio.

    On Friday they’re wearing these jerseys:

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