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What you see above is the NBA’s first-ever camouflage uniform, which will make its on-court debut in Toronto on March 21 (my birthday, oddly enough) as part of “Canadian Forces Night.” This design had previously surfaced in video game screen shots, but I’m pretty sure these photos are the first and so far only real-world images of this uni. Personally, I don’t care for it, for three reasons: (1) Looks like shite. (2) As most of you know by now, I’m generally opposed to camouflage uniforms because they represent Band-Aid patriotism at best, rubber-stamp politics at worst. (3) Does anyone else think it’s weird for a team whose roster is almost entirely non-Canadian (the one exception is Jamal Magloire) to dress its players in a uniform that celebrates the Canadian military? All of that said, I recently interviewed team COO Tom Anselmi and was impressed by the depth and sincerity of his commitment to military and veterans’ affairs (he’s actually visited the Canadian troops in Afghanistan). So while I still think the uniform is a bad idea, it definitely isn’t a just a promotional gimmick.
The Raptors’ camo design is the probably the biggest eyebrow-raiser of the new NBA season (at least until I’m allowed to talk about all the great throwbacks that are in the pipeline). The rest of this season’s uni changes will be showcased in my annual NBA season preview, which is up now on ESPN.
Raffle reminder: This year’s Uni Watch Reader Appreciation Raffle is now underway. Full details here.
Party reminder: Uni Watch gathering in Cleveland, Jan. 10, 7pm, at Prosperity. See you there.
Uni Watch News Ticker, Winter Solstice Edition: A TV crew from CBS Sunday Morning stopped by Uni Watch HQ yesterday afternoon to interview me on the subject of college football uniforms. The segment will run on Jan. 8 — the day before the national championship game. Been ages — like, probably decades — since I’ve watched CBS Sunday Morning, but my impression has always been that their typical viewer is about 73 years old, so my basic “Ah, those stupid kids and their superhero uniforms” shtick will probably go over well, right? … Here’s another gift idea I wish I’d known about earlier: beautifully hand-painted baseball gloves. … New jerseys for the NLL (from Aaron Klett). … In a related item, an NLL team is planning to replace its NOBs with Twitter handles (from Andy Crossley and Ryan Gast). … Yesterday’s entry about the increasing irrelevance of NFL socks prompted a note from Caleb Borchers, who says he’s noticed a bit of a “rebellion against socks” in the rugby world. “The worst offenders are the Franks Brothers (Owen and Ben), who consistently wear socks bunched at their ankles,” he says. “They look like total slobs.” … If you say, “Barefoot NFL kicker” to me, I immediately think of Tony Franklin, Mike Lansford, and Rich Karlis. But I’d completely forgotten about Paul McFadden until Jim Vilk sent me an old magazine with that photo in it. … Here’s the latest chatter regarding Missouri’s new football uniforms (from Dave Singleton). … Check this out: The Knicks have been boxing as part of their practice sessions. Is that a standard thing in basketball camps? … Another Winter Classic mask, this time for Ilya Bryzgalov, and it’s the best one of the lot. Kudos. … Derek Linn notes that Adrian Peterson, of all people, didn’t wear gloves last Sunday. … One of the Stanley Cup rioters in Vancouver was apparently very easy to identify and charge with a crime, because he was wearing a jersey with his name on it (from Chris Falvey). … Excellent story about how a DC rec league basketball team got themselves some Bullets uniforms (from Jason Mott). … Eh, whatever, I still call it Joe Robbie (from Mike McLaughlin). … Steve Shanabruch has embarked on a project to design a logo for all 77 of Chicago’s community areas, and also for most of its well-known neighborhoods. “I have 15 posted so far, and I post a new one every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning,” he says. … This is pretty hot: color video of the 1955 Gator Bowl, featuring Vanderbilt and Auburn. Check out that giant V on the Vandy helmets! (Big thanks to Jeff McClendon.) … Several readers noted that the end zone at the TGISports Bar Bowl in Tampa had some left-over logo creep from the Rays (screen shot by Mike Edgerley). … I have a feeling this guy didn’t order his jersey directly from NFL.com. Brian Arnold took that shot at Sunday’s Broncos/Pats game. … And we conclude today with a short video clip featuring a fine winter sport from years gone by — ice tennis (with a hearty handshake to Maks Skuz):