Dear Mr. Stern

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By Phil Hecken

It’s all becoming clear now. Well, maybe not. The NBA is serious about putting ads on jerseys for the 2013 season. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I direct you to Friday’s Uni Watch where the story began breaking. The reaction across the Interwebs was swift — and negative. And the photoshoppers (including several who created the images in today’s splash) began having fun with all the myriad possibilities for jersey junk.

As the foremost figure in the uni-verse, Mr.Lukas’ condemnation of this idea was both swift and severe (as it should be), and many, if not most, of the Uni Watch faithful have joined him in protesting this perversion of pretty much the sole remaining advertising-free real estate left in the three major sports (plus hockey) in the United States. I agree with him 100%.

Even on the day before his vacation, Mr. Lukas was busy — not just breaking the story, but encouraging anyone who believes that the uniform is the last bastion of purity in sport to express their dissatisfaction to the NBA and Commissioner David Stern. To do so, he has a couple suggestions: take to the twitterverse, where he’s coined the hashtag “#NoUniAds.” If you don’t know what this means, it’s pretty simple — just sign up for twitter (it’s free and easy — just follow these instructions). Once you have an account, simply “tweet” (post a comment) saying something like “Hey NBA, #NoUniAds.” You can also search on NoUniAds and you will see everyone who has used that particular phrase or hashtag. Simple, right? We hope to get that particular tag trending (don’t worry about what that means, it will hopefully become apparent).

NUA_Logo_2The other thing you can do is to write a letter directly to the NBA and/or Commissioner David Stern. The easiest way to do this is to Contact The NBA via E-mail. Several readers did just this yesterday, and I’m going to share some of those sentiments with you below. If you do write to the NBA, would you be so kind as to paste your E-mail in the comments below or send the comments to Uni Watch HQ or my address. I’ll post some of the best comments Monday, and we’ll put together a file for posterity (and also probably send them to the NBA again). OK? OK.

You could also go the old fashioned route. As Paul mentioned yesterday, “They’ve publicly announced that the guy coordinating the uni advertising program is deputy commissioner Adam Silver. You can ask for his office when calling. And/or David Stern’s office” if you wanted to place a phone call, and of course you could write them directly and “cc:” your local newspaper. Anything that can be done to stem this horrific tide.

Reader Michael Braun has some additional outlets:

“Took a little work, but I found email addresss for Adam Silver, Deputy Commish who apparently loves the idea of diluting the brand of his teams: asilver@nba.com. More email addresses and cell numbers out of the NBA Media Guide at this link.

I sent mine!”

Thanks, Michael!

Interestingly (and perhaps somewhat surprisingly), the NBA’s website (www.nba.com) on Friday posted a poll (if it’s still up, you can find it here on their homepage). As of yesterday evening, the results were 78% against and 22% in support of jersey ads — pretty much 4:1 against. In the comments, Paul wondered, “Very interesting that the NBA chose to run this poll on their home page. If this were truly a done deal, they wouldn’t bother asking what fans think. The mere existence of the poll gives me hope; the results give me even more hope.”

I wonder if the poll will stay up much longer and what the NBA will actually do with the results. They must be feeling some serious heat, but we cannot stop the negative feedback until the NBA has officially pulled the plug on what may be the worst idea in the history of ever.

As mentioned above, some of you already wrote to the NBA and shared your thoughts in the UW comments. Lets see what you guys had to say so far:

Dante:

I asked David Stern if the league cared about anything besides money.

He asked me if I still beat my wife.

~~~

James Ashby:

Dear Mr. Adam Silver,

I am writing to you to voice my displeasure over the announcement that the NBA is giving serious consideration to placing advertisements on NBA jerseys. As a sports fan, I am subjected to plenty of advertising when watching a game either at home or at a sporting venue. Given that NBA teams receive revenue from numerous sources (ticket sales, arena naming rights, TV and radio revenue, ads in the arena, etc.), I feel like if owners feel that jersey ads are “necessary” they are just trying to cover up their own mismanagement of their teams.

If the NBA chooses to add ads to their jerseys, I will stop buying the jerseys (even if the replica jerseys are sans advertising) and will reduce the amount of games that I attend. It’s not as if the ads will reduce the price of the jerseys at the retail level; soccer jerseys are proof of that. When the NHL decided to shut down operations for a year due to labor rancor, I stated in e-mails to the commissioner and the head of the player’s union, that I would take an entire season away from going t games and reduce (compared to pre-lockout) my attendance in following seasons. I’ve stuck to that promise and have continued to minimize the money I give both parties to the point of not buying a jersey since that lost season.

I know my opinion doesn’t carry the weight of a corporation that will dole more money out to you than I can. But, on an individual level, I want you to know the repercussions the decision of league officials and owners will have.

Sincerely,
James Ashby

~~~

Terry Duroncelet:

To the League Office:

Hello, my name is Terry, I am 21 years old, and I am a long-time Los Angeles Lakers fan. It has been brought to my attention that NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver are considering allowing sponsorship patches to be affixed to NBA clubs’ uniforms (pending team consent, of course). I am highly opposed to this, but I am sure you already have a large stockpile of these emails in your inbox at the moment, so I will not take up too much of your time.

The main reason that I am opposed to this is because with so much of the NBA branding already heavy with sponsors, I feel that the uniform should be the one ad-free zone. I do not watch NBA games for the advertisements, I watch for the game itself. Growing up as a Lakers fan, I can honestly say that I do not remember 98% of the players on the team from the 1990s, but I still cheer for the Lakers. I do not remember all but three members of the Atlanta Braves from the 1990s (Andrew Jones, Chipper Jones, and Javier López Torres notwithstanding), yet I still cheer for the Braves. I do not remember a single solitary member of the New Orleans Saints from the 1990s, yet I still cheer for the Saints to this day.

Why? Because I cheer for the Lakers, Braves, and Saints, not for one particular person. Players come and go, they are traded, they retire, heaven forbid, they are taken from this life at an untimely moment (in the case of former Washington Redskin Sean Taylor), but the thing that stays constant (design changes aside) is the uniform. We — as fans — cheer for the uniform, no matter who is wearing it. The only thing that I want to see advertised on the Los Angeles Lakers’ uniforms is the team name ‘Lakers’.

I do hope that this letter reaches the League Office, and I strongly wish that you at least consider the emails that are pouring in on this topic. I have always respected David Stern and have always seen him as someone who other commissioners in various leagues can learn from, and I do not want this potential stain on the uniforms to darken my perception on him.

Thank you for your time,

Terry D.

~~~

So there you have it folks — the passion of Uni Watch Nation (ok, last time I’ll use that phrase, I promise) at work. Now it’s time to turn up the volume even higher. You know what to do. I’ll post more of your thoughts on Monday.

______________

I know you weren’t expecting me today (sorry), but our webmaster Johnny Ek let me pinch in, and will be on tomorrow and will take you through till Monday comes. Big thanks to Tim E. O’Brien for the “NUA” graphic you see above!

~~~~~~~~~~

Screen Shot 2012-06-24 at 10.32.36 PM

It does kinda make him unique, though…

7-21-12 d-connie

Click to enlarge

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.

You folks heard the call for concepts, and you’ve responded with vigor — just one huge set today, the third, and final set, from my buddy, Terry Duroncelet

And so, lets begin:

~~~

I heard that the concepts have been slowing down as of late, so I thought now would be a good time to share some of the designs that I’ve been doing since last August. Here’s the last batch (for now, at least):

__________________________________

Broncos

Broncos 1 - Terry Duroncelet

I liked my first Broncos concept, but I wanted to do another one that was a little more modern. I’ve also been wanting to incorporate the striping pattern used on many (if not all) of Pro-Mark’s drumsticks for a long time now, and I felt that this was the right uniform to do that with. It’s basically what they wear now, but with the side panel horns (which — while they are kinda stupid — I actually don’t hate too much on the new Nike uniforms) removed, and the pant stripe has been “Pro-Markified”. I did keep the cool “mane” helmet stripe on the lids. Oh, and bring back ze orange pants!

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Steelers Throwback Interpretation:

Steelers Retro - Terry Duroncelet

Retro Pittsburgh 2012: awesome. However, the number boxes are wrong (for the right reasons, IMO, as they cut down on black and yellow overkill and are easier to read, but still…), not a single f**k was directed towards the helmet, and those black side panels are brutal. So what I did was whip up three looks: a 2-D replication of what they’re actually slated to wear, what they should’ve replicated, and a happy compromise between the two. The only thing that I regret is calling the replication a “throwback”, when it’s technically a fauxback.

__________________________________

Broncos (wait, again?):

Broncos 2 - Terry Duroncelet

I honestly wasn’t even thinking about doing another Broncos concept, but then I came across this poorly Photoshopped (but still pretty awesome) photo of a 1955 Baltimore Colts throwback-clad Peyton Manning as a Bronco, so I decided to come up with a full uniform for it for fun. I forwent (is that the right word?) the striped socks because it muddied up the final product and made this uniform look more like what the Bears would wear.

__________________________________

What follows is a flurry of Browns concepts that only differ in their alternate uniforms

Browns #1:

Browns 1 - Terry Duroncelet

Striped socks return to the home uni, I swapped the pant stripe color (not saying that orange-brown-orange is a bad striping pattern, it just looks unbalanced with the rest of the uniform), and added three different throwbacks: the first one being a throwback to the original 1946 Cleveland Browns of the AAFC, a squad that would go on to win it all that year. The throwback has no player name, as the advancement of technology, HDTV, real-time screen graphics, easy access to information on players via smartphone, etc. have made NOBs on a throwback uniform obsolete in 2012 IMHO, so why include a player name on a uniform that didn’t originally have one back in its day? Regardless of the NFL’s rule mandating NOBs on all jersey tops, I still feel they should be left off of throwbacks that didn’t have one.

__________________________________

Browns #2:

Browns 2 - Terry Duroncelet

Although, I have prepared for any and all failed attempts to get a player-nameless uni on the NFL gridiron, so here’s the same throwback with a NOB (assuming you’re saying “Name On Back” and not “N.O.B.”. If the latter, than substitute “a NOB” with “an NOB”).

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Browns #3:

Browns 3 - Terry Duroncelet

A white version of the throwback from concepts 1 and 2, w/o NOB.

__________________________________

Browns #4:

Browns 4 - Terry Duroncelet

A white version of the throwback from concepts 1 and 2, w/ NOB.

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Browns #5:

Browns 5 - Terry Duroncelet

I know what you’re thinking: “They’re the Browns, not the Oranges“, and I agree. But this is the third throwback, which is based off of the 1954-1955 NFL champion Browns squad. Even though this was only their Preseason uni, I included it because they had this in their “uni lineup” when they were crowned the NFL Champions in 1954 and 1955, with the 1953 version not exactly having the same results. No player name on this version.

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Browns #6:

Browns 6 - Terry Duroncelet

Same as concept #5, but w/ NOB.

That’s it for now, *Philip DeFranco voice* and I’ll see you next time.

~~~

Thanks Terry!

~~~~~~~~~~~

And that’s all I got — wasn’t planning on pinch-hitting so that’s it for today. Don’t forget to do your part to stop the scourge of uni-ads. Tell Mr. Stern (and anyone else) in no uncertain terms that uni junk will not be tolerated. We can stop this!

~~~

“If they could figure out where the soul would be, they’d probably sell that space as well.”
–James Ashby

 

118 comments to Dear Mr. Stern

  • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 7:40 am |

    For those who don’t think this is a big deal because “it’s just a little ad, who cares?”, think about it from another perspective. If the NBA (and the other sports leagues) approve uniform ads, you’re going to have all of these various companies spending millions of dollars per year on the uni-ad that they weren’t previously spending. Where do you think that additional money is going to come from? The CEO’s yearly bonus? No. It’s going to come out of your pocket, via higher prices on the things those companies sell. So, even if you don’t care about it visually, it still affects you.

    • ChrisH | July 21, 2012 at 10:57 am |

      So if the 76ers wind up wearing TastyKake patches, how am I affected if I don’t purchase their products? They both can raise prices as much as they think they need to, but nothing’s going to make me buy what they are selling.

      Perhaps those companies will simply allocate already existing advertising dollars away from less-effective marketing campaigns which could result in fewer print ads, TV commercials, and website sponsorships?

      CEO’s can spend their earned income as they see fit…just like you and I.

      • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 11:08 am |

        You can’t boycott everyone. There’s 30 NBA teams (32 NFL), good luck trying to avoid that many different brands, especially when you have companies like Proctor & Gamble who have a metric crapload of sub-brands that most people don’t even realize are related.

        Also: Perhaps those companies will simply allocate already existing advertising dollars away from less-effective marketing campaigns which could result in fewer print ads, TV commercials, and website sponsorships?

        L. O. L.

        The entire planet knows what Coca Cola is, but they still feel the need to spend ridiculous amounts of money to advertise themselves. If you actually think uniform ads would result in less commercials, I’d really like some of whatever it is you’re smoking.

      • boxcarvibe | July 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

        The point is not that TastyKake wants you to buy their product. The point is the team SOLD uniform space to TastyKake. Our position is the uniform should convey the brand of the team…period.

  • mcd410x | July 21, 2012 at 7:43 am |

    A phone call is worth about 250 emails: Can’t move a phone call to the delete folder without reading it.

    • Christopher F. | July 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

      Maybe, but I’m pretty sure the NBA is not deleting these emails. Of course they’re not going to respond to each one… but I promise you they have a count of those who have emailed FOR and AGAINST… and will consider that. Of course it won’t be the only element they consider, but your “vote” will be counted.

  • Chris | July 21, 2012 at 8:14 am |

    One of the things about your league is that it’s special…or is supposed to be. The specialness is emotionally evident in what the players wear. Winning creates a certain kind of hallowed effect on the jerseys. To see the hallowed ground of the Celtics green and white or the Lakers purple and gold or the Bulls red and black invaded with ads really says that they aren’t that special. That they’re for sale to the highest bidder.

    I get the naming rights for the arenas and the ads around the playing surface, but the uniforms stand for the team and their history (or lack thereof). They’re special and they should remain this way.

    Please reconsider the jersey ads. They’re just wrong.

  • Erik | July 21, 2012 at 8:22 am |

    Phil,

    Love the weekend columns and other features, but could you stop hating on hockey? I get it. You don’t like it. But is there really a need to say “All three major sports (and hockey)”? That’s just unnecessary and comes off as incredibly childish. I’m not saying you have to do a hockey feature or anything, but in a column about NBA uni ads,there is no need to demean a league just because you don’t happen to watch it. Thanks for listening.

    Erik

    • Nate | July 21, 2012 at 8:43 am |

      Agreed. You don’t hear me talk about great writing on the five weekdays of uniWatch (plus Phil)

      • JTH | July 21, 2012 at 11:29 am |

        That’s pretty good. I think I’m gonna steal this one.

    • Phil Hecken | July 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |

      damn sarcasm tags seem to be malfunctioning again

      • JTH | July 21, 2012 at 11:25 am |

        Nah, the tags work just fine. These Luddites just need to upgrade to a modern browser.

    • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

      He literally makes this joke like once every two weeks. Get used to it.

      Listen, me and teebs don’t have a problem with his jokes. It’s true, most people – like my brother, for instance – don’t give a shit about hockey. Oh well, their loss.

      Get over it. It’s a joke that hurts no one ya big baby.

      And if the NHL locks-out again this year, they’ll prove why they don’t belong in the top tier of sports leagues.

      OH, and Phil cares about the NBA just as much – if not less than – he cares for the NHL (which is to say barely at all).

      • Kyle Allebach | July 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

        I watch the NHL for the lockouts.

        • Jeff | July 22, 2012 at 1:47 am |

          1000 points to you sir

  • Andrew | July 21, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    These ads will make the unis look like Eurotrash….I’m sending my email today!

  • BrooklynPete | July 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |

    Phil,
    Enjoy your columns but “All three major sports (and hockey)” is mean-spirited and childish.

    You may not care for hockey but many of us do. Just check the attendance figures.

    Pete

    • Phil Hecken | July 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |

      see above

      on a serious note — i used to love and watch hockey all the time, and having literally grown up in the shadows of the nassau mausoleum and gone to 20 or so games a year while the isles were winning those four straight cups, the game (plus playing pond puck in the winter and roller hockey — on actual roller skates — blades hadn’t yet been invented) it was a sport i still respect

      i kid about it not being a major sport…sorry if it comes off ‘mean-spirited’

      • Nate | July 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

        Apology accepted.

      • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm |

        Don’t apologize. FUCK. It’s a joke you over sensitive bastards.

        And this is coming from a guy who watches all 82 regular season games of my team and about 90% of all playoff games.

        Not everyone likes hockey. Hockey is the least watched major sport (fuck you MLS, you don’t even count). Hockey is Canadian. For these – and 1000 other reasons – hockey is going to be the butt of jokes. DEAL WITH IT.

        What are we 12?

        • Jim Vilk | July 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm |

          Take a deep breath, Timmo.

        • boxcarvibe | July 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

          SERENITY NOW!

  • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    …and seriously Terry, that many Browns concepts and not a single helmet logo?

    *sigh*

    • Stevie McQuistan | July 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |

      And no brown pants?

    • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

      Why can’t one team not have a helmet logo? I don’t hear you demanding the Stillers put a second logo on their helmet.

      Listen, a primary mark that isn’t a helmet might be nice, but there’s no need for a logo on the helmet.

    • Tony C. | July 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

      because a logo isn’t need!

  • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 8:59 am |

    re: NBA and uni ads.
    What goes around comes around?

    Let’s not forget the Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons.
    That was the name of the team that moved to Detroit…
    http://www.charleyec...

    Zollner Pistons jersey from ’55-’56 season…
    http://www.legendary...

    From nba.com…
    “The Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons — named after owner Fred Zollner’s piston-making business — moved to Detroit’s Olympia Stadium in 1957.”

    • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 9:09 am |

      I think that’s fundamentally different since the team and corporate entity were owned by the same person.

      • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |

        Ya think.
        Was just pointing out that “commercialism” isn’t a stranger to NBA unis.

        Historical reference to something many may not know of, that’s all.

        If you want to think I was taking a position, fine.

        But I wasn’t.

        • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |

          Bottom line…even if the NBA gets a million negatives it’s a relatively tiny percentage of their self-perceived worldwide fan base.

          Given the league’s successful efforts to establish a far greater international consumer foothold than the others in the Big Four, I’d wager the league’s long view on this is, “Hey, as long as it won’t hurt us in China, we’re okay.”

          China has a whole mess of people, in case we haven’t heard.

          In chess terms…”See the whole board.”

        • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 9:28 am |

          The NBA obviously forgets that the people in China are making the jerseys, not buying them.
          (insert laughtrack here)

          On a more serious note, I’d love to see sales figures that prove me wrong, but I really doubt that the NBA has anywhere near the “worldwide” appeal that they think they do. It seems to me that basketball’s rise in global popularity has lead to multiple countries creating their own leagues with the occasional star coming to the US, not to people in Spain or Italy actively cheering for NBA teams. I mean, were people in China cheering for “the Houston Rockets” or for “whatever team Yao Ming happened to play for”?

        • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 9:48 am |

          Don’t see it so narrowly. Don’t confuse team interest/fandom with retail sales potential.
          Fans in China may not know the Knicks from the Rockets…but they’ll recognize a Jeremy Lin jersey.

          Again, see the whole board.
          There are NBA fans, and there are people who buy jerseys. Not always the same thing.

          Somewhat similarly, people who didn’t play basketball, people who couldn’t tell you if the Bulls even played last night, simply had to have the latest pair of Air Jordans every year.

          The NBA is rapidly becoming the first of the Big Four to no longer be North America-centric. And their vision is much farther forward than the fans’.

        • Wheels | July 21, 2012 at 9:59 am |

          The NBA is rapidly becoming the first of the Big Four to no longer be North America-centric.

          That’s depressing. And true.

        • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |

          Sadly, you’re probably right.

          So… if the NBA’s goal is to sell jerseys for the sake of fashion and greed and ignore what the actual fans want…

          Fuck the NBA.

          It’s time for a new basketball league.

        • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 10:33 am |

          Hard to fault the math, thought.

          To keep it arithmetic simple (because that’s how I need it to be), if 1/20th of 1 percent of the people in China bought an NBA jersey, that would be 650,000 jerseys sold. To people who probably couldn’t name six NBA teams…but do know two or three star players. At, say, $100 each, that’s $65 million in gross sales.

          Lofty and unrealistic goal, I suppose. The point is, 1.3 billion people isn’t 130 million…it’s 1,300 million, and even a tiny share of a market that big can mean HUGE money.

          And we haven’t even discussed Europe.

          The truth is, they’re just patching into Nike’s mindset.

        • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 10:48 am |

          Oops. That should be 1/50th of 1 percent, shouldn’t it.

        • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 10:50 am |

          Aw, hell, I dunno. It’s helluva lotta money, anyway.

      • TMcLaughlin | July 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

        So it’s OK to name the Sacramento Kings after the Palms? Or how about the Cablevision Knicks?

        I’m going to stop before I give David Stern any more bad ideas.

        • The Jeff | July 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

          It’d be better. I don’t exactly want to cheer for the Taco Bell Bulls, but if Taco Bell actually owned the team… it just doesn’t seem like it’s quite as wrong.

        • Cort McMurray | July 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

          We already have Red Bull New York, which no one seems to care much about because it plays in what’s considered a minor league. Most Japanese baseball teams have always gone by the name of their corporate owner, not the name of their home city (Nippon Ham Fighters, anyone?)

          Ricko makes some really good points about the NBA being ahead of the curve on internationalism. On the other hand, one of that drives our distaste for uniform ads is a uniquely American distrust of corporatism: Joe E. Lewis’s observation that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for US Steel is an example of that. We used to believe in community, and individualism, unions, and underdogs. Now we believe in corporations, and brands, and winning.

          A lot of things led to this. Nike’s aggressive marketing strategies. The Ueberroth Olympics, with their obsession on “Corporate Partnerships” and “U-S-A! U-S-A!” jingoism. Designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren turning their clothing into advertisements for their brands.

          It’s ugly. And morally bereft. And before I die, I’ll be taking my kids to the New Toyota Center, built next door to the obsolete Old Toyota Center, to watch the Shell Oil Rockets take on the Pacific Life Lakers in the first round of the Barclay’s International Basketball Association playoffs.

          Ricko makes some really goo

        • Cort McMurray | July 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm |

          I don’t know what happened in that post.

          I have no idea what kind of goo Ricko makes, and feel unqualified to comment on it.

          And I meant taking my grandkids. It will take some time — maybe 20 years — for this process to play out

        • Mick | July 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

          We already have a situation where two teams have arenas with the same sponsor so I could imagine it happening with the teams as well. American Airlines in FIVE!!!

  • M. Sullivan | July 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |

    This is the email I wrote:

    Dear Mr. Adam Silver,

    I am a 17 year old NBA fan and I am contacting you regarding the advertisements that are slated to be added to the uniforms of NBA teams in 2013. 

    When I heard this news yesterday, I was extremely displeased, hence the reason I am writing you. In my eyes, the uniform is a sacred piece of a team’s identity and history. To place advertisements on them in order to gain revenue cheapens the integrity of the game and frankly, spits in the face of tradition. Never mind that during the course of a game, a fan is already subjected to copious amounts of advertisements, whether he be in attendance or watching from home. 

    If this plan goes through, I will no longer purchase NBA merchandise or tickets and will encourage others to do the same.

    I am certain that you are receiving many emails at this time, so I will not take any more of your time. I just want you to consider the fans feelings and the repercussions that will come along with the addition of uniform advertisements.

    – Michael Sullivan

  • timmy b | July 21, 2012 at 9:41 am |

    So where did the ads on uniforms begin?

    By my calculation, it was done by the German Bundesliga club Eintracht Braunschweig. They first wore the circular Jagermeister deer/elk head logo (with the initials “E.B.” flanking the the deer/elk head) on their yellow shirts on March 24, 1973 against Schalke 04 at the Hamburger Street Ground in Braunschweig.

    • Phil Hecken | July 21, 2012 at 10:46 am |

      “So where did the ads on uniforms begin?”

      ~~~

      technically…

      ricko may still have his fan jersey…yep

      • Ricko | July 21, 2012 at 10:55 am |

        Right. And me and Curly’s sister invented “bump and run”.

      • Cort McMurray | July 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm |

        I think it’s 1914, when the Federal League’s Brooklyn Tip-Tips wore a shoulder patch featuring the logo of the Tip-Top Bread Company, which was owned by the team’s owner.

  • Mitch | July 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |

    Now that Paul’s away the PURPLE logos can come out to play: http://davesgeekyide...

    • superfly | July 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

      Excellent, I actually did laugh out loud…

  • Jim BC | July 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |

    No apology necessary Phil. A good chuckle to start the day!

  • Chris A. | July 21, 2012 at 10:51 am |

    Not saying I like ads on uniforms, but if you watch enough soccer (or NASCAR) you get used to it, and even expect it. I’m still shocked that this country, home of putting ads on everything imaginable, capital of capitalism, is the one holdout in the world when it comes to uniform ads.

    On a financial note, I have to assume the NBA is considering jersey ads to increase revenues. However, teams are crying about revenue inequality and the richer teams in the bigger cities will get more money from jersey ads than the “have-nots,” so unless they plan to split the revenues equally amongst all the teams this will only make the current economic situation even worse.

    • Jim Vilk | July 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

      I watch soccer and I’m still not used to it. I still think how much better those kits would look without the billboards on them.

      Your comment made me think of this non-uni-related article:
      http://espn.go.com/s...
      How are those jersey sponsors working out for you, EPL?

      I’m surprised that Europe, which looks down on the capital of capitalism, runs its leagues in such a cutthroat capitalist manner. And while I favor capitalism over government control, there is a need for both for some checks and balances.

      Funny how we have a salary cap and revenue sharing (brought on by the owners themselves), and they have jersey sponsors.

      • diz | July 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

        European teams have known for a few decades that the more cost you pass on to your customers, the harder it is to get them to splurge on the brand. Also, community involvement is far more prevalent.

    • Christopher F. | July 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

      I wish people would quit bringing up NASCAR when discussing this. NASCAR teams cannot compete without sponsors.

      When it comes to team sports… each individual team has its own TV contract, stadium (ticket sales, hot dogs and beer to sell), and myriad other revenue streams.

      Take Tony Stewart… Driver of the 14 in Sprint Cup. He doesn’t have a Tony Stewart racetrack where he competes in home races 1/2 the year. He gets a tiny cut of the profits from each race based on where he places. He gets a cut of merch sales. But it comes nowhere close to the money it takes to run a NASCAR team. Nowhere.

      If you know anything about NASCAR… if you don’t have a sponsor (or multiple sponsors, really)… you’re very much in danger of not being able to race.

  • Joseph Gerard | July 21, 2012 at 10:55 am |

    Took me a while to realize that the splash image was intentionally blurry. Thought maybe there was something wrong with my phone’s internet connection, like it was from the dialup days or something.

  • Adam w | July 21, 2012 at 11:00 am |

    What happens when a player has to wear a competing brand with his endorsement (a la Michael Jordan at Olympics)? Also, can they guarantee that Nike won’t be able to purchase the patch on all uniforms?

    • Adam w | July 21, 2012 at 11:07 am |

      I forgot to add, if they do guarantee, isn’t that anti-trust? Collusion?

      • DJ | July 21, 2012 at 11:12 am |

        The NBA will probably have league-wide sponsorship rules, such as no hard liquor products, no tobacco products, no Internet gambling, etc. They’ll probably also have a rule saying “no sponsorship by a direct competitor of a league-wide sponsor (Adidas, Sprite, Kia, etc.)”

    • DJ | July 21, 2012 at 11:08 am |

      The USOC has a written code of conduct that every athlete must sign before they get on the plane to go to the Olympics. In relevant part, they agree to wear the “required” uniforms (Ralph Lauren for the ceremonies, Nike if they get to the podium, whatever uniform their sport requires in competition) and to not cover up any sponsor’s logos therein.

  • Adam w | July 21, 2012 at 11:16 am |

    Mr. Silver,

    The decision that the NBA is investigating will affect more sports leagues than just yours. I hope you make a decision that is the best for all major sports leagues in general and not for the pursuit of money.   There is more to this world than greed and your decision can either reinforce this notion or prove that the NBA is only interested in one thing, $$$.

  • Kyle Allebach | July 21, 2012 at 11:49 am |

    White drop shadow? What…?

    • Wheels | July 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

      The White Shadow you say?
      http://youtu.be/GhlU...

      • StLMarty | July 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

        That show was a doozy.
        If I have a son I would like to name him Haywood or Thorpe.
        My wife doesn’t.

  • Skott S. | July 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    I think it’s laughable that we were all told that this advertising was supposed to help the little guys compete with the big guys by giving them more money to spend. Let’s be honest, the big guys are going to get more advertising dollars out of this (unless there is a cap) than any of the little guys, so it’ll just be the rich getting richer. It’s ludicrous to think that the Cleveland Cavs are somehow going to garner more money for their space than the Lakers, Heat, or Celtics.

    I have a great proposal to help NBA owners to stop losing so much money: STOP SIGNING GUYS LIKE DARKO AND KWAMI BROWN TO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACTS, MORONS!

    • TMcLaughlin | July 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

      James Dolan would like to have a word with you….

  • Paul Lukas | July 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    Part of this war is the war of words and ideas, and one of those words is “sponsor.” We should not be referring to the NBA initiative as “jersey sponsorship,” nor to the advertisers as “sponsors.” While these terms may not be inaccurate in the strictest Webster’s sense, the concept of sponsorship is more commonly understood to mean financial support for a needy cause.

    When the local pizza shop puts up money for the local Little League team, for example, that’s sponsorship, because the Little League team genuinely needs a sponsor. Even the old TV line, “And now a word from our sponsor,” was legitimate, because TV gives away its content for free. Without a sponsor, there’s no business model.

    But the NBA doesn’t need this money. It just wants this money. The companies that would be paying for jersey space are not sponsors; they are advertisers. To refer to them as “jersey sponsors” implies that the jersey would not exist without them, or that they are directly subsidizing the cost of the jersey, which is false.

    So let’s please avoid the terms “sponsor” and “jersey sponsor.” This is not sponsorship; it is just advertising, plain and simple. #NoUniAds

    • Marc | July 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

      I don’t know, Paul. There is a long history of plain-old commercial advertisers on for-profit ventures like commercial radio and television being referred to as “sponsors” as in “and now a word from our sponsors.” For me, it is just as vile. Now, if they called them “underwriters,” I’d have a real problem.

      • Paul Lukas | July 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm |

        There is a long history of plain-old commercial advertisers on for-profit ventures like commercial radio and television being referred to as “sponsors” as in “and now a word from our sponsors.”

        Did you actually read what I wrote?

        • Marc | July 22, 2012 at 11:08 am |

          Yes, Paul. I did. I just disagree in the “commonly understood to mean” part of your post, including in the “and now a word form our sponsors” context. I don’t think most people connect the word “sponsor” with the “given away for free” aspect of television and radio. They are advertisers. I understand the concept of sponsorships of worthy causes is different than just an ad. But, as commonly used in most for-profit contexts, I believe “sponsors” and “advertisers” are close to synonymous. I guess we just disagree on whether there is an issue with the NBA calling its disgusting money grab “sponsorship.” Have a good vacation.

        • Marc | July 22, 2012 at 11:36 am |

          And, I should have been more clear in my first post that I think TV and radio sponsors are just commercial advertisers. I shouldn’t edit quickly. :(

    • Christopher F. | July 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

      I know we’re getting into semantics here, but how do you feel about NASCAR drivers referring to their “sponsors”.

      Because without the ads on the cars, that person would most likely not be able to race.

      • Paul Lukas | July 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

        I’m more OK with the use of the term in that context. Although (a) I don’t much care about NASCAR and (b) advertising being worn by athletes in individual sports has never concerned me as much as advertising being worn by athletes wearing team uniforms.

        But I’d rather we keep our eye on the (basket)ball instead of getting sidetracked on tangents here. The issue at hand is the NBA’s uni-advertising program and how we can put a stop to it. Let’s stay focused on that. #NoUniAds

        • Christopher F. | July 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

          Sorry to sidetrack, Paul. For the record… I emailed my anti-ad stance to the NBA and now Adam Silver directly. So I’m doing my part, comrade!

          I did want to ad NASCAR to the discussion because

          A. I’m a huge fan

          B. They have uniforms, so its relevant here

          C. They get bashed for their “overuse” of advertising, which I think is unfair.

          Anwyay… back to the NBA discussion.

        • TA | July 21, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

          Individual sports are just a complete different dynamic from team sports. Individual pro athletes can’t build a stadium and sell season tickets or TV/radio rights. They rely on sponsorships and prize money. And if they don’t have sponsorships, they might not be able to afford getting to the next event for a chance to win prize money.

  • Marc | July 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

    Mets in black for Edgardo Alfonzo bobblehead day. http://mlb.mlb.com/n... Yuck!

    • Chris | July 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

      Yeah, thought it was for the Aurora tragedy (which would have been fine).

  • Brinke | July 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

    Nice graphic today Phil, but I thought Chrome was whacking out for a min. “Uh-oh, switch to Firefox.”

  • Mark Graban | July 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    I might be banned for saying so, but I don’t understand the outrage over ads on uniforms. To say the uniform is somehow “sacred” is a bit silly. It’s “professional” sports – it’s a business. We don’t own these teams, the owners do. They can do what they like.

    If people don’t like it — OK, fair enough, protest, complain, etc. — but it seems there are way more important things to spend time being outraged about.

    • Paul Lukas | July 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

      If people don’t like it — OK, fair enough, protest, complain, etc.

      And that’s exactly what we’re doing. So what exactly is your point?

      If you don’t care to join us, that’s fine.

      As to the notion that sports teams are merely business entities, that’s been addressed countless times on this site over the years. The feeling here among many of us is that teams are also civic entities, and therefore accrue certain civic responsibilities.

      Also, while ads on jerseys may not be a major cultural issue per se, it’s part of a larger cultural problem: the relentless incursion of advertising into every available space and the resulting transformation of America from a market economy to a market society. And yes, that is worth being outraged over.

      Again, if you disagree, that’s fine. But since you said you “don’t understand the outrage,” I’m trying to explain it for you. #NoUniAds

      • Mark Graban | July 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm |

        My point was that I don’t care to join the anti-uni-ad campaign.

        • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |

          Your point was poorly expressed.

    • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

      “We don’t own these teams”

      Packers fans do…

      “but it seems there are way more important things to spend time being outraged about.”

      Correct. Poverty, tyranny, equality – all of those are more important things to be outraged about, but not on a website dedicated to uniforms.

      In fact, given this site’s focus, this is a slow fastball right down the middle of the plate and Paul, Phil and the like are about to jack this one out of the park. 545 ft, hopefully.

  • Cort McMurray | July 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Isn’t it interesting that only a generation ago, Ted Turner was excoriated for having Andy Messersmith dress in a jersey that said “Channel 13″, because it amounted to advertising for Turner’s TV station, and that cheapened the uniform?

    I would love to see a poll that broke out respondents by age. I’ll bet, as Ricko alluded to yesterday, the younger the respondent, the less concerned he is about advertising on jerseys. We are so saturated with ads, kids are conditioned to accept it.

  • C. Sciria | July 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

    Did anyone of you see this video from 1946 of the Pacific Coast League?
    Some great uni footage and its in color.
    http://www.youtube.c...

    • Paul Lukas | July 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

      Ran in the Ticker a week or so ago, but once more can’t hurt!

  • Paul Lukas | July 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

    I have just confirmed with the league that the ad patches will be 2.5″ x 2.5″ (not 2 x 2, as had been reported in some stories).

    That may not sound like much of a difference, but it means the ad patch’s area will be 6.25 square inches, not 4 square inches — that’s 56% bigger. #NoUniAds

    • Shane | July 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

      Smaller than the club crest on a lot of soccer jerseys.

      • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

        It’s that kind of appeasement that leads to billboard jerseys.

      • Phil Hecken | July 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

        “Smaller than the club crest on a lot of soccer jerseys.”

        ~~~

        no one gives a shit about soccer

        it’s what we’re trying to keep the major sports (INCLUDING HOCKEY, OK?) from becoming

        • Skott S. | July 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

          “no one gives a shit about soccer”

          That statement is 99.9% true. Except…

          http://theoriginalwi...

        • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

          Sooo hot. Want to touch the hiney.
          http://www.youtube.c...

        • iLO | July 23, 2012 at 10:54 am |

          “no one gives a shit about soccer”

          Yeah?
          According to ratings the past two years, people seem to care a lot more about soccer than hockey which continues to suffer from ratings drop.

          NHL…………MLS—>

  • Ben | July 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    I just had a thought on the nba ads ( I don’t follow nba and really don’t care) what happens when a former player dies and they want to honor him but an ad is in the way. Are we going to see the NBA sell out even more because of the paid sponsership and not honor the memory?

    • Andy | July 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

      What?

      • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

        What he’s saying is if there’s an NBA logo on the left and an ad on the right, where does the memorial patch go?

        http://img.photobuck...

  • Coleman | July 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    I sent an email to Mr. Stern yesterday, but if anyone gets a phone number please post it here, ill make sure to give them a ring as well.

    #NoUniAds

  • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |

    To anyone who may think, “You shouldn’t mind uni ads,” I say to you;

    “I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.”
    http://www.youtube.c...

    • Coleman | July 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

      Fuck. Yeah.

      The Dude abides.

  • Chris | July 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Chris | July 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

      My small contribution

      • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

        FANTASTIC!

      • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

        We should hold like an art contest to see what other creatives might come up with!

    • Phil Hecken | July 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |

      chris, i’m gonna borrow that if you don’t mind (with full credit to you of course)

      • Chris | July 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

        No problem, Phil

    • StLMarty | July 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm |

      I like that logo a lot.

  • Keith S. | July 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

    “Should the advertisements end up on the uniforms, I will officially boycott the NBA (including canceling my season tickets and not spending a penny on anything NBA branded)…”

    Excerpt from my email to Adam Silver.

    I encourage you to add something similar to your correspondence. If you’re not a season ticket holder, then let them know you will not purchase NBA branded merchandise.

    I wanted them to know there is a segment of the fan-base willing to act on this.

  • Tim E. O'B | July 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

    A new ad for the campaign against the ads:
    http://img.photobuck...

    • Shaftman | July 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |

      Tim, I hope you don’t mind but I posted this to my FB page. I think we should make a rotating version of this with various players and various logos.

  • Connie | July 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    That bearded guy in today’s Benchies is a compelling figure. Handsome devil.

  • Chicago Shep | July 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

    Maybe if the NBA insists on putting ads on the uniforms we can band together people across the country to donate what they can and try to purchase a “NoUniAds” ad from a team. Personally, I’d love to buy an ad specifically to keep it OFF a uniform, but it might have more power if the NBA website and the wire services had to show pictures of a NoUniAds patch every day.

  • Martyn | July 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

    Just noticed a slight but I think important detail in a couple MLS soccer jerseys.

    Toronto FC and Montreal Impact both have BMO (Bank of Montreal) as they’re main kit sponsor. They have different jersey layouts, but the keepers in the league, for the most part, use the same style of jersey. Which means the Toronto and Montreal keepers have almost identical jerseys (save for the team shield over the heart).

    I just noticed that Toronto uses the BMO logo cutout (the inside is the original jersey colour – yellow)

    http://www.torontofc...

    while Montreal uses the FULL bank logo (the inside is the default white).

    http://www.montrealg...

    http://rbccriminalin...

    Small, but important detail. I wonder if that was included in the contract with BMO and Montreal (which was negotiated years after the Toronto one).

    Cheers,
    Martyn

  • walter | July 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    Because I care, I chimed in to the NBA site with an e-mail against uniform ads. But I think I am not the customer pro basketball has in mind; I’m fifty, flinty with my entertainment buck, loath to buy basketball apparel, and vocal about the chintzy quality of today’s basketball stars. If my opinion can change one person’s mind about the inappropriateness of ads on a uniform, it will have been worth it.

  • Chris | July 22, 2012 at 9:07 am |

    Congratulations on winning NBA championship again, Kobe, what adjustments did you make in the second half that made the difference?

    “Well, first of all I want to give a big shout out to Kia and Staples and Miller Lite and the great people at Folgers coffee. They’ve helped us put together a great team and they’re really a part of this victory. And I can’t forget the people at Coca-Cola, who deserve a special shoutout. I’m so proud to be wearing Coca-Cola red today, I can’t tell ya…”

    That’s what’s wrong with ads on uniforms.

  • Bowen | July 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm |

    I have to admit, I was surprised to see my Warriros/HP concept in the splash graphic. You can see the full post here:

    http://boldpost.leib...

  • Douglas King | July 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    This may have been said earlier in the comments (or earlier in the week) but the NFL Shop is finally selling the “limited Jerseys”. Up until a few days ago they were only available on a select few team’s pro shops. They still don’t have them for all the teams yet but I imagine that will change over the next week.

    By far they are the best deal when it comes to the jerseys Nike is offering up for sale. They have the twill numbers and the cuts are different based upon the team’s actual cuts (all the “Game” jerseys are the same cut, however if you purchase a Green Bay Packers Limited Jersey you will get the same exact cut that they have, as would be the case if you chose any of the teams that stuck to the older cuts, however if you opt for one of the teams rocking the new templates you will not get the sweatbox). The Elite jerseys you can suit up in, but unless those are your plans, or if you really want that sweatbox, there’s no need to shell out the extra $115.

    Both the limited and the elite jerseys have breathable materials, though the Elite jerseys have more durable material that is actually moisture-wicking.

    Nike’s “middle jersey” is certainly better than Reebok’s version, and it’s worth looking into if you really want to upgrade from your current one.

  • Greg | July 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm |

    Here was my email to the NBA:

    Please reconsider placing ads on the game uniforms.

    This move sets a terrible precedent for other American professional leagues and I fully believe that 2×2 patches are only the beginning of a process that will eventually lead to team names being replaced by corporate logos.

    Unless these ads result in more affordable tickets and concessions (which I sincerely doubt) this just feels like slap in the face.

    I have been following the league since I was eight years old, buying jerseys, cards, and attending as many games as my family could afford. Each step in the advertising creep was unsettling – the Arena naming rights, the sideline ads, and most recently the animated ads the cover up live game action – but I think this is where I get off. I cannot foresee myself spending another dime on the league if this line is crossed.

    It is beginning to feel like advertising is more important than the game itself, which may have been true all along, but at least it used to disguised a bit.

    Thank you,

    Greg