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When I wrote about the Warriors’ new sleeved jerseys a few weeks ago, I mentioned that Adidas would also be bringing sleeves to the college level this season. They made good on that promise (or threat) yesterday, as three Adidas-outfitted schools unveiled sleeved jerseys for postseason play, and three more unveiled new uniforms with a traditional tank top format.
As you can see above, all six designs feature truly foul-looking striped shorts paired with solid-colored jerseys. This follows the precedent set with the Warriors’ sleeved uni, which has a solid top paired with pinstriped shorts. Can’t say I understand this approach — even if you like striping (which I don’t), the mismatched jersey/shorts format is a total train wreck and feels like little more than a provocation. Seriously, does anyone like these? Anyone at all? I mean, sometimes I can see why certain people might like something that isn’t my bag, but I honestly can’t imagine a single fan digging these. The fact that all six designs are essentially part of a “Team Adidas” template just makes it worse, since no school can claim this design concept as its own (not that any school would want to, but still).
Most observers yesterday, myself included, immediately decreed that the striped shorts reminded them of Zubaz. But then my ESPN buddy Dave Wilson showed me a tweet from Pee Wee Herman, of all people, who compared the design to Fruit Stripe gum. Sure enough — genius! From now on I’ll be referring to these as the Fruit Stripe uniforms.
Kansas has already announced that they’ll wear the new uni for the Big 12 tourney, but not for the NCAA tournament. That hasn’t stopped a bunch of Kansas fans from starting a White House petition to ban the new KU design altogether.
Speaking of Kansas, coach Bill Self had an interesting quote at his press conference yesterday: “Sometimes, you have to be a team player. Adidas has helped KU quite a bit, so KU will do this [i.e., wear the new uni] to help the company.” That almost sounds reasonable, until you remember that it’s Adidas’s job to help Kansas — that’s what vendors do for clients! Clients aren’t supposed to turn around and further the vendor’s marketing agenda. And people wonder why I rail against the corporate influence in sports. What a disgrace.
At least Self was honest about it. When these designs inevitably show up in “Worst Uniforms Ever” slideshows on Bleacher Report several years from now, let’s hope someone includes the quote about how he was just “helping” Adidas.
The worst thing about this, as I’ve repeatedly said about the Warriors’ design, is that the sleeves are an interesting uniform element worth discussing, but now they’ll be forever associated with these mismatched uni designs. For all you Adidas employees reading this: It would be nice if you could just once produce a sleeved jersey that doesn’t look like it’s part of some freakshow pajama costume. That way we could evaluate the sleeves on their own merits, instead of treating them as just one more gimmick in a larger gimmicky design.
You can see individual shots of the three sleeved designs here:
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is the full story about my trip to the Daytona 500. Enjoy.
Uni Watch News Ticker: It ain’t broke, but they might fix it anyway: The Cubs are exploring the possibility of new uniforms and a new logo (from Benjamin Gordon). … Speaking of the Cubs, MLB The Show has this alternate jersey. A hint of things to come? It’d be news to me, but who knows (from Jake Watterson). … Meanwhile, in a Facebook post from yesterday that has now been deleted, Ebbets Field Flannels claimed to be consulting on some new uniforms for the Mariners. EFF said the team would probably switch from white to cream at home in 2014, and that they (EFF) were trying to convince the team to de-emphasize teal (from Keith Kreindler). … The A’s have some awesome-sounding throwback Thursday promotions planned for this season (from Tom Lupoff). … “Augusta State has become (worst school name ever) Georgia Regents University Augusta, or GRU, as the school was merged with the Medical College of Georgia a few months ago,” says Preston Feiler. “Now GRU is putting together their ‘View Book’ for the new school year and has erased history. They’ve altered photos of the back-to-back National Champion golf team and the Final Four-appearing basketball team by eliminating ‘Augusta State’ from jerseys and the ‘A’ logo from hats and shirts, and other sports. They even went as far as changing the colors to the new blue they are using for GRU. Details here.” … Nice piece about Sheffield Wednesday’s old-school scoreboard (from Patrick Barnett). … Infielder Bill Hall of the Angels has been wearing No. 0. “Let’s hope he makes the team,” says Andy Chalifour. … New Star Wars-themed goalie mask for Ilya Bryzgalov (from Bob Ziegler). … The final installment of Mark Willis’s MLB/soccer mash-up series is for the N.L. East. … Boise State hoops will go BFBS on March 21 (from Aaron Bernstein). … This has got to be the weirdest rip-off of the Padres’ logo I’ve ever seen (from Brady Phelps). … BFBS: It’s not just for uniforms anymore. … Rick Nash, who’s always worn a Bauer 4500 helmet, was wearing a Warrior helmet in a recent practice. “It probably has something to do with the fact that he was recently hit hard into the boards by Milan Lucic of the Bruins and sidelined for a number of day,” says Luke Rosnick. “The Bauer 4500 is one of the most popular helmets in the league because it hasn’t changed in years, and guys like it for style and nostalgia reasons, but the new Warrior helmets have a lot more technology and science behind them.” … Surprised we haven’t seen this happen sooner: Elvis Andrus of the Rangers was scratched from a game tue to lingering soreness from a new tattoo. Yo, get that shit done during the winter. … This is pretty cool: Jen McGovern made a bunch of sports logos out of Lego. … Man U’s latest jersey has leaked (from Mark Emge). … The Adirondack Phantoms recently wore throwbacks and mascot-themed jerseys (from Anthony Nuccio). …