As we’ve all learned by now, Mark Cuban is not your typical professional sports franchise owner. For one thing, he has a blog. And yesterday he used that blog to invite fans to redesign the Mavericks’ uniforms for the 2015-16 season.
Not bad, right? It’s actually a pretty progressive move — until you get to the part where Cuban reminds you that he’s, you know, Mark freaking Cuban:
Who will own your design? The minute you post it [on Cuban’s blog], the Mavs will. If you think it’s horrible that the Mavs will own your design, do not post. If you think it’s cool that the Mavs could possibly use your design and you will have eternal bragging rights, then post away. If we really like your design and you, I may even throw in some tickets. If we don’t use your design, it will still be here on this site for now and ever more for you to glance longingly at.
Now, this isn’t the first time a team has crowdsourced its uniform design. The White Sox did it in 1981 (for details, check out this ESPN column I wrote in 2011), and the Brewers just did it a few months ago with their YOUniform promotion (okay, so that was only for a spring training uni, but still). And yes, once you submit something to an NBA team, of course they’re going to own it. No surprise there.
But there’s something distinctly uncharitable about Cuban’s tone, like he’s doing the fans a favor by granting them the privilege of doing free design work for him. And then maybe — maybe — the winner will be rewarded with some free tickets. So instead of creating something that sounds fun, he’s created something with a strong undercurrent of contempt. Granted, that seems to be what he’s best at, but jeez.
The ink was barely dry on Cuban’s blog post when I received an email from reader Stu Taylor, who had this to say:
This is awful. … The guy is a millionaire if not a billionaire, and he’s trying to get the main branding outlet of his team done for free. … There are plenty of extremely qualified professional designers the Mavs can tap for this. I’m rooting for a flood of under-considered designs to lampoon the whole process. I’m a die-hard Mavs fan (and graphic designer) and have been a huge fan of Cuban, but this is a bush league move.
Personally, I love the idea of soliciting fan designs. But Cuban’s approach here, as usual, is strictly blowhardus maximus. And would it kill him to pay a professional fee to the winning design?
One other thing of note: Among all the NBA owners, Cuban has been the loudest advocate of putting advertising on uniforms. Interesting that he didn’t mention that in his blog post (“Be sure to leave room for an ad patch,” or whatever). Maybe he just forgot.
Correction: Yesterday I wrote that the bat manufacturer MaxBat had made and shipped several pink bats with the MaxBat logo, in violation of MLB rules. That prompted a note from MaxBat VP Jim Anderson, who said, “We didn’t supply pink bats. We supplied black bats with pink logos [like those shown at left — PL] to some of our customers. There are no restrictions for logo colors. Therefore a pink, orange, yellow, blue, red, silver, gold, etc. logo is legal, and we didn’t violate any rules.”
Duly noted. But there seemed to be considerable confusion about which bats were and weren’t allowed on Sunday, and most MaxBat-supplied players opted not to use the pink-labeled lumber. Again, the real culprit here is MLB, which never should have had any restrictions on the pink bats (or maybe just never should have allowed any pink bats, period) in the first place.
By Brinke Guthrie
Anyone who reads “Collector’s Corner” each Tuesday has probably figured out that I am a sucker for anything NFL + Dave Boss. So imagine my reaction when I saw the poster shown above — all NFL teams in one painting! Check it out here.
Here’s the rest of this week’s haul:
• Ron Jaworski and Bill Bergey (I think) appear in this 1979 Eagles poster by Damac.
• Someone say Damac? Got your 1979 Miami Dolphins poster right here.
• Steelers fans, you’ll look snazzy on the links with this Steelers/NFL Alumni golf bag.
• Ever seen these? Vintage 1940s circular Japanese baseball cards.
• Love the look of these 1970s NFL helmets on this Thermos.
• Nice set of 1976 NFL glasses from Mobil.
• This one is for Paul: a signed photo of the 49ers RB Ken Willard, from the 1960s.
• This NFLPA sleeping bag from 1972 would’ve been great for those camp-outs back in the day.
• This may be the first dress ever featured on Collector’s Corner: It features all the 1960s MLB logos.
• Gumball helmet buggies! One for the Titans and one for the Falcons (with mismatched colors for the sticker and helmet shell).
• You know I love any old Sears/NFL gear, and this old Dolphins zip-up cardigan is as nice as they come.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: ’Skins WR Josh Morgan is in favor of keeping the team’s name. Jim Rome and John Feinstein disagree (both from Tommy Turner). … Here’s a piece on NBA compression sleeves and other cover-up gear. … Odd move by the Aussie football team St. Kilda, which will wear a heritage guernsey with the opposing coach’s name (from Craig Snyder). … Here’s something I’ve never seen before: a purple tequila sunrise uni! That’s Brownsburg High School in Indiana (from Randy Rollyson). … And wait, here’s another high school wearing the tequila sunrise, this time in black, red, and gray. That’s Satellite Beach High in Florida (from Joshua Pryor). … Truly horrid G.I. Joe jerseys for WVU baseball (from Terry Wehrend). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Jason Kipnis of the Indians was standing too close to the dugout heater on Sunday and burned a hole in his pants. Video coverage here (from Tim Forstser). … Remember my recent post about Carlos Peña’s armbands? On Sunday he went pink over orange. Yuck. … Did you know there used to be Bobby Orr-branded lemonade? It’s true! (From John Muir.) … Back in March, we saw a handful of the G.I. Joe caps that MLB teams will be wearing on Memorial Day. You can now see more of them here. As R. Scott Rogers posted yesterday, “Those would be great hats — for Armed Forces Day. Which is Saturday, May 18. Raises the question: If MLB actually ‘honors’ and ‘supports’ our troops, why does the league completely ignore the one national holiday that actually honors currently serving soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardsmen?” … This is very cool: a Tumblr devoted to hockey scoreboard design. I’ll be conducting an interview with the site’s editor shortly. … Hamilton Nolan was on vacation or something for a few weeks, but now he’s back. Boy is he good. And if you prefer him on a lighter topic, he’s still really good. … A CC Sabathia fan wore a Yanks/Indans Frankenjersey yesterday (from Paulie Sumner). … Georgia Tech baseball fans have been invited to choose the team’s uniform for tonight’s game (from Britton Thomas) … “Florence is the host city of the 2013 Cycling World Championships, so the event’s logo is an image of Pinocchio in the cycling rainbow stripes,” reports Sean Clancy. “Yes, the fictional Pinocchio was from the Tuscan region, but having him associated with pro cycling is priceless.” … The Lake Erie Crushers will wear Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man costumes on the same night. What, no Wonder Woman? (From Rick Grayshock.) … The Mets signed Rick Ankiel off the scrapheap yesterday. He’ll no doubt be released in a month or two, but meanwhile this piece includes a quote explaining how he chose his new uni number: “I was a big Doc Gooden fan when I was younger, so even being able to wear 16 is cool. It’s exciting. I asked what numbers were available. There weren’t that many. When 16 was one of them, it was a done deal right away.” … In a related item, Ankiel’s gear didn’t arrive in time for last night’s game against the Cards, so he had to borrow pitcher Jonathon Niese’s glove — which may have cost the Mets last night’s game. … “Seattle has been rather disappointed in the way it’s been treated by the NBA lately,” says Adam Schechter. “There was a little rally tonight at a popular local music venue, and these shirts were available.” … The Packers have assigned No. 1 to Matt Brown, an undrafted QB out of Illinois State. If he makes it onto the regular season roster, he’ll be only the second player in team history to wear that number, after Curly Lambeau in the 1920s. “Understandably, this has caused some consternation in fan circles,” says Chance Michaels. … Rhode Island’s baseball team appears to be channeling the Rays. Nice stirrups, though (from Eric Hoffman). … Yesterday’s vote to make Minnesota the 12th state to recognize marriage equality led to the creation of a logo with clever use of negative space (from Geoff Poole). … New kits, including a bizarre faux-denim look, for Marseille (from Danny Garrison). … Back in 1989, Washington State’s football field had directional indicators on both sides of the 50-yard line (from Paul Deaver). … It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but new Eagles coach Chip Kelly appears to have a marker attached to his whistle (from Kurt Esposito). … Here’s something you rarely see: Negro Leagues video footage. Note that they’re wearing the Hale America “Health” patch, just like MLB teams did in 1942 (big thanks to James Ashby). … About a gazillion readers got in touch yesterday to inform me that the Kentucky “penis tongue logo” controversy from 1994, which I mentioned with an air of skepticism in yesterday’s Ticker, was indeed real. But only Robert Hudson provided substantiation. … Never seen this version of Brownie the Elf before. Brian K. says it’s from a 1948 pennant.
The Battle of the Uniforms rolls on today. Voting on the first round is still open until 9am Eastern. We’ll have the second-round match-ups posted sometime between 10am and noon.