[Editor's Note: Paul is on vacation, but here's a piece he left for your enjoyment.]
Back around February, I had a great idea: Since soccer ball designs are constantly being changed and updated, I’d run a ball-redesign contest on ESPN, similar to the uni-redesign contests that I’ve been doing for years. And I’d run the contest to coincide with the World Cup. Genius!
Or so I thought. But it turns out that people don’t like redesigning soccer balls as much as they like redesigning uniforms. I received only six entries. Six! (And three of them were created in the back of a moving car by the children of reader Ben Traxel.) Not enough for an ESPN column.
But it’s enough for an entry here on the blog, so let’s take a look at our five entrants:
1. Cher Yang
Ball name: The World
Designer’s comments: “Since the World Cup brings the nations together for a month every four years, it’s only fitting to have the ball exterior design to look like the glove. The host nation will have its flag and location mapped on the ball.”
2. Evan Lewis
Ball name: The World
Designer’s comments: “The world’s face deserves to be on the world’s favorite ball.”
Ball name: Magic Spray
We’ve all seen soccer players rolling around in what appears to be unbearable pain, only to have the trainer come out, give them a blast of the magic spray from a can, and bingo — the player is back in action like nothing happened.
I thought I would combine the can of magic spray with the ball in an effort to make the game a bit faster. In this case, the can is inside the ball for easy access, so a teammate or even the ref can spray the “injured” player and get the game going again without having to wait for the trainer to come out onto the field. The player saves face and everyone can get on with the game.
There is a retractable nozzle and a button for the spray to keep the ball more or less roll-able.
The name of the ball is kind of boring, but I thought it needed to explain exactly what’s going on here. I chose a standard 32-panel ball, as it seemed to provide the right places to mount the nozzle and button.
About the other logos: I was playing around with some ideas for promotional logos for the design, so I included them as part of the package. As for the mascot, I thought a whale would be the perfect mascot due to the spray. Not sure if he has separate legs or if he managed to get the socks and boots over his tail.
4. Beau Traxel
Ball name: Cyclone
Designer’s comments: “I call this ball Cyclone for all the storms that hit Brazil. There were 92 cyclones that hit Brazil since 1997.”
Ball name: The Skyline
Designer’s comments: “I chose to design this ball in different parts, the fun skyline design, because of Brazil’s street art, and of how colorful Brazil is. I put the stars in there because of Brazil’s sky. Brazil’s sky is full of stars and color in the clouds and together they make the Skyline.”
Ball name: Color Splash
Designer’s comments: “The cross has fruit on all sides with colors going to the center. There is a pineapple, banana, lime, and orange. I chose this design to depict the fruit of Rio.”
Okay, people — who’s the winner? Vote here:
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Today’s ticker was written and compiled by John Ekdahl
Baseball News: Cool San Francisco Giants shoes in the first picture here. (Jonathan Daniel) … From Elena Elms: “I hope I am not the first one to link this nice collection of baseball programs, yearbook covers and other baseball illustrations by the recently deceased St Louis Post Dispatch artist, Amadee Wolschlaeger“. Phil actually covered this same artist back in 2010. … The Mets and Pirates will be in Negro League throwbacks on Saturday. … Tired of those “how the USA can advance” grid graphics? Here’s one for baseball (thanks Mike).
Basketball News: Ryan Hess asks if anyone has seen this version of the Spurs logo that’s being used on the NBA Store’s website. … Oops! There are no Bobcats anymore. (Jeffrey Moulden) … Here’s a shot of the Hornets new court design. … Freshmen Clemson basketball players were given mismatched jerseys (note the collar). … NBA Draft night jackets are a thing now, and #1 pick Andrew Wiggins‘ jacket was…well, was he the worst dressed there? Was he the worst of all time? And the inside of the jacket seems to be getting much attention these days.
Hockey News: Team Canada has released their new 2014/15 hockey jerseys. (Rob Yasinsac.) Many twitter comments asked why Canada continues to use black in its uni-scheme. … The NHL draft is today, and it’s rumored the Ducks will reveal new unis, possibly looking like this (via Icethetics).
Soccer News: Slate: Are Puma’s Mismatched Pink-and-Blue World Cup Cleats Cursed? (Jason Hillyer) … Neymar will be wearing golden boots for the knockout round. (Yusuke Toyoda) … Juan Cazares has a question for Uni Watchers: “I was watching the US Soccer Game vs Germany and noticed the US Soccer Logo/patch/crest is wrong? The Stripes are blue and the background of the stars is red? The Logo is supposed to be reflective of the U.S. Flag. However, the current logo is backwards?” … Each World Cup ball has the specific game, location and date printed on it. … Manchester United’s 2014/15 home kit here, with Chevrolet as the main sponsor. And here’s the away kit. … Not only has team Canada unveiled new puck jerseys, it looks like there are also Canadian futbol jerseys (h/t Luke). … Don’t wanna drop a hundy on a USA home jersey? Well, you could just DIY your own like Clint Richardson’s 15-year old brother did, with a sharpie and an old polo.