Christmas is more than seven months away, but you’re going to get a little taste of it today, because I’m bringing you another exclusive: this year’s NBA Christmas uniforms, which I recently obtained from an industry source.
I’m happy to report that most of the designs are quite nice. In fact, many teams’ Christmas uniforms are better than their normal uni designs. Let’s take a look (click to enlarge):
Okay, that’s a lot to digest, so let’s go one item at a time:
1. No sleeves! No nickNOBs! In short, no gimmicks. Refreshing.
2. Remember, we don’t yet know which teams will be playing on Dec. 25, or even how many games there will be on that date, because the NBA hasn’t yet released the 2015-16 schedule. (For reference, last year there were five games on Christmas.) So we won’t be seeing all of these designs on the court, but the designs were developed months ago, so they did one for every team, just in case.
3. The script chest insignia are meant to evoke the feel of the fancy script on a Christmas card. I think most of them are pretty nice on their own, although the repeated template waters down the visual effect a bit. I’m not sure why they chose to have the scripts running uphill with the uni numbers offset to one side, but I like it — reminds me of the Cavs’ uniforms from the first LeBron era.
4. The heavy use of cream, instead of white, is meant to evoke a feeling of parchment. Strictly speaking, it’s not cream — it’s greige. I initially thought that this was a nonsense term cooked up by the Adidas marketing department — a contraction of grey and beige — but it turns out it’s a real term for fabric that’s neither dyed nor bleached. The plan is for the NBA to feature this as a sustainability storyline — “Hey, no dyes!” That’s ridiculous, of course: If you really want to promote sustainability, just wear your regular uniforms on Christmas instead of creating a set of disposable one-day designs.
But whatever — marketing nonsense notwithstanding, this color looks great. And some of the resulting color combos are super-tasty, like the Suns’ cream and orange, the Nets’ cream and black, and the Wizards’ cream, red, and gold.
5. It’s hard to see on the mock-ups, but the NBA logo above the NOB will be shown in a splotch of sealing wax, which is meant to evoke the feel of an old-fashioned Christmas card:
6. There will supposedly be “glazed sugar ornamental shiny surfaces” on the fabric and trim. I have no idea what that’s going to entail, but let’s beat the rush and start making fun of it now.
7. The mock-ups don’t provide a very good sense of the number font, because they used double-zero for all of the jerseys. Here’s a view of two more numerals — it’s not much, but it’s all I have:
8. I like how they worked certain teams’ visual signatures into the jerseys, like the Blazers’ diagonal stripe and the Wizards’ two-tone design. Wish they’d found some excuse to skip the Kings’ garish pointed side panels, though.
9. As some of you may have figured out by now, four teams are missing. I’m not showing the Bucks’ or Sixers’ designs, because that would provide hints as to what those teams’ new regular season uniforms look like, and I’ve made promises not to reveal anything regarding those two teams. I haven’t made any similar promises regarding the Raptors, but I’m not going to show their Christmas uni either, just to preserve a bit of mystery.
That leaves the Hawks. They have a new regular season uni in the pipeline as well, and I haven’t seen or heard any details about it. But if their Christmas design is any indication, the standard uni is gonna give us plenty to talk about:
I don’t know what to make of that pattern on the jersey and the sides of the shorts, but it sure looks, uh, interesting. As for the lime green trim on the shorts, that used to be a Hawks color. Perhaps it’s going to be again..? On the other hand, lime green doesn’t appear on any of the other Hawks merch shown in this catalog, so who knows. (And speaking of other merch in the catalog, the Clippers merch all shows that new “LAC” logo that I first reported on last month.)
Overall: Very, very nice — well done, people. And to all a good night.
Ben lives! The 76ers’ awesome Ben Franklin logo, which surfaced last summer but then was sort of orphaned, is now an official part of the team’s new logo set. The Sixers have also made a few other logo tweaks, all of which are small but positive (although Chris Creamer has a slightly more cynical — and entertaining — assessment). New uniforms will follow on June 18.
My only problem with Ben is that I’m so used to cartoon characters having four fingers that his five-fingered hand looks a little weird to me. How’s that for visual indoctrination?
At least one observer doesn’t share my enthusiasm for Ben: ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith. You can get his take on things in this video clip.
Meanwhile, several readers quickly noted that the adjustment to the basketball in the Sixers’ primary and partial primary logos matches a concept that longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Conrad Burry executed several years ago. Hmmmmm.
T-Shirt Club Update: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s design for June will launch next Tuesday, May 19, and will be available through the following Tuesday, May 26. (Normally the shirts are available for sale from Tuesday through the following Monday, but extending the availability of this design by one day because of Memorial Day.)
This month’s design is black for black’s sake (aka the one design that The Jeff might actually order; click to enlarge):
Not much to say about this design — it’s pretty basic and straightforward. It’s worth noting, though, that my Teespring designer, Bryan Molloy, came up with a more minimalist BFBS design. I think it’s a really fun concept, but it doesn’t feel right for the T-Shirt Club. (No, we won’t be producing that one, so please don’t ask. Thanks.)
Smart phone case now available: Matt Beahan, the winner of our recent cell phone case design contest, worked with me to make a few adjustments to his stirrup-based concept. As you can see at right, there’s now a clearer distinction between the front and back stirrup openings, and I also had him add some stitching marks along curved edges of the openings.
With those changes made, the phone case is now available for ordering. A few notes:
• The case is available for more than two dozen different phone models. Use the pop-up menu on the ordering page to choose your phone. I did my best to position the artwork so in a way that works for all of the different models but, as you’ll see, the design “fits” slightly differently onto each model’s case.
• The price is $19, no matter which model you choose. Domestic shipping is $5; overseas shipping varies.
• The case will be available for three weeks — from now through June 3.
• If you order a case, you should receive it somewhere in the June 10-17 range (that’s in time for Father’s Day, for what it’s worth).
• As you’ll see, the campaign has a goal of 250 sales, but don’t worry about that. As long as we sell at least 10 (which
I’m sure we will we’ve already done), the cases will definitely be produced and shipped.
I think that’s it. If you have any additional questions or concerns, let me know. Thanks.
Membership update: Three designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Owen Dillon’s awesome Golden State throwback treatment, shown at right). The printed and laminated versions of these cards will be processed when we fill up the current batch, which should be soon because next Monday is Purple Amnesty Day, which always results in a mini-flood of orders.
Baseball News: One day after debuting their “Baltimore” home jerseys, the Orioles went back to their regular home jerseys for last night’s game against the Blue Jays. … Ebbets Field Flannels recently ran a photo contest and longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Marty Buccafusco won himself some free stuff by submitting this photo of himself and his son Gus. Congrats! … A fan at Wrigley Field wiped a cap on her butt and then tossed it onto the field — twice! — during Monday night’s Mets/Cubs game (thanks, Mike). … Here’s your chance to vote for the best minor league logo (from J. Daniel). … Rehabbing Yankees P Ivan Nova, who normally wears No. 47, was wearing No. 81 in an extended spring training game yesterday (from Steve King). … Logo-emblazoned stirrups yesterday for UMass. … I’ve long been a fan of the Tigers’ “Swinging Kitten” mascot. Turns out there’s also a sliding kitten, and they’re bringing him out for this T-shirt, which will be given away on June 16 as part of the team’s Children’s Health Night promotion. There are several other versions of the kitten, as you can see on the cover of the 1980 Tigers media guide. I’d love to see these designs get back into circulation. … New cap for the Iowa Cubs (from Zach James). … Louisville’s uniforms could probably use a re-think.
NFL News: Always fun to see an old photo of the Jags’ original prototype jersey (from Leo Strawn Jr.). … Here are the new uni numbers for the Titans’ rookies. One of those rookies, RB David Cobb, is a big Eddie George fan but will not wear No. 27 (from Eric Wright). … Speaking of the Titans, they’re redesignating their navy jersey as their primary this year, so it’s surprising to see that players participating in the team’s recent Titans Caravan events were wearing the Columbia blue jerseys (Eric Wright again). … Raiders draftee Amari Cooper has apparently changed uni numbers already, from 19 to 89 (from Brian Molinet). … New uni numbers for the 49ers’ rookies (thanks, Phil). … A fan at last night’s Mets/Cubs ballgame was wearing a Bengals-themed motorcycle helmet. When I tweeted that photo last night, everyone said, “The helmet is nothing — look at the jacket!” Okay, then: Look at the jacket (from Eric Wright). … Two uni-related notes buried within this Deflategate story: “Four men wearing Patriots jerseys were arrested during a sit-in at the NFL offices promoted by the Boston website Barstool Sports” and “Since the suspension was announced, sales of [Tom] Brady’s jersey have doubled, according to online retailer Fanatics.com.”
College Football News: Here’s a bunch of reimagined SEC helmet concepts (from Bryan Council). … Someone at Notre Dame PhotoShopped an Under Armour logo onto former Irish LB Kendall Moore. Moore only wore Adidas for Notre Dame (from Dirty McGirty). … New uniforms for Samford.
Hockey News: A reading of the tea leaves suggests that the Avalanche might be changing their jerseys (thanks, Phil). … Love the big patch on this British Columbia jersey. Pretty big “A,” too (from Jim Wooley).
NBA News: As of this morning, the new Clippers logo — the one I first reported on last month, although it hasn’t been officially acknowledged or released — was appearing on the front page of the NBA’s online shop. It’s not clear if this was a mistake, a concession to reality, or a tease, but it’s worth noting that the new logo has not yet appeared on the shop’s mobile site.
Soccer News: The Red Bulls have been giving out great posters at each match this season. As you can see, the most recent one is a breakdown of the team’s kit (from Andrew Muccigrosso). … Here’s a look at how the MLS’s rebrand is going. … Inter’s new jerseys have leaked (thanks, Phil). … In Ghana, they apparently refer to NOBs as being “embossed” on the jerseys. … New away kit for Olympique Lionnais. … New kit for Liverpool, too.
Grab Bag: Big controversy in Connecticut over a high school’s prom dress code. … Mumbai’s firefighters need better uniforms. … Shame on the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation, which is selling corporate advertising on its trucks and drivers’ uniforms. Unacceptable. … Yesterday’s announcement of Verizon’s acquisition of AOL, and the immediate increase in the latter’s stock price, prompted Huffington Post report Ariel Edwards-Levy to create a clever combined logo. … The St. Joseph’s golf team uses driver covers with a very cool mascot logo. “He’s even wearing golf shoes!” says Pat Costello. “If only the ‘TM’ wasn’t there.” … Stephen Krupin notes that Washington, DC’s sports facilities have some outdated logos: “The aisles at the Verizon Center have logos on the sides of the seats, alternating rows between the Caps and Wizards. The only problem is they still haven’t replaced the outdated Caps logo last worn in 2007, and they still use the old Wizards logos in colors last worn in 2011. And the Nats’ scoreboard is still topped with the Todd Radom-designed ‘Nationals’ wordmark, which the Nats shelved in 2010.” … Corporate sponsorships aren’t just annoying — they also don’t work (from @holycalamity). … An Ohio high school is changing its logo after getting a cease-and-desist from the U. of Arizona.