Future bleak for new-style uniforms

Future bleak for new-style uniforms
February 28, 2013, 10:45 am
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The Warrior brand didn’t need expanding; that’s what Stephen Curry going off in New York is for. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

There is no compelling reason for all the hoop-de-blah about adidas’ new basketball uniform ideas, derivative though they are of a time when LSD was a routine component in a nutritious breakfast.

They threw out the Warriors’ mismatched sleeved jobs, claiming that they were 26 percent lighter (than what, an overcoat? A bank safe? The moon Europa?) and therefore more structurally advantageous than regular uniforms. Yes, because heavy uniforms have been the reason teams lose games since time immemorial.

But the rest of it is just a matter of taste, a demarcation line between old people who let fun die within them decades earlier and young people who don’t yet know what $300 actually means. The Warriors’ uniforms were the first shot (they beat the Spurs at home, though Stephen Curry went for 54 in New York with traditional gear), but then they came out with six new kits for Louisville, Baylor, UCLA, Kansas, Cincinnati and worst of all, Notre Dame.

See them here. 

They are, of course, eyesores. They are also new, and kids across this disposable income fantasy land of ours will scoop them up to impress and irradiate their friends. Notre Dame’s offering, indeed, seems like a tribute to the principal by-product of tuberculosis.

And the fact that schools let themselves be whored out for a sporting fashion company’s quarterly report troubles nobody, because one hand washes the other, as long as none of the hands belong to athletes.

But this is ultimately why the Warriors’ uniforms were a bad idea. Not because they are inherently wrong (even though they are), or that they exploit the consumer (even though they do), but because they lead to these. Even if you like the Warriors’ duds, and you are certainly entitled to your world view on them, you must acknowledge that looking the other way on them opens the door for whatever the hell it is Notre Dame is thinking.

And I am not a uniform classicist, either. I didn’t mind the Astros’ rainbow kits in the ‘80s, or the Vancouver Canucks’ mustard Vs, or even the ophthalmologically inspired Maryland football uniforms of 2011. You knew what team you were watching, as grisly as that watching might be.

But adidas is going to ditch these uniforms when they start hitting the remainder bin, which tells us that these do not enhance the schools in any way. They’ll lurch back to some more traditional look in a couple of years when adidas decides this has run its course. It’s called moving product, and it is what it is – money chasing money.

Nevertheless, if the Warriors could have managed the gumption to say no when the adidas plan was presented to them, today’s photos could have been avoided. The Warrior brand didn’t need expanding; that’s what Curry going off in New York is for, after all. They could have saved Notre Dame, and our seared corneas, an awful lot of grief.

In sum, we’re blaming Warrior president Rick Welts, and owners Joe Lacob and Petey Guber, the Hyperactive Twins, for signing off on the prototype. It’s their fault, and adidas, for not seeing how even a potentially decent idea could go bad. For failing to take into account the First Law of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – “Every good idea becomes a bad idea when copied by the wrong hands.”

And that’s the lesson for today – that no idea, however intriguing, can’t be turned to glop at warp speed, thereby making the person having the idea culpable for all future ramifications.

Now Petey, Joey and Ricky, say you’re sorry for Notre Dame’s uniforms, and we’ll let it go. This time. But be more mindful in the future. You owe it to retinas as yet unborn.