NBA Begins Assault on the Layered Look
Whether someone in the Bay Area gave the Golden State Warriors an old DeLorean or a family scrapbook is up for debate, but their recent collaboration with Adidas isn't. They're going retro in a modern way.
It's the perfect franchise to do it. The Warriors have had an identity problem ever since they took their act to the East Bay. They couldn't have the coolness of San Francisco's image anymore. For some reason, they never wanted to be affiliated with Oakland. Why? Was it too black or something?
Instead, they went all-Cleaver family by pulling a sanitized name like 'Golden State' out of the air. Apart from most of the world never thinking of that as California's nickname -- and never, ever thinking of the Warriors as California's team -- the franchise continued to drift into geographical obscurity. They couldn't even buy a break when they tried to introduce a studly, eunoch-like logo; it showed up in the national consciousness about the same time BALCO did.
Maybe a light went on when the Warriors got the bright idea to revert to a bridge of their own and plant it on the jersey. Whatever. It's about the same time Adidas had seen an abundance of hoopsters in sleeves and undershirts and, perhaps taking a cue from the Dude's rug pulling a room together, decided it was time to offer Golden State a unified look.
So, on Fri 22 Feb, with the San Antonio Spurs -- who, ironically, regale themselves in silver and black -- on the docket, look for the Warriors to prance into competition adorned in body-hugging, space-age threads featuring short sleeves. And definitely look for similar garments to be prominently on display in the team store, online, and in Warrior outlets everywhere.
Let's be real. In this Golden Age of Sports Marketing, jerseys are designed for the fans and their credit cards. So many franchises have so many versions of attire -- and that's not even counting the Oregon Ducks -- that it's hard to tell your team without a scoreboard. The NBA needed to give their followers something more à propos than a tank top style only John Belushi could wear to a frat party. Sleeves were long overdue; sleeves that were attached to the torso. It definitely does bring the look together. Finally, fans can walk into a bar without appearing like they just cleaned out their clothes hamper.
This fashion wave has only begun to crest if Adidas has anything to say about it. Look for any team they outfit -- UCLA, Kansas, Michigan, and Louisville are given examples -- to be donning sleeves and high necklines very soon.
Now, how long will it be until long sleeves -- complete with trendy elbow pads -- make the hoop scene? All they need is an already popular accessory, the shooting sleeve, and a few stitches. Goalkeepers already wear them in soccer. What fan wouldn't want to wear one? They players will just need to model them. While they're playing, of course.
The Aussies were ahead of their time, as usual, when they went full-uni-Monty and kitted out their women's Olympic team in one-pieces for the Beijing Games. Would Adidas coax the likes of whichever team has Lauren Jackson on their roster to give them another go and push them onto the mass-merchandise shelves? Why not?
However, there are horses for courses. Just tell the average beer-and-pizza fan to leave that style on the rack.