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Exclusive: NBA Christmas Uni Update

Last month I reported that the NBA Christmas uniform program, which was suspended in 2017, would be returning in 2018. The same source who told me about that says that the NBA and Nike have made some changes on the fly.

Here’s what I originally reported:

As usual, there will be five Christmas Day games. All 10 teams will have new uniforms for the occasion. The home teams will only wear the Christmas uniform on Dec. 25; the five road teams will have an additional opportunity to wear their Christmas uni for one home game at a later date.

And here’s the updated info from my source:

Instead of the 10 teams who play on Christmas Day, it will now be the [previous season’s] 16 playoff teams that get the additional uniforms. They’ll debut, I believe, if the team plays on Dec. 25, but they will also be able to wear them whenever they want after that. I’ve seen 14 of the 16 jerseys — all except the Pacers and Jazz. Those two teams won’t be available at retail till February ’19 however.

I said to my source, “So it sounds like these will be more like additional alternate uniforms, not really Christmas uniforms,” and he said, “Correct.”

Man, never a dull moment in the NBA uni-verse, eh?

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

While we’ve seen many bank-sponsored ceramic NFL helmets, they have always had that same look with the metal facemask. This model for the Baltimore Colts is made of plastic and is and from a different maker. (A Broncos model in this same style is here.)

The back of the box has an illustration showing a kid putting his hard-earned allowance into the bank. He hasn’t yet learned that at that age, anything with an NFL logo usually compelled you to part with your money (at least in my case).

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Eagles fans, show your Super Bowl-winning spirit on your bike with one of these vintage NFL Team Bike Tags. This is for a set of three (in case you have three bikes!).

• This 1960s L.A. Lakers bobblehead is in absolutely perfect shape.

• This set of 1970s MLB mini-pennants is still in the package!

• This American League Caps N Bats kit is in perfect condition! The seller also has the National League, as well as a pair of NFL goalpost kits.

• This late-1970s/early-1980s Milwaukee Brewers glass with the great “ball in glove” logo was sponsored by WTMJ Channel 4.

• One more for the Brew Crew: this 1970s Barrel Man watch.

• Had one of these! “Today’s 1971 Cincinnati Reds” contained a team stamp set and fun facts about the team. I used to take the stamps and line them up on the table in their on-field positions. Notice that the one for the Reds had a different cover than the one for the Tigers. Separate artwork for the AL or NL.

• A couple of different 1970s light switch cover designs here, for the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs.

• This 1970s decanter of shaving lotion will have you smelling like, well, a Chicago Bear. The seller has several other teams to pick from. Does shaving lotion stay in good condition after all these years?

• Staying with Da Bears, here’s a 1988 poster of several Monsters of the Midway saying hello to a Minnesota Vikings quarterback.

And now a friendly programming note: For the next two Tuesdays — May 22 and May 29 — Collector’s Corner will appear on the Uni Watch Facebook page, instead of here on the blog. It will return to its usual spot on three weeks from today, June 5.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Purp Walk update: This Thursday, May 17, is this website’s 12th birthday. That means it will also be time for our annual Purple Amnesty Day celebration, when I grudgingly salute the world’s most accursed color.

As I mentioned yesterday, we’re going to be selling a purple cap this year. Designer Bryan Molloy and I were trying to decide whether we should include a sticker and/or a custom hang tag as part of the package. Then Bryan came up with a really good idea of doing a vinyl sticker that doubles as a hang tag. Dig (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

It’s hard to see there, but the purple part is the tag, and the white outline of the script is where you can peel the sticker.

Pretty cool, right? The cap will be $26.99, and we’re also offering the sticker by itself for $3.99 (just in case anyone wants to get in on the Purp Walk fun but isn’t into caps).

A few notes about the cap:

1. The cap is an unstructured purple snapback with white mesh, featuring the 2018 Purp Walk logo on the front. It’s made by Richardson. Here it is from a variety of angles:

2. When I say it’s unstructured, I mean it’s really unstructured — it’s very smushable, and it conforms pretty closely to the wearer’s head (in this case, Bryan’s):

3. Due to a miscommunication, the cap has a maker’s mark, which of course bugs me no end. The good news is that it’s on the snapback panel, not on the fabric of the cap itself, and it’s white-on-white, so it’s pretty easy to overlook.

That’s about it. The cap and sticker will go on sale tomorrow night at midnight Eastern (I’ll tweet the web listing link at that time, and will also post it here on the blog) and will be available for 24 hours — no more, no less.

Doubleplusthanks to Bryan for collaborating on another great project. Looking forward to this year’s Purp Walk!

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Cap update: Readers are already receiving their Uni Watch caps from Ebbets Field Flannels (I still don’t have mine yet!), and they look great. Check it out:

That last shot is of longtime reader John Kimmerlein, who snagged one of the last fitted caps before we sold out of all the fitted sizes. We still have several dozen of the adjustable caps, which have a very nice brown leather strap on the back. You can order yours here, and we’ll have the fitted sizes back in stock by the end of June.

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Membership update: I’ve always said that the worst jersey designs make the best membership cards. Case in point: William Beebe’s new card (shown at right), which is based on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s late-1990s storm-themed jersey.

Remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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Magazine reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, we’ve partnered with Blue Dolphin Magazines to offer the lowest available prices for a few dozen magazine titles, many of them sports-related.

Uni Watch will get a small commission for anything you subscribe to, so this is a nice way for you to save some money while also helping out Uni Watch (and supporting print journalism while you’re at it).

If there’s a magazine you’re interested in that isn’t shown on the ordering page, feel free to give me a shout and I’ll try to get it added.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Though the Phillies have abandoned 3D helmet logos on their red helmets, a few players still have raised logos on their blue helmets — but not everyone. … The Cubs and Braves played a Jackie Robinson Day makeup game yesterday, meaning all uniformed personnel wore No. 42. In addition, Will Lawson points out that this is the first time Braves starter Julio Teheran has worn grey in 2018 (from Brian Murphy and Jason Revzan). … Speaking of the Cubs, P Steve Cishek is the latest player to wear PF Flyer cleats on the field. He joins teammate Ben Zobrist, Reds 3B Alex Blandino and others in wearing the cleats (from Tyler and @IV159QZ). … Good catch by SD Hat Guy, who noticed that the “S” on the Padres’ throwback batting helmets completely overlaps the “D.” The letters should be interlocking. … The Double-A Portland Sea Dogs wore pink-sleeved faux vests on Sunday for Mother’s Day (from our own Anthony Emerson). … There will be a ton of creative promotional nights in minor league baseball this weekend. This blog previews 10 of them (from  Phil). … Players for the Woodberry Forest School in Virginia wear white striped stirrups over white sanis during home games (from Chris Holmes). 

NFL NewsThe Eli Manning memorabilia fraud trial, which also involved Giants equipment director Joe Skiba, has been settled. … We’ve all seen the iconic 1961 Life photo featuring all 14 starting QBs tossing a pigskin. Here’s a quick story about how it all came together (from Gregory A. Shemitz). … Good video explaining why former Steeler DL L.C. Greenwood began wearing his signature yellow cleats (from @TomlinReactions). … More on those Greenwood cleats: “They were technically a violation, and there was a fine every week,” says Jerry Wolper. “The Steelers were willing to pay the fines.” … Speaking of footwear, Complex put together a comprehensive list of all the cleats worn by Super Bowl MVPs from @GameplanChicago). … Not only does this photo feature former Dolphins QB Bob Griese wearing his thick-rimmed glasses, but check out his patchy helmet striping! Looks like they ran out of striping decals and had to piece something together with scraps (from Ed). … Jay Pritchard received this free calendar from his local DAV chapter which contains a very Cowboys-esque star. … Apparently, a recent visitor to a bathroom at the San Francisco Airport is not a fan of the Packers (from Matthew Wolfram).

College Football NewsPer Guy Haberman, Ryan Leaf used to wear an ABC College Football hat on the sidelines when his Washington State Cougars would play games on ABC. … North Texas will be playing on a new carpet next year with a new design (from ColorWerx).

Hockey News: A women’s rec league player recently breastfed her baby in the locker room between periods of a game while still in uniform below the waist. She shared the photo in the hopes of destigmatizing breastfeeding (from John Hamilton).

NBA News: Rockets G Gerald Green showed up to last night’s playoff game wearing a Houston Dynamo soccer jersey (from Ignacio Salazar). … An artist gave the Raptors’ old logo a redesign to make it more scientifically accurate. … If you have $400 laying around, you can now buy classic NBA jerseys without team names, nunbers or NOBs (from Will Ricks). … This is more than a week old, but Angel McCoughtry of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream appeared in a photo shoot with the logos on her sneakers covered up.

College Hoops NewsThis Kentucky blog ranked the 10 best Wildcat uniforms in program history (from Phil). … Speaking of Kentucky, it looks like the thin shoulder straps on the Wildcats jersey forced the graphics team to get creative when photoshopping a new recruit in a Kentucky jersey (from Michael Kinney).

Soccer News: Atlético Madrid’s 2018-19 home kit has leaked (from Josh Hinton). … An Arsenal fan showed up at a recent game with a No. 22 jersey with a “Merci Arséne” NOB. The jersey honors coach Arséne Wenger, who is set to retire after this season after 22 seasons (from Ramblin Culper). … Bugeaters FC of the UPSL tweeted some behind-the-scenes photos of how their new uniforms were made (from Douglas). … Roy of the Rovers is a British comic strip about a soccer star who plays for a team called the Melchester Rovers. Yesterday, the illustrators tweeted that the team’s badge will be getting a makeover (from Alex Evans). … Cross-listed from the NBA section: Houston Rockets G Gerald Green showed up to last night’s playoff game wearing a Houston Dynamo jersey (from Ignacio).

Grab BagThe Air Force is adopting a single combat uniform, which will use a camouflage pattern already used by the Army (from Phil). … Staying in the military, the Navy is updating its service dress white uniforms (from Chris Bisbee). … The New York Times recently published an in-depth piece about high-end sneaker shops (from Tom Turner). … Also from the Times, this column explores how the post-9/11 embrace of military symbolism, including jet flyovers and camouflage uniforms, has fueled political divisiveness in sports (from Ted Arnold). … Today in weird nicknames: Clayton Valley Charter High School (California) are known as the Eagles, but are sometimes referred to as the “Ugly Eagles” (from @pwillia). … The Toronto Tomahawks, who played in the National Lacrosse League in for a single season in 1974, had some pretty wild uniforms (from Will Scheibler). … Google Photos will soon be offering a colorization tool.

Comments (40)

    Cap arrived yesterday and it’s great. Very glad I got the 7 7/8 (instead of smaller) hat as it fits perfectly. Just have to shape the brim a bit.

    I received mine yesterday, but the 7 3/8 is too small. I’ll be exchanging for 7 1/2…

    Very disappointing, but as a rockets fan I’m glad were finally getting another throwback. The blacks unis are our best ones but they got old this year.

    Not a Rockets fan but remember watching the back to back championship years. I do not like the Rockets in black. Would be a fan of them returning to the red and yellow as primary. A good fix would be to bring this uniform back as a primary look and have a white version of it on hand as well:


    I’ve always associated the Hawks and red and yellow. I think red and gray/silver is a good look for the Rockets, especially since rockets are often metallic in color. Either way, no need for black, the Blazers and Bulls already own the red and black color combo in basketball.

    Boy, I know the eBay listing says “Vtg 1970’s”, but could that Barrel Man watch be more obviously NOT from the 70s? Some eBay sellers are just brazen.

    The watch is made by a company that launched in 2010. Might be seller brazenness, but it might also be seller ignorance. “1970s” appears to be sort of a general term for “looks old to me.” When I see “1970s” in an eBay listing, I assume it just means, “This thing looks sort of old to me, but I have no idea really.” I see the thing where people assume that stuff that looks old to them must be from the 1970s elsewhere, too, not just on eBay.

    RE: the iconic 1961 Time photo featuring all 14 starting QBs tossing a pigskin

    “OK guys, is it 1, 2 , 3, TOSS! Or do we toss on 3?”

    There have been a lot of stupid uniform things in recent years, but giving additional uniforms to the playoff teams from the year before has to be the worst.

    Especially when each NBA already has at least 4 uniforms.
    If it was as simple as only the playoff teams get to play on Christmas day (and/or Christmas eve), so they are the ones with Christmas uniforms, it would make a bit more sense, but this is just silly.

    I saw that Griese pic on facebook yesterday…. was just scrolling through and at even a cursory glance I thought “huh, they patched stripes together…” and kept scrolling. I may have a problem…

    We’re going to be inundated with uni-ads for sports books and casinos in the next couple of years, aren’t we.

    On the bright side, this hopefully spells the end of DraftKings and FanDuel.

    Well, some states will no doubt continue to ban sports gambling. My understanding is that the Supreme Court ruling allows individual states to allow gambling if they want to (as New Jersey did), but doesn’t automatically make it legal everywhere. Of course, I might have misunderstood. But if that’s the case, there would still be a market for people who live in a state where betting is outlawed but want to get around the regulations.

    Also, I would assume that there are plenty of people who still enjoy playing fantasy sports, and they wouldn’t all just switch over to betting on the outcomes of games.

    Correct, but if English Soccer shirts are any indication, the ads will be relentless.

    “Arséne Wenger, who is set to retire after this season”

    Wenger’s not retiring, he’s just leaving Arsenal. Has said he fully intends to manage somewhere else.

    Of course, if Philippe Halsman took that picture, he’d have all the quarterbacks jump!


    Interesting rendering of the Ugly Eagles mascot; it looks like it was based on two eagles standing beak-to-beak.

    “So I thought a large group of people would want NBA jerseys that are not graphic-based”

    So he picks four uniforms that had graphics embedded into the jerseys, and just strips the text from them, leaving the graphics themselves intact.


    Then again, this is the same guy who thought link was a good idea. (Which must work for some people… I can’t imagine who, though.)

    That Super Bowl MVP cleat article (4 years old) mentions Wilson cleats Swann wore. They more resemble shoes that were made by some Canadian company for a sport called “broomball” and were popular with some NFL players at the time. And those “Champion” cleats weren’t Champion. Notice in both cases a big C was painted on the tape. Likely the player had a deal with Champion but they didn’t make turf shoes at the time.

    They may resemble broomball shoes, but I am thinking from the view of the photo they are not. Not sure why a pro receiver would wear broomball shoes in a warm-weather game in the Super Bowl. They have a thicker sole, usually high top back then. They are used by players on icy fields for grip, as broomball is played on ice.

    How broomball shoes commonly looked in the 1970s:


    Worn extensively in 1984 Grey Cup on the frozen field in Edmonton:


    Sorry for the late response but those are in fact broom ball shoes made by a Canadian company called Acton. In fact the old astroturf surfaces when cold and rainy/snowy were probably very similar to actual ice.
    The shoes were made of white canvas with a black canvas strap on each side in the shape of an upside-down V.

    The purple hats are the ugliest things I’ve ever seen in my life. Just terrible hat design. Looks like a cheap hat you’d get at a street vender in NYC.

    Notice how the Winnipeg Jets continue to stink it up in home playoff ‘white-out’ games? The team in white certainly rolled again last night.

    This will assuredly result in NHL following the NBA in abandoning home team color designations, which will be sad. NHL has been great this year with just two sets of uniforms.

    You’re saying that one team’s white-out culture will “assuredly” lead the NHL to abandon its current uniform policy?

    The Jets are 5-3 at home thus far in the playoffs (while playing against some very good competition). Yeah, they’re really ‘stinking’ it up.

    The Cubs and Braves, two teams with timeless looks, looked so good yesterday with NNOB uniforms. A lot of people like the single-layer blue numbers that the Cubs had up until the ’90s, but I don’t mind the red border that much. And while the Braves have some of the least offensive NOBs in baseball (once vertically arched, still thin black that is unobtrusive next to their big bold red numbers), they still look better with just the number.

    When the Cubs wore all those throwbacks in 2014 I thought for sure they were auditioning them for a home alternate or fauxback. They really should do it. Bring back the ice-white 1940s home jerseys but maybe with the red-bordered numbers of today.

    Paul, regarding the UW Ebbets Field hat: I have previously purchased one of their hats and what held me back from purchasing this one (which looks awesome) is how it looks when it sits on one’s head, as you can see in the photo you posted of John wearing it. It has those little valleys on top when wearing it. Do you know why it looks like that? It doesn’t do that when it’s off the head. For whatever reason, that small detail bothers me. I guess that’s why I’m a long time UW reader….

    Just the old-school construction. Lots of caps used to look that way. I realize that not everyone likes it. That’s why our “alternate” cap, with the white front panel, will have a completely different profile, different fabric, etc. Trying to have something for everyone!

    Thanks for posting the pix of the Purp Walk cap. As the guy who suggested Purple Amnesty Day 8 years ago(!), I will definitely be looking to order a cap early Thursday morning. I’m mildly disappointed that the cap does not reference “P.A.D.,” but hey, it’s your site and your hat and you can call it what you want.

    That said, if you ever decide to phase out P.A.D. in favor of the Purp Walk, I will be looking to buy a t-shirt that reads “I Still Call It Purple Amnesty Day.”

    Ha! That shirt would indeed be funny….

    I actually thought quite a bit about this. At first we were just going to do the purple version of the winged stirrup, with no text at all. Then we decided to add text, and we decided it would be “Purp Walk.” But the hangtag/sticker still says, “Purple Amnesty Day”! So we’re trying to cover all the bases.

    My thanks, as always, Tim, for suggesting PAD those many years ago. Look what you started!

    Love the Life photo. I see that Fran Tarkenton, of the Minnesota Vikings, jersey numbers have two layer tackle twill. Chicago may as well. Makes me wonder who the first NFL team was that wore two layer tackle twill numbers?

Comments are closed.