[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]
By Phil Hecken
To the surprise of exactly no one, the LA Lakers introduced three “new” uniforms yesterday — more like hybrids or fauxbacks really — that evoke the great “Showtime”-era uniforms of days past. The leaks of prior days were legit, and, to paraphrase Dennis Green, they are what we thought they are.
While the jerseys, especially at first glance, appear to all be identical (save for color swaps), they are in fact, not quite. We’ll get to that in a second. Let’s first look at each jersey. Of course all of them carry special names coined by Nike, but we’ll simply be referring to them by color here.
The jersey combines elements of last year’s jersey (the wordmark) and blends it with the Showtime jersey (the arm and sleeve piping) and adds a new block shadow font effect (similar to the Magic Johnson-era unis), but rather than slanting at a right-center angle, the block shadow falls directly beneath the number.
You can see these two effects that Paul highlighted nicely below:
Comparison of Lakers' collars and armholes: Last season (left), this season (center), Showtime-era (right). pic.twitter.com/gYWGrIgSso
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) July 31, 2018
Comparison of Lakers' uniform numbers: last season (left), this season (center), and Showtime-era (right). pic.twitter.com/dwVQG5sWgJ
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) July 31, 2018
One other jersey fauxback effect is the elimination of the side panels, which were present on the 2017-18 jerseys, but not in the Showtime-era unis (again, Paul had this one tweeted):
Comparison of Lakers' side panels: last season (left), this season (center), and Showtime-era (right). pic.twitter.com/euhfHNvBCq
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) July 31, 2018
Note also the pants (only visible on the gold) have a new striping pattern from last season: the old purple/white/purple/white/purple has now become white/purple/gold/purple/gold/purple/white. One may infer the white pants will take on a similar pattern, with the gold and white swapping. The purple jersey (which we will see below) contains a side panel — one may also infer the pants striping pattern will follow this.
Also — the back of the jersey wasn’t shown in the pub photos, but if the on court version is the same as the retail jersey shown below, it appears as though the shoulder piping will go all around the arm holes. As you’ll recall, teams with sleeve striping had those had those stripes truncated in the back of the jersey. Perhaps Nike has “fixed” that for 2018-19.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 31, 2018
However, we were treated to some side views, and it looks like the arm hole striping will be truncated on the on-court jerseys. As you’ll see below with the purple jersey, it looks like the retail and on-court jerseys have a few differences.
The white jersey (and shorts) are basically identical to the gold, except for the color swap. Simply substitute gold accents/piping on the white jersey for the white accents/piping on the golds. Of course, there was no white uni set during the Showtime era, but this is a nice set.
Here, for reasons only Nike can probably explain, a black side panel has been added to the purple jersey. The Lakers Showtime unis had no side panel. That’s pretty much the only thing that sets the purple template apart from the gold and white (aside from the color swap, obviously).
The black stripe is an odd choice (though they did have the BFBS uni last year) and its incongruity with the gold and white jerseys doesn’t seem to make much sense. There were a billion reactions to this on SM yesterday, most of them negative.
One tweeter even noticed what appears to be a mistake (well, not so much a mistake as a difference between the retail jersey and the player version, though this is not a minor ‘error’):
@conradburry @UniWatch @jnavla @PhilHecken So believed after today, there wouldn’t be anymore mystery surrounding the lakers new jerseys but there is. The lakers presented two different versions of the new statement jerseys. Notice the trim order of the piping on the sides 🤔 pic.twitter.com/0zspr5PfNM
— Outis (@hundy10percent) July 31, 2018
Nike attempted to explain changes to the new jerseys in the graphic below. Note, they use the term “drop shadow” rather than “block shadow” (which is actually the correct term for the effect generated; the 49ers used this same misnomer when they unveiled their white 1994 throwbacks earlier this year). It’s really a vertical block shadow element.
The difference between block shadow and drop shadow is shown graphically below (a graphic created by our own Scott MX Turner). Drop shadow is meant to convey what is literally a shadow whereas block shadowing creates a 3-D effect, showing thickness and depth of a number or letter.
Based on the angle of the shadow, one could argue that what the Lakers are using is, in fact, a drop shadow; however, the fact that their Showtime unis were clearly block shadow leads me to believe the new ones are meant to be as well:
I’m pleased with the changes, although if they wanted to go back to the full Showtime look, or at least gone for a better effect, they should have made the blockshadow more angular (and a tad heavier/fatter). I do prefer the newer wordmark to the “classic” one, so I’m glad they kept that.
The Lakers, like the Celtics, will always have a classic light and dark set, and despite the minor tweaks over the years, retain a great overall appearance. It’s a good thing they’ve stuck with (basically) the same look for decades.
It’s Showtime again in LA. What say you, readers: How’d they do?
MLS All Star Game Tonight
For those of you (like me) who aren’t soccer guys, unless it’s the World Cup or Olympics, we love to have the soccer guys around to keep us apprised of the latest kits and unveilings. Well, tonight is the MLS All Star Game, and Kyle Evans is here to give a quick rundown on this year’s special ASG uniform. You may recall last year Kyle did a very detailed rundown of past ASGs and this is just a quick update for this year.
MLS 2018 ASG
By Kyle Evans
Thanks Phil! Happy to be back and add this year’s game (the 23rd edition) to its uniform history. The game will be played tonight in Atlanta, with the MLS All-Stars taking on Juventus in a friendly.
Here’s the ensemble that will be worn by the MLS All-Stars (click to enlarge):
Similar to this summer’s World Cup, Adidas draws inspiration from 90’s-era kits, as seen in the colored chevrons on the jersey sleeves and the shorts. The jersey is white with blue and red chevrons while the shorts are blue with white and red chevrons. The All-Star patch will be on the right sleeve and following the recent All-Star jerseys, I would expect each player’s club team to be represented with a patch on the left sleeve. Finally, the jock tag logo is meant to represent Atlanta’s history with transportation.
In their first two summer preseason matches, Juventus has worn their new primary kit, once with white shorts and once with black shorts. Due to the lack of contrast of the primary and their (not yet officially released) secondary kit with the MLS white jersey, I expect Juve’s new third kit to make its on-field debut. Fun fact: Juve’s third kit is made from plastic recovered from the ocean.
In my opinion this should be a nice game visually, and we’ll see for sure tonight…thoughts on these kits?
And now a few words from Paul: I know, I know, it’s the first day of my annual August break and I’m already making a cameo here on the site. But there are a couple of things I wanted to make sure you’re aware of:
• The Uni Watch alternate cap is now available for ordering. Full details here.
I think that’s it for now. Have a great August!
What Phil Did
Yesterday Last Weekend
I don’t get out much, so there probably won’t be
any more many of these this month, but taking a page from Paul’s book to tell you about what I did last weekend. It was actually a four-day (Thursday through Sunday) affair. I participated in my first Curling “bonspiel.”
Simply put, a bonspiel is a bunch of curling teams (called “rinks”) who play a tournament — each spiel has a theme (the one I was in was called the “Last Dance” and it was for curlers with 5 1/2 years or less of experience. I won’t bore you with any of the details, but suffice it to say several of the rinks had uniforms, and a couple had uniforms that coincided with the “dance” theme. My rink (I played vice) was the “Electric Sliders” and here’s how we looked:
Yes, I’m wearing shorts. I played my first game Thursday in shorts and we won (and I was pretty warm) so I kept the theme for our Friday match. We lost (which is why we’re not the happiest looking group of campers) and I was freezing. I played the remaining games in long pants and a turtleneck under the team shirts.
But here is the thing. Everyone went with a nickNOB. I don’t really have a nickname, so one of my teammates suggested I simply go with…
…just for shits and giggles. So I did.
But here’s the other thing: Before I even put on my team shirt, literally upon checking in at the club, not one but TWO people came up to me and said, “are you Phil with Uni Watch?” I was like, “uh, yeah.” Turns out both curlers are BIG fans of the site and they saw my name on the team list and knew I was on the way. With 31 other teams (so well over 100 curlers), at least two of the other players throughout the tournament came up and identified themselves as readers. With the nickNOB, maybe 20 or 30 more inquired about our little site. So that was kinda cool, and we had a shit-ton of uni-discussion throughout the four days I was there. Who knew there were so many readers amongst the curling set?
Anyway, that’s my little story and I thought it was kinda cool. Just one more reason to say… “Curling Rocks!”
By Paul, pinch-hitting for birthday boy Alex Hider
NFL News: The Panthers, to their credit, are among the handful of teams that always release their annual jersey schedule. Here it is for 2018. … 49ers WR Victor Bolden Jr.’s helmet is missing, apparently because a fan took it from a practice field.
College Football News: Colorado’s 2018 season tickets feature artwork from hospitalized children (from @7_8_9_Orten). … Gee, ya think Houston might have just a few too many helmets? (From Ignacio Salazar.) … Longtime reader/pal Michael Princip scored a 1939 Goldsmith football uniform catalog with this spectacular fold-out spread.
Hockey News: New uniforms for the Newfoundland Growlers (thanks, Phil). … NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis has a new Capitals-themed helmet (from Andrew Eierman). … New fifth-anniversary logo for the Indy Fuel (from David Craske). … The Golden Knights have sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Vegas gun shop that put the team’s logo on a fucking Glock (from John Muir). … In a vaguely related item, the NHL wants an Illinois company to stop selling beer mugs that look like the Stanley Cup. … The Bruins will retire Rick Middleton’s No. 16 on Nov. 29 (from our own Anthony Emerson, who also provided a list of all the Bruins who’ve worn No. 16 since Middleton retired in 1988).
Basketball News: And so it begins: The NBA is now the first major American sports league with an official betting/gaming partner. This is the special hell that now awaits us. … LeBron James approves of the Lakers’ new uniform set. … TCU’s court design is being refinished, which initially had people freaking out because it looked blue instead of purple (from Phil and Kris).
Soccer News: “Forest Green Rovers released their kits on Tuesday and actually committed to wearing them for two seasons,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “Usually if a team is keeping a kit for a second season, they won’t say anything and it’ll just show up again, or less frequently they’ll say, ‘We’re keeping it for this season.’ Also, the press release has this interesting line about the NOB: ‘A star is printed above the player name to signify the club’s promotion to the Football League in 2017, with two stars greyed-out to represent the chairman Dale Vince’s ambition to reach the Championship in the coming seasons [i.e., that requires two more promotions].’ They don’t have a picture of this, unfortunately.” … Also from Jamie: “Here’s the kit for the MLS team in the MLS Homegrown Game, which is the warmup for the All-Star Game. A ‘homegrown’ player basically means that they’re from a team’s area and spent at least one year playing for that team’s youth teams. The game is the MLS team against usually a Mexican team’s youth team, which this year is Tigres UANL’s under-20 team.”
Grab Bag: Cross-listed from the hockey section: NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis has a new Washington Capitals-themed helmet (from Andrew Eierman). … South Korean athletes participating in the Asian Games later this month will avoid wearing corporate makers’ marks on their uniforms, so as not to run afoul of sanctions against North Korea. … The Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections has changed male inmates from grey uniforms to bright orange. … Attention sneakerheads: Nick Santora has published the latest issue of his Classic Kicks digital magazine. “This issue is focused on vintage sneaker collecting,” he says. “I interviewed a great group of guys with some ridiculously rare pieces and interesting stories to go with them.” It’s available for $3.99 for desktop, iOS, and Android. … Here’s Deadspin’s take on the worst logos in sports (from our own Anthony Emerson). … New logo for the North Carolina Apple Festival. … The Mets lost to the Nationals 25-4 last night; it was so bad renowned mop-up man Jose Reyes came in to pitch, creating the single-digit pitcher alert (from mo mutterperl).