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Best-Dressed Man on the Court: Rozier Goes Ad-Free

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Notice anything different about Hornets point guard Terry Rozier III’s jersey in last night’s game against the Cavs? His Lending Tree ad patch was missing!

As it turns out, Rozier’s ad patch was also AWOL the previous time the Hornets wore their primary teal uniforms. That was on Dec. 21, against the Jazz:

In between those two teal-uni dates, the Hornets played four games in three different uniforms. Rozier did have the ad patch for all of those (Dec. 22 vs. Celtics, grey alternate; Dec. 27 vs. Thunder, purple throwback; Dec. 29 vs. Grizzlies, purple throwback; and Dec. 31 vs. Celtics, purple alternate), so this missing ad patch appears to be limited to his teal primary jersey.

And what about the Hornets’ last teal-uni game prior to Dec. 21? That was on Dec. 18, and Rozier’s ad patch was present and accounted for that night.

So either Rozier’s ad patch somehow disappeared from his jersey after the Dec. 18 game or, more likely, he was issued a new, patch-free jersey for the Dec. 21 game and wore that jersey again last night. It’s odd that nobody noticed (or cared..?) about the missing patch in the interim, but let’s be thankful for small favors.

According to LockerVision, the next time the Hornets are scheduled to wear this uniform is next Monday, Jan. 6, against the Pacers. It’ll be interesting to see if Rozier is still ad-free.

Also: Tomorrow the Hornets are playing the Mavericks — currently the NBA’s only ad-free team. Unfortunately, the Hornets are scheduled to wear their grey alternates, so we won’t get to see ad-free Rozier guarding an ad-free Mavs player. Too bad.

(Big thanks to @Ace_Fuller for bringing Rozier’s missing patch to my attention.)

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Ironic tribute: Former NBA commish David Stern died on New Year’s Day. All NBA teams will honor with with a black memorial band on their jerseys for the balance of this season (although it wasn’t yet in place for last night’s games — maybe it’ll debut tonight).

Stern was a bit of a hero here at Uni Watch HQ, because he refused to allow NBA uniforms to carry a maker’s mark long after other leagues and sports had gone that route. He believed in the primacy of team brands and therefore thought his league’s uniforms should not be sullied by outside brand logos — the same position I’ve long advocated.

Stern’s successor, current commish Adam Silver, promptly reversed that policy when negotiating his first uniform deal for the league, and then went further by allowing ad patches to boot. So it’s ironic that Stern’s memorial band will share space on NBA jerseys with the Nike maker’s mark and an assortment of third-party ad logos — things that are antithetical to Stern’s own feelings about uniforms. R.I.P.

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Oopsie: Here’s one you may have missed during the frenzy of recent bowl games: Wyoming defensive back Alijah Halliburton had the school/state name misspelled on his jersey during the recent Arizona Bowl. (Or should that be Arizoma Bowl?)

(My thanks to John Ramey for this one.)

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Vicis crisis, continued: On Dec. 18, I wrote about how the helmet manufacturer Vicis, maker of the highly safety-rated Zero1 helmet, might be forced to shut down. In the two weeks since then, Vicis laid off 100 people and entered receivership.

And now, according to a paperwork filing, they are officially done. A message on the Vicis website says, “Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to attract the capital needed to sustain our operations. Today we are taking the responsible step to pursue a sale of the company.”

Too bad. It’ll be interesting to see if Riddell or Schutt swoops in to pick at the carcass.

(My thanks to Phil for letting me know about this one.)

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Yet another Teespring sale: From now through the end of Sunday, you can get 10% off of anything in the Uni Watch Shop (T-shirts, pins, cufflinks, mugs, stickers) or the Naming Wrongs Shop (“I Still Call It…”) by using the checkout code N3WY3AR.

This is a good deal for both of us, because Teespring is sponsoring the sale — so you’ll get a 10% discount but Uni Watch and our design partners will still make the same profit. A win-win!

My thanks, as always, for considering our products.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Matthew Emerson

Baseball News: This highly entertaining Twitter thread about the seven plate appearances in former Yankees P Mariano Rivera’s career shows Rivera wearing borrowed batting helmets of Jim Leyritz, Jorge Posada, and (oddly) fellow reliever Alfredo Aceves (from @ajs0889).

NFL News: We already knew the Rams would have new uniforms next season, but now they’ve made it official (from Chris Cruz). … Despite fan requests, the Broncos aren’t switching to their old “D” logo anytime soon (thanks, Phil). … After last week’s stunning loss to the lowly Dolphins, which cost the Patriots a first-round bye, Pats QB Tom Brady will wear “darker-colored” cleats for the Wild Card matchup against the Titans on Saturday because “the white ones didn’t make the cut.”

College Football News: Arizona State’s PBS affiliate asks, “Do uniforms play a role in college football recruiting?” (Thanks, Phil.) … As always check Josh Hinton’s @CFBowlWatch Twitter account for all the latest bowl uni and field news.

Hockey News: has a pretty good article about the work that the Stars’ and Predators’ equipment staffs had to do in preparation for the Winter Classic (from Curt Deppert).

Basketball News: The D League’s Windy City Bulls have revealed their Looney Tunes Night unis (from Steve Johnston). … Colorado will have some pretty beautiful throwbacks on tap for Jan. 12 (from Dre Alvarez). … Illinois and Michigan State went orange-vs-green in East Lansing last night (from multiple readers). … Arcola (Ill.) High has some nice throwbacks that will hit the floor tonight (from J.P. Young).

Soccer News: Inter Milan’s 2020-21 kits have leaked, revealing that the club is sticking with longtime shirt advertiser Pirelli, rather than following through with a rumored big-money move to Chinese company Evergrande. … Also from Josh Hinton: Wolves RW Adama Traoré wore a kit without the club’s advertisement during a match against Watford. … You can catch the rest of Josh’s daily download on his Twitter account. … Philadelphia Union’s new kits have been leaked by the FIFA video game (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: Reader Andy Wagner sends along this YouTube video counting down the “25 most embarrassing uniform errors in sports”. … QZ has an article about how Nike counterfeits get into the United States (from Jason Hillyer). … Our own Jamie Rathjen sends along a link to F1Colours, a recently relaunched site that will eventually become a repository of every livery in F1 history. … The logo of the newest PLL club, the Waterdogs, has been revealed (from Joel Layman). … The Mankato Civic Center has a new corporate name (from James Gilbert). … One of the teams competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona will be wearing these awesome jeans-and-plaid firesuits (from @waynetm41).

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Please join me in wishing the happiest of birthdays to our own L.I. Phil Hecken. Hope you have a great day, buddy!

In addition, Phil began grad school a few months ago to get a Masters in Library and Information Science, and he scored straight A’s in his first semester. So he deserves big congrats as well as birthday wishes! — Paul

Comments (61)

    Paul, you made an excellent point about Stern and how he was a champion of uniform “purity”, it was actually the first thing I thought of when I heard about his passing. Stern proved that you can grow a league’s exposure and market value without having to sell out to the Nikes and Adidases of the world. The man believed in the power and sanctity of a team’s image, in other words – he got it.

    In the best of interests of brand strength, why didn’t Stern allow teams put actual LOGOS on their uniforms? They were restricted to approved wordmarks and had to include player numbers. Why reduce each team’s branding to just colors and stripes?

    1) Actually, they were not restricted to wordmarks. Several NBA unis in the Stern era included logos/mascots, etc. Inaugural Raptors/Griz designs, e.g.

    2) To the extent that wordmarks were used more than logos, that was just longstanding convention (throughout the basketball world, not just the NBA), not a rule. Similar to baseball jerseys in that regard.

    3) Numbers on front and back have always been necessary for calling/tracking fouls, among other scorekeeping tasks.

    This is what happens when people get overly focused on the notion of “branding” instead of “design.” The idea here is to have a functional design, not just to sell a fantasy.

    I appreciate the clarification. It doesn’t erase my decades of disappointment with how boring (or ugly) most NBA uniforms were. Fast forward to the present day, when I can’t keep track of each team’s endless array of alternates.

    Which is why the world needs you, Paul!

    Happy birthday Phil!

    I like how those plaid/jean fire suits have flags in the belt buckle.

    I hope the Rams are just using some hyperbole in their announcement. Their brand only requires a few tweaks to be excellent. Recolor the existing logo royal blue and yellow. And recolor their existing non-throwback uniforms to royal and yellow, go with white pants instead of yellow for the white jerseys, make the helmet a dark blue rather than full navy blue so it is closer to the royal blue jersey. That is great look.

    Totally agree. This is just another Miami Dolphins situation. They’re going to do something not as good as the retro version everyone already likes and complaints will abound. No one seems to be clamoring for the Raiders or the Bears to ‘modernize’…

    I think the Rams are going more blue/white. They had that fan vote on the helmets when they first got back to LA, and the white horns won. And looking at the new website, the gold/yellow/whatever is there, but minimized.

    Both teams going into that new stadiums have variations on blue, yellow(gold) and white, so it’ll be interesting to see how each team moves to distinguish their colors on game day in the stadium.

    Well we all know the only real solution there, Spanos sells the team to someone who hasn’t burned bridge in SD, and the team moves back where they belong. The denials from the league, and Spanos, speak loudly, they know they screwed up letting the Charges move to LA, but in typical NFL fashion don’t want to admit to such a big blunder.
    Hopefully the Rams don’t go to blue/white, we talk about brands all the time, blue/white is the Colts brand. Blue and yellow is the Rams brand. Chargers should dump all navy (or reduce it to just an accent color), powder blue and yellow is their brand.

    The question of whether or not uniforms play a role in football recruiting is an interesting one. However, if you look at this list of the top schools in the current recruiting year:


    …it appears that if anything, recruits prefer the classic looks over the “modern ones”. By my count:

    – the top 11 schools all stick with a traditional look

    – really only one of the top 20 schools (Oregon) doesn’t basically have a variation of the same uniforms they’ve had for decades (or if they’ve modernized at some point, basically went back to a classic look)

    – of the top 30, really only Marlyand and Arizona State along with Oregon have gone with a more modern look

    So to the extent that recruits care about uniforms at all, it’s fair to say that at the end of the day, they either prefer the classic traditional looks or it’s not important at all to them.

    That’s an interesting analysis. Thanks! But to really draw any conclusions, we’d need to see the same data compared over time, looking for two axes of potential trends:

    1) Have the top recruiting schools over whatever time span become more or less modern/traditional or stayed the same?

    2) Have schools that have either adopted or maintained modern unis performed changed their recruiting rankings, either positively or negatively?

    Every school has significant analytical resources it could bring to bear (for free!) on these and other marketing questions; I’d be curious to see whether any major athletics program has actually asked its B-school or marketing program or even just its statistics faculty to perform any analysis on whether/how uniforms affect recruiting and/or retention.

    Yep, those are indeed good questions. One could probably assume that the uniform/recruiting link would be more relevant among the smaller/lesser known schools who need every advantage they can get. The Clemsons and Alabamas of the world are going to get top players no matter what they’re wearing.

    Of course, recruiting is a zero sum game (for every school that improves their overall recruiting, somebody else is going to lose ground) and it seems that so many smaller schools have gone to more modern/flashy looks that it may be a wash…

    I’d put A&M in the same category as Arizona and Maryland too. Those numbers are hideous and the shoulder stripes are out of place and I don’t know anyone who likes them except kids. Most alums want to look like they did when Coach Slocum was there.

    Yeah, I wasn’t sure how to categorize Texas A&M. I realize that they’ve made some tweaks to their previous look but it doesn’t quite strike me as a moderate look either. Kind of similar to my Tar Heels; the argyle trim is a recent and unique addition but not to the point where you’d describe UNC’s look as being “modern” or radically different from their traditional look. Of course, they did go “modern” a couple of years back but quickly returned to a more classic look. Same with Miami and probably some other schools I’m forgetting.

    From that, we could conclude that at least some schools that went modern didn’t see much benefit to it and decided that a traditional look actually carried more weight.

    “And what about the Hornets’ last teal-uni game prior to Dec. 22? That was on Dec. 21, valentines day gifts for her link and Rozier’s ad patch was present and accounted for that night.”

    Happy b-day, congrats on the academic excellence, and thanks for all you do to help make this little corner of the Internet such a special place, Mr. Hecken. Libraries (and librarians) rock!

    Happy Birthday, Phil! I hope you have a great day, and the next time you have more artwork for sale, let us know!

    Paul – The dates in the Rozier lede seem to be mixed up.

    “As it turns out, Rozier’s ad patch was also AWOL the previous time the Hornets wore their primary teal uniforms. That was on Dec. 21, against the Jazz:”

    “And what about the Hornets’ last teal-uni game prior to Dec. 22? That was on Dec. 21, and Rozier’s ad patch was present and accounted for that night.”

    And yet that beautiful White/White/Yellow Wyoming Uniform with Brown accents doesn’t make the 5/1 list.

    RE: Vicis, an interesting comment in a New York Times article back in December:


    The financial crisis at Vicis highlights one of the biggest challenges in football’s fight to make the game safer. Most brain scientists dismiss the idea that a new helmet can significantly reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries and long-term brain damage.


    Geekwire also reveals the investor list in link On the first page is the University of Washington who invested $230K.

    Finally, looks like Vicis got $1 Million in “Grant” funding on 12/19/19. Didn’t help.

    Would love to see the company’s original business plan prepared for potential investors. However without seeing this it’s difficult to imagine how this company planned to succeed.

    First they entered a relatively mature market that is already well or even over served by competitors. So to gain market share the company would need to take it away from a competitor. How they planned to do this with a product that was significantly more expensive than others is uncertain.

    Second their product’s competitive advantage is disputable or least uncertain enough it should have been flagged as a major risk item.
    How all this all translated into their pro forma financials is a mystery. Any investor doing meaningful do diligence would have walked any from this deal.

    RE: uniform errors (typos) video….

    I find the videos by TPS to be too plodding generally speaking. it shouldn’t take 14+ minutes to show me 25 jerseys.

    But the host is the most lifelike robot I’ve ever seen.

    New York Rangers are visiting the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night. Canucks wearing their black Flying Skate throwback uniforms to have it look like a rematch on the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.


    That is our difficult existence as Canucks fans. Commemorating as part of the 50th anniversary a Stanley Cup Final that the Canucks lost.

    Come down south and watch the Mariners in throwbacks….you’ll really get depressed.

    Happy birthday Phil! Thanks for all the hard work every weekend here and congrats on a job well done this semester!

    The faux-blue collar look is spreading to the NFL, here’s Seahawks GM John Schneider looking like he’s off to change Marshawn Lynch’s oil: link

    Another David Stern piece. He was a Rutgers grad and was the speaker at my graduation. In his speech he talked of being a corporate lawyer and being offered a job by a failing client that he liked, the NBA. He said you have to take chances. Paul, whenever you write of going freelance I think of that.

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