About the last place you’d expect to see a uni-borne tribute to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is at the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is currently underway in Melbourne. But sure enough, as you can see above, that’s a “3” patch on third-seeded Jessica Pegula’s skirt — the same patch that the Bills wore for their Week 18 win over the Patriots.
Why is Pegula wearing the patch? Because her parents are Terry and Kim Pegula — the Bills’ owners.
It seems pretty rare — if not unprecedented? — for an official patch from a team sport, like football, to make an appearance in an individual sport, like tennis. I can’t think of any other examples off the top of my head. Anyone..?
(Yes, I know there are a few pro golfers who wear the MLB logo, but no MLB team actually wears that patch. Similarly, some golfers have worn NFL apparel, but that’s not the same thing as wearing a uni element that the players actually wore on the field.)
Pegula has worn the patch for her first two matches in the tournament so far (both straight-set victories). After her first win, she also signed the camera lens with “Go Bills #3”:
Jessica Pegula showed her support for the Bills and Damar Hamlin all the way from Australia ❤️ 💙 pic.twitter.com/A7eifmGPGx
— espnW (@espnW) January 16, 2023
(Big thanks to Phil for making me aware of this storyline.)
I still think it’s weird to have a basketball player logo on football jerseys.
It wasn’t a patch, but Max Homa wore an actual Kobe jersey for a hole in the WM Open right Kobe died: link
Nick Kyrgios wore a Kobe Bryant jersey during warmups at the Australian Open in 2020 too.
But then again, I think she is the first pro tennis player whose parents own a pro sports team so she is already in a league of her own.
Carling Bassett was the 8th-ranked women’s singles player in 1985. Her father owned teams in the WHA, WFL, and USFL.
This letter is from John Bassett’s USFL days:
Thanks for the correction, Jerry! Very interesting precedent!