I’ve always been unusually obsessed w/sports uniforms. Throughout my so-called formative years, I could routinely be found doodling my fave players in their respective uniforms, with a scrivener’s obsession for getting all the details – the piping, the logo design – precisely right. This caused me no undue grief w/my teachers who seemed for some strange reason to think that the drawings of Richard Todd et al. splattered all over my notebook was an indication that I wasn’t paying attention in class. I just think it was an early incarnation of multi-tasking, if you will. Maybe it’s because the teams I pulled for ranged from the routinely awful to the tragically flawed (the early 80’s Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers), but sometimes the sartorial decisions were far more fascinating than the actual product on the field.
For example, when the ‘Bockers ditched their Reed-Fazier era digs for a “modern” design, I was positively floored. Having the team name underneath the uni number? That just seemed fundamentally wrong. Going from royal blue and orange to navy and maroon? Unthinkable! It’d be like waking up one morning to a purple sky.
Well, today Chris Creamer gave us mock ups of this season’s long rumored return to the “classic” ‘Bocker look. The illustrations below are taken from screenshots of NBA@k13 (which is apperently some kinda videya game thingy). Check ’em out. (Those are last year’s on top as a point of comparison. There aren’t four different sets for this season)
Interesting…let’s break down the changes one-by-one.
1. The black/orange side panels are gone and black has been completely removed from the team’s color palate. This is good. The black trim always seemd to be a pointless nod to the mid-90’s fad off adding black to every team’s uniforms (See: Mets, New York) whether it was historically accurate or worked in any basic compositional sense. The side panels (no matter what color) that extended down the shorts has also been a league wide, pointlessly stultifying trend. Nice to see the Knicks resist conformity here. The added bonus is that one will no longer confuse our guys with the Oklahoma City Thunder. (In terms of their garb — no one would confuse them in terms of their respective level of play.)
Verdict: VERY GOOD THING
2. Unfortunately, they’ve replaced black with a silver/gray, which can be seen in the shoulder piping on both unis. Ugh. There’s no need for a 4th color. Blue, White and Orange are certainly sufficient. You got rid of something stupid (the black) and replaced it with something slightly less stupid.
3. You’ll also note that “NEW YORK” is considerably less arched than it used to be. Once again, it’s change for change’s sake that doesn’t add anything to the overall design and actually takes away from whatever “classic” look they were trying to create.
4. Here’s my biggest problem with this design: The shoulder piping doesn’t go all the way around. We’ll have to see what this looks like on the court, but to me, it’s silly, like the collar pattern that the Charlotte Bobcats just ditched. Not to get repetitive, but it looks like some designer was trying to be clever/add a distinctive element and instead cobbled together something that’s going to be distracting more than anything else.
Verdict: RILLY DUMB
Overall, I still think this is an improvement, but as you can tell, there are a few elements that take away from the impact of the redesign. If you put you’re corporate CFO hat on for a set, it does make sense. By tweaking the “classic” look, it allows us fans to fork over fistfuls of dollars for shirts made for pennies by small children/the indigenous peoples of [free trade zone country X] and still have the privilege to cough up additional ducats for yet another overpriced garment if/when the Knicks have a “throwback” night. I realize the Knicks are a for-profit organization (even if spending by the parent company on the team amounts to 3% of their total budget), but golly, couldn’t they have make a decision that doesn’t just seek to bolster the bottom line and just brought back these?
Clean. Simple. Perfect. And nice beard, Clyde. Make the shorts a little a lot baggier to accommodate the current predilection for wearing freakin’ bloomers out there, though I for one, long for a return of the nut-huggers.
And you, fair Knickerbloggeristas? What say you of this momentus event?
[UPDATE: 2:00pm] Jonah Kaner over at The Knicks Wall (which has been doing some fantastic detective work sussing out all the rumored uni changes), has an image that includes the shorts. You’ll note that the logo has returned to the left leg and there’s now an orange/blue waistband (as opposed to the color of the waistband matching the home white/road blue). Nice old school touch, says I.
Verdict: A GOOD THING