I wasn't thrilled with my TrailBlazers design -- my basic idea was to give the team a color scheme that I felt was more "Northwest" / "pioneer" / "pine tree-feeling" than their current black and red, while keeping a subtle remnant of the team's trademark diagonal stripe.
I suspected that if I got any recognition it would be not so much for the TrailBlazers but for the quick ideas I came up with for the opposition. And sure enough, when Paul posted his column on the contest (http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10151914/uni-watch-portland-trail-blazers-redesign-ideas), here's what he wrote about my entries...
4. Best Designs by the Guy Who Always Keeps Us Guessing: Every time we run one of these contests, reader Tom Bierbaum can be counted on for two things: a groovy little mascot character and some awesome uniforms for teams that have nothing to do with the contest at hand. His Blazers designs are interesting, but check out the opposing players -- those are some killer jersey concepts for the Raptors, Suns and Wizards:
And I, too, really like my designs for the Wizards, Raptors and Suns more than my TrailBlazers ideas.
The Wizards one is based on the great Baltimore Bullets uniforms of the late 1960s (the Wizards are the current day descendants of that Bullets team), and remembering that one Bullets logo gave the two L's little hands that were reaching for a little basketball, I decided to give the "d" in Wizards and hand that could wield a magic wand. And note the Bugs Bunny-esque mascot on the trunks, a rabbit wearing a magician's top hat.
My Raptors idea is based on a design brother Johnny came up with for a fictitious team we made up in childhood. We made up the Cincinnati Falcons, which he gave the Atlanta Falcons emblem boldly on the front of the jersey. He based the color scheme on a little basketball-playing figure from a game brother Bill got for Christmas probably in 1966 that had a black jersey and white trunks, and ever-handy Bill got out some yellow paint and put some great-looking trim on that uniform.
No special story behind the Suns design, just something that came to me as I was running out of free time to finish my designs, turning the "o" in Phoenix into a sun and having the uniform transition to a deeper orange the further you get from that sun. Paul Lukas is notoriously un-enthused about the color purple so I used dark blue in this design where the Suns traditional colors would have called for purple.
It's funny that as a fan, I have less interest in the NBA than most other team sports, but at the same time I feel like I'm coming up with most of my best designs for NBA teams. I think I'm so attached to the traditions of the other team sports like the NFL and Major League Baseball that it's tough to try too many really innovative ideas, but with the NBA teams I feel somewhat liberated by my lack of attachment to most of what they've worn in recent years. I've really had more luck designing when my emotional attachment to a team and its traditions is minimal.