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Pat Patriot, Silver Wings and Monochrome White Sox

Discussing the Best and Worst of Sports Uniforms

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L.A. Clippers Re-Design
football
tombierbaum
Here are designs I came up with last June for a Uni Watch contest on ESPN.com to try to top the recent actual re-design of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. As usual, my schedule at that time was impossible, but I'd had a Clippers design in mind for a couple years, so felt like I had to find the time and make sure I tossed my idea into the Uni Watch mix...


And for you "Legion of Super-Heroes" fans out there, read on, ther's a Legion reference coming...

The design is based on one that came to me in about 1970 while I was shooting hoops with a brother. We'd created our own pretend basketball league and we'd make up our teams, uniforms and lineups and that's who we'd imagine ourselves to be as we were shooting around (we seldom had enough to even play three-on-three, so we mostly imagined ourselves to be on the same team). For some reason on this day, we were imaging outselves to be teams from the history of our league and I imagined a now-relocated team in our league that had once played in Seattle but predated the Sonics. I stole the name from the then-current local hockey team, the Seattle Totems. A uniform immediately formed in my mind, and other than a drawing of a Totem pole in place of the "Clipper" flags, this is basically the uniform that came to me almost instantly that day.

My first favorite basketball uniform was the mid 1960s 76ers uniform where they had a red jersey and blue trunks, so I've always been partial to the very rare basketball uniforms that had mixed jersey and trunk colors (ironically, that design element virtually disappeared from pro and major college basektball by the early 1970s [while the exact opposite happened in baseball, where I really dislike colored jerseys that don't match the pants, and those have become almost ubiquitous in baseball starting at about the same time it virtually disappeared from basketball]).

And to cover the promised Legion of Super-Heroes reference, here's the home design...

The opposing team in this shot is a design for the Utah Stars, a renaming of the Utah Jazz, restoring a team name that was used by the old defunct ABA franchise of the 1970s. It, of course, has never made sense for the NBA's Jazz to keep the team name after the franchise moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City, and when the "Stars" name came back to me, I immediately thought of Dave Cockrum's breakthrough design for Star Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, which immediately brought this design to mind. As soon as I successfully executed the concept, I felt confident I'd be chosen as one of the winners of the Uni Watch contest, and that's how it played out -- the Uni Watch columnist, Paul Lukas, listed me as one of the winners and specifically identified this Stars concept as the highlight of my entry.

He also like my typical cartoony mascot / logo...



My opposing team for the road-uniform Clippers is the return of the New Orleans Jazz. The general idea came to me as I was dozing and trying to decide what to do with the other opposing team, and I didn't quite execute it as well as it appears in my drowzy imagination, but it's certainly an interesting, colorful approach.

And here's what Paul Lukas wrote about my entry...

5. Best opponents' uniforms: Tom Bierbaum: Whenever we do these design challenges, reader Tom Bierbaum goes the extra mile by providing two or even three new uniform concepts -- one for the team under consideration and then one or two for the opposing teams in the illustrations he whips up. In this case, he's envisioned an alternate universe in which the Jazz's name is given back to New Orleans and Utah's NBA team is renamed as the Stars (hearkening back to the old Utah Stars of the ABA). His Clippers uni concepts are OK, but that Stars design -- wow! That's a keeper. And the Jazz design, while too fanciful for today's NBA, is a blast. As usual, Bierbaum also came up with a really fun mascot character, but his best work this time around was definitely the Stars design.