Style Corner ’10-11: The Alternates
‘Sota fades to black; NOLA gets even more festive.
I actually had the full 30-team rundown of the NBA uniform changes laid out initially in August and fully edited by September, with tweaks made in early October — it was SLAMonline-ready. Paul (of UniWatch fame) was more timely and beat me (again) to getting his excellently detailed piece published, but all good things come in time. Between doing a mini-rundown with Buckets Magazine founder/editor-in-chief (and SLAMonline columnist) Brad Graham and re-directing my original analysis to a collaboration with The Score’s Megan Wilson (both forthcoming), I was feeling better about my unforeseen delay.
This time, though, I’ve decided to go solo, speed it up, and bring forth some heat that I actually found accidentally while I was on the Internet several weeks ago — new NBA alternate uniforms (!) from the New Orleans Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, I think fans of the team and of the Timberwolf look were expecting some green alternates to pop up in the future, when Minnesota was still using green on the side panels of the uniforms. Black seemed mundane and cliche and it was overdone a bit in the late ’90s and early 2000s; apparently, though, the TWolves went back to black and I can’t blame them. It’s a straight-forward look. It’s not revelatory or anything in its design and color implementation, but there’s nothing wrong with a great-looking black uniform.
(S. Dot Timeout: I do believe that in general, league teams have shied away from using the hue prevalently, largely because it was overdone, but as nebulous as it could sound, I also suspect that because of Commissioner David Stern’s great concern with the image of the League and how people perceive the NBA already being a predominantly African American league worked in preventing the color from coming up for a while as a major characteristic of various teams’ looks [think about it -- suiting "black" players in all black garb while hosting predominately Anglo American NBA fans in person? It seems to carry some weight, superficially -- at least to me -- considering some of the social feedback regarding "The Brawl," the reduction of bling and hip hop attire on the bench with the dress code, and the socio-ethnic dichotomies of America currently raging and in full effect, sadly (which surely affects the economics of the League) *shrugging shoulders*]. Regardless, the uniform looks really sharp and grey-silver with blue gives the jersey some nice edge and *pop* as well.)
The Hornets decided to add another uniform to their closest with a mustard yellow “NOLA” set. It’s fairly straight-forward as well and less busy and ornate, which automatically makes it more favorable than the Mardi Gras edition of the uni (which seems like a touching rendition of The Joker’s madness in sharply-lined performance micro-mesh). While I can appreciate the new addition, I don’t really care for it a great deal. Honestly, the threads are so saturated with gold and Creole blue (teal) that it seems to lack visual balance, as there’s no neutral hues (like white) to break up the richness; looking at this set is like biting into a decadent dessert cake that’s so sweet and rich, you need water — not milk — just to restore some semblance of order and culinary neutrality amidst the mild chaos splayed throughout your taste buds, and that’s sort of how I feel about this. The jerseys aren’t bad, but it’s still a bit much, but hey — I guess, that’s what the team was going for. After all, “Nawlins” is known for its vivaciousness (at least on a surface level). I actually would prefer the team to use a purple alternate, like from the old Charlotte days, but that’s me.
Be on the lookout for these to show up on television in the relatively near future this season — I know I will.
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast, whose work has been featured in Robert Atwan’s “America Now,” USA Today’s UWire, and Yahoo!’s Associated Content, and is a senior writer for Buckets magazine. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.