Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber is a very successful man in a handful of realms throughout the entertainment business. As CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, Guber has produced or executive produced several memorable films from the past few decades. An American Werewolf in London, The Kids Are Alright, and Flashdance are all listed among the movies with Guber’s name in the credits. He even had a hand in the 1985 drama The Color Purple.
Guber must also have an affinity for the color yellow, evidenced by his approval of the new Warriors’ alternate uniforms, a borderline ridiculous outfit that Golden State will don on February 22 against the San Antonio Spurs. When the Dubs take the floor that night, they will become the first modern NBA team to do so donning threads with t-shirt length sleeves.
“I went ‘Wow!’” Guber told the San Jose Mercury News about the 2011 meeting in which Adidas pitched the new concept. “…[and] I think Adidas presenting it to us and giving us the option to be the first one to do this demonstrates our willingness to be inventive.”
Or, you know, maybe no one else wanted to do it.
Before I launch into my critique of the new jerseys, I’ll protect myself a bit. Perhaps these uniforms really will be a revelation. After all, we have no idea how players will perform in them, or even if they affect an athlete’s level of play. Technology and fashion both grow exponentially. Maybe these will be the norm in five years. It’s impossible to predict where the game is going to go. Adidas should know that better than any company. They’re the ones who never offered Michael Jordan a shoe contract, despite MJ’s desire to sign with them out of North Carolina.
But right now, the new alternates hardly make any sense. Why mess with success? Golden State only recently rid itself of one of the most gaudy uniforms in the league, opting for a much simpler and classier white, blue and gold ensemble. They look great, translate great on television and don’t look anything like any other uni in the league. Perfect.
These new alternate jerseys certainly are unique, but in the same way that Jerry Springer is unique. At least initially, the Tour de France look-a-likes are going to be laughed at, ridiculed and, most importantly, focused on more than the team itself. “The clothes don’t make the man”, right? Why would Guber–or whoever has his hands on the controls–want to draw attention away from the Warriors’ best start to a season in decades?
Guber might also want to thumb through a sports history book or two. If he did, he would learn that big leaps in uniform aesthetic rarely pay off. Baseball attempted to jump ahead of the curve several times in the 1970′s and ’80′s, with very little success. The Chicago White Sox softball-style jerseys remain the worst offender from that era, a navy blue cut-off reminder that some traditions are best left untouched . Football uniforms have largely remained the same since the late 1950′s. Aside from the lengthening of shorts, basketball has also stayed true to its classic look.
Until now, it appears. It’s too late to halt the assembly line at this point, with the jerseys a little more than a week away from debuting on the national stage. The reaction will be polarizing, but you can bet the sales will be swift, especially for female fans. And, unfortunately, that might be enough for Guber to keep rolling them out.
Sleeves over “The City”? Give me a break. Mr. Guber, the jerseys are not alright.
[Photo Courtesy of @WarriorsWorld and the San Jose Mercury News]