There are many benefits of being a Nike-affiliated school for athletics – the latest uniforms, sneakers, and promotion from one of the world’s most powerful companies would certainly apply. And there’s probably no better company for the latest trends and updated fashions. Just look at Oregon’s football team, which breaks out a new uniform every quarter at this point. And Nike has struck once more with its new line of Hyper Elite uniforms – one-time only platinum gray uniforms that each of Nike’s nine national championship-winning programs.
(Side note: how does Nike only have nine championship teams – seven on the mens’ side? There’s absolutely no way only seven of the 35 all-time men’s champions are Nike schools. In fact, I know that’s false because Oregon won in 1939, and as previously stated, Oregon changes uniforms more frequently than Dennis Rodman changes hair colors. I find it astonishing that Nike hasn’t used this as an opportunity for a uniform change, although for all I know they’ve been playing the entire season with body paint. Nobody cares about Pac-12 basketball. My CYO team could win a couple of games in that league. </rant>)
So naturally I was thrilled yesterday to see my alma mater, the Syracuse Orange, debut its new platinum gray uniforms. I really love the…
Wait. Hang on a second.
Orange? And Gray?
Orange? Gray? (Soldier? Spy?)
There is nothing even remotely gray about the Syracuse Orange. (Unless you count the city of Syracuse itself, in which everything is gray.) In fact, the only gray I want to see during a Syracuse game is a commercial for Liam Neeson’s new man-vs.-wolf extravaganza.
(Before anyone corrects me, I KNOW there’s an “e” in the movie name. Relax.)
In fact, the very first thing I think of when looking at gray uniforms is…it’s…no, I can’t say it…I really don’t want to admit this…OK, fine…Georgetown.
The Capulet to Syracuse’s Montague. The Boris Spassky to their Bobby Fischer. The Jif to their Skippy. (Skippy, obviously, is a much better brand of peanut butter)
I suppose the Orange is essentially being held ransom here, if Nike’s going to create uniforms for every other championship school. But Syracuse wearing a uniform whose primary color is gray is akin to the Giants wearing a purple uniform. (Although, when you combine blue and red…)
There have to be some good things about this uniform though, so let’s discover them:
– It says “CUSE” instead of “ORANGE.” So we know they weren’t designed by a color-blind person. This is good.
– There is still a lot of obvious orange, on the trim, socks, and sneakers. Which is good because, you know, Orange.
– There is a star on the back with the year “2003,” signifying the national championship. So any time a Syracuse player is boxing out a South Florida one, the Bulls player can stare at the star and realize how close they are to a national title. Which, admittedly, is about as close as I am.
– Speaking of South Florida, I should probably mention that Syracuse is only wearing this once, against South Florida on February 22nd. This is great for two reasons: these uniforms will disappear immediately, and nobody’s going to watch Syracuse/South Florida anyway.
I’d make a list of the negatives around these uniforms – but let’s be honest. There’s really just two things to seriously judge when it comes to a uniform – color and design. The design is decent. The color is awful. And there you have it.
One final note before we wrap this up: This is a thought about the new uniforms, as quoted from Sean Keeley’s excellent Syracuse University blog nunesmagician.com:
“The jerseys are 5% lighter than previous Nike Hyper Elite versions, the shorts feature laser perforations for breathability and the Nike Hyper Enforcer shoes offer a mixture of dependability and flexibility.”
Well then! I will begin to get excited about this just as soon as one person can tell me the last basketball game decided by lightness of uniforms. Get at me, folks.