There are many reasons why a sports franchise may make a drastic uniform change. One reason might be to shake up a team mired in a losing culture. This is the tactic the New England Patriots took in 1993 when they went from Pat Patriot to the Flying Elvis. I’d say that worked out for the Patriot’s organization. With only five wins on the road during the 2010-2011 season, you would have a strong case for this being the reason why the Washington Wizards updated their uniforms. However, I maintain this change is because everyone has hated the teal uniforms since they were introduced in 1997.
Yesterday the Wizards unveiled next season’s redesigned uniforms. I certainly don’t have the first words on the subject — check out Trey Kirby’s post on TBJ, he wrote a lot of the things I was thinking of writing — but I may have some thoughts that have yet to be discussed elsewhere.
First and foremost — the move to red, white and blue is long overdue. How does a team playing in our nation’s capital not have this patriotic color scheme? This change unifies all of Washington’s major league team’s except for the Redskins, who still wear burgundy and gold. It’s a really neat idea and something only Pittsburgh does (Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates). No other city shares the same color scheme with all professional sports franchises.
I love the horizontal stripes. I know it’s been said in many other places but they are reminiscent of earlier Elvin Hayes era uniforms. The horizontal stripes have this endearing ABA feel to them, two retro thumbs way up. There is one thing I don’t like about the stripes and it’s super picky. On the back of jersey, why make the stripe notch out around the ball logo? They would look so much cleaner if the stripe went straight across. I told you it was picky.
A few other miscellaneous things I like:
• All lowercase lettering. If you would’ve told me beforehand that all of the lettering would be lowercase I’d expect not to like it. But it works. Again, it’s straight up Elvin Hayes style.
• The new dc hand unity logo is tremendous. Borrowing the outstretched hand from the Bullets is perfect. Even though I like the '87 and later hands better than the earlier version with individual fingers the uniform designer made the right call. You need two hands for the other version to work and “dc” only affords for one.
• The home whites are fantastic. I definitely prefer them to the road reds which might look better as road blues.
The font choice for the wordmarks are terrible. The serif-like font with the sharp angles — not a fan. Not at all. The numbers use the same serif typeface and are equally as bad. Which brings me to my next gripe, the Washington Monument “d”. In theory I love this idea. But the execution is lacking. It’s like they are only halfway committed to the monument being part of a letter. It’s pretty clear that the monument is supposed to be in the "wizards" wordmark but what about the "washington" one? Does the “h” have it or not?
The alternate logo — monument ball. By itself, I love it. Love it! But it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the jersey design. The ball is so modern looking and the rest of the jersey is not. It just doesn’t seem to fit. I want to like, really I do. It is so similar to what the Capitals are doing with their alternate logo. I’m quite fond of the idea of two teams that share the same building also share such similar logo cues. I’ll get over it.
One more small thing, the stars on the shorts. They are ok, but I’d rather have seen multiple stars like when Unseld wore the uniform. Smaller stripes down the side and more stars.
The updated wizard logo is horrendous. It’s so bad. Luckily, the team has done everything possibly to deemphasize this logo. Really, the only thing left to do is to get rid of it. And lucky for us, SB Nation’s Michael Katz suggests this logo and the Wizards name in general might not be long for this world.
So there you have it. My unnecessarily over the top analysis of the new Washington Wizard’s uniforms. I picked them apart but they definitely get the C&H stamp of approval. I can’t wait to read what the Godfather of uniform design has to say about it over at Uni Watch.