On Tuesday, the California men's basketball team unveiled its new Jordan Brand uniform set, following the unveiling of the new unified brand identity for the athletic department, including new uniforms for football, women's basketball and volleyball.
So, let's break it down, CSD-style.
SO MANY COLORS!
First off, what wasn't shown in the release was the fact that the Bears will not only have the traditional blue away uniforms and white home duds, but also gold alternates and grey alternates. Here's hoping the new gray alternates don't wind up looking like the Jordan Brand Silver Anniversary uniforms that NIKE bestowed (read: forced) on Cal a few years back.
As far as color scheme goes, the gold-on-blue is a classic, but the gold-on-white is going to get pretty doggone tough to read.
One thing that these new uniforms bring into focus is that, from any distance, the new font is tough to make out, especially towards the end of CALIFORNIA. The letters seem to blend together. Maybe that's just lighting, but it shows how rough the font could look when put onto other uniforms. At least the formerly vertically-arched lettering provided some kerning relief, but because of the new usage guidelines for the "custom" font from the NIKE overlords, that's not going to happen.
So, on the Is it good or is it stupid? test, this one gets a resounding meh. There have been some absolutely glorious uniforms that utilized blue and gold pretty effectively, and some that were at the very least interesting, but they were all legible.
FINAL GRADE: C
WHO WANTS SOME CANDY?
Who remembers dot candy? Do I really need to go on?
This is a bumper sticker, plain and simple. While on the football uniforms, the side details work to add to the mascot motif, with something that actually resembles a bear claw, these side stripes are just superfluous. Even worse, they are continuations of a similar strip of sweet, sweet candy that runs from the underarm to the hip on the jersey tops. Then, once it reaches the top of the knee, it inexplicably tapers off, only to have it reappear on the other side of the blue piping. You know what would have looked better? Just the blue piping. If this is "Respecting the past," then I don't know what past they're looking at. And, if this is "Representing the future," I don't want to live in a future dominated by NIKE.
FINAL GRADE: F
THE BEAR DOWN THERE
There is one thing on the uniform shorts that is actually an upgrade over the previous set, which utilized a fat block C as the knee mark with a very conspicuous Jordan Jumpman brand mark. Now, we all know I'm pro-C, but adding the new bear mark looks surprisingly sharp, and it also drops the Jordan mark down to the side and out of the way, which is another plus. But, when you look closer at that lower-thigh, upper-knee area around the new bear mark, the reason that the dot matrix bumper sticker starts and stops becomes all too clear: It's to draw attention to logo creep.
It's tough to see on that previous link, but it appears that the bear logo is on both knees, which is a solid addition. The dot matrix look is a bit heavy-handed, but the bear mitigates that, at least a little bit, and it moves Mike down and out of the way.
FINAL GRADE: A+
The sublimated bear logo on the numbers for the football jerseys was cute, but this is straight-up badass, and I've confirmed with the team that the sublimated bear exists on all of the jerseys -- white, gray, blue and gold (sorry, no pics yet).
The only complaint I have here is that the face of the little fella is covered up by the numbers. Lindsay Gottlieb's squad got the much-anticipated sweatback jerseys, with Sather Gate in the background, tapering down to the lower back, but these I think fit the character of the men's team as much as the sweatbacks do the women's team. It's bold, it's big, it's fierce and it's larger than life. No tapering needed, no awkward cut-offs because of stretch panels.
The only drawback to this is that the letterforms for the names aren't outlined, which, with yellow letters on a white background, is very difficult to read. If the other jerseys follow the font guidelines, then there will be blue type on gold and blue on gray, which will provide plenty of contrast on their own. Yellow on white/gray is just a mess, and ruins what would have been a solid uniform feature.
FINAL GRADE: A-
OVERALL UNIFORM GRADE: B-
Bears Unveil New Duds
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