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Holiday Round Up

The holiday spirit is in the air, so we wanted to take a quick trip through the sports world to see who is dressing for holiday success, who is showing some spirited generosity, and maybe hand out an imaginary gift or two along the way. 

Much respect and appreciation to Russell Westbrook, who recently paid a hospital visit to one one of his biggest fans, a young man named Janneh who was injured by a
stray bullet in a shooting earlier this year. The incident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Westbrook stopped by to visit for about 30 minutes to help raise the young man's spirits. A shout out is also in order to the folks at NBA reddit, who helped to spread the story and raise money for Janneh and his family. You can read more about Janneh (and donate) here

Westbrook also made headlines for a large, unspecified donation to his alma mater, UCLA. Officials said it was the largest such gift ever given by a former basketball player to the university. For a man who plays with furious intensity on the basketball court, it's nice to see he has a soft spot, or at least a generous one. (Dude is like no percent body fat.)

New York Giants star Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. started out his football Sunday in the spirit of things with these snazzy Christmas sneaks, but turned into a Grinch pretty quickly when opposing defender Josh Norman of the Panthers seemed to take up residence in Beckham's head, and ODB responded with a vicious, suspension-worthy, head to head hit. Then again, when it comes to hits like that, 'tis definitely better to give than it is to receive. 

Reports later in the week suggested that some members of the Panthers team were intentionally trying to intimidate Beckham by swinging bats and looking at him before the game. Nevertheless, Beckham was the only player to be suspended. Barring appeals, he'll have Christmas week off, no doubt with dreams of a playoff spot dancing in his head. 

Also in the NFL, Titans Linebacker Brian Orakpo showed you can be festive and serious at the same time, managing to make an otherwise jolly suit seem downright...intimidating. That's talent right there. 

In the National Basketball Association, the Golden State Warriors are currently steamrolling through the league with a single loss to their names. What to get the team that has everything? The best Christmas gift they could receive would be a few more losses. I mean humility is a virtue, right?  That's one gift Lebron and Company will certainly be trying to deliver during the Cavaliers and Warriors showdown on the 25th. Until then, they'll be singing joyous carols like this one: 

Speaking of Mr. James, here he is with Special Olympic MVP Aaron Miller at the Cavaliers game in Boston earlier this month. Lebron made some time during the game
for the sixteen year old Celtics fan, then finished it off by handing over his game shoes to the young man. It's easy to be cynical about athletes' charitable photo opportunities, but it's not so easy to be cynical about the expression on Aaron Miller's face. Merry Christmas, indeed. 


More Like FUNdraising

When it comes to raising money for a good cause, a little creativity can go a long way. One fantastic tradition that got some attention this month is the Teddy Bear Toss. In Junior and Minor League Hockey Teams throughout North America, there is a holiday time tradition of fans tossing Teddy Bears onto the ice during games. It began with the Kamloop Blazers during the 1993-94 season, but the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League have become some of the most famous participants in recent years. Here's their record breaking at the time Teddy Bear Toss from 2013.

After the home team scores its first goal of the night, the bears are tossed into the rink and then collected by the team to be donated to hospitals and charities so that they can be given to children as Christmas presents. Here's the 2014 edition: 

And in 2015, The Hitmen once again broke their own record for most bears tossed on the ice during a game on December 6th, when fans got 28,825 of the toys out there. Here's the footage of that bear-storm. 

All in all, a pretty fun and creative way to add some excitement and fan participation into the schedule and do a good deed in the process. Let us know what you think about this tradition in the comments and remember, especially this time of year, 'tis better to give than it is to receive. 


They've Got Those Navy Blues

One of the oldest and greatest rivalries in sports, the annual Army/ Navy game is a highlight of each college football season. This year, the sailors at Navy have some pretty sweet uniforms lined up for the game. Although the whole uniform is eye catching, the real showstoppers of the ensemble are the helmets. Featuring photo realistic images of war ships As Jason Kirk at SB Nation reports, "Each specific ship corresponds to a set group of player positions, with a rationale for each (some better than others, sure)." 

When Quarterback Keenan Reynolds leads the Midshipmen against the Black Knights on December 12th, he'll be wearing headgear emblazoned with an Aircraft Carrier, the "QB of the Naval Fleet." Kickers and special teams players' helmets will feature Mine-
sweepers, and linemen will march into action with Amphibious Assault Ships adding an extra layer of protection to their skulls. Here's the full ship-to-position breakdown, from the press release:

• Linebacker: Cruiser- Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team 
• Defensive Back: Destroyer- Known for significant fire power, speed, and anti-missile defense as are Navy's defensive backs 
• Wide Receiver: Submarine- Predominantly utilized as blockers, wide receivers play a key role in driving the Navy rush attack, taking on a stealth-like persona as they blend into the rhythm of the offense but bring significant fire power when called upon, just like a Naval submarine 
• Lineman: Amphibious Assault Ships- Just as a lineman's job is the create a hole for a running back or linebacker, these ships are utilized to establish the "beach head" that enables the invading force to gain access and ultimately accomplish their objective 
• Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier- The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the "quick strike" weapon of the Naval fleet 
• Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship- Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters 
• Kicker/Special Teams: Minesweeper- Much like the specific task of the Navy special teams, this small ship has a unique mission of identifying and eliminating mines

That's not all, though. How 'bout them gloves? 

Ever since Admiral David Farragut proclaimed, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" during the Civil War's Battle of Mobile Bay, it has become a rallying cry for the Navy. Now the current players will get to pay tribute to that bit of history, and look pretty intimidating while they're at it. 

The Midshipmen bring a 13 game winning streak against the Black Knights into the showdown on Saturday. We'll have to see if they can make it 14 in a row. Football gloves crossed. 


You're Wearing THAT?

With the Golden State Warriors on a historic, record-setting pace and the Cleveland Cavaliers also off to a strong start, their showdown Christmas Day in Oakland promises to be one of the more high profile holiday NBA games in recent years. In addition to the rematch of last year's Finals, 8 other teams will be in action on December 25th, and they'll all be sporting special festive threads

Clinton Yates at the Washington Post spent some of his Thanksgiving holiday getting opinions on the NBA Christmas uniforms from his 15 year old sister, Asha, and 13 year old cousin, Kailani. As he put it: "Teenage girls rule the world when it comes to good taste, so I figured I should take advantage of the brain trust of said demographic to judge the NBA’s Christmas Day jerseys." The whole post is worth checking out. 

What do you think? 

Channel your inner teenage girl and weigh in on these unis in the poll on the top right hand side of the page. 


Into the Mystic...

Uni We Love: College Football's Texas Longhorns have some pretty iconic uniforms. In fact, around here at TSP we sometimes refer to the particular shade of orange they wear as "Texas Orange" or "Texas" for short. Last Saturday, in their 59-20 victory over Big 12 rival Kansas, they busted out an alternate football jersey we loved. The move was intended to honor former Longhorn safety Freddie Steinmark

Steinmark has quite the story. As Haisten Willis at Burnt Orange Nation tells us, "Steinmark was a star cornerback on the 1969 national championship team and appeared in the 'Game of the Century' against Arkansas with a hurt left leg. Tragically, cancer was discovered in that leg just days later and it was quickly amputated. In 1971 he succumbed to the disease, helping to inspire the National Cancer Act of 1971." In addition to the throwback uniforms, the Longhorns also named their scoreboard after Steinmark. A fitting tribute to a legendary player, some folks are already calling to instate the uniform year round, and we're inclined to agree. 

Reading Material:

Team of the Week: This week's Team of the Week is the 10 and 
under Weatherford Crossfire Softball team, seen here in our royal blue, graphite, and white Mystic Jerseys and matching royal blue pants. Both tops and bottoms are manufactured by Augusta, who take pride in their state of the art ability to match colors no matter the material or garment.These young sluggers play in Weatherford, Texas and we're proud to call them a TSP team. 


"WE" can do it.

Uni We Love: In a very promising season opener on Wednesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves welcomed number 1 overall pick Karl Anthony Towns to town with a 112-111 victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles. Towns posted a double double in his first game as a pro, and 5th year guard Ricky Rubio played the game of his life, finishing with 28 points and 14 assists. Before the game, the T-Wolves wore shooters honoring recently passed long time Minnesota Coach Flip Saunders. 
 A touching tribute to the man responsible for much of what modest success the Wolves have had
in Minnesota, the shooters feature "WE" in staggered letters over the center of the chest, and "Flip" in smaller letters over the heart. As John Krawcynski reports for ABC News, "The 'We over Me' concept is something Wolves GM Milt Newton and Saunders discussed starting last year and planned to instill as the mantra heading into the season. It was all about driving home to a young and impressionable core the importance of valuing team achievement over individual statistics."

Reading Material

Team of the Week: The Crusaders from Norfolk, Virginia, seen here in our navy Dynasty jerseys, are our Team of the Week. 
Coach Kelly Trower, who
sent us this sweet pic, said, "The players love the new uniforms and we've gotten a lot of compliments from the parents and from other teams as well.  The first tournament we wore them in we placed second, so we took that as a good sign." That's what we like to hear!


Loyal to Royal

Uni We Love: This week we want to highlight the two teams competing in baseball's World Series:
the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals. Paul Lukas points out that both teams not only wear Royal Blue, but the exact same shade: Pantone 288. Even still, depending on lighting, fabric, and pattern the colors may appear slightly different from each other. This is an issue we know all too well here at TSP. So who has the best claim on Royal Blue? The Mets use of the color is more prominent these days, but the Royals are well...the Royals, so they do have the upper hand in that regard. 

Reading Material: Brian Windhorst talks about some of the more difficult adjustments Lebron James is trying to make in preparation for his next title run. Gregg Easterbrook tries to get to the bottom of the Patriots' decade of NFL dominancePhiladelphia Magazine relives some of the Philly Phanatic's greatest moments in honor of his selection as Good Morning America's number one mascot in the MLB. And while we're on the subject of
mascots, how about Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr wearing real stirrups with his uniform? Old school is making a comeback, not only with throwback jersey styles but with knicker pants and stirrup socks too! 

Team of the Week: Our Team of the Week is 1 Ten Basketball from Fort Worth, Texas. These roundballers from the Lone Star State know how to look fierce and have fun in these eye-catching red Ultra Geo Basketball Jerseys

Patterns like the Ultra Geo have
grown in popularity in the wake of the explosion in camo patterns in recent years. Check out this close up of the Ultra Geo pattern to the right. Other patterns such as Static, Blend, Typography, and Plated have also seen a boost. We're seeing this trend not only in sublimated styles, but stock too, including unis, warm-ups, hoodies, tees, helmets, and catcher's gear. As we've learned over the years at TSP, styles and trends are a funny thing. What's new is endlessly recombined with what's old to create something fresh yet familiar. 


That Championship Season...

Uni We Love: In their 27-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers sported  alternate Navy and Yellow home jerseys. No stripes, no emblems, no problem. Just two blocks of vivid color, numbers, and names. Oh, and the best quarterback in the NFL. That always helps too. 

Reading Material: Paul Lukas looks
back on some of the crazy NBA uniforms of the '95-'96 season for ESPN. Jonathan Abrams writes for Grantland about the Rivers family and the Los Angeles Clippers. And the New York Times does an in-depth investigation into the background of daily fantasy sports competitions.

Team of the Week: Our Team of the Week is the recently crowned Florida District 2 Little League Champions, winners of the Senior Softball Sectionals. Here they are wearing our purple Russell Factor Jerseys with the glow of victory on their faces. You can check out some our other great fastpitch softball uniform styles here


Battle of the Generations

Uni We Love: Here at TSP we're
excited about the introduction this week of two exclusive new designs created by our awesome art team. The Elite Super Arrow and the Elite Semi Pro were created in part in response to feedback we've been receiving from customers looking for a look like some of the classic NBA uniforms from the past. 

This also got us talking about this question-posing graphic that's been making the rounds on the NBA-centric circles of the internet.

Opinions were mixed both around TSP HQ and the interwebs, with a clear bias toward the most recent teams. None of the other centers could match Shaq's sheer physicality on the 00's team, one argument goes. No one could compete with the long distance shooting of the 10's team, says another.

But the 80's team with Magic Johnson heading the point, Isaiah Thomas playing the off-ball smaller guard, Moses Malone and Kevin McHale kicking butt and taking names underneath, and the greatest Small Forward of all time, Mr. Larry Bird, doing a little bit of everything else, would, in this writer's opinion, ultimately take the day.

Reading Material: For some historical perspective on the mastermind of our greatest modern sports dynasty, check out Jordan Ritter Conn's investigation into Greg Poppovich's formative years.   
The class of the sports uniform blog game, Mr. Paul Lukas, has some, shall we say, unfiltered opinions on the Oregon Ducks latest "costume." And in honor of the MLB playoffs, a nice piece from Grant Brisbee at SB Nation on Met's pitcher Matt Harvey

Team of the Week: This week we're giving a shout out to Abilene, Texas' very own West Texas Impact '05 Fast Pitch Team. These girls were undefeated champs in their league last year, and here they are rocking some Augusta Performance Tees in Columbia Blue with their Hot Pink emblem. 
Notice how the tail becomes a cancer awareness ribbon. A nice personalized touch for our champions. Check out more of our custom softball uniforms here



Uni of the Week: We've been known to sell a camo item or two around here at Team Sports Planet. Within the past few years especially, from the softball diamond to the basketball court, camo patterns have added a welcome touch to many a team's look. What we've not seen before, however, is the camo trend pushed forward into the realm of formal wear. 
Mr. Cam Newton, having a pretty exceptional start to his season in leading the upstart Panthers to a 4-0 record, broke that barrier like he was busting into the end zone on a fourth and goal at the one yard line two weeks ago, showing up to the team facility in a camo-patterned blue blazer. 
While some on the internet were less than kind, we'd like to salute the boldness. And besides, it's nice to know he's staying humble and not wasting money on a professional stylist to tell him what to wear. You keep doing you, Cam. 

Reading Material: Matthew Shaer spins the tale of Adidas' attempts to topple Nike from the footwear throne for GQ. From the archives, check out Don Van Natta Jr.'s profile of Jerry Football. And this story from the New York Times about a suburban Missouri community cutting their football team begs the question: is this the beginning of a trend or merely an anomaly?

Team of the Week: Team Sports Planet Team of the Week award goes to the Rondout Rovers Soccer Team, based out of Kingston, New York. They play in the Rondout Soccer Club, which provides athletic opportunities for youngsters of all areas in Hudson Valley area. Here they are looking sharp in some our performance tees. You can check out some of our other soccer team uniforms here. We're saluting the Rovers this week!


The Future Aint What It Used to Be

Uni We Love:
In honor of the passing of Mr. Yogi Berra, we’re making the Yankee Pinstripes our uniform of the week.
Mr. Berra, known both for his prowess on the diamond and his way with words, was a towering figure not just in the world of sports but in the culture at large. 

Some of our favorite Yogi-isms: "The future aint what it used to be." 
"If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be." 
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." 
Yogi had a penchant for turns of phrase that seemed silly at first glance, but revealed some deep knowledge about the hidden nature of the world upon further reflection. We salute him.


Quick Hits

In this new semi-regular feature at SUS, the fun size entry to our regular king size column, we’ll run down a few items of note each week.

Uni We LoveThough our esteemed colleague Mr. Lukas at Uni-Watch had no love for the 49ers red on black look for their Monday Night Football late show showdown with the Vikings, we beg to differ. Sure maybe it is black for black's sake. And maybe the numbers are hard to read. But they looked fierce!
And they held the esteemed Mr. Peterson to a mere mortal rushing performance. As the old country song says, they "must be doing something right."  Who do you want on your side in the trenches? The purple and white or the red and black? I rest my case.


Logo Big or Go Home

We've got logos on the brain this week at SUS HQ. Over at Grantland, king of the basketball nerds Zach Lowe ranked all thirty NBA teams by their current primary insignia, with a few tangents on favorite secondary looks and blasts from the past.
And the work of graphic artist Mark Avery-Kenny, who mashes up popular professional sports logos with pop culture characters from Han Solo to Bart Simpson to Donkey Kong, came to our attention and reminded us about all the possibilities of what a logo can do, and just how evocative and allusive they can be. We're big fans of his work.
Like anything, what's popular and in style in logo land changes over the years.Take a look at this pair for Cincinnati based teams from the days before cable. The Royals, who would later become Sacramento's Kings, and the Red-legs, 
who would later become simply the Reds, both feature impish smiles plastered over the faces of game balls.These days, as Lowe points out, the default NBA logo is a basketball with the team name inside of it. Some take a straightforward approach. Other get busy with it.


Sleeves Are Falling

 Is that a slight chill in the air we feel? Is that the faint smell of leaves beginning to fall from the trees we smell? Are those incessant fantasy football strategy conversations we hear? 

The autumn is nearly upon us and that means football season is nigh. The collegians are already at it in earnest, and soon the professional gladiators of the grid iron will be too.  

Together they’ll be filling out our Saturday and Sunday viewing schedules with glorious combat.  So what will they be wearing into combat this year? We like to think we know a thing or two about football team uniforms here at S.U.S. Here are some of the things we're noticing.


They've Got the World on Their Shoulders

At press time, the Little League World Series was in high gear in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Eight United States teams and eight international teams began the double elimination tournament on August 21st, after being postponed one day by rain, and the local heroes hailing from Lewisberry, PA were still firmly in the mix heading into the semifinals on Saturday the 29th. 
Seen here celebrating one of their victories, Red Land Little League Baseball was considered by many to be the hometown favorites, playing just two hours north of their Harrisburg-area home base. 
Perhaps the pinnacle of all of youth sports, the LLWS is an annual tradition we cherish around here at Team Sports Planet. It helps us remember all the good things about youth sports and why we enjoy helping athletes from all over the world get what they need to compete.


Old School, New School, Too Cool for School

"I call this play the Hickory Dickory No-Shot-Clock."
Designing sports uniforms is a finesse game more akin to a feathery jumper from Jimmy Chitwood than a bruising tackle by Rudy Ruettiger. The ingredients are straightforward. We’d like to see the name of the team somewhere. And a number, also, to appease the referees and Cousin Joey in the cheap seats, is also standard.  And whatever beast of the eastern wild, be it mythical cartoon puma, jaguar, or wildcat, represents your team may also find it's place. (Scientists report ninety percent 
"I'm wild on the inside, baby."
of all team names come from the genus mascotus wildcatus.)

A player name, maybe? A post-game jersey emblazoned with any other name would no doubt smell as rancid. But since Joey learned to read last year, he does appreciate seeing the family moniker above those identifying digits. Beyond that, maybe a stripe here, some stars there. 
"This racing stripe here is pretty sharp."
But much like the culinary holy trinity of onions, garlic and olive oil, it’s all about the how. How you go about putting together a simple group of ingredients. The fashion-forward-thinking brain trust here at TSP HQ likes to stay ahead of the hot new thing in custom basketball uniformsSometimes, though, the hot new thing is...wait for it...

...the old thing.



 Here at Sports Uniform Stuff (SUS) we occasionally like to reach out to the coaching community and hear what’s on their minds.  This go ‘round we spoke to that rarest of breeds, High School Cross Country Coaches (HSXCC).

We asked them what was on their minds. What was bothering them. What differences there are in today’s high school cross country runners as compared to when they themselves competed. 

As you might have expected when asking long distance running coaches almost anything, we got a lot more than we bargained for.
However, since here at SUS, we can’t go on and on and on like they tend to do….

we just made ‘em up ourselves. So here are the top ten.


Pinstripes and Patriotism on 84th Street

Here at TSP HQ in the birthplace of America, Philadelphia, we’ve always appreciated the unique relationship between baseball and this great country of ours. Like warm apple pie and cold vanilla ice cream, acoustic guitars and sad songs about mama, few things go together in the summer time as well as baseball and America.

Unfortunately for us, our hometown Phillies haven’t exactly been lighting the National League on fire in the summer of 2015.  So we’ve been looking elsewhere for our baseball-inspired patriotism fix. Luckily for us, one of our very own Team Sports Planet-outfitted teams has got that covered and then some.

Based out of Byron Center, Michigan, and sponsored by the 84th Street Pub & Grille, each of the young players on the 84th Street Sliders baseball team has found a unique way of showing their pride and appreciation for the land they love. While Camo uniforms are all the rage in baseball these days, these jerseys represent something much more than band-wagon, trendy uniforms.

Seen here in our exclusive design-your-own Camo Rilla baseball jersey, featuring a pin stripe body and camo sleeves, the Sliders chose to go the extra mile to show off their pride in playing America’s pastime in the heartland of America.  They opted for player numbers with an American flag design and our red, white and blue Pro Trucker Hat that speaks for itself. But they didn’t stop there.

Each member of the team also honors a fallen soldier by wearing his or her name on the back of their jerseys in place of their own name.

Nick Fedwa, pictured above, chose to honor Petty Officer Third Class Walter Scot Blakey with his jersey. Blakey was killed while serving on the battleship USS Iowa in the North Atlantic near Puerto Rico in 1989.
Scot was killed when 550 pounds of gunpowder exploded inside of the number 2, 16 inch gun turret on the battleship USS Iowa in the North Atlantic near Puerto Rico on April 19, 1989Scot was killed when 550 pounds of gunpowder exploded inside of the number 2, 16 inch gun turret on the battleship USS Iowa in the North Atlantic near Puerto Rico on April 19, 1989Scot was killed when 550 pounds of gunpowder exploded inside of the number 2, 16 inch gun turret on the battleship USS Iowa in the North Atlantic near Puerto Rico on April 19, 1989Scot was killed when 550 pounds of gunpowder exploded inside of the number 2, 16 inch gun turret on the battleship USS Iowa in the North Atlantic near Puerto Rico on April 19, 1989Scot was killed when 550 pounds of gunpowder exploded inside of the number 2, 16 inch gun turret on the battleship USS Iowa in the North Atlantic near Puerto Rico on April 19, 1989

These patriotic sluggers recently finished another successful season, capturing championships in four tournaments: the All-American Slugfest, the Windmill Super Regional, the Backyard Blast, and the Battle for the Beach. 

For a little more information on how these folks are honoring America’s fallen heroes while scoring success on the baseball diamond, check out this video.

And to keep up with all things Sliders, be sure to like and follow their Facebook page HERE.

We’d like to salute their success on the field and even more importantly, their class in showing appreciation and respect for America’s heroes.