Josh Reis, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, prefers classic jerseys for postseason play but wouldn’t mind if these “radioactive uniforms” became the norm for special occasion games, such as a charity event. He figures it probably depends on the school — both its tradition and its team colors.
On Spring Break at the University of Florida, Reis could envision the Gators’ orange and blue getting the more extreme look, but said it doesn’t work for Notre Dame and it wouldn’t work for University of Pittsburgh, of which he is a fan.
Adidas said in a press release when the new uniforms were unveiled that a driving factor was “to make an impact on the court.” Notre Dame spokesman Chris Masters said the team was contractually obligated to wear the uniforms for one game and then could decide on a game-by-game basis whether to go with them again.
The Notre Dame women’s team wore the new jerseys during a quarterfinal win, but went back to their regular uniforms for the semifinals and championship. “I wasn’t (a fan),” guard Kayla McBride said.
In the superstitious world of sports, though, a conference winner, like Louisville, which goes into the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed, might not want to switch it up.
Welch said he doesn’t think this is the last of the experimental uniforms.
Patrick Robinson certainly hopes not. The former creative director of Gap is launching an activewear collection, and he says he appreciates what Adidas is trying to do. “It takes guts to make change. As a designer, I admire that Adidas is not being afraid, not testing it, not dipping the toe. They just went out there with this bold look,” Robinson said. “They changed the conversation.”
He said the players looked like avatars, and that’s got to look cool to the teenage boys who look up to them and will buy versions of their jerseys to wear when they next play on the neighborhood court or at the school gym.
“They looked masculine, and they looked tough. … This is about the Xbox generation, and I think Adidas is going to for the audience that gets this world.”
The consensus is that the University of Oregon football team and the funky Nike outfits it debuted last year paved the way for these uniforms. “Oregon became a powerhouse when it started innovating jerseys,” noted Halmos, “and Boise State has sort of done the same. I think a smaller, lesser known school can make this kind of statement and help define itself, just not a school with so much tradition.”
So, he added, if you’re LIU Brooklyn and this is the year that you’re the Cinderella team and have this one shot at introducing yourself to the national audience, give Adidas a call.
Adidas worked with the players and the athletic programs to create the clothes that aim to be super lightweight and allow for maximum movement and performance, the company said in a statement. Fan versions went on sale March 1.
oach Ben Howland said his players loved the uniforms and appreciated their lightness. He said Adidas has been “a great partner for UCLA. … So this is a marketing thing for them, and we’re happy to help them in any way we can.”
Just don’t expect to see UCLA players wearing them in the tournament that begins Thursday. The team is going back to its classic look, Howland said.
AP Sports Writers Mike Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Gier, John Marshall and Doug Feinberg contributed to this report.