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Winderman: NBA alternate uniform craze out of control

Jan 27, 2012, 3:43 PM EDT

LeBron James, Kane Fitzgerald AP

Finally, we have found the saving grace of this lockout-shortened season: The ratio between uniform combinations and games is drawing closer to a one-to-one basis.

Even before the Memphis TAMs took the court against the L.A. Stars on TNT on Thursday night, we had entered a world where we were facing video-game-like choices when it came to team apparel.

Remember the phrase, “Wearing your team’s colors”?

Can anyone actually afford it anymore?

It was one thing when a team had an alternate uniform. Singular.

But take the Heat as an example. Over a three-game span last week they wore three different uniforms at home. On Tuesday night against the Spurs there was the traditional home white. On Thursday night against the Lakers there was the limited-edition black-on-black variety. And on Saturday against the 76ers there was the ABA-throwback, Will Ferrell-inspired Miami Floridians look (and no, Eddy Curry and Dexter Pittman, these stripes definitely were not slimming).

Granted, no one is forcing parents to parade into the team store and purchase each variety (the Heat now had five that have been utilized this season: the aforementioned three, the road blacks and the road reds), but those spoiled kids do have a way of pressing the issue.

Soon enough, teams also will be pushing All-Star Game jerseys. By season’s end, 2012 Olympic varieties most assuredly will be made available. That’s seven potential combinations that all can feature “Wade” on the back.

So what?

Here’s what:

One of the more enjoyable elements of attending a game is being in a team’s colors . . . Knicks blue, Bulls red, Celtics green. It becomes a communal experience.

Except when someone next you is wearing white, the guy is the next row is wearing red, the couple seated above are in two varieties of black, and those hideous Floridians stripes are flowing across the way.

You might as well be seated alongside a bunch of Nets, Timberwolves and Pistons fans. It’s as if everyone is wearing those old Houston Astros rainbow editions.

In the wake of the lockout, there is nothing uniform about this season.

Or about the uniforms.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. livingsacrifice86 - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    But if you’re at a Heat game, as an example, aren’t most ppl going to be cheering for them? Does it matter what color of shirt or jersey they wear?

    • makjak2 - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Right, and Miami fans don’t show up til 10 minutes into the first quarter anyway, I really doubt they’re worried about whether or not they have on the same jersey as everyone else.

  2. southbeachtalent - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Ira Winderbag…

  3. seannymo - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    the sports world is changing, and it has for been for a while. whether you like it or not these jerseys will sell and will sell a lot. i agree, in part, that teams shouldnt be wearing 5 different jerseys within 25% of the season but i think you overanalyze this a little to much with all your other comments. the camaraderie of being at a professional sporting event doesnt come from wearing the same colors it comes from cheering for the same players. what does it matter what they wear? wasn’t until the 90s when wearing sports apparel was popular anyway…im sure youd also prefer us all to wear suits to the games like people watching baseball in the 20s

  4. North American Bowl - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    The Clippers were never the Stars, if they go retro, it should in the form of the Buffalo Braves.

  5. 00maltliquor - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    I love it. Save the uniform uniforms for the playoffs, regular season rock what you wish! Best alternate jerseys goes to……the Heat. The all black ones. Those were unbelievably awesome. Worst goes to…the Heat, ironically. The ones in the picture above. Hideous.

  6. tomtravis76 - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    So, you’re saying you can only be a fan if you wear the team colors? If the shirt,jersey ,etc says something about the team, no matter what, its says fan. What is your stance on the womens pink jerseys or hats? This is not 1950’s college football with traditions. This is professional sports entertainment and anything to keep people talking about your team, ultimatley means dollars in the end.

  7. ihatetoneydouglas - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Doesn’t matter long as your team represents their jersey well.

  8. udub - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I cheer for my teams and the players wearing the uniforms…not the uniform itself.

    I could care less what they wear.

  9. bertilfox - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I hate some of these crappy unis. The Celtics have their current green and whites, home and away. They also have “throwback” Boston greens, green with gold and white trim and the hideous green with black trim. Please get rid of all of these abominations.

  10. rooney24 - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Do many people wear uniforms to the NBA games? I don’t make it to many NBA games, but I don’t recall seeing that many jerseys anyway, and most of those were on kids. I don’t think it is like the NFL, wear 50-75% of fans in the stands will at least be in team colors, and most of those in a jersey.

    • rooney24 - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Forgot to mention that I live in Minnesota, so that may explain fewer jerseys as well. If the team stinks, who buys a jersey?

    • brooklynbulls - Jan 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      I’ve always worn a Jordon or Rose jersey to the Bulls games @ MSG…… and I will on Feb 2nd! It’s more about supporting your team on the road now. I wouldnt wear it if I was visiting Chicago and caught a game at the UC.

  11. kyleortonsarm - Jan 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I hope to got I don’t have to see any of the old Nuggets throwbacks. Those were painful.

  12. asublimeday - Jan 28, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    Is anything about Miami sports genuine? It’s all gimmicky and money-hungry. I guess that’s what you do when you have a handful of genuine fans and the rest are barely band-wagoners.

    Oh, sorry. I must be wrong. My tv must’ve been broken when I heard/saw Dallas fans infesting your arena in the finals.

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