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Crazy KU basketball uniforms selling like hot cakes — even Mario Chalmers wants one

Cincinnati, on Wednesday, became the first team to wear adidas' new-look uniforms this postseason.

Cincinnati, on Wednesday, became the first team to wear adidas' new-look uniforms this postseason. by Matt Tait

The Cincinnati Bearcats officially broke them in for the rest of the world to see earlier Wednesday during their 61-44 victory over Providence in the Big East Tournament, and the expectation is that the Kansas University men's basketball team will do the same during its opening game of the Big 12 Championship on Thursday.

We're talking the uniforms that sent the college basketball world into a frenzy a few weeks ago, of course, as the odd and somewhat bold pattern dreamed up by the folks at adidas certainly has changed the way college basketball teams look on the floor.

As the top seed in this year's Big 12 tourney, the Jayhawks will wear the white version of the wild look. According to most — fans I spoke with, Twitter-dwellers and other writers — the white uniform is the less outlandish of the two, with the blue version bearing the brunt of most of the criticism.

While the initial fan reaction, at least according to Twitter, seemed to reveal that the new look was universally despised by KU fans, a couple of quick phone calls on Wednesday painted a much different picture.

First, I called Jock's Nitch in Downtown Lawrence to find out just how well the uniforms had been received by the public. What I was told surprised me. According to general manager, Ryan Owens, the store sold out of all of its shorts — both white and blue — and even sold more than a few of the jerseys.

Wait. There's more. Somewhere around 15-20 folks even put their name down to snag dibs on the first batch of shorts in Owens' second order. One of them was someone many of you might know — Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers, through Twitter, asked Owens to hold a pair of the white shorts for him.

Overall, Owens said he believed the younger generation liked the look a lot more than most, but also said that he was surprised by the reaction to the blue uniform when people saw it in the store.

“They're different, there's no doubt about that,” he said. “It's definitely something out of the box. But when people get into the store, they actually wind up liking the blue more.”

Rather than stopping there, I thought I'd make a quick call to KU, too, to find out how the new duds had been received on campus. It turns out the reaction was nearly the same. The KU Store, which is connected to Allen Fieldhouse, sold through all of its shorts, both colors, and has made a dent in the re-order, as well. KU Store also sold most of its youth jerseys in both blue and white.

According to the people at adidas, the motivation behind unveiling the wild look was to shake things up during the most fun time of year for college basketball.

After dabbling with something different during last year's postseason with the fluorescent colors worn by schools like Baylor and Louisville, adidas simply wanted to be make another splash in the market and show off something fun on a huge stage.

One person I talked to at KU said they had heard that this specific style of uniform had been selling like crazy across the country, too, with Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Baylor, UCLA and Louisville — all adidas schools — joining the Jayhawks in wearing the wild look this postseason.

Here's the original promotional photo that was sent out a couple of weeks ago that shows all of the teams expected to wear the new uniforms this postseason.

Here's the original promotional photo that was sent out a couple of weeks ago that shows all of the teams expected to wear the new uniforms this postseason. by Matt Tait

The whole thing is part of a huge marketing campaign by adidas, complete with mannequins in the windows of Dick's Sporting Goods stores as well as spreads in the East Bay retail magazine as well as Slam Magazine.

KU coach Bill Self said the Jayhawks' plans were to wear them for one game and that he didn't think it would go beyond that. He did leave the door open for an encore performance, though, by saying that it depended on how well they played in them.

It did seem pretty certain that KU would not be wearing them in the NCAA Tournament.

KU will open postseason play tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo., against the winner of tonight's West Virginia-Texas Tech game.

Comments

Foster Coburn 1 year, 8 months ago

I have written an e-mail to Dr. Zenger begging the university to not embarrass our storied tradition by wearing these clown suits in ANY game. Of course Adidas has only one motivation and that is to sell more stuff. I personally will never buy another item of any kind made by Adidas or bearing their logo. I realize that could severely diminish by ability to support the KU teams. The stupid all-blue uniforms worn at West Virginia were not even remotely functional given that it was impossible to read the names/numbers of the players. Similar neon banana uniforms worn by Michigan were just as non-functional. I wish more fans would stand up to these Adidas stunts and simply boycott their products. That is the only way to send them a clear message.

mattiesdad 1 year, 8 months ago

They look like horrible pajamas. One and done is a blessing in this case.

Tim Marshall 1 year, 8 months ago

I think this is a bit dramatic, especially considering that a year from now nobody will even remember or care about the one game where we wore ugly camo jerseys.

Steve Gantz 1 year, 8 months ago

Really? People still remember when they wore red against Duke in '86 in the final four.

James Kiernan 1 year, 8 months ago

I wrote a similar email to Dr. Zenger stating my opinion about the Adidas brand and this was what finanlly did it for me. Coach Self's office received an email as well.

Joshua Hann 1 year, 8 months ago

I find it comical that you didn't like the all-blue uni's because you couldn't read the names or numbers of the players......do you not know who the players are on your favorite team by looking at them?

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 8 months ago

Ummmm, I don't understand the point of your quesiton. There are PLENTY OF PEOPLE watching that game who may NOT be fans of Kansas or not an avid fan but would still want to know who the player with the ball was.

Maggie Morrissey 1 year, 8 months ago

Perhaps it was in referance to the OTHER teams???...correct me if I'm wrong but when has KU EVER worn "neon banana yellow"? Is it your opinion every person should know every player in the NCAA??? Your comment came off as "tacky" as the uniforms!

Sam Constance 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm not wild about them either, but jeezus man. Isn't there something more pressing worth writing a message to our AD than something silly like a one-time, promotional uniform style?

Especially in light of the fact that they actually seem to be pretty popular (for some reason). It's entirely possible that these will help in recruiting.

PegLegg 1 year, 8 months ago

Thank you. Everyone needs to chillax.

RockChalk0808 1 year, 8 months ago

Wow, talk about an overreaction. When I saw the original picture on twitter I was not a fan, but after seeing them in action, I actually like them. It seems like they toned the blue ones down. I'm actually considering ordering a pair. They are back-ordered, by the way. Could you really not make out the numbers or names on the all blue ones? Are you still watching one of those box TVs with rabbit ears or is it just time for an optometrist's appointment? Anyway, have fun with your lonely boycott. Dr. Z and HCBS are laughing all the way to the bank.

Kyle Crenshaw 1 year, 8 months ago

Dude I think you care just a little too much...boycott an entire company just bc you don't like the uniform designs? Get over it. Adidas is the ones writing the checks to KU.

Foster Coburn 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes, I care to see my alma mater represented in an appropriate manner. Wearing a uniform that brings laughter to our rivals is a problem and it is only going to get worse if the fans don't speak loudly with their wallets.

BallerBlocker 1 year, 8 months ago

Why would you care what a rival thinks- not to mention we're wearing the white version tomorrow.... If we switch to nike we'll wear the same type of uniforms that are meant to shake up the norm and boost sales, i.e. skintight jerseys with graphics down the side (k-state, duke, mich. st., texas, the list goes on)

2008KUGrad 1 year, 8 months ago

It only brings laughter to our rivals, because they're jealous their sponsors didn't ask them to sport a new & flashy uniform.

2008KUGrad 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes, these uniforms are for the sole purpose of Adidas making more money. However, the players & recruits like these kind of things. As long as they're crimson & blue & they say "KANSAS" across the chest, they should be okay with Jayhawk Nation. I agree, they're pretty ugly & have somewhat of a tiger stripe look to them, but, they guys may be wearing them for only one game. The white uniforms, which are the ones the guys will be wearing, aren't as attention grabbing as the blues. Rock Chalk! Let's win this tournament!

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 8 months ago

Yeah, I think I saw the white and actually liked it.

Jason Sinclair 1 year, 8 months ago

I think the problem is the combination with the jerseys looks stupid. But, the shorts themselves, are pretty cool looking. I hated the initial images when they were released - like the one in this article - but I saw them yesterday in a store and was quite shocked at how much I liked the shorts.

Scott Smetana 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm pretty sure not that many people buy hot cakes anymore. Maybe a couple dozen, probably about how many uni's have been sold. By the way, what's a hot cake?

Jason Sinclair 1 year, 8 months ago

Pikes, ever eat out for breakfast? I think there are more than a couple dozen people who eat pancakes.

Kye Clark 1 year, 8 months ago

More than a few people bought pet rocks once upon a time. Doesn't make it a good idea.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 8 months ago

Not a virtual LOL, a real, honest to goodness LOL!!!

Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

My pet rock has outlived three dogs so far...

Kye Clark 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes it was. Just like these unis are a good idea for Adidas. Don't think they're a good idea for the 'hawks tho.

I feel like I'm about to digress into an "Office Space" scene

Michael Bolton: "you think the pet rock is a great idea?" Tom "sure it was. The guy made a million dollars!"

Colby Hebert 1 year, 8 months ago

It is just a jersey they are wearing one game. The white ones are interesting I think. .

I liked the blue ones we wore earlier this year. If the numbers had been in the crimson-ish shade and you could see them, they would have looked like super heroes out there.

If we are an adidas school and we get this kind of attention for adidas and all the other adidas schools, how is that bad?

Maybe the uniqueness of the jerseys connect with someone who you may not have otherwise got caught up in and assimilated into Kansas basketball, what is the harm in that?

I do not understand the tradition or purist angle either. Did you see the shorts they used to play in? Dunks were illegal for a time. No 3 point line. I mean the list goes on. It used to literally be a basket, hence basketball. Some guy had to get it out!

I think college basketball will survive and continue on if they wear those white ones, one time, in the Big 12 tournament.

Joseph Bullock 1 year, 8 months ago

that's why you didn't get 1st prize! LOLLLLLLL just messin with you!

Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

If the recruits like them, I like them. First and foremost KU is a business, also a school but their main goal is to make money. So if you hate them, o well. I hate them but it seems that they are selling which means more cash. And that is never a bad thing (unless it is illegal).

Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

I personally think the University falls under the umbrella. Without money there is no school, no teachers and no students. They are business invested in Education.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 8 months ago

I tend to agree with that. And usually I do like alternates, even some of the crazy stuff Nike puts on Oregon. And I really don't hate the white ones. But those blue shorts are just hideous! I know it's just an opinion, and everybody has one, but I just can't stand them!

Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

They are horrible, but well look at NBA players. Ugly is in.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't think it's fair that the Louisville road ones have two shades of red for the shorts whereas the UCLA & Kansas shorts are white on blue. How about two shades of blue? I could deal with that better.

Sam Constance 1 year, 8 months ago

You're all wrong.

Yes, KU is a business. And a school. They are in the business of selling education.

KUAC, the entity that oversees KU basketball and has the authority to make decisions about sponsorship partners and promo uniforms, is also a business. However, it has nothing to do with the University of Kansas proper, the educational institution. KUAC is a completely independent corporation and money generated by it has nothing to do with the funding for the education side of the University of Kansas, except for the fact that having successful sports increases the likelihood that alums will donate money to the school.

So I agree that the decisions about the uniforms and other things related to sports should involve some consideration of bottom line. But let's not act like the money KU basketball makes has any direct connection to the university.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 8 months ago

Expands the brand name which helps bring in people

Sam Constance 1 year, 8 months ago

It certainly does. That's really the main relationship between KU the university and KUAC--the overall brand that helps entice people to come to KU and/or give money to KU.

Robert Brock 1 year, 8 months ago

Next year, adidas is promoting KU shorts with pictures of little whales on them. Should sell like hot cakes.

Kristopher Marshall 1 year, 8 months ago

Uh, after his visit a fews back, I don't think I'll be taking any fashion tips from Mr. Chalmers.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 8 months ago

At least he's not sporting looks like Russell Westbrook! :)

DanR 1 year, 8 months ago

If I see anyone other than a homeless person wearing those blue shorts around town I will point and laugh.

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

You won't see any homeless people wearing those uniforms. They have more self-esteem than that.

Jeff Soisson 1 year, 8 months ago

KU has the best uniforms already, let the others be trendy, I want everyone to know the KU uniform and remember all those KU losses. So next time you see it, you know what is coming!

Barf! Jams shorts are back! An 80's summer fashion must have!

Steven Mathew 1 year, 8 months ago

I play at the rec center a lot here at KU. I've seen people wear these shorts, both the white and blue shorts. Believe it or not, they don't look that bad to me.

arch007bak 1 year, 8 months ago

Norte Dame is wearing their home version now on ESPN2. In my mind I keep hearing 70's porn music playing for some reason.

Steve Corder 1 year, 8 months ago

Great look for girls. Love the lime green for the girls at Notre Dame!

canuckhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I keep having flashes of "Nobody Buy The Blue Ones!!!" from Homestar Runner.

Its at about 30 seconds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL_FNI...

Note2Self 1 year, 8 months ago

The White Ones are pretty ninja. We better not lose in these, or we might drop down to the four line and have our masculinity questioned nationally.

That is all.

Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 8 months ago

Anybody remember Rex Kwando? He would wear these.

diegohawk 1 year, 8 months ago

"do you think anyone wants a round house kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys"

Michael Leiker 1 year, 8 months ago

No more Adidas purchases for me. Shoes, etc. These unis do not represent in any way how I view my Alma Mater

jaybate 1 year, 8 months ago

"jaybate's Sports Bottom Line: Uniforms Hypothesis "

Europe reputedly is adidas core market.

EU reputedly is in depression.

Adidas revenues reputedly significantly down in Europe.

Adidas might need to spike USA revenues to off set European revenue declines.

Reputed Euro currency crisis might compound adidas' problem by spiking currency and financial risk and threatening stock price.

NeoCon German Chancellor Angela Merkel reputedly threatening to issue Reich Marks to manage Euro currency crisis.

Huge currency risk increase and revenue decline might drag stock price down and make Adidas a vulnerable take over target.

Black Rock, reputedly the biggest, baddest capital manager (think T. Boone Pickens on untraceable Federal Reserve bailout money steroids) reputedly has big and rising stake in Adidas.

Adidas might need to spike revenues fast to avoid financial regime change.

Uniform and marketing blitz in USA might be aimed to spike revenues and keep current adidas management in control.

Management might be hoping to throw enough different kinds of uniform ensembles against the wall in order to find one or more that stick.

D1 programs like KU, etc., might go along with adidas marketing blitz to try to be "good teammates" of Adidas.

(Note: the above is only a hypothesis suggested to focus future research on the uniform phenomenon. It is not a verified theory.)

stm62 1 year, 8 months ago

If the kids like them, and evidently they do, who cares what the old f-rts think. And, this is coming from an old f-rt.

Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 8 months ago

If Adidas wanted college student-athletes to be paid to endorse their product, would the universities and/or NCAA be intimidated into being backed into a corner on this matter too?

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Crazy KU basketball uniforms selling like hot cakes — even Mario Chalmers wants one

Mario can have mine

FL_Jhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't like the catering to big corporations....if you want our money you have to wear our new uniform designs regardless of whether you like them or not.

But as an old fart who misses the pom pom girl's outfits from the 70's, I wonder next year if the crazy new uniforms will start going back to the short shorts. I fail to see the logic in having long shorts in basketball....heavier, more drag, can interfere with dribbling between the legs, etc.

magaggie 1 year, 8 months ago

Words cannot express how much I hate these uniforms.

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I would LOVE them -

If K-State were wearing them.

Jared Grillot 1 year, 8 months ago

Blah blah blah... and if a corporate attorney showed up at your door tonight after work and said, "We're going to fully fund your family for the next year, giving you clothes, shoes, and cash for transportation, travel, and food, and all you have to do is wear day-glo tiger stripes out in public for a couple of hours, twice, and let us post a few pictures of you doing it", you wouldn't be able to sign fast enough. Anyone who says they wouldn't is independently wealthy or is lying through their teeth.

Sign me up, I'll wear them once a week, and rotate back and forth between colors. They're tacky as all get-out. Oh well. Ignore the stripes and watch the scoreboard instead. Way too much awesome basketball going on today to get all drama-fied about uniforms. RCJH

jaybate 1 year, 8 months ago

Blah, blah, blah...

Self says KU needs to be a good teammate for adidas.

So buy some ensembles already. :-)

jaybate 1 year, 8 months ago

Here lies a post made in error and moved by the error maker. :-)

Brak 1 year, 8 months ago

Love how all the old geezers are coming out of the closet to wildly shake their fist at the KU athletic dept. and tell them to get off their lawn. They are just uniforms, lighten up people, last time I checked fashion was a subjective matter so what might look stupid to you might looks super fly dope to someone like Julius Randle or Andrew Wiggins. 1st World Problems, get some perspective people.

Steve Gantz 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm horrified by these uniforms, but it's just sports, so really who cares?

Chris Bruning 1 year, 8 months ago

just sports?? 1 thumb down for you and your kind, whatever kind that is.......

Chris Bruning 1 year, 8 months ago

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhh nope, not kidding.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 year, 8 months ago

KU basketball isn't "just sports" my friend.... It's a way of life:)

Steve Gantz 1 year, 8 months ago

Ha! Sad but true. For 22 years this time of year I've been trying to explain that to my non KU student wife. It looks like she's gotten to me a bit!

Chris Bruning 1 year, 8 months ago

Sad?? nothing sad about it in my mind. 1. Family 2. Friends 3. KU basketball and football 4. My Job

justinryman 1 year, 8 months ago

Dude really? Friends over KU basketball?

No way you can always find new friends, even ones that like KU Bball.

As JB would say, no malice intended

Eric TheCapn 1 year, 8 months ago

Zubaz went out of style in the 90s, and should never make a comeback. What the gross? In two or three years and beyond, none of the Jayhawks will ever want to see a picture from a game played in the blue Zubaz, except maybe to laugh at each other.

Let's stick to tradition and avoid the Baylor-esque faux-pas. It might be cool if all of the fans worse Zubaz one game to blind the opposing team, much like Baylor's neon fans. Our boys would have to wear anti-Zubaz contacts.

The white ones aren't so bad because the Zuba-ness is subtle, though usually subtlety in uniforms comes across as weird sweat patterns, unless you're up (or zoomed in) close.

Zubaz.

bad_dog 1 year, 8 months ago

Two or three years or two or three decades won't matter. I doubt those blue uniforms will ever be worn, much less laughed at given they are the "away" jerseys and thus unlikely to ever see the light of day.

monkeehawkSL8 1 year, 8 months ago

"Super fly dope", that folks, is a world problem. Le me acks yoo sompin, foget et Im jus gona chil.

Eric TheCapn 1 year, 8 months ago

You can get a Zubaz hat over at Zubaz.com to complete your 1990s third-grader look!

Dale Stringer 1 year, 8 months ago

Although I'm getting use to seeing them, I find it embarassing that the Kansas Jayhawks are wearing Tiger stripes. You know Misery has got to better loving this.

Now what I would love is whenever we play an SEC team, the uniforms would have a subdued John Brown Jayhawk instead of the stripes.

KGphoto 1 year, 8 months ago

Buddha nailed it. Yes the unis are fugly, but even worse the design has nothing to do with ANY of the teams wearing them. adidas has money to spend on excellent, creative designers to come up with something that utilizes aspects of the individual school’s logo, theme, tradition etc. Instead they went for shock value. It’s just cheap.

Mike Barnhart 1 year, 8 months ago

Okay, all us white guys need to back off. Clearly these uni's were not intended for us (except maybe Turtle from Entourage.)

Don't believe me ... find the white guy in this picture:

justinryman 1 year, 8 months ago

He is behind all the other guys wearing the white uni's. He's camoflauged dude that's why you can't see him.

justinryman 1 year, 8 months ago

The same Mario Chalmers that wore orangish red pants?

Yeah I can see why he likes the uni's

Brian Skelly 1 year, 8 months ago

I dont get why anyone is up in arms about this. It certainly doesnt rise to the DEFCON levels folks are getting it up to here. It's a jersey and its temporary. And for those of you who dont know how sponsorships work, this is it. Adidas throws an @#$ load of money at us and then we do them a favor. Sound to Sopranos for you? It's only been going around for decades in the marketing world. Get out in the real world then. And calm down.

We've got a game to win. Apparently in camo so we'll be harder to see?

Sam Constance 1 year, 8 months ago

LOUD NOISES!!! LOUD NOISES!!!

Get a grip people. I don't like the uniforms either, but the crazy meaning people are assigning to some crappy, one-time promotional uniform is absurd.

Rather than going with the thinking "we're Kansas, we're above this!", we should be thinking "we're Kansas, the fact that we're doing this makes it cool". Or something. Whatever gets that blood pressure back down to normal levels.

Here's the thing: the fact that I think these unis are terrible is irrelevant. The second I learned that they are flying off the shelves (meaning there is an audience out there that likes them), I stopped caring how ugly I think they are. If they are popular with the fanbase, it means they are likely popular with recruits, which means that being willing to step outside the musty old "TRADITION" that we are so proud of (and rightfully so) every once in a while might be valuable if we want to keep pulling in the best young prospects in the nation.

PenguinPete 1 year, 8 months ago

They're crazy, but they're fun and fresh, and as long as the 'Hawks bring home a trophy this weekend I don't care what they wear.

Jason Sinclair 1 year, 8 months ago

Not a single comment since game time.

Guess they weren't so bad after all.

Foster Coburn 1 year, 8 months ago

No, they were bad. Even Bill Self said so after the game. Players referred to them as swimming trunks.

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