Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Pitfalls of new dawn uniforms

The Philadelphia 76ers plan to change their uniforms prior to the 2015-16 season, according to Interstate 76ers. If that’s true, the changes could be beneficial. But they also could be detrimental, regardless of how the unis look.

The Sixers’ current set is upgradeable. The biggest issue is the trim, which is clunky and doesn’t suit the rest of the uniforms’ simplicity. Even though Philadelphia underwent a major uni change in 2009, a few more tweaks next year could work.

But the real concern is that the Sixers mightn’t be looking to simply make their uniforms a bit better, but instead could be trying to shift their identity. As in, highlight the beginning of a new, successful era by introducing new uniforms. This idea is mentioned in the Interstate 76ers article. Philadelphia might simply want to change their uniforms regardless of on-court success. But the Sixers wanting to distance themselves from losing seasons and promote a new beginning with the aid of new uniforms seems at least possible.

Using unis in that way is approaching them as something easily disposable, which is wrong, and relegates them to the status of slogan-adorned fridge magnets. It also seems silly to think a new uniform would significantly change many people’s perception of a team. Fans would still be excited if the team didn’t have new uniforms but looked poised for success. And there’d still be pessimism if a team with a new wardrobe was inadequately composed – although jersey sales would probably increase. The Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls don’t need new uniforms to distance themselves from the respective injuries of Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose – they need those players to be healthy. It’s the on-court product that changes negative identities, not uniforms.

A uniform change packaged as part of the beginning of success would also seem gimmicky. A team with faith in its acquisitions and fans and a respect for uniforms wouldn’t use unis in such a way. The harder the new uniforms are pushed as part of a new beginning, the less convincing it is that more winning is imminent. Philadelphia fans’ confidence in their team could be weakened by its decision-makers resorting to such tactics.

That’s a lot of consternation about something that mightn’t happen. The Sixers could avoid any fresh start hoopla if they do introduce new gear, or they mightn’t make any changes at all. Given the potential for missteps, there’d be nothing wrong with the latter.

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