When Twitter went all, well, a-twitter about the fact that Nike was slapping Syracuse with gray jerseys, I'll admit...I was just as annoyed as everyone else in the Orange Empire. We've grown accustomed to Nike fitting us with all of their new digs every few years, and while many yearn for us to go back to popular jerseys from years past (1996, 2003...), that's just not going to happen.
When the images broke yesterday, I fully expected to absolutely hate them. I'm usually sort of lukewarm on ridiculous Nike designs, I find them quite hit or miss (with Oregon football, on a weekly basis). As I scrolled through the pictures, I tried my hardest to subscribe to the Twitterati hivemind hatred of them...
I couldn't do it.
I think the jerseys are pretty damn slick.
I'm not going to say they're perfect or that they should take the place of our current threads for the rest of the season, and there are definitely a few things about them that bother me. Obviously, they are gray. Really gray. Not 'platinum', platinum is a buzzword. These things are gray. Georgetown also wears gray. That really sucks. The numbers are also gray, and I can already anticipate the headache from trying to read them when we wear them against USF. I don't know why they couldn't have made the numbers and names orange, but whatever. Also, I've seen pictures where apparently the names are below the numbers on the backs of these jerseys. I've hated that on literally every type of jersey I've ever seen it implemented, and that's no different with these.
However, I believe the pros far outweigh the cons:
Our selection as one of the schools that Nike has chosen is frankly an honor. Love them or hate them, Nike is by far the most powerful sportswear company in the world, and the benefits, monetary and otherwise, of being one of their poster-children are innumerable. I've already referenced Oregon football. Go take a look at Oregon football history before Phil Knight made the program his guinea pig. It isn't all that impressive. Now they can get in the door with almost any recruit in the country because of the crazy facilities that Knight has bestowed upon them, and because high school kids love stuff like these. They might not be the most attractive or classy uniforms, but they're sure as hell unique. They stand out.
These jerseys put us in an elite group. Look at the programs chosen, all national champions and definitely in the top tier or two of the college basketball world. There's no harm in reminding everyone about 2003.
These jerseys also do a lot for the national brand that Dr. Gross is trying to build with Syracuse athletics. Sean has already written a lot about the de-bluing, and whether or not people like it, it is certainly understandable. As the "Orange", moves are being made to have that color stand out and pop as much as possible. If you can take one thing away from these jerseys, it is that the orange certainly pops. There are also block 'S' logos all over the place. I'm honestly surprised that Gross didn't push the designers to fit a "New York's College Team" somewhere on there.
The jerseys themselves are actually pretty cool looking in their own right. Once you get past the gray, which is admittedly tough, I really like a lot of things about them. Not everyone loves the "'Cuse", but I think it's cool. To people outside of CNY, our school is "The 'Cuse", much like Villanova is "'Nova" and Rutgers is "irrelevant". If these jerseys were printed in orange and white, I think people would love them. I honestly hope that is in the works.
Also, those sneakers...#want.