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SA Shades of Gray: The Spurs’ Sexy Sell

Danny Green points out that the new Spurs alternate jersey does actually have player names to make up for the lack of a team city or mascot name on the front.
Courtesy: Spurs Sports & Entertainment

Finally, the Spurs step outside their proverbial “Boring Team” box to make a bold move.

Not the kind of deal that brings a big name free agent to alter the balance of the Force in the Western Conference. Still, it’s the kind of move that get the Spurs noticed. Even by the national media. Which is usually the last thing Gregg Popovich wants.

The Spurs debuted a new look Thursday, unveiling an alternate jersey on their website.  Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were kind enough to serve as runway models for the new look unis.

NEW LOOK being the key words here. The Spurs have made an NBA fashion statement with their gray uniform that will make its on court premier November 1 in the home opener vs. Oklahoma City. The new jersey is making news for what’s not there: the words “SAN ANTONIO” or “SPURS”.  The only identifying image on the front of the jersey is the iconic Spurs U-shaped logo, slightly off center under the left breast. The small player number gets parked on upper right side. San Antonio gets ID’d with the “SA” lettering on the front of the shorts.

Rich Pych, Spurs Sport & Entertainment President of Business Operations, released this statement on NBA.com:

The new design simply features our iconic “Spur” logo and it is positioned over the heart as it has such enormously deep roots with our team, fans and the entire community. It’s the first-ever NBA jersey logo without any writing or peripheral design on the front of the jersey and we’re very glad to be introducing this new use of the classic icon of the Spurs to our fans.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green let you compare the Spurs new alternate gray jersey with the current black road uniform.
Courtesy: Spurs Sports & Entertainment

For the Spurs to be first in anything involving NBA fashion is cool enough. In the art world the gray-majority look would be called “Minimalist”. In the shopping mall, buyers will see it as “Different”. Unique. El Unico.

And that’s the kind of look that sells jerseys. Stand out from the crowd of Kobe and LeBron unis. And if this moves big numbers of jerseys? Expect other teams to create a buzz like the Spurs.

Already the Brooklyn Nets are about to challenge SA for the “Black Jersey” NBA market. Their move from New Jersey has prompted an overhaul to the Nets look and logo. Brooklyn’s new uniforms will be officially unveiled today, but photos leaked earlier this week show the Nets will most definitely be back in black. So the edge the Spurs had in being the team in basic black, which is always cool, and always sells, is now gone.

The Brooklyn Nets’ new road black uniforms are reminiscent of the old Spurs classic jerseys
that featured “SAN ANTONIO” across the front.
Courtesy: Pro Basketball Talk

Battle lines are drawn, even on fashion designing boards. Market niches have to be won. The Spurs new gray jersey puts the team out in front being proactive.

So the judgement here? As someone whose last Spurs jersey I actually purchased was Dennis Rodman’s #10, I like it. FULL DISCLOSURE (And warning): No one has ever accused me of being a fashion trendsetter. More like a champion of the fashion faux pas. Proceed and purchase at your own discretion.

This is the look Kawhi Leonard will have when he defends Kevin Durant November 1 in the AT&T Center.
Hopefully with more of a scowl.
Courtesy: Spurs Sports & Entertainment

As for early reviews, the Spurs new gray look has been almost beaten black and blue. Critics on the Twitter-sphere were quick to pounce with the usual suspect of adjectives: Boring, dull, etc.

While it’s true the Spurs going with the flat gray rather than say, metallic silver takes away some jersey flash. You could see Christian Gray wearing this to the gym for a pickup game more than Tim Duncan hitting the AT&T Center court.

SA Express-News Fashion guru Michael Quintanilla reviewed the Spurs new look with sports writer Dan McCarney, calling the color scheme “a washed-out Zombie gray… is no slam dunk.”

Meanwhile, the guys at the SportsGrid got downright nasty. I’m pretty sure Pop doesn’t want any of this kind of nasty.

But I’m also pretty sure Pop really doesn’t care what those guys, or I, or anyone else thinks about SA’s new shade of gray.

The Spurs do care about the bottom line of business: making money. The more people that talk about the new unis directly relates to how many people opt to buy it.

The other bottom line is that the Spurs going gray on something other than the roster makes them really stand out. Makes an allegedly boring team sexy.

And sexy always sells.

About Maury Vasquez

Maury Vasquez is part of San Antonio's sports history and tradition. Vasquez worked with the KENS-5 Sports team under the legendary Dan Cook in the 90's before joining the top rated news team at KSAT-12. His career in broadcasting expands over 20 years in San Antonio and South Texas. Today, Maury works full time as the Public Information Officer for Somerset ISD giving a voice to the Bulldog Nation of students and staff. And his love for sports continues, by co-hosting "Longhorns Unplugged" on Ticket 760 AM along with co-hosting the "SASports.com HS Football Scoreboard Show". You can also find Vasquez Saturday mornings at the Mays Family "Field of Dreams" next to Wolff Stadium, where he serves as the announcer for the Miracle League baseball spring and fall seasons. Maury Vasquez is a native of Mercedes, TX from the Rio Grande Valley who has called SA home since 1992. He is also the proud father of two children, Valerie and Mauro IV. Maury writes for AlamoCityTimes.com about whatever moves him in the world of sports to the game of life, and just about anything in between.

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