Miami's new uniforms are disconcerting

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
4:45
PM ET
The offseason allows you to do many things. Rejuvenate. Reflect. Refresh the ESPN.com college basketball schedule page over and over and over, like Jesse Eisenberg in the final scene of "The Social Network."

It also allowed me to come to grips with the horrors adidas has made a habit of inflicting on the college game. It began two years ago, with Louisville's "infrared" color scheme and Baylor's fluorescent look, which the apparel company unveiled just before the start of postseason play. When everyone got mad -- and thousands of missives with some combination of the words "Louisville," "Baylor," "uniforms" and "adidas" in them started bouncing around the Internet feedback loop -- adidas was only emboldened. You know that whole thing about any press being good press? It's usually wrong. But when you're competing with a company (Nike) that commands 92 percent of U.S. basketball market share (as of 2012), that maxim is true. When adidas revealed its Zubaz-esque uniform "concepts" for the 2013 postseason, it was clear that the troll was on.

The hope in these quarters was that the whole intentionally ugly trend would fade away. adidas would move on to a different marketing strategy -- like actually making basketball shoes 15-year-old kids want to wear -- and everyone would come to their senses.

That is precisely why Miami's uniforms, which assistant coach Eric Konkol revealed via Twitter Monday evening, are so very disconcerting. The orange on the new Nike uniforms is trending dangerously toward the infrared end of the spectrum. The submission compiled by u/MidwestDrummer at r/CollegeBasketball came with a warning, that the uniforms would "burn your retinas," and yeah, you know, it's kind of hard to look at them for too long. TV could be a different story, and maybe image quality plays a role here, but still, Nike, come on. I know you're not innocent in this whole uniform thing. Frankly, your lab tests at Oregon kicked the whole thing off. But infrared? You're better than that.



In the meantime, with Syracuse joining the ACC this season, we could be witnessing the first bold step in an orange saturation arms race that could quickly spill out of control. As one 'Cuse fan on Reddit posted: "Somebody contact Dr. Gross, SU needs to go even oranger, we're the orange, nobody can be more orange than us!" I weep for our children's retinas.

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