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Friday, December 3, 2010
UNLV brings back black uniforms

By Eamonn Brennan

Why don't more schools wear all-black uniforms? Has there even been an all-black uniform scheme -- no matter the sport, and no matter the level -- that didn't look thoroughly awesome? I contend that there is not. Which is why it's good to see UNLV breaking with recent tradition, ignoring superstitious overtones and doing the aesthetically pleasing thing: bringing back the all-blacks.

On Wednesday night, UNLV debuted its new all-black uniforms in an 82-51 blowout against Illinois State. To be historically precise, the uniforms aren't exactly new. UNLV used to rock the all-black look with some frequency. Then, in 1999, according to Las Vegas Sun reporter Ryan Greene, the Runnin' Rebels wore the uniforms in a non-conference game against North Carolina only to lose the game and see top junior college recruit Kenny Dye suffer a shoulder injury that eventually cost him his college career.

Since then, the school has entertained a supposed black-uniform "curse." Only recently, as players constantly clamored for the jersey scheme, did the Rebels decide that maybe curses aren't real and that maybe uniforms don't cause teams to lose and players to get injured. And just like that, they're back:
“We all liked it. Everybody liked it,” junior forward Chace Stanback said. “We’ve been asking for it for a long time, and we kind of joked around about it before coming over here, and they surprised us with them. Coach said something about (the curse) before the game. But ultimately, we just had to come out and play hard.”

The all-black duds, which were accented by tall black socks and black Nikes, gave UNLV a bit of motivation for a game that many might have looked at as one that was tough to get up for. Instead, from the sound of it, the players were like little kids on Christmas morning when they first saw the new uniforms before departing for Illinois.

“It’s something different. You don’t really see too many schools with all black uniforms,” sophomore guard Anthony Marshall proudly said. “If we would have lost tonight, we probably wouldn’t have worn them again, so we’re happy to get the win with them so we can continue to wear them.”

High-five, UNLV. The all-black look is far too underused in sports, and any opportunity to use it must be taken. Curses be damned.

In the meantime, San Diego State is sitting over here wondering what all the fuss is about.