Lessons of Wearing Logos

January, 28, 2009
1/28/09
10:22
AM ET

Yesterday I wrote about wearing the logos of this or that team.

I learned a lot from the comments. For instance, DirtyFrank wrote:

The only sports related piece of clothing that means the world to me is the Lisa Leslie Sparks jersey I bought at Ocean State Job Lot for $3 about five years ago. I get a lot of laughs when I wear it to play pick-up basketball, but it's actually pretty comfortable.

SpudBuchanan8 echoed my story of wearing a team's shirt not because of love of the team, but because the shirt was comfortable, cheap, or had some other meaning:

I have this problem. I went to Steve and Barry's in Madison, WI and bought a shirt. It also happened to be an incredibly comfortable shirt. Regular UW shirt, nice. On my next trip venturing through there I found a deal that was 4 fo $20. So I got some. I wasn't about to get a shirt that says "All Beer Pong Team" or something ridiculous. So I get some respectable college shirts, one LSU, Syracuse, and some more UW ones. Well, now I move to Oregon and if I ever wear an LSU or Syracuse shirt for some reason I get comments all the time asking if I am a fan. I'm not, I like the shirt. Creates very awkward conversations and I have now reverted to wearing the shirts reversed so as to avoid such conversations. 

Ringomon, however, cleaned up with this foundational document on such things:

I think the rule is simple: it's okay to wear logo-wear of bad/mediocre/innocuous teams that you care/don't care about... because no on else cares either.

But you should never wear logo'd wear of famous bandwagon teams unless you are a true fan- and have a reason to be that you can explain:

Yankees
Red Sox
Lakers
Tarheels
Cowboys
Redwings (?)

Everyone, the real fans that have a reason to be fans, and the other 90% that hate those teams, will think that you are just a poseur and trying to bandwagon.

If you complain that people take it too seriously, then you don't understand the concept that "things have meaning."

Plus, how hard is it to find a comfortable t-shirt? People always say that like it's some grueling, monumental task trying to find a shirt that's comfortable. They're everywhere, trust me.

But, great as Ringomon's comment was, an e-mail from Jason in New York City really takes the cake. We're all talking about the soft world of removable logos. Jason, he's living the hard reality of a tattooed logo. (He's the one really wearing a logo.) And he makes a strong case for it.

Just wanted to say I've actually got a Jordan Logo tattooed to my right shoulder. Got it in 2003 to commemorate his exit from the sport. Final exit from the sport. I know it's just a game, but there was always something valorous to me in his relentless determination.

I don't know if you ever quite forget the skinny kid holding his shorts at the end of a playoff double over time where he set a scoring record and still lost. That image sort of remains superimposed over all the success that comes later, the kid doing everything in his power to beat a much stronger team overlapping the aging champ using every trick to hold down hungry competitors.Jordan tattoo, courtesy of Jason in NYC

My NYC friends tell stories of Jordan like he's some basketball demon come to deny them title shots year after year. I remember those series differently. I remember MJ getting knocked on his butt over and over again, and getting up for more. I remember being down two nothing in 1993, a sprained wrist that led to poor shooting and a near triple double in a must win game 3. I remember the 54 points that he scored in the followup game. I remember the actual triple double that came the game after that. I remember the strip on Charles Smith, the double clutch over Pat Ewing, and nose to nose with the X-Man.

I guess a basketball player is a strange thing to want to carry forever -- especially a logo of one that is ubiquitously plastered on everything anyway. I never tried to give a reason for it, but I suppose it's a way of holding onto or celebrating something that gave so many hours of joy and really was the inspiration behind a love of the game that otherwise probably wouldn't exist.

UPDATE: Marcin Gortat has a similar tattoo.

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