When the members of the U.S. men's national basketball team take the court in Spain to vie for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup championship — and the automatic berth into the field at the 2016 Summer Olympics that comes with a victory — they'll do so in some spiffy new strips, thanks to the apparel architects at Nike.
I dig the winged lettering on the wordmark — very Kal-El placement, gang. While the whites look awful clean, they're also pretty spare in the middle, whereas the solid blue running the length of the road unis seems to pop pretty nicely.
For those of you who like a story with your tank tops and shorts, Nike claims that the "angle of [the] USA graphic on the new uniform was inspired by the chevron of the classic Nike Windrunner track jacket that was born in 1978," and that all those lines running over, under and around the lettering constitute a "26-degree speed graphic [that] represents a distinctive basketball point of view, based on the roughly 1,000 directional changes, or 'cuts,' that a player might make in the course of a game." Also, there will be sweat wicking, and the shorts have a "wipe zone," which sources indicate is not as gross as it sounds. (More details here, if you'd like.)
Here's a look at several of Team USA's leading lights sporting the new uniforms in glamorous promotional shots:
One might-mean-nothing point of potential interest — while Olympians Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and James Harden, and emergent two-way star Paul George, have just about always been considered mortal locks for this summer's U.S. squad, the fifth player depicted in Nike's pass-around shots, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, seems to stand on significantly shakier ground. In his pre-showcase roster reset, NBA.com's John Schuhmann pegs Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry and resurgent Chicago Bulls triggerman Derrick Rose as sure things for the roster, suggesting that Irving and Washington Wizards All-Star John Wall could be competing for one single reserve point guard spot.
Obviously, Nike would never put Wall, an Adidas guy, on their marketing materials rather than one of their own, and this is likely as simple as that. If Irving does wind up getting the nod over Wall, though, I'm sure that there will be at least a few Wizards fans whose conspiracy theories will note the presence of Irving in the pre-selection promotional materials. (To say nothing, of course, of the college hoops connections.)
All told, they look to these eyes to be a bit sharper than the ones Durant and Rose rocked in Turkey in 2010:
... and the ones Davis and Harden wore to win gold in London in 2012:
But then, I'm no sartorial expert. What say you, commentariat? Yea or nay?
More USA Basketball coverage:
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