Pictured: The 1992 Lithuania basketball team (left) and the infamous denim-style shirt the U.S. actually wore at the 1994 World Cup.
The 1994 World Cup in the United States is mostly remembered for the drama of Italy's Roberto Baggio missing in the shootout that gave Brazil the title and the tragedy of Andres Escobar's murder after Colombia's disappointing performance. Providing a tiny bit of levity in the midst of all that was the regrettable, stone-washed denim-style away shirt that the U.S. team wore before being eliminated in the round of 16.
The blog named that very fashion statement, The Denim Kit, interviewed Drew Gardner, who was adidas' product manager for the team that created the design. And Gardner reveals that it was almost far worse:
So halfway through the process [Air Jordan developers Rob Strasser and Peter Moore] came in, and they were very market-driven, so Strasser wanted to make sure that whatever was done got a lot of attention; whether it was right, wrong, or indifferent.
I remember one time he kept pushing and pushing tie-dye. That's kind of how the away jersey kind of came from … they were first playing with a tie-dye look when you twist the t-shirt before you dye it and rubber band it up; the stars were going to open up like that.
The bottom line was they wanted to be able to sell a retail line and tie it back to the uniform and they wanted it to be financially successful and they were able to convince the powers that be that this was the kit that we needed to push forward.
Tie-dye. I really don't think they could have ever lived that down. Although, given the look Alexi Lalas had going back then, it would have been at least partially appropriate.
Read the full interview here -- it provides great insight into the creation of a national team kit and even mentions how Dikembe Mutombo was supposed to be the next Air Jordan.