Kansas Basketball reveals new uniforms for Black History Month
By: Bryce Reedy
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s and women’s basketball will be sporting new alternate uniforms on Saturday as part of the Adidas Harlem Renaissance collection. Kansas is one of 11 schools in the country – and the only team in the Big 12 Conference – with this new look.
The uniforms draw their inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance, and will have multiple markings that encapsulate that time period. The 1920’s created a new black cultural identity, where those who participated hoped to change the narrative of the typical white stereotypes of the black community. This time period is a huge illustrator of the idea that the power of the creator cuts through ignorance and hate.
One other significant contributor to these new looks is the use of ballrooms during that time period. The ballroom look pays homage to the legendary Harlem Rens, an all-black professional basketball team (also known as the Renaissance Big Five) created in the early 1920’s, that would play all its home games on a local ballroom dance floor.
This team’s success helped change the focus from amateurism to professionalism for black basketball athletes. Following the team’s 1939 upset victory over the Boston Celtics, Rens’ player John ‘Boy Wonder’ Isaacs removed the word ‘Coloured’ from his championship jacket with a razor in order to “…make it real.”
Ballrooms also represented the coming together of music, culture and the game itself, leading to the uniforms’ unique color scheme. The design consists of legend and active purple, shock red and cream white, rounded out with traditional black and white.
The ballroom design is the overall conception of the uniforms, with the layout giving off the impression of a ballroom dance floor. Inside waistbands of the player’s shorts will be sewn with the word Ballroom along with the Savoy Ballroom street numbers.
Both Kansas squads will wear these alternate uniforms tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 9). at their games in Allen Fieldhouse. Men’s basketball hosts Oklahoma State at 11 a.m., and women’s basketball hosts Texas at 7 p.m.
For fans wanting to add these to their collection, a limited number of fan versions of the shorts and the replica uniforms are available at select retail partners, including Rally House—Allen Fieldhouse, KUStore.com and the KU Bookstore.
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