Nike Rolls Out Custom Uniforms, Footwear For Teams Attending Phil Knight Invitational
Nike is "rolling out custom uniforms and footwear" for teams playing in the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational next week in Portland that are inspired by Knight's "penchant for all-black outfits and sunglasses," according to Jim Meehan of the Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW. Signature icons -- arena, mascot and pattern -- will be "incorporated into each respective program’s uniforms." The jerseys and shorts "create a striking on-court dynamic: color versus color matchups." Gonzaga's special-edition uniforms will "include a unique zig-zag pattern running down the right side of the uniform with an oversized Bulldog logo on the left leg" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 11/17). In Michigan, Kyle Austin notes Michigan State's uniforms will be "green with bronze lettering and numbers." The sides of both the jersey and the shorts "have black stripes on them." The team has "worn several different alternate uniforms in recent years, but the Phil Knight Invitational uniforms will mark the first time" since '13 that MSU has "worn bronze numbers" (MLIVE.com, 11/16).
GOING BIG: In Portland, Kerry Eggers wrote the Phil Knight event is the "biggest regular-season college basketball tournament ever." It will be a three-day, 16-team, 24-game event played at Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum that "should knock the socks right off the college hoops junkie." Duke, North Carolina, UConn and MSU are among the schools playing. An "ode" to Knight also is planned, as he turns 80 in February. The tourney is the "brainchild" of MSU AD Mark Hollis. Trail Blazers Senior VP/Venue Operations Chris Oxley said, "Mark has done a lot of innovative things. He thought it would be a great opportunity to honor Mr. Knight and all he has meant for college basketball. When Mark came to him with the idea. Mr. Knight told him, 'If you can pull it off, go for it.'" He added, "We were able to pull it together because the coaches and ADs know what Phil has done for college basketball. They want to be part of this celebration. Is it something they'll do on an annual basis? Absolutely not" (PORTLAND TRIBUNE, 11/16).
FILLING THINGS OUT: In Portland, John Canzano wrote Knight is the "most influential sporting icon of this time, and has done so much that he deserves a basketball tournament in his honor." Canzano: "But the more I look at the PK80, the more I wonder if the aim of the event wasn't so much to recognize Knight but to create another event to fill empty television slots on a national holiday." Lots of tickets "remain available," and they are "good seats." More Canzano: "Unless they're planning a late marketing push, I'm wondering if Knight is going to show up to his 80th birthday party and --- surprise!! -- learn that not that many people decided to join him" (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/16).