Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm Obsessed With Jerseys

While vacationing in Hawaii in January, I visited the Aloha Stadium Swapmeet. It is a collection of tents/booths set-up around the outside perimeter of a football stadium (the same stadium where the NFL Pro Bowl was played), and located about 1 mile from Pearl Harbor. Most of the tents are full of t-shirts, necklaces and other Hawaiian knick-knacks. There was one tent, however, off the beaten path, that I contained not one traditional Hawaiian souvenir. I don't think it had a name but if it did, it would be, "T-Wah's NBA Emporium." It was a mini heaven in already-heaven (Hawaii). There were basketball jerseys hanging from every bar and pole holding up the tent. It had a special gravitational pull and I somehow ended up separated from my wife who was busy finding a plastic hibiscus to put in her hair.

As I walked in, a young fellow was transacting the purchase of an authentic vintage Pete Maravich blue and green Atlanta Hawks jersey. Cool! My eyes then glanced over at the salesman; he was wearing a Pete Maravich LSU jersey (where he played college ball). Lining the walls were the jerseys of many of today's NBA All-Stars: KG, Lebron, Kobe, Wade, Durrant, etc. Other than jerseys, there were a couple of pieces of memorabilia: Steve Nash and Jason Kidd action figures, a book about Wilt the Stilt, and a few baseball caps. I purchased a jersey, but not before considering 3 others: an authentic Atlanta Hawks Spud Webb home jersey, a Phoenix Suns Yuta Tabuse (the only Japanese to play in the NBA) away jersey, and a Steve Nash team Canada jersey. The grand prize...a green and yellow "Pistol" Pete Maravich Utah Jazz away jersey.

This was a hard decision. The jersey, itself, is a piece of crap. It looks like it was made in a high school sewing class and the #7 on the front is so frayed it will probably fall off soon. The shape of it even sucks. The neck hole is too small and I'm pretty sure that Grimace was the model for the shape. I decided that if I bought a jersey that it should probably be from my favorite team. The Pistol is the favorite player of one of my brothers. He introduced a new style of ball to the league and although I never saw him play in my lifetime he remains one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ball handler of all time. It was time for me to bring a part of my team's history into my home for only $15.

Which brings me to my obsession with collecting NBA jerseys. With my most recent acquisition, I felt it appropriate to discuss my entire collection:

1. Karl Malone, purple, Utah Jazz away - My 1st and favorite jersey. Can't beat it. It was my first prized NBA possession and purchased when the Jazz were at the top of the world (almost). My cousin, who lived in Utah, bought it for me and brought it to me when he came to visit.

Don't mind the background...those are
the kinds of bedspreads they give you
in Hawaiian condos.
2. Vince Carter, purple/black, Toronto Raptors away - I hope everyone remembers Vinsanity in his heyday. There was no one better. My life was better when I watched him play.
3. Donyell Marshall, white, Utah Jazz home - By far the crappiest jersey I own. It brings the most laughs (both from myself and anyone who knows the league very well). Bought it for $10 on a clearance rack at the Delta Center.
4. Jason Williams, black, Sacramento Kings away - I love(d) this jersey. The colors are wicked. I think Snakes has it. I want it back.
5. Shaquile O'Neal, purple, Phoenix Suns away - Another good laugh. My wife bought it for me at Walmart while we lived, and worked, in Phoenix.
6. Carlos Boozer, baby blue, Utah Jazz away - What can I say? He was the next Karl Malone.
7. LeBron James, maroon, Cleveland Cavaliers away - People used to like him, you know. Bought this at an outdoor mall in Orlando....clearance.
8. Deron Williams, dark blue, Utah Jazz away - Remember when he played for the Jazz? Me too...
9. Kevin Durrant, blue, OKC Thunder away - My least favorite-looking jersey. Refer to my previous post a few months ago to see what I recommend instead. I bought this jersey in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho before people had mancrushes on KD.
10. Al Jefferson, blue/gold/green, Utah Jazz away - This one is brand new and autographed. I love it. I love "Big Al" (also how he signs his name). My brother bought me this jersey on a vacation to Utah before the season started. I needed this jersey from the moment I found out about his trade to Utah.

Jerseys are an extension of my passion. Each one tells a story and although I don't get to wear them often, they put a smile on my face every time I look at the bottom rack of my closet.


  1. Cool idea for a post, The Luckiest David. I want to add my collection:

    David Robinson - I won it at a basketball camp. I gave it away to the Hales for a while because it was too small. But then somehow I got it back when I was older and bigger and didn't think it was too small. It probably is too small now, but I wear it anyway

    Kobe Bryant - My first Jersey I ever bought. I think I got it during his second season when he was cool but didn't know it yet. I loved him back then. I don't even really know what changed or when. Sometime he became unlikable.

    Paul Pierce - I loved the Celtics and thought it would be nerdy to have my own last name on a jersey if I got Antoine Walker's. Probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.

    Chris Bosh - purple Raptors. I liked Chris Bosh. His authentic jersey was on sale. So I bought it.

    Greg Oden - bought it as a joke. It gets funnier with time.

    I feel like I have more, but I can't think of them.

  2. Ya T-wah you do love jerseys. I also enjoyed seeing your collection, especially how over half of them are from the Jazz. I can add my collection to the list, even though it isn't nearly as long.

    Karl Malone - This was my first jersey and I got it at a Jazz game back in the day. It was a great game where they got down by about 20 to the Rockets, and then came back and won it. I kept getting high fives from all these people I didn't know! For some reason I thought it would be cool to get the white home jersey, which is kind of weird. I usually like the away ones.

    Shawn Marion - This one goes back a few teams to the Suns. Again I got this at a game against the Rockets, but this time the home team got destroyed. It's a sweet purple color and I like it even more now that Marion is on the Mavs.

    Dirk Nowitzki - I got this one from my wife for a birthday present and it is amazing! It's the green alternate away jersey that just says Mavs. Simply amazing!

    That's all I've got. I really need to find some jersey sales so that I can add to my collection.

  3. I think I gave the Hales a Jason Kidd jersey from the Nets that I found at Value Village. I hope it hasn't been forgotten. The jersey or the act of kindness.

    I gotta say that compared with T-Wah, my love for jerseys is luke warm at best. I'm like the bandwagon jumper guy who goes and buys a (insert local sports team here) jersey when they are making a playoff run (which is what I actually did when I purchased an oilers jersey that I luckily found at Value Village). T-Wah is that guy that's always had a (insert local sports team here) jersey, buys their new home and away jerseys and has never been ashamed to wear them even when the team has traded their best player and haven't had a shot at making the playoffs since the tip-off of the first game of the season.
    The jerseys I have have been for necessity. I need to have a jersey in order to play church ball. Fortunately, I have had good luck finding the jerseys I need second-hand. I think I paid $3 for a Charles Barkley Team USA jersey that had a small brown-ish stain on the front, which spot was easily removed with a little scrubbing and bar soap (thansk mom).
    The week of a pre-season Raptors-Nuggets game in Edmonton which I was to attend, I found a Raptors Damon Stoudamire jersey second-hand at Value Village for $5 or $7. And I think I have my grade 10 vikings reversible jersey and then the senior vikings jersey that I wore in grade 12. These two I keep for more sentimental reasons and for posterity than for anything else.
    Thats why I have jerseys. I don't wear them around casually. I think it is tacky. I believe there are two situations in which a jersey can be worn and is in fact encouraged to be worn:
    1) When participating in sports;
    2) When encouraging sports and those who play them (ie attending a game, or pep rally; watching a game on TV).

    If you want to show your support for a team or simply to just to say "I really love the (insert local sports team here)!" as you go about your daily business then get a t-shirt with the team's logo. Get a hat. Something you wear anyways. Or maybe even one of those car flags. Just don't go around wearing something that resembles underwear over top of your clothes. I wouldn't wear my favourite swim team's swim jammers over top of my jeans or my favourite volleyball team's spandex just to say "Hey I watch all the (insert local sports team here)'s games!"

    If you buy jerseys for these reasons, good. If you buy them, not necessarily for these 2 reasons but as memorabilia thats also fine. Just not for your regular wardrobe.