NBA Fashion Icons 2017

NBA-Best-Dressed-HeaderThe NBA All-Star Weekend has been adopted as an annual midseason tradition consisting of a wide variety of basketball events, such as the 3-point shootout and slam-dunk contest. It’s a break from the everyday routine players follow and serves as a promising source of entertainment for die-hard fans.  

During this period, the basketball community is granted the chance to catch up on the personal lives of their favorite ballers, as well as evaluate the highlights that occurred during the first half of the season. The Big Easy – New Orleans – hosted this year’s All-Star Weekend and invited the league’s top talent to not only showcase their skills but also create some of the most unforgettable moments in NBA history.

Who are the best-dressed players in the NBA

The fashionistas at Fanatics decided to use this break as a time to praise the best-dressed ballers of the 2016-17 season. Continue reading to see which NBA stars have “too much sauce.”

Russell Westbrook

3. Shades of Pink #whynot #fashionking

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It’s no surprise that Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) was voted best dressed by his peers last season considering the self-proclaimed “frame fanatic” created his own eyewear label. The street-style star has also been dubbed the “Fashion King” as he appeared fashion-forward at multiple shows during the last New York Fashion Week.  

Stephen Curry

Dress to impress with this great fall style! Shout out to the @ExpressRunway fall collection #ExpressMen

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Stephen Curry (@stephencurry30), the Golden State’s MVP, is also known for being conscious about his swag. In a recent article from The New York Times, the Warriors hotshot admitted that he will “stress over outfits for days.” As one would expect following this statement, Stephen surely does come dressed to impress.

Kevin Love

Kevin Love (@kevinlove) is quite new to the fashion game but is sure making a slam dunk with his snazzy ’fits. This Cleveland Cavalier is having no trouble at all out-dressing his opponents but has had some help along the way. The four-time All-Star was tapped by Banana Republic to serve as their inaugural style ambassador in 2016.

LeBron James

#StriveForGreatness🚀 #TheKidFromAkron👑 #RWTW🏅

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LeBron James (@kingjames) is a man of many talents, and one of them is having a keen eye for fashion. While he’s known as a king on the court, James also brings his A-game to the fashion scene by alternating between a distinct street style (pictured above) and a more classic look. Not to mention, his Nike-sponsored shoe line has conquered the sneaker culture since launching in 2003.

Iman Shumpert

Complex.com 📸 by @destinyfulfild

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Iman Shumpert (@imanshumpert) takes a more experimental approach with his style. The Cleveland guard’s wardrobe can be described as provocative, unruly, and a bit outlandish. Nevertheless, Shumpert has successfully mastered the street style and often displays his bold looks alongside his wife, Teyana Taylor.

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade (@dwyanewade), a modern gentleman, has a clear understanding that fashion comes and goes but style is forever. D-Wade wasn’t always a risk-taker, but upon kickstarting his career with the Miami Heat, the shooting guard quickly found the confidence to begin setting trends, rather than following them.

Fashion Free Throws

So, there you have it – the NBA’s best-dressed class of the 2016-17 season. With this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in the books, it’s time to get back to business. Think you have what it takes to stand up tall next to these basketball fashion icons? Head over to Fanatics to shop for the hottest jerseys and NBA swag in the game!

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The Evolution of the New York Knicks Jersey

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Knickerbockers Origins

The New York Knicks got their start in 1946 as one of the initial members of the NBA. Ned Irish – the founding father of the Knicks – led the club to victory against the Toronto Huskies (68-66) during their first showdown in this newfound league.

The Knickerbockers moniker goes back to the Dutch settlers who first settled in New York. The name comes from the first settlers rolling their pants just below the knees. This style of pants was eventually called knickerbockers, or knickers for short. Fred Podesta, a Madison Square Garden executive, claims that the name for the new NBA club was picked out of a hat. As the story goes, Ned Irish – a Knicks legend – was sitting around with a few business partners and chose a name out of a pool of submissions. “Knickerbockers” was featured on most entries, which solidified the name for New York’s first NBA team.

Father Knickerbocker was used as the team’s first primary logo. The iconic symbol featured an older man with a cotton wig, tricorn, and – most importantly – knickers. However, 1964 marked the end of Father Knickerbocker’s reign when the team redesigned their logo to promote the “Knicks” wordmark with a simple basketball clipart. This pattern would go on to serve as the primary logo until modern day – with several variations implemented, of course.

The Knicks have incorporated different designs – alternative and primary – of their logo on the shorts of their jerseys for much of their existence in the NBA.

The Knicks Greats

As currently part of the Atlantic Division, the New York Knicks have had their ups and downs over the course of their storied history. The Knickerbockers have made appearances in the playoffs 42 times throughout their 70 seasons played. The New York–based squad brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy back home to the Garden twice – first in 1970 and again in 1973 after defeating the reigning Western Conference champs: the Los Angeles Lakers.

Over the course of the team’s history, the Knicks have had several NBA greats fill their superstar roster. This includes Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing and Walt Frazier as well as exceptional ballers such as John Starks.

Continue reading to experience the evolution of the #NewYorkKnicks iconic jersey and logo throughout their tenure in the NBA.

Notable New York Jersey Changes

 

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1946: The Knicks inaugural jerseys feature the official colors of New York City: blue, white, and orange. White is utilized as the primary color with blue and orange accents. The jersey features the city name across the torso with numbers underneath.

1961: The Knicks wear white jerseys at home with blue letters outlined orange trim. Orange stripes, outlined in blue, run down both sides of the shorts.

1968: The jersey undergoes minor changes during this time. The lettering becomes an orange shade outlined by blue trim. The club ditches the belted shorts and opts for a simple drawstring design instead.

1979: For the first time in team history, the club implements drastic changes to the jerseys. In unforeseen turn, the team swaps the city’s official colors for a maroon and dark blue color palette. This year also marks the only time the team’s nickname – Knicks – will appear on the jersey.

1983: The team reverts to blue jerseys with orange numbers outlined in white trim, ditching the maroon colorway. The “New York” wordmark finds its way back to the front of the jersey, and the numbers are found right below. The Knicks decorate their shorts with jersey numbers on the right side and a team logo on the left.

1995: The Knicks remove the jersey numbers from the shorts, but a new alternative logo appears. The club rocks white jerseys with orange numbers outlined in blue for their home court fit. The official NBA logo is placed underneath the left edge of the collar.

2002: Reverting to blue as the primary jersey color, the Knicks stick with orange lettering and white trim. Black panels trail down both sides of the jersey and are outlined by thick orange stripes.

2016:The trim along the sleeve openings is shortened but maintains the traditional color scheme. The primary logo is featured on the bottom of the shorts, and the “New York” script across the chest is slightly modified.

Before heading down to Madison Square Garden for the big game, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Show your New York pride by rocking’ the latest #KnicksNation fan gear. Look no further than Fanatics.com for all your NBA wants and needs.

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The Evolution of the Atlanta Hawks Jersey

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The Hawks Take Flight

The Atlanta Hawks got their start in 1946. However, back then, they were known as the Buffalo Bisons and were a part of the National Basketball League, where they played for 38 days before departing for Moline, Illinois. There, they took on a new name — the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, in reference to the Black Hawk War that was mostly fought in Illinois.

The team survived a merger of the NBL and BAA and was one of the first 17 teams in the National Basketball Association. They then relocated to Milwaukee in 1951 and shortened their team name to the Hawks. They would move to St. Louis four years later. They finally landed in Atlanta – their present-day host city – in 1968.

The team has one NBA championship to its name. In 1958, the team – playing as the St. Louis Hawks – won the series in six games over the Boston Celtics, whom they had faced the prior season in the finals, only to lose in game 7. Even though they have but a single championship, the team’s playoff appearances aren’t scarce in the history books – the Hawks have reached the postseason 45 times out of 68 seasons.

Throughout their long history, the Hawks have had a few notable players hit the court. For example, Dominique Wilkins played in Atlanta for 12 seasons; Mookie Blaylock was with the Hawks for seven seasons; and Joe Johnson played there for seven seasons.

Over the course of their history, the Hawks have had an impressive number of jersey design changes. Check them out below.

The Hawks Jerseys Over the Years

Atlanta Hawks Jerseys

1968–1970: Red and white dominate the Hawks jersey. The home jersey is white and is accompanied by red block lettering of the team name. The player numbers are also in red and trimmed in black. The neck, arms, and sides feature a triple stripe design – a single black line flanked by two red lines.

1970–1972: There is a complete departure from the old color scheme, which is replaced by blue and green on white. A thick stripe snakes from the left shoulder, across the chest, and onto the right side, where it is joined by a green and blue stripe. Block letters spell out “Atlanta” in blue and are paired with a player number of the same color.

1982–1992: The team reverts to red and white, but adds gold touches to the uniform. At the start of the ’80s, the jersey is bold and bright, with a wide swath of red going from armpit to armpit, sloping up toward the left shoulder. “Hawks” appears within the thick stripe, and the player numbers are solid red.

1992–1995: The uniform features a thick red stripe on the left side, accompanied by “Hawks” in a curved, serif font above a red player number. The team name and number are outlined in gold and feature a drop shadow.

1995–1999: This jersey features a striking hawk in the center, clutching a basketball in its talons. “Hawks” is written above the bird’s outstretched wings, and each player number is written above “Hawks.” The text, sleeves, and neck are outlined in gold, black, and red.

1999–2001: The letters and numbers continue to be red and outlined in gold and black, but the intimidating hawk no longer appears on the jersey. A bold red stripe goes down both sides and is trimmed in gold and black.

2007–2010: Gold is abandoned during this uniform change. Blue takes the stage on the team name and player number, as well as on a thick swath on each side of the jersey. The letters and numbers are outlined in red, and a thinner stripe accents the sides as well.

2010–2014: The design of this jersey is very similar to its immediate predecessor, but the neck gets reshaped into a V.

2014–2015: The major change of note here is the small addition of a bit of gold at the back of the neckline.

2015–2017: Today’s Hawk jersey has no trace of blue. Instead, it’s gone to a more simple design. The side stripes are eliminated, and volt green is added to the color palette. This bright green outlines the red team name across the front and is the main attraction of the number, which is outlined in red. The base fabric of the jersey features a V-shaped feather pattern.

Are you all about representing your Hawks, whether you’re watching the game, cheering from the stands, or heading to your neighborhood ball court? Be sure to check out the Atlanta gear at Fanatics.com. You won’t be disappointed.

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Hitting the Back of the Net in the Champions League

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Champions League Top Scorers

While it’s not America’s most popular sport, soccer commands the attention of the rest of the world as the “Beautiful Game.” No competition pits so many of the best teams and players against each other than the Champions League. Hosted by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Champions League is a multi-tiered competition involving group and knockout stages. The final, a last 90-minute outing between the two best teams, actually draws more eyeballs than the Big Game in the NFL!

While it takes a team to make it to the final game or to win the competition, individual brilliance is appreciated. Here are the names of the clubs and players you need to know, both from years past and some of today’s starting XIs, when it comes to slotting the ball into the net in the Champions League.

Golden Boots

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Even under the bright lights of some of the world’s biggest sporting competitions, singular players can shine by scoring goals. No one player has scored more goals than Real Madrid’s striker Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward is closing in on the century mark, a feat no other player has accomplished in the Champions League. However, he isn’t alone in making this climb.

The other household name player Lionel Messi sits only three goals behind Ronaldo. The FC Barcelona forward and Argentinian footballing prodigy continues to keep pace with his peers. In fact, these two players have each won the most coveted award in soccer, the FIFA Ballon d’Or, multiple times. Essentially soccer’s most valuable player award, Ronaldo and Messi are the only two to win the award over the last nine years.

It’s not just strikers from La Liga who have won the award – several of the best strikers in the Premier League’s biggest clubs have made their mark in the Champions League as well. Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry scored over 50 goals, seven more than former crosstown rival Didier Drogba, who scored 44 goals for Chelsea.

Target Practice

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While every goal counts the same, certain teams have a propensity to score more frequently from different locations on the pitch. Two clubs, La Liga giant FC Barcelona and the beloved Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, most frequently score inside the area. Each of these clubs has scored 18 goals in the 2016 Champions League Group Stage matches from this location.

Three clubs have specialized in scoring from outside the area with Juventus’ Bianconeri leading the charge. They boast two of the Serie A’s most dynamic strikers, Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Dybala, who are both capable of netting a worldie.

When it comes to penalties, several teams have shown success in converting their chances. One of these is the Bundesliga’s champions-elect Bayern Munich. While the club converted two penalty attempts this season, they know just how important these chances are – just ask those Bayern players who lost to Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final on penalties.

Weapon of Choice

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While there are many locations to score goals from, there are also a few options a player may use to send that ball into the net. Whether they’re using their head or their weak or strong foot, each goal is crucial to advancing in the tournament. No one has scored more goals with their left foot in the 2016 Champions League than Lionel Messi.

However, behind him is Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian winger was part of Leicester City’s unprecedented Premier League title victory in the 2015-16 season and has been a key figure in their advancement to the round of 16 in the Champions League.

Edinson Cavani doesn’t just specialize with his right foot – which has helped him score four goals for Paris Saint-Germain – he’s also got a good head on his shoulders. The Uruguayan forward has sent two goals into the net with the use of his noggin, matching the efforts of other star players like S.S.C. Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik or Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.

Taking Their Shot

Whether your favorite team plays in England, France, Germany, or Spain, there’s no denying the quality of competition in the Champions League. Cheer on your favorite side with the best officially licensed club merchandise and apparel at Fanatics.

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The Evolution of the NBA All-Star Jersey

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Starting Lineup

The idea of an NBA All-Star game was conceived in 1951 after a meeting took place between Haskell Cohen, an NBA publicist, and Walter Brown, then owner of the Boston Celtics.

Cohen and Brown wanted to introduce the All-Star game during the college scandals of the time. Point-shaving misconduct infiltrated the NCAA in the 1951 season, giving basketball a “black eye.” At the time, college teams would intentionally control the scores of their game – ultimately determining the winner of certain bets against a point spread. Still, Brown pushed forward with his idea; he was so confident that he pledged to cover the full cost as well as any losses associated with the risky venture.

Brown was also warned by Maurice Podoloff, the NBA commissioner at the time, to call the game off due to the fear of ticket sales flopping and public shame. The game proved to be a huge success, with around 10,000 fans flocking to Boston Garden to experience the coast-to-coast showdown. The Eastern conference emerged victorious (111–94), with “Easy” Ed Macauley – center and power forward for the Boston Celtics – leading the scorers with 20. Big Ed also played a pivotal role in containing league superstar George Mikan to only 12 points.

In the end, the All-Star match was a smash hit among basketball fans and changed the public view of the once-corrupt sport. The NBA adopted the game as an annual tradition and has made the midseason event a staple in the league since.

Looking Back to Look Forward

The NBA All-Star game has become a celebrated event that allows players and fans alike to enjoy an all-out coast-to-coast basketball exhibition match. Teams are crafted through a democratic process, with the starting lineup selected from a fan ballot, and the reserves voted on by the head coaches of each conference. Coaches are prohibited from advocating players from their own team.

Over the years, exceptional players have filled the All-Star rosters – setting the mark high for future All-Stars aiming to surpass them. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant – both former superstars of the Los Angeles Lakershold the best individual records for the most games played and most games started (Abdul-Jabbar is tied for second place for most games started with Bob Cousy and Michael Jordan – they each have started 13 times).

Earlier this year, the NBA announced that the 66th All-Star game would take place at the Smoothie King Center – the home nest of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Big Easy will have more than Mardi Gras to celebrate next year, as the league’s top players will soon congregate to face off in an intense coast-to-coast showdown!

Read on to see how the Eastern and Western Conferences have modified their #NBAAllStar jerseys throughout the course of this legendary game.

Notable Jersey Changes

GIF of the NBA All-Star Jersey Evolution over the years

1951:

The inaugural All-Star jersey models a basic design with a simple blue colorway. Jersey numbers are placed in the center and surrounded by six stars.

1962:

Eastern and Western Conference identifiers are added above the jersey numbers, while the stars remain in place. A thick-cut stripe runs down both sides of the jersey and features six stars on the shorts.

1969:

The league – striving to achieve a more minimal look – eliminates the stars on the jersey.

1975:

The Phoenix Suns flare appears on the jersey to reflect the All-Star game is taking place in Phoenix during the 1974–75 season. For the first time, the jerseys undergo a major color transformation, as the Eastern Conference utilizes purple as their primary color. Flames are added on either side of the shorts and host players’ respective conference identifier (East or West).

1979:

The Western Conference switches things up by utilizing a darker shade of red as their primary jersey color. East and West Coast identifiers slope down the center of the torso, with the jersey number lingering underneath. A stripe – decorated with stars on either side – is added to the shoulders.

1982:

The Eastern Conference opts for a white jersey with red accents. “All Stars” is now perched above the jersey number – a different font is introduced this year. The East and West designations now appear on the shorts. They tuck in their tops as well, which enables players to flaunt their red-and-black waistbands.

1984:

The All-Star team reverts to solid red as the primary color. Blue and white trim align the arm openings, and two rows of multicolored stars run down the length of the jersey.  

1991–1994:

The home conference makes use of a white jersey with red and blue trim. The jersey number remains in the middle but sits on top of a large 3-D star. “NBA” lurks above the number in block-style fashion, while “All-Stars” is below it. During this time, the visiting division switches between blue and red jerseys. The official NBA logo appears on the upper left side of the chest.

1995:

The All-Star game returns to Phoenix and honors the Grand Canyon State by featuring a cactus in front of an orange star. The jersey numbers are moved to the upper left side of the torso, and “NBA All Stars” is placed toward the bottom.  

2003:

The NBA logo is now visible in two different areas of the jersey. Multicolored stars run along the sides of the jersey, and the All-Stars revert to using a red, white, and blue color palette. Conference identifiers (East and West) stack vertically on the left side of the players’ shorts.

2007:

The league modifies the red and blue colors, opting for a darker hue. The conference titles are now in cursive, and the jersey numbers are reduced in size. A star is placed on the upper-right side of the torso; the NBA logo is on the inside. For the first time, the Adidas three-stripe pattern is seen on the sides of the jersey.

2010:

The Adidas logo sits adjacent to the NBA star logo. The font used for the letters and numbers is also slightly modified. Players’ names sit beneath their numbers on the backside of the jersey.

2014:

For the first time in All-Star history, the jerseys have sleeves. The numbers are moved from the center to the sleeves, and the backs of the jerseys feature players’ names above their numbers once again. The teams utilize the 2014 New Orleans All-Star logo as the centerpiece of their jerseys.

2016:

The All-Stars aim for a minimalist design. The jersey – drawing inspiration from the city and culture of Toronto – features the Toronto skyline across the back. The NBA logo is decorated with a maple leaf below the neck (also on the back of the jersey), which pays tribute to Canada’s national symbol. Simple, bold numbers and letters define and refine this jersey.

From the East to the West, be sure to root for only the best! Support the conference of your choice by rockin’ the latest jerseys of the hottest All-Stars this year. Head over to Fanatics – the one-stop shop for all your NBA fan gear and memorabilia.

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The NBA All-Star Game 2017 Series Simulation


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2017 NBA All-Star Game is slated to take place on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. in New Orleans. This marks the third time the Big Easy has hosted the best and brightest professional basketball stars. This year’s rosters show plenty of big names, and the 66th installment of the annual exhibition is definitely not short on premium players.

To get a feel for what might happen, we decided to run a best-of-seven series game simulation to see how the teams will do, which conference would come out on top, and how individual players will fare on the court. If you’re into spoilers, continue reading to see how this year’s All-Star Game just might play out.

Building an All-Star Roster

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As with every All-Star matchup, the best players from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will face off. This year, the Eastern starters include Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler. Representing the West, we have Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis.

The reserves for each conference are also not lacking for star power, as the East features players such as John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Paul George, Kevin Love (being replaced by Carmelo Anthony due to injury), and Paul Millsap. The West’s bench will hold standouts like Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Draymond Green.

It’s no surprise to see many selections from the two most recent conference winners – with three players from the Cavs, and the Warriors sending four. These aren’t the only teams and players making waves this season, though: Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 shooting guard, is excelling in his play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Russell Westbrook is on his way to averaging a triple-double for the Thunder down in OKC.

A Simulated Series Sweep

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We built each All-Star team and had them play against one another on a neutral court in a simulated series. We distributed players so they would all play an equal amount of time (as close to equal as we could get) and crunched the data to see who came out on top.

The winner? The Western Conference. They not only won the seven-game series but also swept it – winning the first four games and rendering the rest of the series unnecessary. The averages of points scored across the four games were 107.5 for the West and 95.5 for the East.

While this may or may not be a spoiler, it looks like the Western Conference All-Stars may win the game on Sunday.

Standouts on the Court

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There were more than a few standout players from our sim. James Harden was the player of the game for Game 1, followed by DeMarcus Cousins for Game 2, Stephen Curry for Game 3, and Russell Westbrook for Game 4. DeMarcus Cousins, incidentally, was the highest-scoring overall player in the series, landing a 13.8-point average per game (on the Eastern Conference side, Paul George was tops in this department with 11.9 points per game).

Not to be outdone, LeBron grabbed an average of 8.0 rebounds per game, and Russell Westbrook notched an impressive 4.3 assists per game. On the rebounds front, Anthony Davis topped out at 7.5 per game for the Western Conference, and for assists, John Wall checked in as the best in the Eastern Conference with 4.0 per game.

Game On

While we’ll have to watch this year’s All-Star Game play out to see if these predictions come true, we’re likely in for a feisty one, as scores are typically pretty high, and there is much fanfare from the intros to the halftime show and throughout the game itself.

If you’re going to check out this year’s All-Star Game, rest assured that Fanatics has pretty sweet All-Star Game gear, where you can grab your favorite player’s jersey with this year’s unique colors.

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Running Wild in the Champions League

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Champions League Runaways

Fans may cover larger distances to see their team play in a Champions League match, but players traverse many meters (or kilometers) themselves during matches. While they don’t earn frequent flier miles or spend 90 minutes in first class, they’re counting on their legs – and not the captain or crew – to deliver a Champions League medal.

While the pace isn’t everything, it’s worth recognizing the importance of a fit side, capable of keeping up the intensity for sustained periods of play. Which players vying for Champions League glory this season have logged the most miles? Who has covered the most distance? Continue reading to see which wing-footed footballers cover every blade of grass two or three times per match.

Counting Their Steps

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In the six matches played in the Champions League group stages, no individual covered more ground than Aleksandr Gatskan. The Moldovan midfielder plays for FC Rostov and played 540 minutes (not including stoppage time) of the team’s group stage matches against Atlético Madrid, FC Bayern Munich, and PSV Eindhoven. While Gatskan didn’t score any goals, it’s possible his efforts to cover over 71,000 meters in six games helped his side upset the German giants of Bayern 3-2.

Three players for Atlético Madrid make the top 10 in total distance – Gabi, Koke, and Antoine Griezmann. Two midfielders and a forward covered over 210,000 meters combined, which is 210 kilometers or over 130 miles. These “Los Rojiblancos” certainly turn heads as they continue to motor around the pitch.

Meaningful Minutes

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While midfielders and attackers have to cover plenty of ground, don’t forget there are plenty of defenders responsible for being engaged in both phases of the game. Patrice Evra, a key defender for Juventus, only played 500 minutes but managed to log over 54,000 meters.

Some of the game’s biggest names, especially in the group stages, don’t play as many minutes as fans might like but still cover ridiculous distances. Take MSN – Messi, Suárez, and Neymar – the attacking trio for FC Barcelona. Lionel “Leo” Messi covered just shy of 40,000 meters in 450 minutes of play. Luis Suárez managed to cover over 46,000 meters in the same amount of time, while Neymar managed over 47,000 meters in less than 440 minutes.

Track on Field

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When it comes to the speed at which this distance is covered, it’s a photo finish at over 140 meters per minute. No other men cover as many meters per minute as Atlético Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez and Real Madrid’s Lucas Vázquez. These two players offer their clubs extreme versatility due to their pace and ability to play in multiple spots. As such, they get the opportunity to do the dirty work and track forward and back throughout the game.

Tracking Back

Leave covering every blade of grass on the pitch to the players. Cover up for the matches in your team’s crest and colors with Fanatics, where you’re able to find the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel for every Champions League side.

The Evolution of the New York Rangers Jersey

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The beloved New York Rangers came together in 1926 when “Tex” Rickard, president of Madison Square Garden, decided that one New York hockey team just wasn’t enough. The Rangers were an expansion team in addition to the New York Americans at the time. The Americans played at Madison Square Garden but weren’t owned by the facility. To form a team that could compete with the Americans, Rickard asked Conn Smythe, a hockey guru, to leave the University of Toronto to gather the best hockey players he could find in North America.

The Rangers’ name came about when the media heard that Smythe was gathering together an army of great hockey players. The media dubbed the team “Tex’s Rangers,” and the name stuck. After all the hard work putting together a team, Smythe left before the season could even start due to several disagreements with Garden management.  However, that didn’t stop Rickard from getting his team ready for the 1926-1927 season.

The early success of the team was partly due to Smythe’s work but was more so a product of Lester Patrick, the new coach for the New York Rangers. No other team had won a Stanley Cup title in its first two seasons. Not only did the Rangers win the Stanley Cup during their second season, but they also made it to the finals four times in their first seven years. The Rangers have made it to the finals 11 times, and they own four Stanley Cup trophies from 1928, 1933, 1940, and 1994.

Historical Players

Brian Leetch played for 18 NHL seasons and was with the Rangers from 1987 to 2003. The Rangers drafted Leetch ninth overall, who was considered the league’s best rookie after putting up 23 goals and 48 assists his rookie season. Over the course of his career, Leetch was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, Lester Patrick Trophy, and the James Norris Memorial Trophy twice. As one of only 10 American ice hockey men’s players, Leetch competed in the Winter Olympic Winter Games three times.  

One of the all-time leading NHL scorers was Rangers’ Mark Messier. Messier was nicknamed “the Moose” for his size and determination and was added to the Rangers’ roster when he was traded from the Edmonton Oilers before to the 1991-1992 season. Leading the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup in 1994, Messier is the only captain in NHL history to lead two different organizations to a Stanley Cup win.

Rod Gilbert, No. 7, was the first Rangers player to have his jersey retired. After a lengthy career (1962–1978), Gilbert was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. During his career, the right winger was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy as well as the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his persistence.

Notable Jersey Changes

 

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1928: The Rangers win their first Stanley Cup title this year in their dominant blue jerseys. Tex Rickard, the owner, makes sure that the Rangers stand apart from the Americans by placing the word “Rangers” diagonally across their jerseys, unlike the Americans who have their name horizontally on their jerseys.

1942: The team keeps the same concept as the 1928 style. However, the uniforms start to look more like jerseys rather than sweaters. 

1946: This year, the Rangers go with a different placement of their name. Instead of having the name diagonal on the jersey, “Rangers” is now placed in a semi-circle above the players’ numbers.

1959: The jersey is changed to a lace-up jersey, and the name is back to its original placement. With the name now back to being diagonal, the players’ numbers are moved to both arms.

1972: Blue changes to white on the jersey. The team continues with the lace-up design but adds a large blue stripe to the shoulder with two white stripes and one red stripe featured on either side. The numbers are kept on both arms.

1977: Again, the placement of the name is changed on the front of the jersey. The Rangers add a crest on the front with “New York” on top and “Rangers” diagonally across. The jerseys drift away from the lace-up concept, and blue is added to the top of the arms and shoulders with a red strip breaking up the white and blue coloring.

1994: The Rangers keep changing the name placement on the jerseys, but always go back to the original diagonal look. Instead of having blue on the entire sleeve, the blue is moved to the bottom of the sleeve – leaving the jersey predominantly white.

2008: Back to the blue! The Rangers switch up the jerseys by replacing the white with blue, leaving the name diagonally across the jerseys.

Do you want to join in on the Broadway Blueshirts’ history? Head over to Fanatics.com to pick up a Rangers jersey of your own!

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The Evolution of the Los Angeles Lakers Jersey

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From Minneapolis to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Lakers are a big part of NBA history; however, their start began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1947 – before the NBA even existed. Back then, the Lakers were a part of the National Basketball League but made the jump to the Basketball Association of America after their first season. When the NBA was established in 1949 after the BAA merged with the NBL, the Lakers joined it after their second season ended.

The Minnesota team was named the Lakers in direct reference to the state’s motto: “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” While California does not have the same distinction, the team kept the name when it moved to Los Angeles in 1960. They then became the L.A. Lakers.  

The Lakers are regular participants in the NBA’s postseason, marking 60 appearances in the playoffs out of a possible 69. They won their first NBA Finals game, as the Minneapolis Lakers, by beating out the Syracuse Nationals in the 1949-50 season.

Since then, the Lakers have strung together an impressive 15 additional championships, most recently during the 2009-10 season, and have paved the way for a multitude of the game’s biggest stars. Kobe Bryant, who recently retired, played for the Lakers for the entirety of his 20-year NBA career. Other notable players include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played in L.A. for 14 seasons; Elgin Baylor, a former Minneapolis Laker who made the move east with the team; the late great Wilt Chamberlain, who spent his last five NBA seasons with the Lakers; Magic Johnson, whose entire career also took place with the Lakers; Shaquille O’Neal, who played for many teams but spent the biggest bulk of his career with L.A.; and Jerry West, a 14-time All-Star who played back in the Lakers’ early days when they first came to L.A.

Since the move to L.A., the Lakers jersey has undergone just a few evolutions. Let’s check them out.

The Lakers Jersey Over the Years

LA Lakers

1960–1966: The white inaugural L.A. Lakers jersey is quite different from what we’re familiar with today. The overall bright white design is accented by two shades of blue. The player numbers are a dark blue and are highlighted by a lighter blue drop shadow. A blue double line trims the U-shaped neck and arms, and “Los Angeles” appears on the front in a cursive font.

1966–1972: In 1966, the iconic Lakers gold makes its first appearance in L.A., as the home jersey changes from white to gold. The gold color is familiar to older fans, as it is a facet of their first uniform in Minneapolis. The gold Lakers jersey – paired with purple – is trimmed in white, while the player numbers are trimmed in purple. “Lakers” appears above the numbers in a flowing block script, which trends up toward the left shoulder at an angle.

1978–1999: This uniform is familiar to many basketball fans, as it appears during what’s known as the “Showtime Era.” The gold jersey remains trimmed with purple and white, which is reflected in the player numbers – purple paired with white trim. The script for the team name remains virtually unchanged, although it’s no longer at an angle.

1999–2017: The modern-day Lakers home jersey continues the purple-and-gold scheme, but it now features a V-neck and a solid purple stripe flanked by thin white stripes on the sides from the armpit to the waist. The player numbers are white and outlined in purple, but the drop shadow of years past has been removed.

If you’re ready to head to Staples Center to watch your Lakers take on their next opponent, or the court you’re presiding over in your living room, check out the sweet Lakers gear you can get at Fanatics.com.

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The Evolution of the Orlando Magic Jersey

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The Magic Begins

In the late ’80s, Orlando businessman Jim Hewitt had an interest in bringing an NBA franchise to Central Florida. With the help of Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams, Hewitt began promoting the would-be team and garnering interest from locals, convincing them to put down deposits on season tickets.

The NBA listened, and that year, four new NBA franchises were born. In addition to the Orlando Magic, basketball fans in Charlotte (the Hornets), Miami (the Heat), and Minnesota (the Timberwolves) welcomed new teams to their towns.

What’s most interesting is that the public was eager to name the Orlando team even before a franchise was awarded – the naming contest run by Hewitt and Williams attracted more than 4,000 entries. The four finalists were “Heat,” “Tropics,” “Juice,” and “Magic.” After a visit by Williams’ 7-year-old daughter, after which she said Orlando was like magic, the men decided to whittle down to that very name.

The Heart of Florida

While the Magic have yet to win the NBA Finals, they have made the playoffs in half of the seasons they’ve hit the court (14 out of 28 since 1989). They won their first conference title in 1995, a mere six years after becoming a franchise and again in 2009. Their last playoff appearance was during the 2011-12 season, but they beat a hasty retreat after losing in the first round.

However, despite never having hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the Magic have manned the court with quite a few household names. Notable former players include Dwight Howard, who played for the Magic for eight seasons; Nick Anderson, one of the first players who joined the expansion club in 1989; Tracy McGrady, who was with the Magic for four seasons; Horace Grant, who played for seven years with the Bulls, followed by seven with the Magic (though not consecutively); and Shaquille O’Neal, who was chosen No. 1 overall by the Magic in 1992 and spent the first four seasons of his NBA career in Orlando.

Over the team’s nearly three decades of history, the Magic jersey has undergone just a few transformations. Let’s check them out.

The Orlando Magic Jersey Over Time

Orlando-Magic

1989–1998: The Magic home jersey is a sharp and classic pinstripe white, with a thick blue trim highlighting the U-shaped neck and arms. A silver star stands in place of the “a” and dotting the “i” in “Magic.”

1998–2000: The Magic jersey gets an upgrade after the pinstripes run their course. In addition to a V-shaped neck and lack of pinstripes, the uniform is made of “dazzle material.” Dazzle material is a staple in the WNBA but doesn’t make its first appearance in the NBA until now. It also features subtle stars woven into the material. The logo is similar to its predecessor, with stars standing in for the “a” and above the “i.”

2000–2003: Not much changes during this time, aside from a secondary logo added to the front of the shorts and a wordmark added to the back.

2003–2008: In 2003, the stylized stars on the team’s name disappear, and “MAGIC” pops on the front of the jersey in blue block letters outlined in gray. The trim on the top stays blue but appears as a double line instead of a solid thick line. A star is placed at the point of the “V” on the neck of the uniform.

2008–2017: The pinstripes come back in 2008, although they are further spaced apart than those on the first uniform. As well, large stars no longer adorn the uniform. The top now features block letters in blue (which are also outlined in black) and a unique double-lined blue trim around the neck. The arms, however, feature no trim.

Are you ready to head to Amway Center to watch your Magic do their thing? First, check out the stellar selection of Magic gear at www.Fanatics.com.

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