NBA City Edition Jerseys: Atlantic Division


Among all sports merchandise, NBA jerseys are arguably the most iconic team gear. As of the 2017-18 season, the NBA switched from Adidas to Nike, and with that change has come a slew of criticism and new uniforms. Nike faced some growing pains as it rolled out an NBA line, largely centered on the multiple instances of ripped jerseys. Conversely, midway through the company’s inaugural season, Nike received widespread praise for their new City Edition jerseys. These special edition jerseys celebrate features specific to teams’ locations and franchise histories. Let’s take a look at what East Coast and Canadian history the Atlantic Division represents.

Parquet Party in the Garden


The Boston Celtics have the best record in the Eastern Conference, so it only fits Boston’s City Edition jerseys are among the cleverest of any team. Close inspection of these uniforms reveals a parquet pattern that mirrors the design of the Celtics’ home floor. According to Nike, gray, “the color of unity,” was selected out of respect to the faithful Boston fans. Fans will be able to catch Celtics stars Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum donning this tribute to Boston later this season.

Bridging the Boroughs


Although the Brooklyn Nets have been out of the hunt for the past few seasons, these jerseys are championship caliber. The team kept its classic black and white colorway while adding a pattern resembling cables. These cables pay homage to the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Soon. #BrooklynUnite

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The Hottest Jerseys


These special edition New York Knicks jerseys credit the city’s brave firefighters. The uniforms feature a New York City Fire Department crest, as well as a ladder and fire hydrant. It’s a refreshing sight to see superstar athletes give a nod to the unsung, everyday heroes of the city.

An American Classic


In the summer of 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially signed. Centuries later, Philadelphia’s NBA team – the 76ers – incorporates this rich American history into its jerseys. The script style writing mimics the signatures on America’s most revered document, and the color closely resembles that of parchment.

Hold On, We’re Going North


Drake has become the world’s most notorious Toronto Raptors fan. He can be seen at many of the team’s halftime shows, and even helps the team’s TV announcers commentate Toronto’s games. These jerseys utilize the iconic colors from Drake’s label, OVO. The chest features the word “North,” which comes from the team’s motto, “We The North.”


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Represent Your City

If Kyrie Irving and Kristaps Porziņģis pay respect to their cities, fans should take this opportunity to celebrate their history as well. From the Brooklyn Bridge’s cables to one of the U.S.’ most treasured documents, these jerseys contain much more character than ordinary NBA merchandise. Pick up your authentic Nike City Edition gear at Fanatics!


Rivalries Over Time: Bulls vs. Pistons

In the world of sports, a clash of enemies often prompts the greatest play. In that spirit, basketball fans everywhere have good reason to be grateful for the PistonsBulls rivalry. After all, which opponent animated Michael Jordan more in the ’80s and early ’90s, when he served up some of the most impressive seasons the league had ever seen? Or how about the play of Isiah Thomas, whom many consider the most compelling matchup of Jordan’s career? And if you appreciate chippy play, the rivalry delivered all the elbows a fan could ask for. There’s a reason the Pistons were known as the NBA’s “Bad Boys” in that era, and they were especially brutal when the Bulls came to town.

But for all the bad blood and big-game performances, which team has actually come out on top more often? We tracked the all-time head-to-head records of these franchises to see which squad dominated in each decade, and which team holds the lead today. Ready to see which side of this fabled rivalry owns bragging rights currently? Then keep reading.

50 Years of Fierce Play

From their first meeting in 1966 up until the early ’80s, these teams’ records were remarkably even: Neither team ever got more than a handful of games ahead of the other. Then, as the ’80s advanced, the Pistons opened up a sizeable gap on their foe, much to the frustration of a young Michael Jordan. From 1988 through 1990, Detroit defeated the Bulls in three consecutive playoff matchups. From there, however, the Pistons’ win count flattened, thanks to the efforts of His Airness. The 1991-93 years brought the first of Jordan’s three-peats, and the Bulls eclipsed the Pistons in head-to-head wins in 1996 when M.J. was en route to his second.

Zeke put up 30, 10 assists and 5 steals in '86 to take home the hardware. #TBT

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The beginning of the 21st century, however, ushered in a period of Detroit dominance. The Pistons’ recovered the head-to-head lead in 2000 and expanded it during a decade in which they won a title and generally became playoff fixtures. But the tide began to turn in 2008, the first of seven consecutive playoff seasons for Chicago. As of our latest count, the teams are virtually tied and have stayed neck and neck since 2013.

Franchise Greats Against Their Foes

It would be insulting to assume the anti-Piston scoring title would go to any Bull other than Air Jordan. Though the Pistons infamously employed the “Jordan Rules” to smother him with physical play, Jordan ultimately dinged Detroit for more than 2,400 points over his seasons in Chicago. He had help, however: His sidekick, Scottie Pippen poured in 1,097 against the Pistons as well. Other top Bulls scorers against the Pistons hail from earlier eras, including Bob Love and Jerry Sloan, who starred in the ’60s and ’70s.

On the Pistons side, Isiah Thomas led all players in drawing blood against the Bulls, notching 1,846 against them. He shares the list with some of his “Bad Boys” teammates, including Joe Dumar and Bill Laimbeer who scored more than 1,100 points apiece against Chicago. Second place went to Dave Bing, a Detroit legend who later became the city’s mayor. Hall of Famer Bob Lanier rounded out the list, thanks to notable seasons with the Pistons in the ’70s.

Putting Bad Blood to Bed?

Beyond all the nostalgia our findings inspire, does the Pistons-Bulls rivalry have any shot at revival? While neither team can currently be counted among the NBA’s most feared franchises, don’t count out another chapter of tension between these teams in the future. After all, it only took the Bull’s 1984 draft pick of Jordan to initiate the greatest period in the rivalry’s history. Why couldn’t Detroit and Chicago be butting heads again soon for Eastern Conference supremacy?

But don’t wait until that day arrives to stock up on the latest and greatest team gear. Fanatics offers the widest range of NBA apparel, so you can be the freshest fan out there.


To compile the data presented in this project, we utilized information from, a database of historical statistics on the performance of professional basketball teams and players. We included information only from games in which the Pistons and Bulls competed against each other, dating from October 1966 through November 2017. No statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on raw win totals alone.



MLB Hometown Heroes: California


California is the original stomping ground for scads of MLB players, including several dozens who played their way into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. California is a large state encompassing many weather patterns depending on latitude and proximity to the coast, but often, California weather tends to be more temperate than other states, which means there is plenty of time for outdoor sports – including baseball.

Due to California’s large population (hovering near 40 million), it’s no surprise that many MLB players hail from the Golden State. Let’s take a look at the areas contributing the most players, and where the Hall of Famers got their early starts.

All Hail From the Golden State


MLB player hometowns are certainly spread all over California, but it’s not a stretch to see that the bigger population centers contributed the most players to the majors. Los Angeles has the biggest hometown population of California players, with 316 total. Players from the City of Angels include Tony Gwynn, Bobby Doerr, Joe Gordon, and Eddie Murray, all Hall of Famers. Gwynn was one of the most productive players from LA. He spent 20 years in the majors, all for the San Diego Padres. He was a 15-time All-Star, received five Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and won the batting title eight times. His .338 career batting average probably had something to do with that.

The second biggest population of California players comes from San Francisco: 227. Tony Lazzeri, Harry Heilmann, and “High Pockets” Kelly once called San Francisco home, and again, these are all Hall of Famers. San Diego contributed the third most at 170. Hall of Famer Ted Williams hails from San Diego, as do other players like Graig Nettles, Adrián González, and Adam Jones. Williams spent 19 years in the majors, all with the Red Sox, and went to the All-Star Game each season, was the batting title recipient six times, and had an overall career batting average of .344.

LA County Represent


As mentioned above, Los Angeles contributed the most MLB players. LA County is more than a county, though – it’s huge and encompasses many smaller municipalities that likewise have helped raise many future players into the majors. Long Beach, for example, contributed 101 players to the major leagues, including players like Jeff Burroughs, who played for 16 seasons with two All-Star Game appearances. He also won the 1974 American League MVP award and led the National League in on-base percentage in 1978.

Santa Monica is also the hometown of a bevy of baseball players – 57 to be exact. Dwight Evans, for example, played in the majors for two solid decades while earning three All-Star appearances, eight Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers.  

Pasadena is another locale with plenty of contributions to the MLB. Of its 41 players, we find guys like Mike McCormick, a southpaw pitcher who played in the majors for 16 seasons, went to the All-Star Game four times and nabbed the National League Cy Young Award in 1967 when he played for the San Francisco Giants.

David Wells, another lefty pitcher, hails from Torrance, California, along with 49 other MLB players. Wells was a three-time All-Star over his 21-year career and took home two World Series titles – once with the Toronto Blue Jays, and once with the New York Yankees. He also threw a perfect game with the Yankees, the 15th in MLB history.  

Hallowed Hometowns of HOFers


Over two dozen fellas who found their way to Cooperstown, New York, started their lives in California. The Yankee Clipper himself, Joe DiMaggio, was born in Martinez, and that he wound up in the Hall of Fame was no surprise to anybody. During his playing time with the Yankees (a 13-year stint, interrupted only by three years spent in the military), he was a perennial All-Star (all 13 seasons he played), plus he helped his team win the World Series nine times.

Another HOFer from California is pitcher Randy Johnson, who hails from Walnut Creek. Johnson won the Cy Young Award five times, the World Series as a part of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, and was a 10-time All-Star select. After his retirement (once he spent 22 years in the bigs), his career ERA was 3.29.

Tom Seaver is another pitcher who was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Seaver, from Fresno, won the Cy Young Award three times, was a 12-time All-Star, and won the 1969 World Series as a part of the New York Mets pitching staff. Seaver is one of a handful who is a member of the 3,000 Strikeouts Club, which he accomplished in 1981.

Support Your Favorite California Boys

No matter which MLB team you follow, chances are there is at least one who hails from California. Whether you’ve been following their career path since they left the Golden State, or just found out your favorite pitcher is from LA, now is as good of a time as any to head to Fanatics to get some fresh new MLB gear.


Trade History: Houston Astros

The Houston Astros, 2017 World Series champions, got their start in the early ’60s when an ownership group from Houston was awarded a franchise in the National League. First known as the Houston Colt .45s (becoming the Astros in 1965), the club took a little while to reach the .500 mark (1969). From there, they steadily gained a loyal fan base and began making appearances in the postseason in the ’80s. The team went to the World Series in 2005 but finally won their first championship in 2017 after beating the Dodgers 4-3.

Like all major league baseball teams, trades are a part of the biz for the Houston Astros. Some players come, and some players go, but there are those who make a big impact on a team’s effort to win it all. As we go into a new MLB season, let’s take a look at some of the trades that have shaped the team.

Trading in the Leagues

The Houston Astros were originally a National League team, but they now play in the American League West division. This division was created in 1969, but Houston wasn’t a part of it until 2013 when there were big changes in MLB: The leagues were realigned, settling on 15 teams per league, and one additional wild-card playoff team (per league) was added.

Over their history, the Astros have had 462 total trades with other teams. Within the AL West (which, again, they weren’t a part of until 2013), they’ve had 50 transactions. Looking at totals in the two leagues, though, they’ve traded more frequently in the NL (263) than with the AL (199).

As with most teams looking at postseason contention, there are big trades that are often made near the end of summer as the season winds down. The 2017 Astros were definitely busy, trying to plug in a few big-name players to help them bring home their first Commissioner’s Trophy. Justin Verlander was one such big name. They snagged the veteran hurler in a trade with the Detroit Tigers, as they had to contend with catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey that sent the team’s series against the Rangers to a new locale.

Astros Trade Count

Looking over the MLB team by team, there is a few that stand out as regular trade partners. At the top of the list lies the St. Louis Cardinals with 37 trades. The Astros were in their division (the NL Central) from 1994 until 2012, so it looks like they traded within their division quite often when they were in the National League. The second most common trade partner has been the Atlanta Braves with 26 – another NL team but in a different division. The third most frequent trade partner has been the Philadelphia Phillies – again, an NL team but in a different division.

In addition to trade-deadline deals that helped the Astros win their first World Series, there have been other significant trades throughout the team’s history. Jeff Bagwell is one of the biggest in Astros history. In 1990, the Red Sox traded Bagwell, then a minor leaguer, to Houston for a relief pitcher named Larry Andersen. Andersen departed Boston just a month later, eventually signing with the Padres, but Bagwell played in Houston for 15 years, had a 0.297 batting average and a 0.408 on-base percentage, was the 1994 MVP, played in the 2005 World Series, and eventually found his way into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Go ‘stros

Have a hankerin’ to get some new Astros swag to go with your World Series champs T-shirts? Before you head down to Minute Maid Park to cheer the defending champs on, check out all the sweet Astros gear just waiting for you at Fanatics.


Who is Sister Jean? Introducing Loyola Chicago’s Instantly Famous Chaplain

Unfathomable surprises have defined March Madness, beginning with the UMBC Retrievers’ upset of top overall seed Virginia that marked the first time a 16-seed has ever toppled a No. 1 seed.

But not even the biggest upset in history could keep Sister Jean from becoming the most memorable face of the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament:

So who is Sister Jean, the instantly famous March Madness sensation?

Jean Dolores Schmidt, or “Sister Jean” as she’s affectionately known by, is a 98-year-old chaplain for the Loyola Chicago Ramblers men’s basketball team. Her cheery interviews and spry optimism made her an overnight sensation after Loyola’s last-second win over Miami in the first round.

She even received congratulations from former president Barack Obama, who thanked her for keeping his bracket in line:

Not even Obama could have forecast what happened next, however. Sister Jean’s popularity snowballed each round as the Ramblers rode their grit and heart to an improbable Final Four berth as a No. 11 seed in a South region that included the likes of Virginia, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Arizona and Tennessee.

While the aura of Sister Jean is a brand new feeling for basketball lovers, it’s nothing new for students, alumni and supporters of the Catholic university in Chicago. She’s something of a folk hero at Loyola, where she’s worked since 1991 and served as a team chaplain since 1994.

However, her ties to the Chicago area start long before the 90’s. Sister Jean arrived at Mundelein College in Chicago in 1961, where she became a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and quickly became involved in the budding civil rights movement. She even watched Loyola’s 1963 national championship – their one and only title – on a black-and-white television.

Fast forward some 55 years, and Loyola fans across the nation are rocking Sister Jean t-shirts featuring her contagious smile and motivational quotes.

Sister Jean may be getting her 15 minutes of fame during this special March Madness run by her Ramblers, but it’s no coincidence. As anyone connected to Loyola Chicago would tell you, she deserves the fame as much as anyone.

Loyola fans can find the best selection of Loyola Chicago Final Four Gear at Fanatics, including Final Four shirts, hats and more. 




Coaching Arcs: Gregg Popovich


Rising to the top spot as a basketball coach is no easy task – you can ask any of the 30 NBA coaches, and they’ll attest to that fact. A combination of hard work, dedication, and determination is the cornerstone of any head coach hopeful, and the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich is no exception.  

Popovich was born in 1949, and since then, has become one of just a handful of NBA coaches who have won a championship at least five times. His journey from the U.S. Air Force Academy to hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy with the San Antonio Spurs five times is inspirational, of course, but goes to show how devotion and commitment to honing his coaching chops really paid off. Let’s take a look at the steps Coach Pop took to reach the top.

Journey to the San Antonio Spurs



Gregg Popovich graduated from Merrillville (Indiana) High School in 1966, and from there, spent four years at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he played basketball all four years and graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in Soviet studies. After serving in the Air Force (and playing on the U.S. Armed Forces basketball team), he began his coaching career when he became the assistant coach of that same team in 1973, where he remained for six years.

In 1979, Pop got a job as an assistant professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he also served as the men’s basketball head coach. He took a sabbatical from 1986 to 1987 and spent some volunteer time with Larry Brown’s Kansas Jayhawks. Popovich then spent one more season with Pomona-Pitzer, and then followed Brown to San Antonio for the 1988-89 season (Brown, who had just won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, departed Lawrence and became the Spurs’ head coach that following year, leading the way for Pop to join him in Texas).  

Popovich started his Spurs career as assistant coach, a job he held from 1988 to 1992, and then held the same position for the Golden State Warriors for two seasons. He then returned to San Antonio in 1994, not as a coach, but as the Spurs’ executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager.  

In 1996, however, Popovich was named head coach and has since led the Spurs and their fans on one heck of a ride. He coached them to their first NBA championship in 1998-99 and added four more over the next couple of decades, the last coming in 2013-14. The team has been a perennial playoff contender since his second year as the Spurs’ head coach, and his legacy will far outlast his tenure on the sidelines.

Spurs Family

Are you a part of the Spurs family and hope to see them march their way through the postseason to snatch up their sixth trophy? Make sure you’re properly attired first by heading to Fanatics, where you’ll find loads of incredible Spurs gear.


The History of Purdue Pete

Purdue University was founded in 1869, and classes began just a few years later in 1874. In 1887, Old Gold and Black were adopted as Purdue’s official colors, and in 1891, and the name “Boilermakers” was adopted for its athletic teams (after it was accused of recruiting athletes from boiler shops).

Several decades later, Purdue adopted its official mascot. It’s a locomotive – yes, really – mounted on an automobile chassis. This mascot, called the Boilermaker Special, made its debut in 1940. Just a few years later, another mascot became entered into Purdue legend, and soon after, became a fixture at sporting events. This burly boilermaker is called “Pete” and still works the Purdue crowds with his giant head, a helmet, a big hammer, and smooth moves.

Let’s go back in time to see where Purdue Pete got his start and how he’s changed over the years.

Let's go! #familyweekend#purduepete #boilermakers

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Purdue Pete’s Origins

Pete’s humble origins began at the Purdue University bookstore when owners Doc Epple and Red Sammons hired artist Art Evans to create an advertising logo. The character didn’t get a name until four years later when the Purdue yearbook, “Debris,” wanted to use him on the cover. When the editors asked Epple for the character’s name, he blurted out “Pete!” for no reason at all, and the name stuck.

Pete has always been a big guy conveying strength, but his form has certainly taken many different shapes over the ensuing decades. He goes to a number of sporting events as well as other community appearances and is well-loved by students, fans, and alumni (despite not being an “official” mascot). Check out how Purdue Pete has changed over the years.

Paper Mache to Modern-Day Pete

Purdue Pete became a sideline mascot in 1956 with a large, heavy paper mache head. He had a square hat, large eyes, and a friendly smile.

In 1963, the head of Purdue Pete was transformed into something much larger. The eyes were wide-set and the smile, perhaps, was a little less sincere.

In 1980, Purdue fans were introduced to a frowny Pete who looked like he meant business. Instead of paper mache, the head was constructed of fiberglass. Pete had angry-looking eyebrows and a downturned smile. He still sported the square hat.

In 1983, a redesigned Pete hit the sidelines. This Pete no longer featured the square hat – instead, he now bore a construction helmet emblazoned with a capital “P.” His eyebrows were bushy and friendlier than the iteration that came before, and he had a more believable head of hair.

Pete, as he appears today, was designed in 1989. He boasts a chiseled face, more reasonable eyebrows, and a lightweight carbon fiber head created by the aviation technology lab on campus. He sports shoulder pads and still carries a hammer.


Whether you’re a fan of Purdue Pete and his sleek, modern design, or you yearn for the old days when he was nothing more than paper mache on chicken wire, Fanatics has everything you need to deck yourself out in Old Black and Gold for game day.


Evolution of the Kentucky Wildcats


The University of Kentucky was established in 1865, and its basketball program got its start a few decades later in 1902. Since then, the team’s done nothing more than becoming the winningest team in the NCAA, reach the Final Four 17 times, and win eight national titles (that’s the second-most of all time). Let’s take a look back at UK’s long and storied history, and how its logo has changed over the years.


Kentucky History

The UK basketball team got started in 1902, and there isn’t a lot known about those early years – in fact, the coach(s) for four out of its first five years is “unknown.”  However, since then, the team’s had several head coaches, but the longest-tenured one is a fellow by the name of Adolph Rupp, who manned the helm for over four decades. During his time with the team, he led them to four national titles, 27 SEC titles, and won 876 games. Due to his long, successful years as Kentucky’s head coach, the team’s home was named in his honor when it opened in 1976.  

The Wildcats have since won four more national titles: one under coach Joe B. Hall in 1978, one under coach Rick Pitino in 1996, one under coach Tubby Smith in 1998. Most recently, they snagged another win over Kansas under current head coach John Calipari in 2012.

That gameday feeling😼 Beat Missouri! #BBN

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Wildcat Logo Evolution

The University of Kentucky’s athletic teams became known as the Wildcats after a football victory over Illinois in 1909. The head of the military department at the school, which was then known as State University, told a group of students the team had fought “like wildcats.” Over time, the nickname stuck and was officially adopted by the university. A few renditions of its logo have included depictions of its mascot, but not all.


The Wildcats logo from this era features a detailed, snarling head of what looks like a bobcat that is superimposed over the outline of Kentucky.


This version includes the university’s letters, “UK,” with a full-bodied wildcat standing behind and over the top. Three of his four feet show claws extended, and he looks ferocious, with his mouth open and teeth exposed.


In 2005, the wildcat disappears from the logo, and only the “UK” remains. It’s in a medium blue, with a white outline around each letter, and the whole logo is complete with a thinner blue line.


The current UK logo is much the same, except the blue is darker and the overlap of the “K” over the “U” isn’t quite as complex and has fewer lines.

Big Blue Nation

Are you ready to root on your Wildcats? Heading to Rupp Arena to see them take on their next SEC opponent? Make sure you head to Fanatics to grab some new UK gear to wear on game day.


Evolution of the Villanova Wildcats


The Villanova Wildcats basketball program has been around since 1920 and has notched two national titles – most recently in 2016. This private Catholic university was founded in 1842 and has a ton of pride in its basketball team every season. Let’s take a look at the team and how the Wildcat logo has changed over the years.


Wildcat History

The Villanova basketball program got its start in 1920 and was helmed by coach Michael Saxe for its first six seasons. There have been several head coaches since, but some have stood out more than the others. Rollie Massimino, for example, coached the Wildcats for 19 years and led his squad on a magical Cinderella run that led to a national title in 1985. Dubbed one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history, the Wildcats were the lowest seed (8) to win a championship and certainly weren’t expected to upend No. 1 seed Georgetown.  

Nova’s second title run was just a couple of years ago. The university hired Jay Wright to lead the team before the 2001-02 season, and after a few years, Villanova was back in the March dance. They made it to the Final Four in 2009 and again in 2016 – that second time, of course, resulted in the school’s second championship title. They again won their title against a No. 1 seed (North Carolina), but this time, Nova was a No. 2 seed. The title win, however, was just as sweet as the first time.

Logo Evolution

Villanova conducted a contest in 1926 for the entire student body to help choose a mascot. A former football player from Notre Dame, who had recently joined Villanova’s coaching staff, suggested the “Wildcats,” and the name stuck. Nova’s particular mascot most closely resembles the bobcat, and while an actual series of bobcats was used as the school’s live mascot, that notion has since given way to a student wearing a costume.

As the Wildcats, some of their logos have featured a cat prominently. Here’s how their logo has changed over the years.


An early rendition of the Villanova logo makes use of the school’s first letter and a wildcat – this one features a full-bodied bobcat-like creature that has made his way through the letter “V” and displays a prominent snarl. On the left “leg” of the “V,” we find the word “Villanova” spelled out in all caps.


This version of the Villanova logo contains many elements. The “V” appears in the background in berry color, and Villanova is spelled out across the top. Curving below that word, we see Wildcats. And the lower half contains a pretty detailed bobcat, mouth open in a roar, with claws extended.


The current Villanova logo is created. It’s quite simple, but also very striking. Gone are words and bobcats – only a “V” remains. The bulk of the “V” is dark blue, with a lighter blue stripe running through the center. It is outlined with a thick white stripe, with a thinner dark blue stripe around the whole letter.

Gear Up, Nova Nation

Are you heading to the Pavilion (or Wells Fargo Center) for a Nova home game? Make sure you check out all the Villanova swag at Fanatics first and get some sweet, sweet new authentic gear.


Evolution of the Kansas Jayhawks


Basketball at the University of Kansas has been around since, well, practically the beginning of the sport itself, and the program has since made great strides toward becoming an NCAA powerhouse and perennial tournament participant. Here’s where this esteemed basketball program got its start, and how its unique logo has changed over time.


Rock Chalk Jayhawk History

Dr. James Naismith is often credited with inventing basketball when he was a YMCA instructor in Massachusetts in 1891. After leaving his Y post, he got a medical degree in Denver, and then got a job at the University of Kansas. There, he founded its basketball program in 1898 and served as its first coach for nine seasons. He was succeeded as coach by a former player, Forrest “Phog” Allen, whose legendary coaching and efforts to lead the team to the university’s first NCAA title led to a permanent tribute on campus – today’s team plays in Allen Fieldhouse (also known as the Phog).

Kansas plays in the Big 12 Conference and has made an appearance in 14 Final Four and won three NCAA championships. Since Allen’s departure, the team has had a bevy of great b-ball coaches, including Dick Harp, Ted Owens, Larry Brown (who won KU’s second national championship in 1988), Roy Williams, and current head coach, Bill Self (who won their third championship in 2008).

He put the team on his back! #KUbball defeats Baylor 70-67

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Logo Evolution

KU’s mascot is the Jayhawk, which stems from early Kansas struggles between those who were in favor of slavery and those who wanted the territory to remain free. The “free” people, especially those from Lawrence, were known as Jayhawkers, and the image began to take on a patriotic feel. The bird first appeared in a KU cheer in 1886, and when the sports team got its start, it was naturally called the Jayhawks.


The mascot and logo have gone through many changes over the last 100 years. Its first incarnation features a blue bird with a large yellow beak and shoes – for kicking opponents.


The next logo depicts a less cartoonish bird perched on the letters KU. This guy is also mostly blue, but his beak is sharper and narrower.


This is the first year the Jayhawk is depicted with a red head. The “KU” also appears on his body for the first time in red, and his beak is rounder and freakishly large when compared to its prior version.


This version is similar to the last, with a few notable changes. The beak is smaller, the Jayhawk looks fierce, like he meant for business, and he has talons on his legs.


The 1941 rendition is shorter, stouter, and has a wide, frowny beak that pairs very well with his “I mean business” steely glare. The KU remains on his chest but is now depicted in white.


The Jayhawk undergoes one more change. He’s a little spunkier now, walks with a jaunty step, and features a smile instead of a scowl. This is the version that survives today.

Beware of the Phog

Are you a Kansas fan? Before you head out to Allen Fieldhouse, make sure you grab some brand-spankin’ new Jayhawks gear at Fanatics.