The relationship between football and basketball has progressed very quickly from occasional flirting to the beginnings of a long-term relationship.
Most major releases for football teams or nations will now include some sort of sleeveless, basketball-style jersey as part of a wider collection, and of course Jordan’s ongoing deal with PSG acts as concrete proof that the connection isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
NBA concept kits are often bouncing around the scene, but one particular range of designs caught my attention this week. The series from sports agency Graphic UNTD does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of both sports, and there are some particularly pleasing synergies between specific teams to boot...
Graphic UNTD’s series is vast, some 30 concepts involving mostly European football teams and Boca Juniors (a worthy addition). Each club has been paired with an NBA team, with some combinations (like Celtic’s tie-in with, you guessed it, the Boston Celtics, and the Spurs party of Tottenham and San Antonio) writing themselves. Other links will make sense to any basketball fans out there, such as the joining together of Greek side Panathinaikos and the Milwaukee Bucks, the home of Greek superstar Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo.
Other combinations draw more specifically on colour, like Inter Milan whose recent mint away kit is the catalyst for a match with the Memphis Grizzlies, whose throwback uniforms share a similar shade. Fiorentina’s iconic purple shirts are also the natural home for the purple of the Toronto Raptors.
The series is a lot more than just some pleasing team combinations however. Each design features the football team’s name or nickname, heavily stylised in the style of their NBA counterpart to take prime position on the front of the shirts. This is my favourite detail about many NBA jerseys and it makes me long for a footballing world where primary sponsors would make way for stylised team names. There’s also a dazzling array of typefaces for the numbers of each kit, which make a mockery of many a bland font in the pro football scene.
Speaking of sponsors, Graphic UNTD have relocated the primary football sponsor logos to the place usually occupied by the crest. It’s unusual to see football shirts without crests, but it’s equally interesting to see which sponsor logos work better than others in a much smaller size than usual.
From an aesthetic standout, it would be wonderful to see football teams adopting the NBA approach of team names on the front of kits, as seen with the NBA concept kits above. With complete creative freedom to design something that fits into the brand identity of the club, and the opportunity to bypass some of the clunkier, uglier sponsor logos in the game, there’d be wins wherever you looked.
Of course sponsors are unlikely to just lie down and roll over, but one or two professional teams havebeen known to wear their name proudly on the front of their shirts. One such example will be very familiar to FSC readers: Venezia FC.
Given how good Venezia’s shirts look, I challenge anyone to disagree with me.
Who are Graphic UNTD?
Graphic UNTD are a creative design agency specialising in both sports and culture. The team, based in Bordeaux, France, have worked with a range of major organisations, and their stunning design work which often blends different sports together is always worth a look.
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