Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): It’s taken another year of waiting, but the Summer Olympics are right around the corner.
Good things are often worth the wait, aren’t they?
That being said, the US Senior Men’s National Team is set to compete for its fourth consecutive gold medal, while the Senior Women’s Team is looking to make it seven (!) in a row.
Of course, Nike made sure these teams got the ultimate style prize, outfitting Team USA with new looks for the Olympics.
– Team USA (@TeamUSA) February 5, 2020
Originally unveiled last year, we’ll finally see them on our athletes and in action this year.
From Washington, D.C.
– USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 8, 2021
So, what do you think ? Are you rocking with the new looks?
Kyle Irving(@KyleIrv_): For sure. I think you told me that, but the fade from light blue, to royal blue, to navy blue with the red on the bottom, it feels similar to the Utah Jazz Alternate Altitude Jerseys , which I have always loved. I think the plain white lettering with no outline is also clean, tying it all together nicely.
McGregor: I’m a fan. I think back to the 2019 World Cup uniforms, which I didn’t think were great! Like, at all.
I consider them major improvements.
I’m not even sure how to explain it, but the blue fade on the uniforms reminds me of, for example, the Nike Flyknit gradient I’ve seen on some sneakers in the past. It’s new, it’s unique, and I think it works.
The white uniform is a little simpler but, as one suspects, it looks much better in action.
– USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 11, 2021
As for the women’s look, I always like how they maintain it with red uniforms while the men’s teams wear blue. This year’s uniform contains elements that pay homage to the 1996 team that started the gold medal streak.
Funny enough, this team had Dawn Staley in mind. This team has Staley in the lead as head coach.
Irving: I’m not sure I even realized that until you mentioned it, that the men’s national team always wears blue and the women’s national team always wears red. It’s cool and it still works.
But you are 100% correct that these FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 uniforms fall short of expectations. They remind me of a training bib. It’s no wonder they finished seventh in this tournament, the lowest the United States has ever placed, hahaha.
McGregor: Hey, if nothing else, nuggets of information like that, that’s what I’m here for! A cool way to ensure that red, white and blue are represented equally by the highest ranked program on both sides.
As for 2019, Deion Sanders was onto something. You look good, you feel good, you play good! I mean, honestly, the uniforms in 2004, when USA won bronze, were… disappointing. Maybe that played a role?
Here’s to thinking the words of Prime Time are true again this year, with improved leads resulting in a far superior seventh-place finish.
Ah! And I got it. The blue uniforms remind me of the Kobe 11 knit pattern…
…a perfect transition to the shoe choices we’ll see at the Olympics. The Player Edition sneakers (PEs) are already in full effect.
Irving: I knew exactly what you were talking about. In fact, the King of Kobes himself, DeMar DeRozan, rocked the Olympic version of these Kobe 11s when Team USA won gold in Rio in 2016.
But enough about the past. There is a lot to be said in the present when it comes to the kicks for this year’s Olympic Games. I want to get the ball rolling with a pair I had never seen before until they came across my Twitter timeline.
Thanks to Kevin Love for throwing the Nike “Greater Than” (GT) Runs in one of the first open workouts for Team USA.
I don’t know what’s in there that attracts me, but I really like them. I think they are incredibly unique, unlike anything Nike has released recently. Plus, they couldn’t look more comfortable to play with. The small Nike swoosh within the large Nike swoosh, even the red accent on the scribble that outlines the bottom.
They just do it for me, and I might consider buying them for my next basketball shoe.
McGregor: The little Swoosh within the big Swoosh is the detail that stood out to me when I got a high-quality preview of the shoe itself. I think splashes of color on a predominantly white base just work.
On top of that, they look comfy as hell.
The fact that Love is debuting a Nike sneaker got me thinking about this year’s Team USA sneaker affiliations. It’s actually quite interesting, at least to me.
We know that Nike is going to have its guys laced head to toe, but I think it’s pretty cool that there are three Jordan brand athletes on Team USA (and even more around the world), all debuting their own PE of the Jordan 36.
…to Beal and Tatum…
…they also covered Kia Nurse from Canada, Luka Doncic from Slovenia and Rui Hachimura from Japan.
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the 36’s silhouette, but it looks like it’s working well and the presence at these Olympics reiterates that Jordan Brand has gotten its hands on the next generation of NBA and football stars. W.
As for the guys at Nike… I think D-Book will try to give DeMar a run for his “King of Kobes” title once he joins Team USA. Who else do you have your eye on, shoe-wise?
Irving: Well, first of all, I said “wow” out loud when I saw Nurse’s Jordan 36 PEs for Team Canada. Those are drug. By far the best of the group you just sent. I also really like how Jordan included each player’s custom logo on the left tongue. It gives each pair its own style.
And I’m also not going to argue that Book is challenging DeRozan for that title at the Olympics. You know it’s going to come with flavors we’ve never seen before.
But when it comes to the other pairs I’ve seen so far, another that I liked was the Queen 7 EXTPLY.
Damian Lillard wears a USAB colorway of his new Dame 7 EXT/PLY. pic.twitter.com/BaH0Gwr3Rj
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) July 8, 2021
Simple and clean, splashes of red, white and blue on the sole and on the lace holes add a pop of color. And again, they look extremely comfortable to play with. 10 out of 10, would tip over on the ground.
McGregor: They’re not very represented, but the guys from Adidas are holding their own, and for Dame it’s even more important to wear a shoe that bears her name. He is one of two players on the team with their own signature shoe, the other being KD, of course.
It’s crazy that KD is on the 14th iteration of their signature shoe. I won’t go overboard but I remember playing in the Triple Black KD3s on my AAU tour ten years ago and now he’s still among the best in the league and the strap is back on his sneaker. Is it just me, or could these serve as PEs for Brooklyn Nets tie-dye retros?
Irving: If you had told me these rolled out with the release of these tie-dye retros, I would have believed you. I have to be honest though, I’m not a huge fan of the KD 14’s silhouette. They’re a little clunky and the strap looks like it just slapped there.
McGregor: I think I agree with you on that, the strap back is appreciated, but they are far from my favorite in its line.
Still, I don’t think clumsiness will stop KD from being the top scorer in the Olympics, with men’s basketball starting on Saturday, July 24.
From sneakers to uniforms to high-level competition, there will be plenty to watch out for. I can not wait.
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