Most basketball fans would say that the “golden age” of basketball was during the 70s and 80s primarily because of the class of players that were produced during that time. This was the era when the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Isaiah Thomas, and Dominique Wilkins graced the NBA.
This was also the period when some of the greatest players were introduced like Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, and the great Michael Jordan. In the Philippines, it was the time of Ramon Fernandez, Philip Cezar, and Robert Jaworski. Coming out of Season 76 with the tagline “Greatness Never Ends”, the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) wishes to continue this greatness this coming UAAP 77 through a tribute to these heralded icons of Basketball.
For this coming UAAP Basketball season, the league will revive the days when vintage basketball uniforms rule the hard court. Starting UAAP 77, the UAAP board has ruled that basketball players from all teams will be sporting the famous short shorts and tight jerseys look.
In an interview, DLSU head coach Juno Sauler commented on this decision saying, “I think it’s a good idea to push for this change. It is truly a great tribute to the all-time greats of that era.”
Green Archer forward Jeron Teng also shared the same sentiments. ”Okay lang naman sa akin gamitin yung old school na jersey sa paglalaro. Wala namang maiiba sa laro namin, uniform lang naman. Basta makakalaro kami ng maayos, okay lang,” says Teng.
According to the UAAP board, aside from paying tribute, bringing back the vintage basketball jerseys would also help improve the performance of the players during game time. Some sports scientists also suggested that vintage basketball jerseys compared to those in the modern day are much lighter.
The extra length of the modern day jerseys provide more weight in the body compared to the basketball jerseys during the 70s and 80s. In addition, the vintage jerseys provide less air resistance, which is better for aerodynamics when players run. With the reduced amount of material used in the vintage jerseys, players will also absorb less sweat, which minimizes the heavy feeling due to the sweat absorbed by the jersey.
This decision was not made primarily on the basis of the improvements the players can gain in their performance or it being a tribute to the basketball hall of famers in the past. Nowadays, majority of the crowds in attendance during the games are young. This ranges even from kids to young professionals. After concluding another great season in the UAAP, the board wanted to give more attention to the more senior generations, the generations that grew up watching these hall of famers grace the basketball court. By bringing back the style of basketball uniforms from the past, they hope to recapture the interest of the more senior generations and welcome them back to the UAAP.
UAAP 76 commissioner Chito Loyzaga shared his observations on what the UAAP has become today. “Every time I tune in to the games, I see more and more families watching live and supporting their favorite teams. I’ve come to realize that the UAAP has become more than just a league; it has become a family affair. In this family, we must include all its members,” he says. According to him, the UAAP aims to bring all these generations together to create the true family experience.
In just a few months, the UAAP will reopen its doors for a whole new series of exciting sports events, starting with another wave of heated basketball action. As the famed basketball cagers from each team enter the court with their old-fashioned jerseys, fans will surely witness something refreshing and interesting to the eyes. But despite the physical changes in the uniforms, the quality of UAAP basketball that every generation has seen for years will still remain the same.