LAWRENCE — Those wild Adidas jerseys that surfaced on Thursday? They're coming to a Kansas game near you.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
Kansas will wear those new-look (fashion-forward?) Adidas jerseys for the at least one game in the Big 12 tournament, Jayhawks coach Bill Self said Thursday. The uniforms, which became public this week, feature short sleeves and striped shorts that harken back to the days of early '90s Zubaz pants.
"We agreed with Adidas several months ago to sport that uniform as part of their marketing campaign in the Big 12 Tournament," Self said Thursday during a press conference. "Now, how much we wear them in the Big 12 tournament will probably depend on how we play in them."
Some Adidas promotional photos surfaced online on Thursday, featuring a Kansas version of the jersey along with others from Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Baylor, UCLA and Louisville. (KU has a licensing contract with the shoe company.) Kansas will likely be a top seed in the Big 12 tournament and would wear a white version the uniform.
Self said KU wouldn't wear the jerseys after the Big 12 tournament, meaning the NCAA tourney is safe from the wild designs.
"Kansas tradition and history should be what is promoted for … in our look," Self said, "and we’ve done that for years, but this is the one game where we will make that exception for Adidas."
Last season, Adidas outfitted certain schools, including Baylor and Louisville, with similar jerseys for last season's NCAA Tournament. Remember those neon highlighter uniforms? Kansas, of course, didn't wear those special uniforms.
The Jayhawks previously wore alternate, all-blue jersey during a road game at West Virginia this season. The uniforms drew plenty of instant — and mostly negative reviews -- on Twitter and other social media sites. Kansas last signed an eight-year apparel deal with Adidas in 2005.
On Thursday, Kansas senior guard Elijah Johnson said the Jayhawks wouldn't get too wrapped up into what amounted to laundry.
"They’re jerseys at the end of the day," Johnson said. "You can’t go out there with no clothes on. That’s all that really is. When coach say ‘put them on and go play’, we’re gonna put them on and go play.”
Self says it's been a while since he's seen the new uniforms, which created an immediate stir on Thursday morning. And while he didn't know the specifics of the licensing agreement, he said Kansas was signed up for at least a game or two in the Big 12 tourney.
"For a game or two," Self said, "I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Sometimes you gotta be a team player."