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The Timberwolves’ cool new uniforms, featuring Prince

The Timberwolves’ cool new uniforms, featuring Prince

When Tyus Jones first heard that the Minnesota Timberwolves were designing an alternate jersey in honor of Prince, he knew how important it was that the team and Nike get it right.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Jones is 22, too young for Prince’s heyday, but he grew up about half an hour from Minneapolis — Prince’s hometown — and understands the musical superstar’s connection to the region and its basketball teams.

“Being from here, you know,” Jones says. “He’s obviously an icon, but he’s even more of an icon and a legend here.”

Prince and other local music legends, including Jimmy Jam, Prince’s longtime friend and occasional touring partner, often sat courtside during the early years of the Timberwolves and the high points of the Kevin Garnett era. As the franchise receded into lottery contention, Prince the fan receded into the background. He rarely attended games. When he did, he preferred to do so in such a private fashion, most fans would not even know he was there, says Ted Johnson, the team’s chief strategy officer.

When Prince’s camp sent word he might attend a game, several staffers would drop everything to plan for his appearance. There were many false alarms. I was in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2015, when Prince’s people alerted the Wolves he might come that night to their game against the Warriors. A thrilled panic ensued. Staffers arranged private entrance and exit pathways for Prince, and a method of whisking him into a suite without attracting attention.2

He didn’t show. But Prince was always watching Minnesota hoops. He played basketball in junior high and high school, and in pickup games both on tour and at his home in Paisley Park — as memorialized in perhaps the most famous “Chappelle’s Show” skit ever. When the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx won the 2015 championship, Prince invited the team to Paisley Park for a private three-hour concert.

When Prince died in April 2016, Nike pitched the Wolves an alternate “city edition” jersey for the 2017-18 season that would honor him. The Wolves concluded it was too soon. They were already finalizing their 2017-18 jerseys, which would kick off a full-on rebrand — new jerseys, new logo, new court, tweaked color scheme.nfl nike jersey cheap

But they decided then to prioritize a Prince jersey for this season. They set aside some of Nike’s other proposed Minnesota-centric motifs: jerseys paying homage to Bob Dylan, the Mississippi River (which runs through Minneapolis), and the original Minneapolis Lakers, Johnson says. (You might see some of those ideas down the road.)

In the spring of 2017, Cyrus Coleman, a product designer for Nike’s basketball division, pitched the Wolves a mockup that looked very much like the final Prince jersey the team will unveil later today: