Tradition is a tricky business, but one that North Carolina certainly doesn’t mind toying with from time to time.The latest move has the famed basketball school unveiling a redesign tweak to the “Carolina Blue” argyle-trimmed duds, moving the school more in line with, yup, you guessed it: Duke.
While the design remains the same on the front, the new Nike-designed uniforms feature an aerographic pictorial design on the back, depicting the school’s well-known Old Well rotunda, an outline of the state and a basketball, falling faintly behind the jersey number.
The hologram-like look keeps UNC in step with the same style already worn at Duke, Texas and Kentucky, just to name a few of the big-name Nike-sponsored schools on board with the trend.
Expect Carolina fans to react harshly—which is already happening on social media under the #UNCjersey tag—with the move away from tradition, just like they did when the school dumped an interlocking NC logo on the front of its hoops jersey in 1999, removing the famed “North Carolina” text. The Tar Heels changed the look back the following year.
As schools look for any new edge to excite the players—and prospective players—with their on-court fashion statements, give fans new merchandise offerings and keep Carolina in the good graces of Nike (Michael Jordan’s alma matter has always been a key component of the Nike basketball brand), expect Carolina’s slight shift away from tradition to continually garner a hearty fan reaction. The result of that reaction, however, may depend more on the play of the team than the Old Well photo on the back.