‘That’s fire’: Unveiling the Golden State Warriors’ women’s suffrage-themed new City Edition jersey
8: 00 AM ET
Zach LoweESPN Senior Writer
Allison Hueman, the noted Oakland-based artist and muralist, could not believe the email she was reading in January 2021: Would you be interested in designing the City Edition uniform for the Golden State Warriors?
“Wait, are they really asking me to do this?” Hueman recalls thinking. “I can remember reading it over and over again. “
She finally replied: “Hell yes. “
Hueman loves the Warriors. She had already collaborated with Stephen Curry on a sneaker line, infusing the Under Armour shoes with her trademark ultra-colorful spray-paint style. Jen Millet, chief marketing officer of the Warriors, gave Hueman one instruction, both remember: “Just do it.” You have complete creative freedom. “
The Warriors decided that the jersey should promote and highlight women’s empowerment. The Warriors wanted the jersey to reflect that theme. They had already changed March’s name from “Women’s History Month” into “Women’s Empowerment Month”.
” The name “Women’s History Month” seemed a little strange to us, Millet said. “Like something from ‘Little House on the Prairie. Let’s change it. MIllet states that team officials found that players enjoyed sharing stories about the women who shaped them.
Kamala Harir, a native of Oakland, was just sworn in as vice-president of the United States. The #MeToo movement was a full-fledged force. The time was right for a jersey that reflected women’s empowerment and perhaps even an artistically adventurous jersey.
The result is one of the most innovative jerseys in NBA history. It centers around a photorealistic yellow gold rose, which is one of the symbols for the women’s rights movement. It stretches from the center logo to just below the jersey’s bottom edge.
The larger rose is actually hand drawn by Hueman. The yellow gold-colored smaller rose in the middle was created from a vision Hueman had while she was creating the jersey. She says, “I imagined that the cables from the Bay Bridge had come apart and been reassembled to create this line-art rose.” The belt buckle features a smaller version of this rose. The bridge’s dramatic curves are echoed by the golden trim on the shorts.
The blocky font is Hueman’s nod to Art Deco landmarks in the Bay Area, such as signage at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland. Hueman deliberately incorporated traditional, sharp, masculine colors — mostly black — with the floral imagery.
” The color scheme is masculine but the content is feminine,” she said. “I try to balance out opposing elements. I didn’t want to make something soft because not all women can be soft. ‘”
In conjunction with the jersey launch, the Warriors and Rakuten are donating $25,000 to the Women’s Sports Foundation, the team said.
The Warriors admired how the Los Angeles Lakers underlaid one of their 2017-18 jerseys with a black snakeskin pattern — an homage to Kobe Bryant’s “Black Mamba” nickname, Millet says. (Bryant helped design the jersey, as he told ESPN then.) It was difficult to see the pattern from a distance or on television. The Warriors wondered if they could do something similar with brighter imagery.
“With City Edition you can really push your limits,” Millet said. “Maybe you fail. It might be something people hate. It only lasts for one year. One year is enough for everyone. “
Hueman’s art typically mingles lots of bright colors, but she decided to go with something simpler and more in line with the team’s larger art collection.
” I thought of myself as a Warriors fan and what I would like to buy and wear,” she said. “I love black.” She is aware that the design is new and different. She is waiting for fan feedback today.
” I’m scared to be honest,” Hueman admits. “I know how Warriors fans are and how precious their sports teams are. So I touch something sacred. Part of me is excited and says, “F —, yeah! There is also a part of me that is anxious to see how the reaction is. “
Even the team is eager to see how the jerseys look in game play, since tucking them in — which is mandatory, ask Chris Paul — will shove some of the larger flower out of sight.
” Our point was that you would wear it as a part of your daily life, so you won’t tuck it in.” Millet said. Millet states that the team tried to raise the flower higher on their jersey tops, but ran into problems with regulations regarding fitting all the information. )
Millet and her top deputy asked officials from the basketball operations side to run the general concept, which was a jersey with a women’s empowerment theme. This was before Stephen Curry became the organization’s most important voice.
” We were gut-checking it,” Millet said. “How will people feel about this?” Millet says. Is it too much for us to think about? Is it relatable Will the players embrace it. “
Millet, her team and Curry sat down for a video conference call. “He didn’t even blink,” Millet recalls. It was instantly, “Yeah, it’s great. It’s great. ‘”
Hueman set to work. She loved the idea of playing off of the Great Seal of California, an early symbol of statehood that featured an armored Minerva — a Roman goddess of wisdom — and she was happy to do so.
“She is literally the first warrior of the golden state, if you look at it that way,” Hueman states. Hueman states
Other mockups featured shapes which intersected to form the Venus sign and a color palette that was based on the Rosie the Riveter images taken during U.S. military recruitment campaigns in World War II.
MIllet was eventually able to pitch three pitches to Curry. “When you show creativity to players, you worry that they think you’re the only one who can do it. They won’t be honest with you. Millet says. “We spoke with [Curry] and said, ‘You have tell us.’ He was open and honest. “
Curry was not enthusiastic about the state-seal-based design. Millet says. Millet states that the organization may revisit the design in the future, but there were concerns about the shield’s visual and literal clutter.
Then they showed Curry the photorealistic flower design. According to Millet, Curry said that “That’s fire” to them. (Curry confirmed the accounts through a team spokesperson. )
“Now, we had to return to the business side in order to sell it,” Millet said. “And they were like, ‘I don’t know.’ That was part of the reason Stephen was first visited. It gives credibility. You can simply walk in and say, “This is the design.” It’s aggressive, we get it. We’ve shared it with Stephen, and he loves it. ‘”
The Warriors, like almost every organization, have uniform traditionalists. Millet said. “They say, “Why can’t you just have two uniforms?” And I get it.” In some ways, the players have helped creative staff to persuade the older-school types to wear more daring and even more gaudy designs in NBA arena hallways.
” This is what players wear to games,” Millet said. Let’s get to know them. “
Just to be safe, one draft design had the flower pattern down the sides and the black fade into gray to evoke San Francisco’s fog:
The line-art rose in this version also had roots.
This draft looks just like a standard NBA jersey. It’s nice, but there’s nothing shocking or unexpected about it — nothing that shouts: Whoa, this is an event. Even detractors of this jersey – and there will always be some – will admit its uniqueness.
Hueman is proud to have major pieces throughout the country, but she can’t recall ever feeling like this before an unveiling.
” This is undoubtedly the most important thing I’ve done,” Hueman states. “I feel butterflies whenever I think about it. “
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.