IU basketball programs will honor Black History Month with alternate uniforms

New alternate uniforms are on the way for Indiana’s men’s and women’s basketball programs.

IU’s wardrobe update is part of a wider Adidas rollout of alternate sets that offer a nod to Black History Month and the impact of the Harlem Renaissance. The alternate uniforms are timely for Indiana, which is using the occasion to recognize the 70th anniversary of IU legend Bill Garrett breaking the Big Ten basketball color barrier.

The women’s team will debut the alternates on Feb. 6 against Minnesota, while the men’s team will wear its version on Feb. 10 against Ohio State.

“We are proud to wear these special uniforms to honor Bill Garrett and his critical role in integrating the Big Ten and expand the growth of basketball through expanded opportunities for African-American players,” IU athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. “As the university that broke Big Ten Basketball’s color barrier 70 years ago, Indiana University is very proud of its leadership role in racial integration and the social justice it reflects.”

Similar in look and style, Adidas designed both IU programs’ uniforms with the traditional colors of cream and crimson. Each uniform features a unique bean stitch texture around the Indiana team name, the word “BALLROOM” on the inner waistband of each short, and a “Celebrating Black Culture” patch.

The collection also includes corresponding footwear silhouettes which echo the colors of the jazz ballrooms so important to the era.

One of the special features of the men’s uniform is a silhouette logo of Garrett on the team’s cream-colored, long-sleeve shooting shirts. Garrett, who starred for Coach Branch McCracken’s Hoosier teams from 1948 to 1951, is one of the most important figures in the history of both IU and Big Ten basketball. On Dec. 4, 1948, he started the Hoosiers’ season-opening game against DePauw, becoming the first African-American to start a Big Ten basketball game.

Garrett went on to a legendary Hoosier career, earning All-America honors in 1951 and departing as IU’s all-time leading scorer with 792 points. During the 1951-52 season, seven African-Americans played varsity for various Big Ten teams, bringing an end to the Big Ten Conference’s unwritten rule prohibiting African-Americans from participation in varsity basketball contests.

One comment

  1. They sort of look like pj’s. Yikes. Nice to honor Garrett…but those uniforms are corny ugly.

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