Gordon Monson: Utah Jazz can make their new yellow-and-black uniforms cool as cool can be

New Jazz gear will sell, even if people complain about it over the short term, the Tribune columnist writes.

Some folks don’t seem to like the Jazz’s new uniforms.

They say they are unimaginative and drab. And they have no connection to the team’s past.

Yellow and black, with big, block script and numbers.


They say they are ugly and awful.

Hold it.

Where’s it written that a team’s uniform cannot be transformed, that a team’s colors cannot evolve or that they can’t be jarringly changed or that they can’t be big and blocky?

The fascination with teams’ getups has always intrigued me.

It’s as though the basketball jersey, the tank tops and shorts, which look more like underwear than any other kind of clothes item, are some kind of reverent emblem, a flag to be hoisted and honored, an ensign for the team and the community.

There’s truth to that, I get it.

(Utah Jazz) The new Utah Jazz yellow, black, and white jersey designs, plus the returning "purple mountain" one, will represent the team's new look beginning with the 2022-23 season.

I was one of the complainers when the NBA decided to allow corporate logos to be attached to the unis, considering that out of line, even though every other aspect of the league’s teams, games and broadcasts are as much a commercial as they are a competition. Everything about pro basketball now has the appearance of a NASCAR racer.

Everybody wants to take pride in their team’s uniforms, including, of course, the team itself.

But fashion is tricky that way.

One individual’s bold and beautiful is another’s basic and boring.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

Part of the Jazz’s motive for the change is precisely what part of every decision is: How will it affect the franchise’s bottom line?

New Jazz gear will sell, even if people complain about it over the short term.

How anyone can make the argument that purple is preferable to yellow and black is curious at the least and confusing at the other end.

Tradition? The Jazz have made so many changes in the past, what difference does it make now?

And any romance for the Jazz moniker across the mountains, the one the team wore during their Finals runs, can be discarded because the two fellas most responsible for taking the club that far — John Stockton and Karl Malone — disliked those uniforms, preferring the old ones with the Jazz note on them, complete with the Mardi Gras colors.

I looked up the psychology of yellow and black for a column a few months ago, anticipating what we all saw come to fruition today, and the so-called experts said yellow represents logic, optimism, progression, confidence, creativity, playfulness. Black represents power and authority, elegance, sophistication.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

On the other hand, those colors also represent jealousy, anxiety, danger, and grief, loneliness, unhappiness.

There’s to-and-fro to everything.

Some around the Jazz, including fans and a few of my own friends and colleagues, and others around the NBA, will rip the new unis, in color and design.

But what clearly matters more than any other aspect of the laundry — and the stuff on the new courts — is what the team does in those jerseys and on those floors.

If the Lakers can popularize the colors of the Easter Bunny, purple and gold, or if you want to call it Forum blue and gold, go ahead, then anything works — as long as the team wins.

Winning makes anything look good.

That, then, is the Jazz’s challenge — look good to play good to feel good to be good to win good. And vice versa.

If they do that then everything in and on and under them is the essence of cool.

And they will be beautiful to every eye that bets on … errr … beholds them.