The IU women’s basketball team came running out Wednesday night to the IU fight song played by the band, donning the beloved candy stripe pants and crimson top with the cream cursive Indiana stitched onto the back.
It’s what Hoosier fans are used to seeing. Except this time, after the starting lineups were announced and the stripes were ripped off and the top was unbuttoned, the team wasn’t in the usual cream and crimson jersey.
Instead, the Hoosiers were sporting special “Harlem Renaissance Collection” uniforms created by Adidas to celebrate Black History Month.
The jersey features a unique bean stitch texture around the “Indiana” written over the front of the top. The word “Ballroom” is placed on the inner waistband on the shorts and there’s a patch near the shoulder that displays “CBC” with “Celebrating Black Culture” circling the three letters.
“Inspired by the wooden floors of the ballrooms where basketball became culture, each Adidas team jersey also includes patterns which mimic the fabrics and prints of the 1920s that became a means of self-expression and community pride,” Adidas said in a release. “Each detail is meant to be an homage to the art, poetry, sounds and sport of the Renaissance, and to those driving their passion forward.”
IU was one of 10 schools selected to wear these special jerseys.
“I think it’s great to represent Adidas and Black History Month,” IU Coach Teri Moren said. “We’re happy to be one of the schools that get to represent something like this.”
For sophomore guard Bendu Yeaney, this month means a lot to her as her parents are from Liberia.
“Black History Month means a lot to me because it means my parents had the opportunity to come to this country,” Yeaney said in a video tweeted out by Indiana Hoosiers. “The people who came before them helped my parents get here, so it means a lot to me.”
Along with Yeaney, junior guard Ali Patberg said it was an honor being a part of Black History Month in such a way, and that it says a lot about IU as a school and as a team.
The men’s basketball team will also be decked out in Harlem Renaissance attire Sunday afternoon when IU plays Ohio State.
The Hoosiers will also have a special addition to their cream-colored, long-sleeved shooting shirts. On the shirts will be a silhouette logo of Bill Garrett, who broke the Big Ten color barrier in 1948.
Garrett played under Coach Branch McCracken, who the wooded floor is named after in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. On Dec. 4, 1948, Garrett started in IU’s opening game against DePauw University, making him the first African American to start a Big Ten basketball game.
“He was the one that broke that barrier and just gave us all really the confidence to be able to not be looked at any different,” senior forward Juwan Morgan said in the video.
As Morgan spoke with the statue of Bill Garrett inside Assembly Hall to his right, he said he doesn’t take it lightly that he is able to wear these alternate uniforms as well as throw on the Hoosier colors every time on the court.
In addition to the jerseys, both teams got new sneakers to wear as well. The two different types were shoes of NBA players James Harden, “Harden Vol. 3,” and Damian Lillard, “Dame 5.” The shoes' color schemes are described as core black, shock red and active purple.
Despite the one-game occasion for these Harlem Renaissance Collection uniforms, sophomore guard Al Durham believes it’s more than just one day or one month.
“I feel like it’s more than just February,” Durham said in the video. “It’s a celebration every day.”
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