The Indiana Pacers made news this week when they announced that they'd wear Hickory High uniforms several times over the next few seasons, an homage to Hoosiers as that great film celebrates its 30th anniversary. Notwithstanding the pressure that puts on Donald Sloan (who'll wear Jimmy Chitwood's number 15), the move was met with widespread approval.
That nearly universal positivity will undoubtedly translate to dolla dolla bills, ya'll, and since no good idea goes unstolen, the Pacers' play will spark a run on similar promotions across sports. The G:TB investigative team has already heard from a number of franchises across the sporting world about their plans:
In Portland, the Blazers intend to leverage the tenuous same-state connection between Oregon State and Scott Howard's high school mascot and appropriate the Beavers uniforms worn in Teen Wolf. No word on whether P.J. Carlesimo will be asked to come back and don a jersey to make the look work.
On the other side of the continent, the Knicks are grasping at whatever straws they can, realizing without acknowledging the fact that they don't have anywhere near the number of players they need to make a run, even in the tissue-soft Eastern Conference. They'll play in Jesus Shuttlesworth's Lincoln High uniforms, hoping that a) the Jesus connection will have a positive impact, and b) Ray Allen might be convinced to play for them.
Changing sports, but staying with a theme of offensive futility, the Mets have decided that they won't be making any trades that would require incremental payroll. Instead, they're going to wear New York Knights uniforms, welcome David Wright back from the disabled list, and carve a lightning bolt into his bat. He may not be The Natural, but he's pretty dreamy. Just ask Clarence.
Football franchises want in on the action, too. The fictional town of Ampipe, Pennsylvania stands in for Johnstown in All the Right Moves. And Johnstown, less than 70 miles from Pittsburgh, is a rugged, gritty Western Pennsylvania town. The Steelers suiting up in the Ampipe Bulldogs' gold and black is geographically, historically, and colorfully appropriate. Stef Djordjevic would be proud, wherever he is now.
Speaking of geographically appropriate choices, the denizens of the Gulf Coast are already buying up the Saints' homage to The Waterboy. It doesn't hurt that Drew Brees wears Bobby Boucher's number nine. Saints coach Sean Payton has reportedly embraced the tie-in wholeheartedly, planning to wear a bucket hat in honor of Henry Winkler.
"Let them play. Let them play" You'll remember that from The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, when the Bears stole the show during an exhibition in the Astrodome. And even if you don't remember that, the Houston Astros certainly do. Jose Altuve will be wearing the actual uniform originally donned by Tanner.
Outside of J.J. Watt, nobody's ever heard of anyone on the Houston Texans roster, even many of the Texans themselves. A franchise in need of an identity, in a state owned lock, stock, and barrel by that team in Dallas, the Texans are undergoing a makeover. Who better to emulate than Burt Reynolds' badass Paul Crewe? And what better to demonstrate toughness than to wear a prison squad's uniforms? Frankly, this The Longest Yard tribute is probably our favorite.
Finally, another franchise that's essentially invisible is borrowing unashamedly from an iconic film to boost its fortunes. The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced plans to wear Charlestown Chiefs uniforms from Slap Shot. (It's okay to admit that you didn't realize that the Columbus Blue Jackets were an actual National Hockey League team. Someone should make a quiz podcast about sports team nicknames.) Reg Dunlap may even come out of retirement.
We can be certain that these aren't the only tributes that'll follow on the heels of the Pacers' inspired move. Major League Soccer is researching the issue, but having a hard time coming up with anything other than Victory as a model. Keanu Reeves is badgering Bill Belichick about using The Replacements' togs. And expect to see Shaq on the set of TNT's NBA studio show wearing his old Blue Chips uniform.
The possibilities, they're most excellent.