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Battle of the Editors: Each team takes its own spin on special-edition centennial uniforms

(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

By Kyle Boal, Michael Waldman, Taiyo Keilin, Jack Perez, and Jon Christon

June 10, 2020 6:42 p.m.

As a new group of editors prepares to take over Daily Bruin Sports, we took a look back on this year’s centennial uniforms that Under Armour provided for each UCLA team to celebrate the school’s 100th year. From Jackie Robinson Stadium to the Rose Bowl, we selected our favorite uniforms from the special edition line worn by the Bruins.

Men’s Volleyball
Jack Perez, Sports editor

(Illustrations by Emily Dembinski/Daily Bruin)
(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

Classic looks always take the cake.

When Under Armour went to create the centennial jersey for UCLA men’s volleyball, they had no shortage of options to take inspiration from. As one of the most successful programs in Bruin history, there is a multitude of former men’s volleyball jerseys that signal an era of winning.

The white shorts and top combo gives a blank canvas for the designers to work on. Under Armour put a simple scheme together, but simple schemes work when the colors mesh as the Bruins’ colors do.

Along with the letters “UCLA” on the front of the centennial design — the yellow that slowly trickles into a blue — the sleeveless uniform accentuates the numbers that would be flying around the court in Pauley Pavilion.

The cherry on top is the lining at the bottom of the shirts. While most of the other teams have this design on the sleeves or the front of the jersey, the blue and yellow trim works better as a separator between the layers of white. Crucially, it does not go overboard like a similar pattern on the men’s basketball uniform.

The team could have gone crazy and thrown lots of wacky patterns onto the jerseys to try to show a bold new direction that would thrust UCLA into the future.

They instead decided to look into the past – at the history of this team’s 19 national titles – and take pride in the longstanding traditions of the unit.

Gymnastics
Jon Christon, assistant Sports editor

(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)
(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

Among all the UCLA centennial uniforms, only gymnastics’ leotards truly stand out.

What makes these uniforms unique is how complex they are, as they have multiple layers starting with the blue and white gradient base layer.

The blue shown in this base layer spans through every shade of UCLA blue before eventually turning into a white that perfectly compliments the rest of the colors on the uniform.

The next layer is the blue and yellow trim on the leotards that matches the rest of the uniform and makes them stand out even more. The trim also matches the UCLA lettering across the front chest – the best part of the uniforms.

As opposed to some of the regular leotards the gymnasts typically wear, the centennial versions have a big, proud “UCLA” across the front, written in half blue sequins and half gold sequins with a thin layer of white in between. The pattern makes the wordmark stand out just enough without being overbearing.

Any time you have the four iconic letters, it’s a positive, and they are something that should be on every Bruin uniform regardless of the sport.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, the leotards are loaded with sequins and glitter throughout to make each and every gymnast literally shine when she is on the mat.

The only negative associated with these uniforms? The fact that we only got to see them once all year.

Women’s Volleyball
Taiyo Keilin, assistant Sports editor

(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)
(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

Aside from gymnastics, women’s golf and the soccer goalkeepers, none of the commemorative jerseys have material past the elbow.

Enter women’s volleyball.

There is something inherently elegant about long sleeves in sports, and these uniforms exemplify this elegance.

What’s more, is the sheer amount of white. The designers had plenty of canvas to work with but chose to leave most of it plain. Call me boring, but these jerseys aren’t missing anything.

On the front, you have Under Armour’s logo, “UCLA” in the beautiful gold to blue gradient featured on all of the centennial uniforms and the player’s number. On the back, there is the centennial patch and the number, and on the right arm, nothing more than a small Pac-12 logo. Understated? Yes. Inadequate? No.

Most of the designs for the other sports incorporate a pattern of a speckled yellow strip sandwiched between two speckled blue strips somewhere on the uniform. For the basketball teams, it’s on the shorts. It appears on the back of the necks for baseball and softball, and down the sides for beach volleyball and cross country. I personally am not a huge fan of this pattern, which is why I like that on the women’s volleyball tops, it’s hidden away beneath the arms.

I’ve been focusing on the tops as that is where the special centennial design is, but the blue shorts – which are the same ones the team wears with all its other tops – complement the white jerseys perfectly. If they were white, it would be too much and any other color wouldn’t make much sense.

The simplicity of these uniforms is what makes them the best. They check off all of the essentials of a uniform, display the centennial design and that’s it. That’s enough in my book.

Baseball

Michael Waldman, assistant Sports editor

(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)
(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

From the simplicity of the Milwaukee Brewers’ navy blue and yellow lettering to the classic green and gold script of the home whites of the Oakland Athletics, you can’t go wrong with a two-toned, white baseball jersey – and UCLA baseball’s centennial uniform is just right.

Featuring the four-letter, blue-and-yellow gradient across the middle, the white is clean and shines nicely against the rest of the field and lends itself well to a pair of white cleats.

The freshness of the diamond that you get when catching that first glimpse of the playing surface at a baseball game is underscored by the bright white, emphasizing a cleanliness that is as proper as a freshly cleaned home plate.

The Under Armour logo stays out of the way nicely, peaking out in the corner and complementing the darker shade of gold on the more finely chiseled number on the front.

The advantage of a baseball jersey – besides how it looks that much cooler after the shortstop makes a diving stop up the middle (with dirt, it’s two jerseys in one!) – is the hat, and this ‘fit doesn’t disappoint in that category at all.

The white hat shies away from the gold-domed football helmet and replaces the traditionally blue Bruins’ baseball bucket with the same centennial look and eye-popping UCLA lettering across it.

After all, the goal of these jerseys was to honor 100 years of sports in Westwood, and there is no better way to do that than to give baseball the sparkling white jersey it deserves.

Men’s Soccer
Kyle Boal, assistant Sports editor

(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)
(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

The classic white uniform with a deep sky blue, sun gold gradient is clearly the basis for all of the centennial special edition uniforms.

As the rest of the editors focus in on minor details separating different white looks for the Bruins, the black, gold-striped goalkeeper jersey sets UCLA men’s soccer far above the rest of the crowd and highlights a need for an alternative color combination.

The Bruins are no strangers to the tops of uniform lists. UCLA ranks No. 2 in Sports Illustrated’s top 10 uniforms in college basketball, and they come in at No. 21 for college football top 25 team uniforms according to NBC Sports Washington.

The Bruins’ biggest program – men’s basketball – stuck to the cliche centennial look and UCLA’s second-biggest program, football, did nothing more than adding the same centennial patch to already-vintage uniforms.

While the traditional blue, gold and white looks good on any Bruin, perhaps it’s time for UCLA to expand its color palette.

The Bruins have produced black, navy blue and all-white uniforms in the past but rarely seem to put them on for game day. In the case of the goalkeeper uniform, the traditional blue-and-gold gradient color scheme pops on a black background and not only gets the UCLA theme across but does so in a unique, eye-catching manner.

And with the department facing a deficit for the first time in 15 years, UCLA Athletics could use a new instrument to bring attention, aesthetic and life to all of its athletic programs — not just to soccer.

The men’s soccer team may have rolled the dice on a black uniform, but it paid off.

It is time for other sports to take a chance to incorporate bold, contrasting colors in their uniforms to broaden the reach and appeal of athletics at UCLA.

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Kyle Boal | Assistant Sports editor
Boal is currently an assistant Sports editor on the gymnastics, men's water polo, women's water polo, rowing and swim and dive beats. He was previously a contributor on the men's water polo and women's water polo beats.
Boal is currently an assistant Sports editor on the gymnastics, men's water polo, women's water polo, rowing and swim and dive beats. He was previously a contributor on the men's water polo and women's water polo beats.
Michael Waldman | Assistant Sports editor
Waldman is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's soccer, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, beach volleyball and track and field beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Waldman is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's soccer, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, beach volleyball and track and field beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Taiyo Keilin | Assistant Sports editor
Keilin is currently an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's soccer, cross country, women's golf and men's golf beats. He was previously a contributor on the baseball, women's golf and men's golf beats.
Keilin is currently an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's soccer, cross country, women's golf and men's golf beats. He was previously a contributor on the baseball, women's golf and men's golf beats.
Jack Perez | Sports editor
Perez is currently the Sports editor and a reporter on the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the men's volleyball, women's water polo and track and field beats and a staff writer on the gymnastics, beach volleyball, women's water polo and men's water polo beats.
Perez is currently the Sports editor and a reporter on the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the men's volleyball, women's water polo and track and field beats and a staff writer on the gymnastics, beach volleyball, women's water polo and men's water polo beats.
Jon Christon | Assistant Sports editor
Christon is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and softball beats.
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