Fiddling while UCLA basketball is burning. - Stephen Dunn
Bumped from fanposts. - BN Eds.
There has been much misunderstanding here of the great work of art Adidas has created for our basketball program. One needs only take a step back to understand that Adidas, rather than trying to create a thing of beauty, is inspired by the idea of mimesis.
According to Wikipedia: mimesis is "the perfection and imitation of nature... it is a critical and philosophical term that carries a wide range of meanings, which include imitation, representation, mimicry, imitatio, receptivity, nonsensuous similarity, the act of resembling, the act of expression, and the presentation of the self."
According to Aristotle (according to Wikipedia) "It is the task of the dramatist to produce the tragic enactment in order to accomplish this empathy by means of what is taking place on stage." Pulling from their Greek tradition, Adidas used Aristotle's notion of mimesis to inspire UCLA's new uniforms. According to one anonymous Adidas source, "When we began to shape these uniforms, we wanted to reflect the nature of UCLA basketball. We wanted to reflect both the historical reality and the current reality of this once great program. We wanted the viewer to experience the story of UCLA basketball through the uniform."
When asked what she meant, the source continued "At first glance, mimesis seems to be a stylizing of reality in which the ordinary features of our world are brought into focus by a certain exaggeration, the relationship of the imitation to the object it imitates being something like the relationship of dancing to walking. Imitation always involves selecting something from the continuum of experience, thus giving boundaries to what really has no beginning or end. We wanted to take the literal story of UCLA basketball and turn it into a modern dance." The source continued by saying when they asked Dan Guerrero what he hoped for in the uniform, he stated he wanted something that "combined the old with the new to create a true representation of UCLA's current excellence".
As you can see from this new reflection Adidas has truly succeeded. The jersey has the four letters, boldly and proudly written across the chests of our players. This not only reflects the pride and dignity of our program's past, but the excellent talent our players bring to our program. On the other hand, the shorts reflect the current experience of the program: chaos, the difficulty of just looking at it, the experience of hurling that one often has when another time-out is called to kill momentum. The players also enter this world of chaos and confusion. Only some can find their way through the maze in which they find themselves. Others overwhelmed and unable to adjust, leave to find a simpler and more clear path elsewhere.
The over all effect is perfect. One has a difficult time reconciling the past with the present, the jersey with the shorts. Only the most wise can make sense of the whole picture. Only the wisest can see the program's current greatness through the apparent dichotomy that the weak-minded see. We are still a great program, they say, one needs to just step back and see the larger picture, what about those three final fours.
No matter the viewpoint of the fan, Adidas has created the perfect reflection of our program. For critics, they see chaos and a once proud program descended into confusion, dysfunction, and vomit. For others, the uniforms portray the greatness of a still great program. One needs only change one's perspective to see it. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person's tragedy is another person's glory.
I choose to change my perspective and to see beauty in this uniform. If I can just adjust my filter enough I can also take pride in the SI article, in the flaws of players who left early, in our inability to get to the tournament 2 out of the last 3 years. If I just change my perceptions I can see a continuing great program in these uniforms.
As the great poet, Michael Jackson once said, "I'm looking at the man in the mirror", and no matter one's perspective Adidas has done a great job looking into UCLA's mirror and getting it right this time.