Out of all the things I'm really, really good at in life — sports, dating, parallel parking, long division, relating to people, playing the stock market, mixed martial arts, oil-based painting, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, welding things, being humble, computer programming, gaining the respect and adulation of literally every single Kansas fan ever (no exceptions), yo-yos — probably the thing I'm most good at is being an awesome dresser.
Ever since I invented "tight-rolling" back in the fall of '91, I've pretty much been the most fashionable person I know. People are always stopping me in the street to tell me how much they like my Bugle Boy button-up or my JNCO jeans or my B.U.M. Equipment tank top — which is a little annoying, but understandable considering that walking into my closet is like walking into some fancy Paris fashion show only better.
The point is, I come correct.
So when I head over to Allen Fieldhouse for Kansas men’s basketball home games and see Brady Morningstar carrying out his one-man blitzkrieg against American fashion — in the form of that long, baggy, dingy white T-shirt he wears under his jersey — it makes my heart hurt a little bit.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit there is a lot to like about Brady. He’s tough and scrappy. He’s a local kid who’s built himself into one of the Jayhawks’ most important pieces. He doesn't use his cell phone during class.
But that undershirt is threatening to undo a lot of the good he’s done — like a big, baggy, white asterisk hanging over his career.
It’s not that it’s literally the last remaining undershirt in college basketball. Or that the sleeves hang down to his wrists. Or that raggedy white T-shirts are the primary fashion choice of that dirty kid from your neighborhood who was always walking around barefoot and had a rat tail and a permanent Kool-Aid mustache and you never wanted to invite him over to your house because he would always leave sticky candy fingerprints all over your Sega Genesis controller.
(Although all these things are true.)
No, the issue here is that it’s just so ... plain.
This is basketball, which, with the exception of figure skating and NASCAR, is basically the most artistic sport there is. It’s about flash and pizazz and, on occasion, telling your Washington Wizards teammate that you’re going to burn his Cadillac Escalade and shoot him in the face if he doesn’t quit pestering you about the gambling debt you owe him.
Simply put, it’s about style. And style is precisely what Brady Morningstar is lacking.
That pasty torso of his is a blank canvas, one that deserves to be cloaked with something noteworthy. Which is why I’ve decided to take time out of my busy work week to put together a few T-shirt alternatives that might pump some life into an otherwise bland in-game wardrobe. Pretty much any of them will work, so if Brady gives a rat’s behind about basketball and fashion and America — and I sure hope he does! — he’ll be wearing one of them come Saturday’s game against Iowa State.
Pros: Simple. Artistic. Majestic.
Cons: Availability might be a concern, considering the “47-year-old elementary school art teacher” demographic seems to have a monopoly on the “wolves-howling-at-the-moon” T-shirt market.
Pros: Classy and sophisticated, the Tuxedo T-shirt has long been a staple of American high-society.
Tie-dyed T-shirt (or any “air-brush” number)
Pros: Hip. Fun. Lets people know you came to party.
Cons: It is hard for me to imagine a scenario in which Oklahoma guard Willie Warren scores less than 78 points while being guarded by someone wearing a tie-dyed shirt.
Any ‘No Fear’ T-shirt sold between 1991 and 1996
Pros: Easy availability (any 20-something male with less than seven old “No Fear” shirts in his closet should turn in his Dude Card), lots of options (“Second Place is First Loser”; “A Champion is Someone Who Gets Up Even Though He Can’t”; “There’s No Such Thing As Unnecessary Roughness”). Also, it would be easy to occasionally slip in a “BIG DOGS” T-shirt for effect. Like the one where a bunch of dogs are sitting at a table playing poker and smoking cigars and the slogan says something like, “If you can’t run with the Big Dogs, stay on the porch.”
Cons: Too many good options to choose from; inspirational slogans might inadvertently provide a morale boost to opposing players who read them.
Pros: Turns the whole “T-shirt” idea on its head; allows for creativity and freedom of expression; Lil’ Wayne has one.
Cons: Tattoos, with very few exceptions, are sickening.
Pros: If you need me to spell out for you why it would be a good idea to wear a Tony Montana “Scarface” T-shirt under your basketball jersey, then you obviously have no fashion sense whatsoever and you need to stop reading this blog immediately.
Cons: Almost too cool to wear. Like, it’s so cool it’s almost not cool.
Mario Chalmers Miami Heat T-shirt jersey
Pros: A particularly good choice, this option pays homage to a former Kansas great whose 3-point basket against Memphis paved the way for the Jayhawks’ magical 2008 national championship.
Cons: A Google search for this item indicates that it does not exist, possibly due to a lack of demand.
One of those T-shirts where you go to a booth at the mall and get your picture taken with your BFF and then you have the picture screen-printed onto a shirt (or coffee mug) with the words “Best Friends!” or “Too Cute!” or something of that nature.
Pros: Promotes friendship, which, at the end of the day, is the most important thing there is besides money.
Cons: Obtaining one would involve going to the mall and dodging a bunch of 13-year-old middle school kids with food stuck in their braces who are drinking iced lattes and talking about "Twilight". But, boy, would it be worth the trouble!
Anyway, these are my suggestions. Obviously, I can't force Brady to wear these shirts. I mean, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink, you know? So all I can do now is hope that, after a good deal of soul-searching, he does the right thing.
Also, before I forget, I would like to thank Brady for agreeing to be photographed in all of these different T-shirts. Without him, this really, really important piece of journalism might not have been possible. (Just kidding. It was entirely possible without him. Believe it or not, the above pictures were Photoshopped by Journal-World Web producer Nick Nelson, who, while highly skilled in matters involving computers, is about the worst dresser I know.).
For a long time, I was under the impression that pre-game videos couldn't get much better than what the Kansas University men's basketball team had to offer.
I mean, everything about the KU video is great. The music. The footage. The volume. It's so great, in fact, that I make it a point to get to the arena early on game nights to watch it. So great that, if I'm having a conversation when the video starts, I suspend said conversation until the video is complete. So great that it literally gives me chills sometimes.
After seeing this, however, it's going to be hard for me to get too excited about a pre-game video that doesn't involve a huge polar bear waking up underwater, sinking a cruise ship with a hockey stick made out of lightning, boarding a jet, blowing up Miami University, blowing up Ohio State University, blowing up Michigan State University, blowing up planet Earth, traveling through a purple space-time continuum to another planet, bursting through the roof of a hockey arena and, eventually, blowing it up, too.