It was only three weeks ago that LeBron James let the world exhale and learn of his Decision that he would be taking his talents from his home state of Ohio, to the sunny shores of South Beach. The reaction ranged from bliss to confusion to down right rage. While LeBron strutted and celebrated with his old friends, and now new teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in his Miami Heat jersey, licensed apparel from the franchise wasn't the only thing that commemorated the move. There has been plenty of defamatory, mad and jilted t-shirts to go along with the burning Cavaliers jerseys and Comic Sans letters from those drinking the James Haterade. But there are a few brands that are embracing the new but not yet officially nicknamed, Miami Heat trio.
The Freshnes, is a streetwear brand based in Long Beach that began in 2007. They're primarily a t-shirt brand that often references basketball, hip hop, and sneaker culture in their gear. I've been a fan of their work in the past, especially this Jay-Z one meant for true Roc fans and a Jesus Shuttlesworth tee that pays adequate homage to one of my favorite films of all time, that this girl would love in a women's cut.
For the LeBron mania, they cranked out three tees to celebrate. The first tee directly quotes the words that broke Dan Gilbert, and arguably many NBA fan's hearts. I think the font is great and just big enough. While I don't agree with LeBron being a self-appointed "King" signing it King James is perfect in this instance.
LeBron announced earlier in the year that he would stop wearing his #23 jersey, out of a respect to his Airness, Michael Jordan. He picked #6, his team USA jersey, and as he moved to the Miami Heat, he plucked it from point guard Mario Chalmers. Sorry, kid but what BronBron wants, he gets! It uses the Heat current number font and the signature king's crown and the King James' Freshnes signature. This could be worn by a Heat fan or maybe by a non-LeBron fan poking fun at the King.
The last tee dedicated to BronBron is the most graphically complex of the bunch and plays on the branding that Nike has done with LeBron since he began his career. They used lions in one of the first LeBron photo shoots when he landed with Nike, and continue to use the lion's head image on his sneakers and other apparel. The King playing card with the ferocious lion looks great. While it wouldn't work well on women (flatten out the chest, makes a curvy figure look boxy), it would be a great item for a hardcore LeBron fan.
A local Miami-bred brand, Purple Heart Clothing, also jumped on the Heat trio bandwagon but they sided more with the established South Beach boy, Dwyane Wade. Purple Heart's aptly coined Miami-Wade County tee on ESPN. It's smart and clean, unlike what most people think of "Miami style". Also, the tee is available for ladies as well cashing in on the female basketball fan who doesn't always want to wear a jersey in sweltering Miami heat (oops, sorry).
The 3 Kings nickname is one of the simplest, but I'm not sure it will stay for the long in MIA. Will King James allow the others onto his trademarked court? We'll have to see. It's easier to say than the 3 Mi-Egos (cheesy) and I prefer the Miami Thrice, but we'll see. The use of the Heat font is clean and the script is tattoo inspired, something that the King and his court know a little about.
The last item is a limited edition tee strictly for D-Wade and his return to the team that won him an NBA championship ring. D-Wade didn't leave the Miami-Dade county waiting (I can't assume, but I don't think many Heat fans exist out of the 305 area code) and the first of July was an exciting day for the city. This tee commemorates the day that Wade put the Pat Riley action plan in motion, July 1st 2010 and Wade's #3. The tee, like the rest of the Purple Heart Clothing line, is clean and well-laid out. However, it would be difficult for females to wear (like the King James tee). Right now Miami is D-Wade's city, but will it stay that way? Will LeBron steal the spotlight. Who knows, but for now, thanks to a ring and likely, a name that rhymes so well, it's Wade's world.
The most recent BronBron tee comes from New York City based brand, Undrcrwn. Known as "The Brand for Champions" Undrcrwn's focusses on sports influenced gear. The brand enjoys a cult following amongst basketball bloggers and fans alike for their smart, humorous graphics and jokes that only a true hoops head understands. Despite that they don't offer a women's line, I decided to order my favourite Shawn Kemp inspired tee and turn it into a dress. Their newest drop is dedicated to the King's new court of Miami. It mimics the popular jersey t-shirts by replacing "Heat" with "King", mimicking LeBron's me-first mentality. It's simple, effective and clean. It can be worn by both LeBron fans or haters or even basketball fans. The shirt is available starting July 26th in the UNDRCRWN online store in a limited run. Whatever happened to playing for the name on the front instead of the back? Perhaps LeBron needs his brand on both sides.
Would you buy any of this pro-BronBron and Miami Thrice Heat gear? I'll feature the best of the anti-LeBron gear shortly, but since there is so much out there, it's taking awhile to compile the best and worst of it. Let me know what you think here or tweet me. I'm sure as the season progresses, so will the cheers, jeers and snarky apparel. Is it basketball season yet?