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St. John’s Kooky Skyline Shorts Ushered In New Era

Prior to the 1994-95 season, one of the country’s most well-known college basketball programs, St. John’s, decided it would change it’s nickname from the offensive “Redmen” to the neutral “Red Storm.” And along with the new nickname came a fashion atrocity: the skyline shorts.

If you want an idea of what happens when a group of old men try to come up with something “cool” for the younger crowd, these shorts are a good place to start. In an attempt to “modernize” the program, the school revamped Alumni Hall, increased the size of the student section, held the school’s first midnight madness and designed the shorts above.

It’s a shame, really, because the uniforms didn’t really need to be touched. They just said “St. John’s” and were pretty classic, just being red and white with black trimming and white piping on the sides. It was your run of the mill basketball uniform, which was apparently too boring for the officials who wanted to jazz up the program. Introducing yellow into the uniform to create a 3D effect was bad enough. The short design was even worse.

The shorts are supposed to be a city skyline, which makes sense because St. John’s is in Queens and has beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. But because it’s on the shorts and because of the bizarre color pattern of red, white, blue and yellow color pattern, it was unclear if you were looking at buildings, or fire or buildings on fire.

And they definitely grabbed the attention of sports fans when uber-recruit Felipe Lopez was plastered on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” in 1994 wearing them.

There was no public indication in support of or against thee atrociously designed shots, but since it was fashion in the mid-‘90s, we’re not surprised that a) someone signed off on them and b) there wasn’t a mutiny by the fans.

But at some point someone in the athletic department wised up or the right fans complained because after just two seasons, the skyline shorts had vanished without even a mention in a reporter’s notebook. It’s probably for the better anyway. The skyline design should only be left to the Denver Nuggets, who should really consider going back to that uniform now that they’ve lost Carmelo Anthony.

 
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