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NBA, Grateful Dead collaborate on shirts with skull, dancing bear artwork

The NBA has partnered with the Grateful Dead to make specialty t-shirts. (NBA) Sportiqe, the NBA and the Grateful Dead have designed specialty t-shirts with the band's artwork. (NBA)

By Ben Golliver

Apparel brand Sportiqe has partnered with the NBA and the Grateful Dead to produce t-shirts that combine the logos of various playoff teams with the legendary band's famous artwork.

The men's shirts feature a modified version of the Grateful Dead's signature skull logo, which appeared on the Steal Your Face album cover in 1976. A basketball design replaces the lightning bolt in the center of the skull. The women's shirts star one of the group's "dancing bear" figures that was included on History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice) in 1973. Both designs include team names and logos in 1970s era lettering.

A host of playoff-bound teams -- including the Heat, Lakers, Thunder, Celtics, Knicks, Clippers, Bulls, Nets, and Warriors -- will get their own version of the shirts, which will be available in mid-April on Sportiqe.com and various retailers for $35-$45. That's assuming Naismith Hall of Famer and notorious "Deadhead" Bill Walton hasn't purchased the entire stock in advance, of course.

The collaboration is the first for the Grateful Dead with a pro sports league, although the group is well-known for its support of the 1992 Lithuanian national basketball team. The band stepped in to sponsor the former Soviet Republic -- whose roster included Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis -- by providing money and tie-dyed t-shirts. That team, which went on to win bronze at the Barcelona Olympics, was the subject of a 2012 documentary, The Other Dream Team.

More of the NBA/Grateful Dead shirt designs can be seen below.

The NBA has partnered with the Grateful Dead to make exclusive t-shirt designs. (NBA) The NBA and the Grateful Dead t-shirt "skull" designs for the Bulls, left, and Nets. (NBA)

The NBA has partnered with the Grateful Dead to make exclusive t-shirt designs. (NBA) The NBA and the Grateful Dead t-shirt "skull" designs for the Clippers, left, and Thunder. (NBA)

The NBA has partnered with the Grateful Dead to make exclusive t-shirt designs. (NBA) The NBA and the Grateful Dead have collaborated on t-shirt for men, left, and women. (NBA)

The NBA has partnered with the Grateful Dead to make exclusive t-shirt designs. (NBA) The women's shirts feature the Grateful Dead's "dancing bear" logo. (NBA)

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