Louisville and Nebraska are each honoring a pioneering player in their programs with special uniforms for Black History Month.
Louisville is honoring one of the program’s first black basketball players, Wade Houston, and Nebraska dipped back into more than 100 years of history to celebrate Wilbur Wood in the schools’ new Black History Month uniforms created by adidas.
The Louisville uniforms come in either all-black or all-cream versions with a throwback name and numbering used during the Cardinals’ dominant runs in the 1980s. Houston, a Tennessee native, played for the Cardinals from 1963 through 1966 and returned as an assistant coach in 1976.
The 2016 uniforms have red and black accents with the shorts featuring the “dunking bird” logo used during the NCAA titles won in 1980 and 1986.
Nebraska honors Wood, the program’s first black basketball player, a letter-winner from 1908 through 1910 and one of the first black players in college basketball history. Designed to celebrate Nebraska’s early years, the red tone with a cream stripe across the jersey includes the classic “N” logo. The original uniforms didn’t have numbers, but the 2016 versions went with classic block numbering with cream accents below the stripe on the back of the jersey.
As part of the Black History Month celebration by adidas, players will suit up in Jesse Owens-inspired sneakers, with each shoe in the Black History Month collection featuring cream tones, dark brown contrasts, gold accents and signature details including Owens’s 733 bib number treated with gold foil on the tongue and a 1936 graphic-print in the sockliner.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and design for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.