Welsey Morris, the immensely talented, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for Grantland, recently took the time to outline the sartorial importance of the 1977 Marquette Warriors' untucked basketball jerseys. Even today, the idea of athletes on the court rocking their uniforms untucked seems improper. It was even more radical back in an era when America was just coming around to the idea of women with careers outside of the kitchen.
Marquette's jerseys were designed by Maurice "Bo" Ellis, which was crazy not only because he was a black man designing clothing period (he was the first male ever enrolled in Mount Mary College, which offered a fashion design program), but because he played forward for the Warriors. Their coach at the time, Al McGuire, a weird dude himself, pined for eccentricity in his players. And he got it, perhaps too much. Seven years later, the jerseys were banned because everything that's cool in sports gets banned eventually (see: Kobe's tights, Iverson's entire wardrobe, Ricky Williams's blacked out visors, Justin Tuck's custom facemasks, Terrell Owens's touchdown celebrations).
After reading Wesley's piece and watching the accompanying 14 minute short film, Untucked, it's hard not to think about the impact of Marquette's jerseys on the larger scope of men's fashion. Around this same time is when the uniform, not only on the basketball court, but in the everyday wardrobe of men, also essentially dissolved. The image of a thousand gray suited men walking through Grand Central Terminal was replaced with men and women of all races, each looking to stand out amongst the crowd and establish their own identity through dress (that's a very optimistic view of things, I know). With this new era of untucked shirts and bold colors came the utter insanity we call men's fashion today, where it seems divergent groups of thought are constantly at war.
It's hard to draw a direct line from a basketball team in the 70's to drop crotch pants, but the spirit of the Warriors—their happy-go-lucky, fun-loving attitude and general desire to say "fuck the man"—is what clothing should really be about, no?