Nothing Finer Than Carolina – Air Jordan XXXI UNC PE

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We saw the Michigan version of the Air Jordan XXXI last week and now we have a glimpse at the PE version for North Carolina and this is so clean.  There aren’t any details about a general release but my guess is that we will see one at some point.

In case you haven’t checked out the Jordan 31 yet, it is a great performance shoe.  The upper provides a flexible feel with support around your ankles and the cushion is also top level.  I don’t really love the large Jumpman logo on the side… so close to the fading swoosh but I do appreciate the effort to tie in the original Jordan 1 feel with the new school 31.  I think it would have looked better if they put the Jumpman on the heel, like they normally do.

Jordan Brand Unveils the Air Jordan XXXI

The Air Jordan XXXI has been officially unveiled.  We happened to be in Las Vegas this week and were able to participate in the Jordan Brand event and pickup an early pair of the Jordan XXXI – USA colorway.

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Here are a couple of the highlights from the press release…

When Jordan’s footwear arrived during his rookie season, it shared with the world some of its namesake’s tradition-breaking bravado. A black and red colorway violated the league’s uniform policy, earning a stern letter from league officials and generating a $5,000 fine each time the player wore the shoes on court. “Around this time, if you knew anything about Nike…Nike stood on this kind of rebel behavior,” recalls Jordan Brand VP Howard “H” White, in reference to the runners and tennis players connected to the Swoosh. “This Jordan, that color of the Air Jordan I, kind of galvanized that universal scope.”

 

The Air Jordan XXXI represents a balance of Jordan Brand’s tradition of game-changing performance and its transcendent style: lightweight support for the world’s highest-flying athletes, including Russell Westbrook, and rich material details that exude an off-court sensibility.

The shoe’s first-of-its-kind Flyweave and leather upper incorporates a number of iconic Jordan elements, reintroducing the original Air Jordan “Wings” logo and a subtle Swoosh — not seen on a Jordan shoe since the Air Jordan I and the first time it has appeared alongside a Jumpman logo. And in its launch colorway the Air Jordan XXXI pays homage to the “banned” story.

Informed by Jordan himself, the Air Jordan XXXI also follows on a tradition of low-profile cushioning. “He needed to feel closer to the floor — that was his thing,” recalls White of the origin of Jordan’s desire for low-to-the-ground sole units. As such, the Air Jordan XXXI features FlightSpeed technology with full-length Zoom Air that enhances court feel, responsiveness and lateral support. “We really wanted to focus on propulsion in the forefoot, so when you’re coming down you’re engaging the FlightSpeed with the Zoom Air bag,” notes Kuerbis.

The Air Jordan XXXI “Banned” will be available globally September 3 in select retail stores and on Jordan.com. Stay tuned to @Jumpman23 on Instagram and Twitter for more information on the Air Jordan XXXI.

Source: Jordan Brand Unveils the Air Jordan XXXI

The Blue Steel Diaries

I came across this video recently and it is one of the best things I have ever seen.  This was a behind the scenes video shot by DJ Johnston (part of Blue Steel) during the early part of the 2012 March Madness tournament.  Watching Harrison Barnes sing Friday… Zeller contribute to the team freestyle jam session… all the inside jokes… it is fan-tas-tic.  Sit back and enjoy…

Wasn’t Meant to Be

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There is no other way to explain it other than it wasn’t meant to be for this UNC Tarheel squad to cut down the nets this year.  Once the crew had made their decisions to return to Carolina, the championship dream was within their grasp and the future was bright in Chapel Hill.  They stumbled a couple of times throughout the season (UNLV & FL State), people questioned their toughness and outside shooting, but they started to click at just the right time and ended up earning that coveted number one seed.  However, “Wrist Watch” took on a whole new meaning as the Heels suffered two major injuries to their starting five within the last few games (John Henson and Kendall Marshall) and it proved to be too much to overcome.  The Heels fought through Henson’s wrist injury and probably even became better for it as we saw McAdoo really start to come into his own and become a real contributor to the team.  However, the second major injury, Kendall Marshall’s broken wrist, threw a HUGE monkey wrench into things.  The point guard is the engine and Kendall Marshall isn’t your normal, Honda Accord, engine.  Kendall is the Ferrari of point guards and one does not simply replace a Ferrari engine.  You might say, “Well it is Carolina, they just need to plug in another McDonald’s All-American.” but due to injuries earlier in the year to Leslie McDonald  and Dexter Strickland, Stillman White was their only hope.  No excuses though, this is Carolina basketball and they should be able to bounce back and fight through it with all of the other talent on the team.  The Heels almost did just that but alas, it wasn’t meant to be this year.

Credit to Stillman White, who as a freshman, played very hard in his first two starts… in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 (no pressure there) and had no turnovers.  However, much like Kendall struggled with shots earlier in the season, Stillman didn’t have an offensive impact to keep defenses honest and it does take time to establish a confidence and chemistry with your teammates.

The entire team fought very hard in that Kansas game for 35 minutes but when it came down to crunch time, they didn’t play their best on a few possessions and Kansas capitalized… game, set, match.  You can watch the post game interviews if you want to relive the pain (Inside Carolina – post game interviews).

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The Heels will look very different next year.  I would say Henson and Barnes are gone for sure.  Chances are that Marshall will leave as well and with the late season surge of McAdoo… who knows if he will make the jump.  In terms of freshman, we have Marcus Paige (6-0 160), Joel James (6-10 280), Brice Johnson (6-9 200), and JP Tokoto (6-5 180) coming in and look to be a solid recruiting class.  Even though the season ended with disappointment, it was still as successful year and there is much to be proud of.  Here are some of my highlights to help us all remember why it is good to be a TarHeel!

  • 32-6 record
  • Stomping Duke on their home court & spoiling Senior night
  • ACC Regular Season Champions (much more prestigious than a conference tournament championship)
  • They played on an aircraft carrier – with tarheel blue camo unis!
  • Nike Hyper-Elite uniforms vs Maryland
  • I got to see this squad in person during the Las Vegas Invitational – not the outcome I was expecting but still great to see them in person.
  • Tyler Zeller – named 2012 John R. Wooden Award All-America Team, ACC 2012 Player of the Year, AP Second Team All-American.  Earlier in the season I felt Z wasn’t playing tough enough but that definitely changed as the season went on.  Very lucky to have him at UNC for four years and a great example.
  • Kendall Marshall – AP Third Team All-American, Second Team All ACC, the best single-season passing performance in ACC history.  Such a fun player to watch distribute the ball and as the season progressed, start to knock down shots.  I even enjoyed watching his dad and sisters root him on during the games.
  • Harrison Barnes – First team All ACC.  I’m not going to throw Barnes under the bus.  There is so much pressure put on him to be the next Kobe or Lebron, let’s just let him be Harrison.  He did at times seem to disappear but when he get’s going, it is fun to watch.  He won many games for us throughout the year.  We just hoped he would have a better game against Kansas but I’m sure he feels much worse than we do.
  • John Henson – First team All ACC.  That jumper of his came along very nicely and had 101 blocks on the year.  He played tough down the stretch with his injuries.  Repeat member of the All ACC Defensive team. Very fun player to watch.
  • Reggie Bullock – Key contributor and made some big shots, also played good D.  He really stepped up when Dexter went down.
  • PJ Hairston: started the year off scorching the nets from downtown but I believe the injuries he played through messed up his rhythm.  We saw his % decline as the season progressed but he is strong and will bounce back next year.  He is still a nice dunker though.
  • James Michael McAdoo: started the year off shaky but as the season progressed, we started to see that special player.  His denials and steals at the top of the key, which lead to fast break dunks, were a joy to watch… and Charles Barkley thinks he is the most talented player on the team… so he has that going for him.
  • Stillman White: Perhaps Stillman was thrust into the spotlight to bring attention to his mission plans – I bet he will see fewer slammed doors if he goes state-side.  Not sure if he will have a place on the team when he finishes his mission but I appreciate his example and playing hard when his number was called… great story.

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Nike Basketball Goes Platinum

Nike announced this week that they have developed a new Nike Hyper Elite Platinum uniform for nine teams that will be worn during select games between now and March Madness.  The nine schools that were selected for this honor have all won National Championships wearing Nike footwear and apparel.  The teams include Arizona, Baylor (women), Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn (men and women), and last but not least, the University of North Carolina.

Aesthetics aside, the uniforms utilize the most recent innovations to spawn from the Nike labs.  These uniforms were designed “at the intersection of sustainability and performance”.  Even though the prominent color is platinum, these uniforms are also green.  The fabric of the shorts are made from 100 percent recycled polyester and the jersey fabric is made from 96% polyester.  These sets are also five percent lighter than the previous Nike Hyper Elite uniform.  I’m not sure if you have worn the previous set but there isn’t much too them and they are already incredibly light.  At some point I don’t think I mind a little weight.  I don’t want to be out on the court feeling like I’m wearing a plastic baggy around my loins.

As I mentioned before, the prominent color for all the schools will be platinum but each will feature the school’s colors as accent colors.  This has already started to cause a stir with some of the fans from each school but to them I say relax, it is only one game.  Although, UNC will be wearing their set on senior night.  I imagine some seniors dreamed of wearing Carolina blue on their final home game so I can understand that but as long as they win, everything will work out just fine.

The back of each jersey will sport a full Aerographics panel with a blown up version of their logo (i.e., a large interlocking NC logo for Carolina).  I thought that choice was a little weak but the best part is that the back will contain one star for each of the school’s national championships with the corresponding year.  Carolina is looking nice with 5 stars across the top (only to be outdone by Kentucky’s 7).  The stars are in the location where the nameplate normally is sewn so I doubt that they will have names on the back of this set but we shall see.  Nike also took some liberties with the team name that normally adorns the front of the jersey.  For example, UNC classically states North Carolina on their traditional set but for these, it simply states Carolina.  Other changes include Zona (Arizona), Cuse (Syracuse), and Gators (Florida).  Another interesting difference I saw was that UCONN’s accent colors are black and red instead of navy… and I have to say I like it.  One last observation on the new set.  I noticed a slightly different design on the Elite socks in the photos.  I’m sure that if my son notices them he and all of the other kids will soon be trying to find out where to buy them.  In fact, if any of you notice where you can buy any of these pieces, please let me know.

The dates and match-ups for when these uniforms will be seen in action are found below.  If you look closely you will notice that all of these match-ups are against schools who support Addidas or Under Armor… coincidence?  I think not.

If you know me well you know that I am brand-whipped by Nike.  I am generally in full support of anything they put out and these are no exceptions.  Would I like to see Carolina move to these full-time?  No… but I am glad to see the innovation continue and pushing the edge with style and performance.  I have included photos of the UNC set but you can see the rest by clicking on this link.

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Dates include UConn vs. Notre Dame (1/29), Kentucky vs. Tennessee (1/31), Duke vs. Maryland (2/11), Baylor (women’s) vs. Texas A&M (2/11), Florida vs. Tennessee (2/11), Syracuse vs. USF (2/22), Arizona vs. UCLA (2/25), UConn (women’s) vs. Notre Dame (2/27) and UNC vs. Maryland (2/29).

Taking “Psycho T” to a Whole …Notha …Level

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Tyler Hansbrough has fully embraced “Psycho T” with his new look.  Tyler got elbowed in the face in last night’s game and as a precaution (and a little humor) he rocked the headband and RecSpecs in practice.  He discusses maybe keeping the look in the video below (after the Granger interview at the 1:10 mark).  If he does, I know my son will soon be asking where to buy them.  GoHeels!

Showtime’s Favorite Things

I’m bringing back the “Favorites” page by showing what my influences were as a child, when Droppin.com first dropped, and my current sources of enjoyment.  These lists are no means exhaustive but they are mainly highlights that have good memories associated with them.  Seven, I expect to see your matrix soon.

  All-time 2011 2009 2006 2003 Childhood
Raiders Tim Brown Sebastian Janikowski Zach Miller Nnamdi Asomugha Rich Gannon & Tyrone Wheatley Marcus Allen, Howie Long, & Bo Jackson
TarHeels Tyler Hansbrough Kendall Marshall Wayne, Ty, Psycho T, Danny David Noel Felton, May, McCants Jordan & Tyler Hansbrough
Baseball Don Mattingly Derek Jeter Mark Teixeira Derek Jeter Andy Pettitte Dale Murphy
NBA Dominique Wilkins Dwayne Wade Dwight Howard Steve Nash Allen Iverson Dominique Wilkins
Video Game Madden Madden 2012 Madden 2010 Wii Sports Madden 2004 Baseball All-stars (Nintendo 8 bit)
TV Arrested Development New Girl Flight of the Conchords Arrested Development Seinfeld Dukes of Hazard
Music Michael Jackson & New Edition Michael Haggins – Daybreak (Abed hum remix) Alicia Keys Justin Timberlake Outkast Tribe Called Quest & Big Daddy Kane
Ad Campaign Nike “Just Do It” Gatorade “Win From Within” E-Trade babies Mac vs. PC Southwest “It must be football season.” Nike “Just Do It”
Movie Star Wars I don’t really watch movies Ice Age Cars Finding Nemo Star Wars
Kicks Jordan VI Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low Nike Zoom Kobe Nike Total Package (Low & High) Air Jordan XVIII Low OG (Baby Blue) Jordan VI
Motto “…stop, collaborate and listen.” “Be creators of circumstance, not creatures of circumstance” “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” -Einstein “Fail to plan… plan to fail” “Feedback is a gift, you can always return it.” “Eat your vegetables first”
Wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage

Only liked wrestling as a kid.

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & British Bulldogs

Where did the Heels go?

UNC MEN'S BASKETBALL CARRIER CLASSIC UNIFORMS

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When it rains, it pours.  UNC unveiled another new uniform this week that they will wear on Veterans Day… blue camo!  Looks like this design will still include the new graphics on back making it look very busy.  Hopefully it will be a distraction to the Spartans on Nov. 11th.  I am glad to see them keep their blue scheme as opposed to the other teams who revert back to the traditional brown camo.  The Spartans are also going with a camo look for the game but their scheme will be green.  Good thing they are not playing on Oregon’s “woods” court or they might really have an advantage.

I’m not sure if they will be going on sale but I’d consider buying the shorts if they do.  Go Heels!

Official press release from tarheelblue.com below:

The North Carolina men’s basketball team will wear specially-designed camouflaged, light blue uniforms for its game in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on Nov. 11 against Michigan State in San Diego, the school announced today. TarHeelBlue.com has exclusive photos of a sample of the uniform design.

The Spartans also will wear camouflaged green and white uniforms for the game, which will be played on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in San Diego on Veterans Day next month.

Carolina’s uniforms are versions of its redesigned jerseys for this season, unveiled earlier this month. No player names will appear on the back of the jerseys. Instead, “U.S.A.” will replace players’ last names above the uniform number on the back of all the jerseys.

Tar Heels New Aerographic Design

The Tar Heel men’s basketball team unveiled the new jersey design for the 2011-12 season.  While the front of the jerseys are essentially unchanged, the back features an aerographic design that incorporates the Old Well, the University’s iconic landmark, the outline of the state of North Carolina and a basketball.

The Carolina basketball uniform is a classic so I don’t want them to mess with it too much but I’m always down for a new jersey design.  This feels a little commercial but I’ll reserve my final judgement until I see them on the court.  Go Heels!

Also, as a bonus treat, here is a new link to their 2011-2012 yearbook… 211 pages of Tar Heel basketball heaven.

Love me some Carolina J’s

Behold, the Carolina themed Jordan 2011’s that the team is wearing in the NCAA tourney this year:

As of now this colorway is not scheduled for release to the general public but we can all hope, and knowing how Jordan brand is always willing to dish out Carolina colorways I wouldn’t be surprised to see these, or something very similar to these, showing up at your local retailer in the near future.