Just over five months after this site launched a campaign to get kente on the court at the Verizon Center, the Athletics Department has stepped up for the fans in a big way ahead of the 2016-17 season.
Though in a perfect world this kente pattern would have been in the paint area, the word is that Big East officials had some issues with it and preferred a cleaner lane. Whatever!
As a reminder, the kente pattern is a unique and special part of Georgetown basketball history. The kente cloth pattern became part of the Hoyas uniforms in the Allen Iverson era and remains unique and, for lack of a better word, awesome. From this article on the backstory between Georgetown and the kente cloth pattern:
"In the basketball swag world, we felt as though we had the best jerseys in the NCAA," said former Hoyas forward Jerome Williams over the phone from Las Vegas, where he runs the JYD Project and works as the Director of Player Development for Findlay Prep’s basketball team. "It meant something to wear that Georgetown jersey."
Williams and his teammates – among them Iverson, Othella Harrington and Jahidi White – came to Georgetown to carry on the legacy laid out before them by the likes of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikemo Mutombo. Maintaining a winning tradition was one aspect of that. But they also put a twist on that with their on-court style.
"We were the first team to rock the Jordan patent leathers and we had these new uniforms," Williams said. "It was our own identity. It was about the Georgetown brand and what it represented … We definitely had a serious swag about us."
The patterned fabric made of interwoven cloth strips was originally worn by West African royalty as a sign of wealth and authority, kente cloth came to represent West African strip cloth in general.
When Thompson had Nike add a kente cloth-like pattern to the Hoyas’ uniforms prior to the 1994-1995 season (Williams’ first at Georgetown), it was an overt acknowledgement of who they were: black America’s favorite college basketball team.
"We tried to treat it [the pattern] to be fashionable as well as derivative and be careful of the idea of meanings behind it," then-Nike designer Ken Black told The Washington Times in 1994. The Hoyas also donned warm-ups with a black-and-white kente pattern all over it."
Kudos to Athletics Director Lee Reed and everyone who had a hand in making our kente dreams a reality.