ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: Untucked (2014)

Directed by Danny Pudi

In this day and age of college athletics where uniform fashion has taken over, I have never stopped to think of where that fashion sense came from. Like many, I’m sure, the Oregon football team would seem a logical place to start. Phil Knight, founder of Nike, being an alum, Oregon has featured an incredible number of jersey combinations and eccentric styles. But recently Adidas has jumped into the game in basketball, supplying Louisville during their recent championship season with Zubaz jerseys that even feature sleeves. The throw back uniform is very popular too. It seems nowadays anything that happens to be different, happens to be stylish.

But what I didn’t know, is such fashion revolution can be tracked back to Bo Ellis and Marquette University. In the 70s, Marquette featured one of the best basketball programs in the country, and much of that was the result of the coaching style of Hall of Famer Al McGuire, and the rest can be attributed to the fashion style of Bo Ellis. Ellis, a 6’9″ basketball player from the hood in Chicago became the first male student at Mount St. Mary’s, a local Milwaukee college that featured a fashion design program. He revolutionized the Marquette jersey, which was already radical for its time, when Ellis decided to place the Marquette name along the bottom of the jersey, meant to be worn untucked.

Such an idea was crazy at the time, and even seems odd now that a rule has been in place prohibiting it since 1984. But that untucked jersey became a fashion statement for a team of self-proclaimed misfits and mavericks. Danny Pudi’s film manages to highlight this interesting story in such a way that it doesn’t fall in the trap of praise and worship for its subjects. Unlike the similarly fashion driven short from this series, Disdain the Mundane, the film is less about looking at an eccentric basketball player interested in fashion, and more about knowing what drove that player to his interests and accomplishments, along with how it affected the culture of college basketball and the Marquette program.

*** – Good

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